At first glance, no television show seems to understand and embrace the post-dating world LESS than The Bachelor and its sister show The Bachelorette, which began its sixth season with new Bachelorette Ali Fedotowsky on Monday.
Each episode revolves around comically traditional dates – helicopter rides, makeout sessions under waterfalls, fancy dinners, piggyback rides in vineyards – and it’s as if cell phones, computers and Facebook wall posts never existed. From the opening credits of the very first episode, men and women passionately and unambiguously proclaim that they are looking for true, storybook love and believe that they can find it with the chosen Bachelor/Bachelorette. The contestants openly and aggressively fight for the romantic attentions of The Chosen One in a way that is rarely seen at the group dinners and work holiday parties of the real post-dating world. I mean, how often do you hear the following said within the first hour of meeting someone?
“I’m here to guard and protect your heart.”
“I’m gonna fight as hard as possible to win Ali’s heart.”
“Love makes everything worth it.”
“I can fix about anything around the house, bet you’re thinking I sound like a hell of a spouse.”
“I might have prematurely in college freshman year accidentally…and so that’s maybe how…” – Shooter, explaining his nickname (okay, so that actually sounds like something that might come up on an awkward Non-Date)
The very premise of the show battles against one of the main WTF?! beliefs – that we modern love-seekers now prefer organic, evolving settings and interactionsover the strict dating norms and expectations that used to define romance.And with a success rate of only 5 out of 19 couples still being together (this may sound decent, until you consider the millions and millions of dollars that ABC has spent trying to hook these couples up!), there’s not a lot of evidence to prove that this type of traditional dating yields truer, stronger love than our system of Non-Dates and Techno-Romance.
And finally, if Ali mourns her awful, cold-hearted decision to choose her job at Facebook over last season’s beefy-but-brainless Bachelor one more time… Quotes like “I think that the biggest mistake I made that night was choosing a desk and computer over someone who could be the love of my life” kept transporting me right back to 1960! Look, I get it. “Career Woman = Bad. Lonely girl splashing in the waves by herself and deciding to quit her job and give up her apartment to meet her husband on a reality show = Good.” Safe to say, this love vs. career mentality feels old-fashioned and too simplistic for women these days.
However! Not all is lost. Without realizing it, The Bachelorette’s producers have instructed Ali to find love via her very own dah.It may not be your typical dah – cultivating relationships with 25 men at a time seems tricky, and of course, the point of the show is to force them all into Boyfriend Prospect(Husband Prospect?) territory – but it’s definitely a dah. After squealing “Bring on those boys!”, Ali declares her desire to become a better person and learn about herself through the process of finding love amidst all her men. And as well all know, one of the main goals of having a dah is to explore your different sides and figure out who you are and what you want.
On top of that, the guys are already starting to exhibit the traits of the various dah guys. Who knows how Ali will see them in a week or two? The relationships with the guys in your dah are evolving, as an engaging conversation during a long car ride, an unexpected moment of sexual chemistry, or an extra shot at the bar can completely alter how you see a certain guy. But for now, the guys have already begun jockeying for key spots in Ali’s dah.
Which guy is which, you ask? Let’s review!
Ty – He likes to frolic with his cute dog, he plays guitar, he’s cute. And he’s divorced, so apparently he’s not afraid of commitment. For now, we’ll temporarily ignore the fact that he was married until a few months ago…? The Boyfriend Prospect
Roberto – This guy teaches Ali how to salsa dance during their first conversation, and she gets hot and bothered when he whispers sweet nothings to her in Spanish. She has no idea how to pronounce his name (someone teach that girl how to roll her R’s!), but he still makes her giddy and ends up getting the first impression rose. TheHot Sex Prospect
Kasey – Upon meeting Ali, he immediately promises to protect her heart. Always. No matter what happens on the show. So basically, Ali can choose some other guy, and Kasey will still be there to catch her when she falls. Sweet, I guess? The Ego Booster
Rated R (Justin) – This professional wrestler has already threatened to beat up the other guys if they get in the way of his and Ali’s love. But the other guys have their doubts: is he here for the right reason? Does he really like Ali, or is he just trying to advance his career? What are his true intentions? The Prospect You’re Not Sure Is A Prospect
Jonathan – A funny weatherman who writes “I <3 You” on his storm screen and clearly has a few jokes up his sleeve. Dinner is probably more fun if he’s there! But he looks like a 12-year-old. The Accessory
Craig – This guy is seen prepping for his TV debut by admiring himself in the mirror, straightening his bright pink button-down shirt and hitting on girls at a club. He loves the single life but is apparently ready to settle down. Right. Just as soon as he gets that girl’s number. The Super Horny Guy Who’s Around A Lot
TBD – The full season promo shows Ali receiving a phone call from one of the guy’s current girlfriends. No word on who yet, but that sucks. Say hello toThe Unavailable Guy!
Jake – Okay, well last season’s Bachelor isn’t in the previews and has been too busy Dancing With The Stars to break up with his “fiance” Vienna. But who’s rooting for a surprise Ali/Jake reunion?? She certainly mentions him often enough. The Ex-Boyfriend Who’s Still Around
I didn’t spot any obvious Career Boosters(convenient, since she just gave up her career!) or Guys Who Just Blew Ali Offyet, but all in due time. Because I’m a sucker for love stories, and because Hulu is so damn convenient, I’ll be posting a weekly blog about The Bachelorette from now until the finale. Will Roberto break out of his Hot Sex Prospect role? Will Kasey be able to charm his way out of the Ego Booster spot? Will Ali go through a process of self-realization and realize that those hair extensions look horrible?
To be continued!
Jess is the co-creator of Dating & Hookup, alongside her childhood best friend Becky Lynch, and is the author of the book - yep! - Dating & Hookup. She never tires of hearing your post-dating stories. She wants you to enjoy your love life, and is full of advice on how to do so.
datingandhookup.com is a website that explores modern romance in the Millennial era – which, let’s be honest, looks nothing like we were taught to expect. We feature essays, advice and social commentary with humor, compassion and brains, and we vow never, ever to publish a piece called “The 10 Best Ways to Satisfy Your Man in Bed”. Do click to submit your work to us. We love you.
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