My friends make fun of me. Why, you ask? Because I watch The Bachelorette (and The Bachelor). Normally, that would be no big deal. A lot of people watch those shows or they wouldn't have been on the air since 2002 (not that I remember the exact date... okay, I do).
The reasons that my friends make fun of me for watching it is because I'm a communication professor. I teach about topics such as television shows and gender issues. So they think it's hilarious that I even have a desire to watch such "junk" (as they call it). They think I am too smart and too educated, and so I should have lost what it means to be a real person. While I always giggle and tell them "I'm doing research" (*wink*wink*), I have to admit that I have a love/hate relationship with The Bachelor and The Bachelorette series. I love to hate it. And I hate that I love it.
You see, I have two distinct sides to me: (1) The Academic, and (2) The Hopeless Romantic. I can talk about these shows from both sides of my mouth. So I'm going to give you a little insight into my crazy thoughts and explain my struggle.
First, "The Academic Side." The Bachelor and The Bachelorette series promote all the gender stereotypes under the sun. On The Bachelor, you have the crying, emotional women who are immediately in love with a man they met five minutes ago. And when they are "left broken hearted with their dream of marrying their prince shattered," it looks like their world had ended. Stereotypical? Yes. And on The Bachelorette, you have the partying guys who have to constantly reassure the woman that they are "there for the right reasons." And when they are not given a rose, they go out with "their ego shattered." Notice the difference there? They are not "broken hearted." Well, at least not all the time.
Trust me, I could write full-length research article about the academic side of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette series because I've been analyzing it for many, many years ("doing research"). But I will only say two more things. First, it undermines the importance of marriage. It places an emphasis on the "falling in love" stage and gives the audience unrealistic expectations of what marriage is really like. Second, all of what I have written so far are not good messages for young girls. That's why parents should be watching with them and helping them interpret what they are seeing.
Okay, now on to the hopeless romantic side of me (and I say that with a giddy laugh!). I love LOVE. I love being in love, I love seeing people in love. Love is what makes the world go 'round. So that's why I am a sucker for watching these shows. Does my Academic Side creep in sometimes and argue with me saying "this is a load of cr**?" You betcha -- a lot. But my Romantic Side has to just beat it down and tell it it to sit down and shut up until the final rose is handed out. And then it tries to convince the Academic Side that there really are such things as fairy tales, and some people really do live happily every after.
Do I think it's possible to fall in love in a few weeks with spending very little time with someone? It depends on which part of me you ask. The Romantic Side says it's possible because there are some couples who did end up getting married. But then The Academic Side rages in and says "yes, but statistically speaking, most of the couples broke up."
The Bachelorette finale is tonight. Am I going to be watching? You better believe I am! And I'm going to make sure my Academic Side is bound and gagged for two hours so I can spend that time in my fantasy world.
Who do I hope Andi chooses? Well, I don't want to start a crazy debate here, but let's just say he's tall, dark, handsome, has insane amounts of charisma, and a smile that would knock any girl unconscious. Can anyone guess?
P.S. His name rhymes with 'gosh!'