I’ll admit it. I watch the Bachelor…and the Bachelorette. But I draw my line at Bachelor in Paradise. At least some part of me can humanize the people on the Bachelor but morally, I can’t affirm what I’m pretty sure is a 24hr sex romp full of unemployed models/ “culture influencers”. I’m basically in it for the fake job titles (including “twin” which I now believe somehow includes a 401k and dental) and the crushing disappointment when the person you’re rooting for fails in the end because NO ONE EVER MAKES THE RIGHT DECISION I’M LOOKING AT YOU JOJO.
I live for the drama and paradox of “reality” shows because I can keep it an arm’s distance away, reminding myself that Hollywood is about as relatable as former contestant Olivia saying she likes to “talk smart things”, but this past season was different. I watched it with two separate friends of mine, both young college students (sometimes joined in by Keegan, my 17 year old brother). It’s only when you think about how something might be affecting someone else, you realize how much it’s affecting you. I got angrier and angrier thinking about how the subconscious underlying messages of this show may affect the perspective of these young women who I care about deeply.
I realized that this show tells you that only one kind of person is worthy of love (the specific aesthetic the show runners achieve with images of sunsets, hot air balloons, and glamorous dresses in a country no one can correctly pronounce). That kind of person is white, upper class, privileged, and tiny. The men are muscular and tanned with stupidly white teeth and the women are blonde and petite with stupidly white teeth. The people of color are tokenized and voted out as soon as the Bachelor/ette isn’t deemed racist. Anyone slightly different is reduced down to a single term: half-Asian, single mom, veteran, bitch.
Simply put, love is for the Ashleys and Laurens, darling. If you still think, wait maybe there’s some kind of redeeming medium for anyone not sample size 2 and can locate Indiana on a map, try the failed show More to Love, in which everyone is plus-sized and oh wait, it was cancelled because it was a horrible idea. ((Psst, on the Wiki page you can see everyone’s height and weight which isn’t offensive at all!))
(Of course, in this narrative, I’m excluding Juan Pablo, who is a collective shudder in American TV history despite being a vaguely unique Bachelor pick, because he is human garbage.)
So because I couldn’t see myself anywhere in the collection of actress/models, journalist/models, and unemployed/models, I need to be the change I want to see in the world. And I want to see average-to-chubby smart alecks find fake love too, dammit!
So without further ado, my submission to the BACHELOR:
(Excerpts taken from the real-life Bachelor application)
- Are you at least 21 years old?– Yes, so feel free to pump me full of alcohol in between takes to get me to say something like “My biggest insecurity was that I used to have cankles!” or “I’ll literally kill anyone who comes between me and my boyfriend who’s also dating 23 other women” or….
- Height– tall enough to ride rollercoasters, short enough to have other people help me with my carry-on on airplanes
- Weight– somewhere between Amy Schumer and none of your damn business
- Email– firstname.lastname@example.org
- Address– can I just vaguely put Romania? or my parents’ house? or Cupboard Under the Stairs, 4 Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey?
- Nearest big city– Maybe Indianapolis, but only if you’re asking someone from southern Indiana what they consider a big city
- Have you ever applied to be on the Bachelor?– No, but once I applied for the Fulbright Scholarship, so I do have experience in applying for things completely ungrounded in reality
- Why would you like to be on the show?– The Bachelor needs to step up their relatability and I am the girl for the job! They need a token chubby person who would be the first person to eat an actual meal on the show. It would make television history! When offered the rose, they need someone to say “duh, I’m a damn prize” instead of the weepy , pathetically grateful acceptance that’s usually given. They need someone who if presented with the Fantasy Suite would present their own condition of no hanky-panky, only fort-building and Risk. If on horse-back on a beach somewhere, instead of saying “seeing Jason on that palomino made me realize I’m falling love”, the show needs someone who can recite facts about the rare diseases found in that country that she couldn’t stop googling the night before. None of the girls will feel threatened by me so I can have so many heart-to-hearts. I have a painfully low alcohol tolerance, which makes me do questionable things like download Tinder. I can eloquently speak on global trade or politics or the Donner party, if the need presents itself. I have a good attitude as long as I can make fun of any situation (I’m looking at you, group dates). I genuinely think women should support each other so I’ll be the go-between with the season’s villain (every season has to have one). I’ll wear my brother’s stolen plaid shirt over my $10 Target dresses and barely brush my hair for the rose ceremonies. On my hometown visit, I won’t even point out the house where that guy hired a hitman to murder his wife, which I call Murder House and have the morbid obsession of pointing it out to everyone; I promise I won’t do it! Lastly, I will seduce the Dude with my charm and cl(ass), proving to girls everywhere that they too can find “love” on reality TV (or aspire to bigger goals like prevent Zika or become a Supreme Court Justice, whatever comes naturally).