I’ll tell you my dirty little secret. Well, one of them.
I love The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, and maybe even most of all: Bachelor Pad.
Based on the responses to my recent Facebook post where I asked if you watched and why, I’m aware that you might be judging me already, but stop, hear me out! There are valid points to both sides of this apparently very polarizing debate!
I’m a widowed single mom who has been watching the franchise since college, and my reasons for watching have pretty much remained the same throughout that whole 14+ year span.
Here are 5 reasons I watch and love The Bachelor (and all its spin-offs).
1). It’s about girl time.
As long as I’ve been watching, one of the main highlights of being part of #BachelorNation is the interaction it creates between me and my friends (actually, some guys included!). I prefer to watch the show with friends, and even when I was married my husband would watch it with me, offering silly commentary all along the way. Now that I’m single again I’ve convinced my girl gang to do premiere and finale parties, and we make sure we devote time in our text thread to discussing the drama of the week, who we like and don’t, and why so-and-so should stay or go. It’s just plain fun.
You know how guys get together for football games? They do fantasy drafts, place bets on the winners, and hope their QB gets the airtime and recognition he deserves. It’s like that—promise.
When Rachel sent DeMario home and we all high-fived, or when Sean chose Catherine (much to my surprise) and we all squealed in delight. Those are the moments.
Two hours a week with friends or enjoyed alone on my couch with my boo-thang (ice-cream) to be discussed in person, via social media, and through texts with my girlfriends is one of the reasons I will continue to watch.
2.) I learn life lessons.
Stick with me here. If you’re watching Colton’s season: remember the sloth girl? (No, I don’t know her name, that’s the point). You will forever only know her as “the sloth”. They even put it under her name as her “job” when she’s on camera!
Life lesson from The Bachelor: you get one chance to stand for something. Make it count.
I actually love when people come in with a shtick for reasons outlined in #1, but as I watch these cast members come up with their openers or aim to be known as the villain or the victim, I find myself re-evaluating the image I portray in the real world—and I don’t actually think that’s a bad thing. Your actions speak louder than your words, and none of us believed Krystal’s voice was real; therefore, we are sure her relationship with The Goose isn’t real. We stood with Peter when he wouldn’t say “I love you” to Rachel just to get the next rose because it showed his integrity.
Watching this show makes me remember who I want to be IRL (in real life) as I enjoy the nonsense of this “reality” world.
This is why I’m a loyal member of BachelorNation!
3.) It’s entertaining.
We watch TV to be entertained right? Reality TV happens to be one of my favorite types of entertainment. It makes me laugh, it makes me cry, and it makes me glad my life is “normal” by comparison.
We knew Vienna was wrong for Jake, but we also knew Jake was trying to become a “bad boy” by choosing her, and we all saw how that turned out. Yikes! But so entertaining! Do I think it’s scripted? Partly, yes. But, that’s just TV.
You see, I don’t get Game of Thrones. I’m not into The Walking Dead or Stranger Things.
Those shows all have a “cult-following” and I know plenty of people who watch and love those shows and I’m happy for them.
Now, This is Us? That’s another article. All. The. Feeeeels.
Back to my point, with an added bonus: a fellow Bachelor-loving friend pointed out something I totally agree with. I follow plenty of Bachelor(ette) cast members online, and since most of them turn into social media “celebs” that sell stuff, I’ve found some pretty great products I also love. Yes, I’m putting that in the win column. But no hair gummies for me, Amanda Stanton. I have to draw the line somewhere.
4.) It makes me feel the love.
I know. Gag. But I’ll admit I’m a hopeless romantic, so I love watching the over-the-top dates and the first kisses and the engagements. I cry. I know most of them break up (gosh, don’t most relationships these days?), but I love a good love story.
That said, I watch for signs of real connections (communication, chemistry, resolving conflict) and I’ve even been known to talk through these things with my partner.
Me: *Pauses show* “Do you think Chris can be mad at Tia for kissing him when she still likes Colton? Doesn’t it seem like a double standard?”
Him: (guy I am no longer seeing but got into the show because he knew I liked it) “It’s totally a double standard! Guys do it all the time! That said, if you like someone you shouldn’t be kissing someone else, but, they’re all on this island for the purpose of dating around, so he should know that and expect that!”
Me: “My thoughts exactly.”
(Also me to myself: “Good, we’re on the same page about only kissing the one you’re with!”)
This example proves my points #2 and #3, but as I watch, I look for things I both want and don’t want in a relationship. Winning.
I mean, c’mon, didn’t we all love watching Ashley I. cry incessantly over her prince charming who wouldn’t give her the time of day? And didn’t we celebrate when Jared finally proposed? Yes. We. Did.
5.) It forces me to assess my personal convictions.
I believe in and support the fact that people have their individual convictions in all areas of life. It’s no different when discussing The Bachelor. People ask “How can you believe in marriage and watch this show?”
“How can you be a Christian and watch this show?”
Or they say:
“They went to the fantasy suite, they totally had sex!”
“Colton’s kissing on the first date; he must not really be a virgin.”
Please, take a second and listen to yourself! Because of reasons #1-4, you can lighten up on these statements and not jump to such strong conclusions (and judgments!).
I have plenty of Christian friends who choose not to watch the show because they believe it portrays love, marriage, and relationships poorly and therefore don’t want to support it. I fully respect and appreciate that! Honestly, that’s #beboldandjustbeyou!
Conversely, because of the reasons I’ve outlined, I think I can watch the show for what it is and still choose to pursue a monogamous dating relationship that would lead to marriage which might include a first date kiss a few times over before I find the guy I want to spend the rest of my life with. And I will rely on my personal relationship with God and the accountability of close friends along the way, some of whom watch this show, some of whom don’t.
That’s part of the beauty of grace, isn’t it? It covers everything. It’s beautiful and free and big enough even to cover watching (and enjoying!) The Bachelor. (If you’re nodding along and haven’t yet listened to Are You a Strong Woman of Grit and Grace – 072 yet, do that next).
So, I’m giving the Bachelor franchise a rose. I’m a committed fan, and I cannot wait for the finale night my girlfriends and I are planning for Colton’s season. We’re discussing wearing formal gowns and having our own rose ceremony. Because, why not. (See #1).
Here’s to what promises to be “the most dramatic season of The Bachelor yet.”
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You’ll love this podcast episode from This Grit and Grace Life: Are You a Strong Woman of Grit and Grace? – 072