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August 28, 2015

Yes, Men Can Like 'The Bachelorette,' Too

by Piet Levy, posted Jun 14th 2010 1:00PM
BacheloretteFull confession. I'm a guy who watches 'The Bachelor' and 'The Bachelorette.' My wife makes me. Really. Really. Ah, who am I kidding? I have my own free will. I can be lifting weights or eating cheeseburgers or playing poker or doing some other stereotypical guy stuff. None of that particularly interests me, except the cheeseburgers.

So while a lot of the time I am doing something else whenever either show is on, I find myself sitting and watching alongside my wife more often than I ever imagined.

So why do I do it, and why would an average guy like these shows themselves?

I tell myself it's to make my wife happy, so she doesn't get embarrassed when she's yelling at the TV to no one in particular. I definitely don't watch it for the romantic aspect, not there there's anything wrong with a guy liking romance. But these shows, in my eyes, aren't romantic. No matter how hard they push the lovey-dovey -- from the sappy music to the exotic, borderline gratuitous dates -- there's nothing remotely real about the contrived set-up, and everyone knows the shows have a pretty abysmal track record for creating actual lasting romance.

My wife Christy, to be honest, claims she doesn't watch it for these reasons either, although the other night, when current 'Bachelorette' Ali finished a cinema-worthy date with the charming Roberto, Christy quietly cooed, "I hope he's a nice guy."

Yet the 'Bachelor' and 'Bachelorette' brands are still about romantic fantasy, and I don't see that changing any time soon. That's quite a marketing accomplishment, considering all the tabloid gossip and on-show drama that goes down each season. That stuff actually is more interesting than the romance, and frankly, it's a major reason why millions of people watch, or at least like to talk about these shows. All that cutthroat competition, it's like boxing guys, with scheming subbing for punches, and roses replacing title belts.

The most memorable moment in either show's history wasn't when some couple was swooning, or even one of the several proposals. No, the all-time most memorable moment is still when 'Bachelor' Jason Mesnick broke up with fiancee Melissa Rycroft on TV, only to ask runner-up Molly Malaney out a few minutes later. Yes, it all ended happily, with Mesnick and Malaney married and Rycroft starring on several TV shows, including 'Dancing With The Stars,' but none of that compares to the horrifying wow factor of Mesnick's very public dumping.

It doesn't matter what gender you are, or whether you watched the show or not, that was some compelling TV, and the moment the franchise may live to be most remembered for. My main reason for watching the shows lately is to see some villains in action, like wannabe country star Wes Hayden, the much-loathed Vienna Girardi, and this season it seems, pro wrestler Justin "Rated R" Rego -- people whose main motivation for being on the show, in Hayden's case certainly, has been for fame. (Can you believe someone would actually go on a dating show to get famous instead of for love? What nerve!)

It's been fascinating to see a reality show actually acknowledge that rolling cameras impact self-serving motivation and behavior, and to see our fearless bachelors/bachelorettes wrestle with that. Even if those villains aren't in it for love, I love to hate them. And even though I don't love these shows, it's for reasons like these that I'll keep watching, and that guys like me may enjoy watching them too. You know, because their wives made them.

Are you a guy who watches 'The Bachelor' and 'Bachelorette'?
Yes, and I'm not ashamed!285 (62.2%)
No way, no how. I'd rather be waterboarded.80 (17.5%)
Don't ask, don't tell.93 (20.3%)

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Above commenter kip has it right. The show is fascinating in a train-wreck sort of way.

June 27 2010 at 9:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I like both shows, but something still troubles me when watching them both. Why after all these years we have never had a black bachelor or bachelorette? I mean we have a black president, you're telling me we can't have black bachelor/bachelorette? And even when there do have one on the show they usually don't make after the first night.

June 15 2010 at 11:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

No. No they cannot.

June 14 2010 at 9:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Important to remember there is not one ounce of reality in either of the shows. They are highly edited for drama and effect and the show doesn't care who they trample or make a fool out of in the process.

June 14 2010 at 6:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Why anyone, male or female, watches this train wreck is beyond me.

June 14 2010 at 2:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What's your wife's name? John

June 14 2010 at 1:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The show is a train wreck. How could you not love it? 25 dudes fighting for one woman. Pure genius. 25 women fighting over one guy, even better.
I love the show because it showcases the stupidity of humanity. Ever since Tina fabulous(Tina Panas), no one has ever had an ounce of class, gusto, guts or pride in themselves. And I love it.

June 14 2010 at 1:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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