February 1, 2011

Brad Womack is Not an Idiot

Yes. I'm watching "The Bachelor" this season. It's been dubbed the "most controversial season" ever. Enh. Sure. I guess so.
A guy gets his second chance at being the bachelor after dumping both girls in the finale of his first season. You call it controversial and I'll call it smart ratings ploy. (I must admit, it makes this former TV producer so proud!) Good job giving the show a little spin since it desperately needs a new gimmick as its episodes drone on season after season.

I used to watch the show religiously when it first aired. My girlfriends would come over to my house and we'd eat high-carb treats and soak up low-brow television. We'd cheer on Trista as she chose her now-husband Ryan. We'd yell at Bob as he tossed aside cute-as-a-button Kelly Jo. We rooted for Portland girl, Meredith. Then I quit watching it. I couldn't handle all the cat-fights, the players, the self-promoters, the weird engagements at the end.

Then it started to seep its way back into my consciousness. I didn't realize just how much it was on my radar until the other day, when my husband and I were having lunch at our favorite sushi spot. A cute guy wearing sunglasses walked in and I said, "I think I know him from somewhere..." I couldn't figure it out. Did I work with him? Had I dated him? In college maybe.
No, no. It was just former "Bachelor" Jake Pavelka.
I hate it when I see celebrities and confuse them for my best friends.

But aside from my apparent over-absorption with reality television, here's the thing I like about Mr. Womack. If nothing else, the guy is trying to hold himself accountable. Even if he walks away with no one on his arm in the end, it seems like he'll walk away having made an effort to make himself be a little vulnerable, humble, and present through this experience. In the meantime, my heart can't help but hurt a little for those girls who walk away after being rejected from this guy and have it weigh on their self-esteem. "What's wrong with me?" they whimper. "How will I ever find anyone who likes me??!"
Getting dumped - whether it's for 12 other girls or whatever - is never fun. I just feel bad for any girl who feels like one guy saying, "You're not the one for me" is interpreted as "You're not the girl for anyone." But girls tend to do that when we're dumped. At least I did. All the time.

When I was doing my dating project (a much more prudish and less weighty experience than this tv show), people always asked me, "What are you gonna do with all the leftovers?" I came to realize they were talking about the 29 guys I didn't pick for my 31st date. They would ask, "What's wrong with them?"
I would have to explain, that nothing was wrong with them. But there was the simple fact that I had to narrow it down to one. I couldn't emotionally or financially afford to take out 30 guys on one date. It just wasn't gonna happen.

Reason has a hard time balancing itself with emotion sometimes. Especially when it comes to such a heated topic like dating. These girls on The Bachelor are so isolated from all other men in the world that they somehow walk away thinking Brad was their last chance. Whereas, Brad's just a dude. He's just trying to figure it out. He stops every time a girl cries to wonder how he messed with her head. He seems like he's legitimately doing his best not to walk away treating these girls like they're nothing.
Still, for some of them, it's hard not to feel that way. And I know I'll keep watching them cry as they question their self-worth. My past breakups and despair will help me empathize. And I'll keep watching every Monday, hoping that Brad ends up learning something out of all of this and doesn't end up being hated (once again) by every woman in America. I'll keep being surprised every time I feel like he's being genuine. And hopefully I'll remember we're not best friends if he passes by in the future.

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