It’s that time of the year again. A new season of ABC’s The Bachelorette. Monday night’s “must see” TV.
My daughter, a recent college grad, has the weekly ritual down to a science. She waits until the DVR has recorded at least thirty minutes of the program and then secures her spot in the center of the couch. Seated with a bowl of popcorn (or Flamin’ Hot Cheetos or Pirate’s Booty) on her lap and the remote clutched in her hand, she shoos the dogs away. For the next two hours or so, she critically watches and dissects the one-on-one dates, the group dates, the venues, and the interactions in between. Of course, I am “forced” to participate in this obsession.
This season’s star, Desiree, was sent home – eliminated from the top three choices – by last season’s Bachelor; the hunky, awesome-abbed Sean. Yet somehow, despite her despair and devastation over the heartbreak, she was convinced to give reality TV a try again to find love…to find a husband. Des lost some weight, got into shape, and now is sifting through a group of twenty-five men to find Mr. Right with the help of “Yenta the Matchmaker” Chris Harrison.
As the television audience meets the candidates and gets to know them over the season, it’s impossible to be objective. My daughter and I constantly chatter about the men’s entrances and exists; their behaviors and mannerisms; their relationships with the other guys with whom they are competing; the way they dress; the way they kiss; and on and on. We laugh, we get teary, we yell, we roll our eyes, and we truly hope the Bachelorette comes away from this experience with bling on her finger, a wedding date set in the near future, and a romance that will endure the realities of life…not just TV.
I sit with my kid and watch this spectacle, episode by episode, rationalizing that it’s a fun mother-daughter bonding time and a harmless guilty pleasure. Each week, however, I can’t help but wonder…Why does it seem to be so tough to find true love today?
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This morning, Martha Stewart was on the Today Show to meet two bachelors – both selected from a pool of one thousand – as a result of her looking for “Mr. Right Now” on Match.com. According to Huffington Post, Stewart and her fellow Baby Boomers “are the largest growing users of online dating sites” today. Examples of these sites include eHarmony.com, Match.com, and (let’s not forget) JDate.com.
Martha is my mother’s age. (Sorry, Mom.) She married when my mother did. She was a businesswoman. (My mom worked too.) She divorced almost thirty years later. (My parents are still married after fifty-three years!) She went on and built an empire. (Mom?!) Then, at the age of sixty-three she served five months in prison, having been found guilty of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and making false statements. (Whew!) And now, at the age of seventy-two, she’s surfing the web to find a guy to date? (Ya. Right. Like my mother would ever!)
Maybe we need a new TV series with Martha as The Bachelorette. Can you image those hometown dates?
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In two weeks, I’ll be celebrating my own thirtieth wedding anniversary. I was lucky enough to sit two seats behind my Mr. Right in ninth grade French class, so I never really dated (and no one else ever asked me out). But dating and marrying one’s high school sweetheart is the exception, not the rule. Especially today.
As I look at my daughter – sitting next to me – I don’t know if I should be concerned or not. Her first serious boyfriend was in high school and lasted only one year. Through college, she always had “guy friends,” but no meaningful relationship until her senior year. Now, as she embarks on her young adult life, I have no idea where, when, or how she’ll choose “the one” … or if she’s already found him.
I guess I’ll just have to be patient and stay tuned…