Life Lessons from The Bachelor
Why, oh why do we watch The Bachelor franchise week after week? Is it so we can have something to talk to our moms about other than politics? Perhaps. Is it so we can live vicariously through skinny people whose dating life is wilder than swiping left or right on their grubby phone screen? Definitely. But we also watch The Bachelor to learn profound lessons about life and how to be a person. Reality TV, in that sense, is an instruction manual that we should all be following to a T. With that in mind, here are some of the most profound life lessons we can learn from The Bachelor and The Bachelorette.
- Do Not Be Normal
If there’s any one lesson to take from The Bachelor franchise, it is this: be as strange as possible. No matter how much Parenthood you watch or how many plain bagels you eat, your inner weirdness is bound to ooze out eventually. And that’s ok.
As we’ve learned from The Bachelor, we do not turn away from people who clearly lack career direction, talk to animals, bathe in protein powder or believe that dolls are enchanted. There is something beautifully uncanny in witnessing a fellow odd person not just in the wild, but on the glorified throne of TV. In this brave new world, the normal folks will be left behind.
- Do Not Wear Red (Or Try to Stand Out in a Predictable Way)
We will never forget this season’s Bachelor premiere, when every woman’s wardrobe (if not also their wombs) synched up under the full moon. At first, Nick was genuinely worried that he’d gotten in the wrong cab and shown up for a casting for Jessica Rabbit in a rehash of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Because men cannot distinguish shapes in a large sea of warm colors, Nick was helpless to pick a fellow wife out of the fiery autumnal blur.
The lesson here? A) Don’t wear red. It angers bulls, and that should be reason enough. But B) If you want to stand out, think outside the stretch limo. What is the opposite of a red dress? The answer: a shark costume. This is why Alexis will someday be the first female president.
- You Only Need Seven Words to Destroy Someone
Ask anyone who has been destroyed—it’s surprisingly easy to fall victim to this fate. In fact, it only takes a tiny mouthful of words spilling out of even the tipsiest of lips. What are seven of these words? “I have proof you’re a white supremacist” maybe? “You haven’t paid taxes in 18 years” perhaps? Similar phrases haven’t destroyed our country’s leadership! Instead, the dreaded utterance is much simpler: “You’re not here for the right reasons.”
Despite this accusation sounding simple and basically meaningless, it packs a deathly punch. The second it is cast at a formerly likable person, that person magically becomes suspect. It’s the perfect murder of a character, as it cannot be disproven, no matter how much someone shows that their Instagram doesn’t yet contain any laxative tea sponsorships.
- Trying to Destroy Someone Can Backfire
Before you skip down the street screaming “You’re not here for the right reasons” at your sworn enemies, a word of caution. Being the individual who wields this dangerous phrase can lead you down the path of self-sacrifice. Yes, someone needs to stand up to the person who is here for the wrong reasons. But if you chose to bear this burden, you may find yourself literally out in the woods, in a face-off that involves voodoo, plaid, alligators and arguments about whether or not milk is indeed delicious. Instead of saying it yourself, try planting this idea in the brain of someone else around you who needs more attention. They shall get all the attention they want (on their way out the door). [Evil laugh.]
- When You Like Someone, Tell Them So Before Someone Else Does
Society tells us to play coy and wait three days before sending someone a “U up?” text. Sure, this works in the slow-moving regular world, but if you want to compete for the most eligible/insecure of all bachelors/bachelorettes, you’re going to need to speed up your game. In this cutthroat arena, if you haven’t told the object of your affection that you’re “falling in love with them” by date three, you’ve failed to incept the idea of wedding bells in their mind.
“Falling in love with you” is a masterful phrase because it implies they have power over you, which is pleasurable for them, but that you’re not so obsessed with them that you cut off locks of their hair at night.
If you are dating someone with high self-esteem, disregard rule #5.
- Do Not Reveal Your Master Plan (Especially if You’re a Man)
If there is one thing society will not tolerate, it is a man who is on The Bachelorette who admits that he watches the show. After all, The Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise for girls, aka wielders of two X chromosomes who enjoy the following: giggling, Skinny Girl liquor, rose gold, ponies and Ed Sheeran.
If you admit that you, a man who is on the show, actually watches the show, people will start to suspect you of being an evil mastermind. That is easier to believe than the idea of a man watching The Bachelorette. On Andi’s season, Nick made this mistake to grave effect. His fellow hunks could only believe that he watched a girl show in order to trick the lovely Andi into marrying a man who watches girl shows.
So what’s the lesson? Everyone is manipulative, in some way shape or form. After all, we’re all trying to achieve a desired and ultimately self-glorifying outcome in life. But for gosh sakes, don’t show your hand. Otherwise, people will think you’re a game master, and thus, here for the wrong reasons. In which case, please see lesson #3.
- Play the Long Game
Perhaps we can learn the most from those who walk off The Bachelor or The Bachelorette spewing potty talk and bitter tears. Remember Ian on Kaitlyn’s season? After insulting our Bachelorette for the mere crime of wanting her fields plowed, he revealed his ultimate goal: to become the Bachelor. Now, if this is a chess-playing man, one could assume that he is not very good. Aside from being cruel, Ian has no sense of timing.
Nick is a perfect example of playing the long game and winning. He did not become the Bachelor by insisting he’d make a great Bachelor from the get-go. Instead, he allowed himself to be vulnerable, get dumped and lose out on love twice. From there, he created the perfect narrative arc to redeem himself and prove he was ready for love. One might even speculate that Grant the sexy fireman is playing the long game with an equal amount of quiet mastery. If he becomes the Bachelor eventually, return to this article and print it out for your mother.
The game, once you understand it, is a living thing. It is not a lottery ticket that we scratch off, but a Jungian tale of a hero seeking self-discovery, acceptance and also hair vitamin sponsorships. Have patience, Bachelor Nation. If you stay weird, buckle up and keep it vulns, great things will be in the cards for you.
Author: Becky Lang
Becky Lang is a writer, creative director and occasional podcaster living in Minneapolis.