We all know that since I moved to New York my life has been a fast paced smorgasbord of unique and thrilling urban experiences. By that I mean, yes I did see “Hamilton” once last year and no I have not had any money to leave the house since then (and the ticket was given as a gift). I’m lucky, I have a lot of friends who are all kinds of cool who invite me to do grown-up things in places I would typically cross the street to avoid because they are too hip/fancy/have a dress code above leggings and black hoodies. Nevertheless she (and by “she” I mean “they” because this is 2017 and I can DO THAT) persisted, and I occasionally do cool things. Occasionally that cool thing is watching the Bachelor. And occasionally I call that thing, “going to a Bachelor party” to make myself sound mysterious/hip/like I’m going out and wearing something other than leggings and a black hoodie. Let’s reflect.
Last year Christian and I became friends with a group of couples who collectively look like they came out of a Topshop catalog. These long, lean, put together people are intimidating to look at, let alone hang out with. Their Instagram accounts tote urban ballet, product photography, the life of the ad-man and AD-WOMAN OBVI, there’s even a foreign (Canadian) in the group! And what do all of these well made millennials have in common? They watch ABC’s “The Bachelor.” And we were as confused as you are.
Getting introduced to “Bachelor Nation” feels like being invited into a cult. Initially, these people you talk to seem so kind and happy and fun and they are just that; kind, happy, fun. You watch them from afar, have quick engaging conversations about similar interest, and want to get to know them better. Then you get invited to the picnic. Where you continue with your happy interesting conversations until you slowly see their eyes start to shift downward. This, although you are unaware at the time, is the juicy spot where the introduction officially begins. “So” a tall, brown-eyed, male member of the group says to my husband and me, “Have you ever heard of The Bachelor?” At this point everyone in the group looks simultaneously joyful, excited, and yet as if they are suppressing some dark secret. You cautiously say “No” and drop a chip into the pre-packaged dip you brought for the picnic, hoping to avoid eye contact. And, almost as if they have a rehearsed script given by Chris Harrison himself, the group begins to talk to each other about the show. Staring from its classic history 20 or so seasons ago and moving to the present, each member has their time to share what “the show” has done for them. What they have been given. How each contestant deserved to win/lose/die. You’ve avoided “the show” for years. But these people are happy/cool/inviting you in. You succumb. You watch one episode. You cannot escape. That, in exact detail, is how you become a member of “Bachelor Nation.” And you will never leave it.
There is something (wonderful) about tv culture. Because now, for those of us who do not understand how to connect with anyone on an ESPN level, we have an easy form of communication fueled mostly by our light and life, Netflix. Television shows make it easy to connect with people who may otherwise be very different from you. Although Christian and I had never felt inclined to watch The Bachelor, it was an easy way to connect with new friends. And l needed all the help I could get. Making friends is hard when you have a terrible personality and an unclear Instagram aesthetic.
So began our life with The Bachelorette, JoJo. Our very first season of The Bachelor series, JoJo was a perfect girl with a strong personality, sensitive soul, and (alas, most importantly) looked fantastic crying in stilettos and a skin tight blue sequin dress. We watched as she eliminated a new man every week in hopes of finding her one true love and YOU GUYS her future husband. The goal at the end of the show is to get ENGAGED to the person who is last on the list. (Just FYI, Grandma. Letting you know here so I don’t catch you watching this trash to understand my blog post.) Everything is overdramatic and unbelievable. Their dates are out of this world, the contestants are too beautiful with not enough to say, and the plot twists are about has twisted as a Red Vine licorice stick (and with that failed analogy I mean to say, tasteless and waxy) and we loved every single second.
Moving on to the present (and by present I mean last night, not the literal present where I am in my underwear holding a cat and typing a blog post to convince myself not to take a Melatonin and sleep through this East Coast snow storm) with one full season of The Bachelorette down, one season of Bachelor in Paradise, and our very first season of The Bachelor at its end, we partied with the cool cult kids in celebration of another year around the sun having been blessed by “the show.”
It’s not every day that you get work off in order to watch a television show. But it was a Monday and I did it that day. Our plan was to have a movie party in our friends’ LITERAL theater. Recently, friends of ours moved into one of the new (I believe the technical term is “Fancy-A”) apartment complexes in downtown Brooklyn. Although they will deny it, I think it has something to do with being at the top level of the Bachelor Nation cult. And although they will deny it, I’m pretty sure there is an actual dress code to be allowed in. Where, upon arrival, the staff escorts you to the correct floor and announces your presence by name, spouse, and occupation. Okay, maybe that didn’t happen IRL, but it happened so much in my head before going over there I feel like it needs to be a part of my reality. To prepare for the party (as I do every party) I first put on a pair of pants clearly two sizes too small (on account of they fit last fall but then Halloween/Thanksgiving/Christmas/Feaster-just around the corner happened) and then I nap in them to get them to stretch and fit. Or, as I like to call it I, "get skinner." I then take them off because it didn’t work. But I will try it again for the next party. To enter their fancy home, I decided to sport a Madewell coat I got three years ago for 300% off and some snazzy cropped jeans, because rich people show their ankles.
Thanks to my respectable dress code I was allowed inside the fancy Bachelor Nation apartments and met up with these party animals. And my spouse. While sitting in a personal theater getting personal with the leather Lazyboy chair I was bequeathed, we watched the final episode of The Bachelor. It was fine. He picked the wrong girl. I’m taking it personally. In fact, the end result was such poor television that the host, Chris Harrison, brought it up. The 3 hour special was full of teasers leading us toward thinking something exciting would happen. I was in a room with lovers of the show and yet at one point it got so ridiculous we all began to complain until my husband said, “Guys, just make yourself numb and believe in everything they are saying and it’s more fun.” And that is the story of how we became part of a cult, our dearest love, Bachelor Nation. The end.
…The Bachelorette starts up again in May. Don’t miss it. Also, want to go on a picnic?