My name is Ned and I watch The Bachelor.
I’ve been a heterosexual for 17,155 days and counting.
I can see the looks of confusion but that’s okay; I’ve gotten used to it. In fact, I used to hide my Bachelor/Bachelorette watching…
“Hey Ned, how about that Trailblazers game last night?!?”
“Yeah, man! They really dominated the paint!”
“What are you talking about? They LOST!”
“Oh, right. Uh, I got tapped out for a house fire and missed the second half.”
“Was everyone ok?”
“Yeah, but the girls who didn’t get a rose were pretty upset.”
I actually watch very little television. The shows I do watch are because of personal interest. I watch Chicago Fire because I’m a volunteer firefighter; The MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour because I’m a journalist; Hell’s Kitchen because I was a chef for 10 years; The Bachelor because I don’t ever want to be one again. As a happily married man, I can tell you the benefits of a good marriage far outweigh the initial discomfort of watching Chris Harrison — week after week — inform everyone who didn’t pass kindergarten math that there’s only one rose left. You also have to get past the three main types of contestants who appear each season:
• The Cryer — Easy to spot because they are reduced to tears and sitting alone within 15 minutes of arriving at the mansion
• The Liar — This person is already in a long-term relationship and is a struggling actor. They are always extremely attractive, which causes the Bachelor’s judgement to become cloudy as blood flows away from the brain to an area in close proximity to his pants pocket.
• The Psycho — Always arrives separately from the rest of the contestants, usually in some uniquely pretentious way, such as by helicopter, riding a Segue wearing only a wrestling singlet, or in the case of this season, pushing a piano. (Not a good plan. Especially when the driveway is made of cobblestone.)
However, as with certain ethnic foods that include colon lining, over time you can begin to stomach these people long enough to identify critical ingredients you had previously missed, probably while sitting in front of the commode in a cold sweat. Those are the ingredients you can use to create a relationship similar to a chocolate soufflé: rich in flavor, light in texture, and with enough rise to make even Chef Ramsey jealous. In a purely culinary sense.
As someone who has been watching The Bachelor with his wife for several years now — and by that I mean in actual years, and not just that it feels that way since the season started — I have gained a few insights that have made me a better husband. To illustrate my point, and more importantly show my wife I’m not just paying attention during bikini volleyball, I am going to share a few of those insights with you.
First, always keep a rose with you. Always. Having the ability to — at a moment’s notice — produce a fragrant flower symbolizing your love is a game changer that can diffuse any situation….
Wife: “Are these your dirty BOXERS in the sink… AGAIN!”
Husband: [Pulls out rose] “This is for you.”
Wife: “Oh sweetheart! Where else can I look for your boxers? Wait, don’t tell me! I want it to be like an Easter egg hunt!”
In the rare instance a rose isn’t enough, make sure you have a mutual friend willing to be a love liaison for you. Someone who cares about you both and has your best interest as a couple in mind. I would highly suggest getting Chris Harrison. He may not be able to count higher than 1, but he is an artful mediator. Contrary to what you might think, getting his help is actually pretty easy. All you have to do is take a single rose and put it in a basket. He will appear almost instantly to announce it’s the only one left. When he does, you’ve got him.
Lastly, after watching several seasons of The Bachelor, it’s clear that trust and emotional bonds are strengthened by participating in life-threatening activities together.
The rose ceremony.
These opportunities are presented many times over the course of a season. For the rest of us, especially those with children, the closest we get to experiencing bond-building danger together is when someone accidentally puts a fork in the microwave. For this reason, when opportunity presents itself, you need to make the most of it by doubling up on the danger.
Going bungee jumping?
Do it over a shark tank.
Land in a bull-riding competition dressed as rodeo clowns.
Riding as passengers in a NASCAR race?
Let my daughter drive.
Haha! Just kidding! You can’t strengthen emotional bonds if you’re dead.
But you get the idea.
So, come next Monday, I’ll once again take a spot on the couch next to my wife and watch as Juan Pablo attempts what is essentially televised cat juggling, complete with claws and hissing. Possibly even some flying fur. But as he attempts to discover the inner truths of each woman and searches for his soulmate one rose at a time, my wife and I will be eating snack foods and probably sipping a cold beer as we share observations about each contestant — which brings me to the most valuable lesson I’ve learned: Given the chance to be The Bachelor, I’d still choose my wife.
Especially if there’s bikini volleyball.
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