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Elizabeth Wurtzel’s The Bachelor Recap: Better Things to Do

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Elizabeth Wurtzel’s The Bachelor Recap: Better Things to Do

All is fair in love and war. Which really means: nothing is fair at all.

By Elizabeth Wurtzel

It’s time for another episode of The Bachelor, America’s pre-eminent reality show for romantic group dates, high-profile rejections, crying pharmaceutical saleswomen, and rendering the phrase “true love” utterly meaningless through ceaseless repetition. This season, we have asked Elizabeth Wurtzel, author of Prozac Nation and Bitch, to confront our favorite national circus nightmare. Join Elizabeth each Tuesday for all of her opinions on the squabbling and hot-tubbing that’s fit to air on ABC.  

All is fair in love and war. Which really means: nothing is fair at all. Or as Snoops said on The Wire, after killing at least twenty-two people for no reason: Deserve got nothing to do with it.

This week on The Bachelor, Sharleen denied reality TV and made Juan Pablo cry. The episode opened with the streamlined group arriving in Juan Pablo's adopted hometown of Miami. Soon he was gushing to his buddy about how this glamorous opera singer who lives in Germany could well be the one: He said that Sharleen is classy, which has got to be the biggest compliment he hands out (I know his type). 

And this is where no fair comes in: Sharleen is the only woman on The Bachelor who expects to have a fair experience, as opposed to whatever happens when you are dating the same man as five other people on network television. Sharleen wants normal rules, not Bachelor rules. The no fair thing about Sharleen is that she isn't crazy. The other women sit around trying to figure her out. They wonder and ponder why Juan Pablo is so damn crazy about her. He just is. Sharleen is the only woman in the crowd who is at all amazing: her beauty is exotic, she wears bias-cut elegant dresses in muted shades that drape off her shoulders, she is conflicted and harsh and kind at once, she is complicated. She does not know what she is doing on The Bachelor. She has better things to do. The other women have Stockholm Syndrome with ABC and can't imagine why anyone would dislike being held hostage to this dating ritual. 

After a hot yacht date in the heat of Miami, Sharleen tearfully tells Juan Pablo that she does not see herself accepting a proposal for marriage from him in three weeks, so she is leaving the beach penthouse and going back to Heidelberg. It does not seem like she would object to dating him, but she just doesn't want that. Of course, who would? 

That was a rhetorical question, because for everyone who becomes a contestant on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, so many more people apply. Lots and lots and lots of people want to say yes! on TV and then they want to say I do before millions. And, of course, often enough, it even works out. And why not? Apparently arranged marriages are more successful than the ones we come up with on our own, and the algorithms that online dating sites use to match people are a great deal more clever than chemistry. Sharleen wants to feel something deep and cerebral that is more than just her response to Juan Pablo's warmth and aura: she wants time to get to know him organically. She wants a real-world experience. She wants a relationship that evolves.

I don't know how much she would gain from that. In truth, she probably just knows he is wrong for her. We all know pretty quickly if a situation is right. All the time it takes for a couple to get from a first date to engagement to marriage is a lot of nonsense, or maybe working out the details, because it is obvious when something is right. Also: When something is wrong, best to walk away. Best to run away. Even if there are tears: Deserve got nothing to do with it. 

Image via ABC