Heaven help us with all their goddamn feelings.
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.
Here is some advice: If you are noticeably beautiful, with legs as long as a traffic pole, and as an 18-year-old NBA dancer you get pregnant by your basketball player boyfriend, you must have an abortion. This is not a philosophical argument that any intelligent person is going to debate with me, unless he wants to feel very foolish, because I am right about this. God does not figure into this discussion; only common sense. And the sensible thing is to realize that dumb stuff happens when you are a teenager around athletes, but no need to mess up the rest of your life, or add a fatherless child to the mix, which is of course a mistake. You just have the procedure, as unpleasant as it is, whatever your misgivings. Because misgivings are not as bad as raising a kid alone when you should be in college. And everybody knows this. That's why there are more lapsed Catholics in this country than adherents, and that's why Pope Francis wants to change the subject. He has common sense galore.
Cassandra not so much. She is 21 now. If she were not ridiculously gorgeous, what hope would there be for her? Definitely none. Right now, there's Juan Pablo. Coming on the air on Monday nights, The Bachelor is the antidote to Girls, or to whatever superior Sunday night lineup airs on HBO or AMC and shows people looking bedraggled and stuck but trying. On The Bachelor, it is the triumph of the cheerleader class. Cassandra was even paid to be the NBA's version of such a thing, and she goes on a date with Juan Pablo, her first first date in three years, because she has been a single mother, and also because it seems to be the show's bias to pick contestants who have waited all their lives to meet a man on network TV, and therefore have not availed themselves of outdoor living. She seems to like it – going on a date, that is. I would suggest she try to do this more often. They do have these things called babysitters.
Alas, not everyone on The Bachelor is ridiculous. Juan Pablo's other date this week was with my favorite, Chelsie, a science teacher from Columbus, Ohio who is not at all dumb. One wonders what she is doing in this hullabaloo, because she seems pretty normal, like my idea of a normal American woman who works a 40-hour week and goes to Jack LaLanne, except that she probably was the homecoming queen and all that. Chelsie is so blonde and pretty, she seems to bounce like a tennis ball on the newly mown Wimbledon lawn. Whoosh! And yet, even though Chelsie is no fool, on a date with Juan Pablo she forgets the science of gravity: They are going bungee-jumping, and her decision to leap hinges on whether or not she trusts Juan Pablo, when really what matters is if she trusts the guy holding the rope. And that is kind of a huge error in judgment, because it's a long fall off that bridge. But love – or lust – makes even smart girls silly. Oh yes it does.
There is no way Juan Pablo ends up with Chelsie, but he really should. There is nothing at all wrong with her, and the lack of any complication is boring, as in unsexy – although the rest of the women have got to learn to stop talking about their feelings. Heaven help us with all their goddamn feelings. Men don't want to hear about how you are looking for a man as strong and compassionate as your dad, or how hurt you are by life, or really anything emotional – and the girls of The Bachelor feel entitled to go on and on about their insecurities, which are necessarily petty, or they would not be on TV. All of them are used to being the prettiest one in the room, so they don't know how to be charming. They really have gotten by on their looks, and now the prettiest girls in the room are all in a room together. Meow. It is sad to watch. Anyone who thinks being beautiful isn't all that must watch The Bachelor. Maybe if Lena Dunham watched it, she would realize she needs to look good naked after all.
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