Elizabeth Wurtzel's 'The Bachelor' Recap: Fake Pregnancies, Fake Snow, Real Tears
If you are the right kind of person, every time the subway stops you are in the middle of a potential orgy.
By Elizabeth Wurtzel
It’s time for another season 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 the squabbling and hot-tubbing that’s fit to air on ABC.
The thing about The Bachelor is: it's really weird. As they say about academia, the fights are so vicious, because the stakes are so low. I watched a behind-the-scenes special that included Clearasil close-ups of the women who were rejected outright, after only meeting Juan Pablo at cocktails: tears, tears and more tears. Fountains of shallow water. And blemished faces, the freshness gone like sunny skies disappearing into that first day of October chill. Nothing had happened, but they were miserable about what might have happened, the lunatic reverse of the people who are happy to be alive because their mothers thought of having an abortion – as if that does not occur to many pregnant women early on, as if consciousness without existence is something at all. Or: as if true love is not always a potential matter, and not constantly thwarted by the way we happen to be walking in the opposite directions without noticing each other on the same damn crystalline sidewalk.
If you are the right kind of person, every time the subway stops you are in the middle of a potential orgy. Believe me, girls, you do not need The Bachelor to have a perfectly ridiculous time.
But aw shucks. Have at it. It's TV.
That is the weird part. As I've already pointed out, so far at least 20 percent of the time this show works out to happily ever after, or close enough. Notwithstanding the 80 percent failure rate, perhaps this is because all dating is crazy and makes people cry about absolutely nothing. The trick is you get better at it with practice. And the trick of The Bachelor is kind of a reverse trick: The women on this show seem, remarkably enough, to be sweet young things with little actual experience with men or dating, who are waiting for Prince Charming to come to this Los Angeles adobe mansion and carry them away from their evil stepsisters in his speeding Ferrari.
In a one-on-one interview, Clare, the Sacramento hairstylist who had the first one-on-one date with Juan Pablo, says that she does not go to bars and does not meet men online, and really she does not meet men at all – except Juan Pablo on ABC Monday nights at 8:00. For her date, Clare had a night of winter wonderland antics with Juan Pablo that included ice-skating and romantic sleigh rides in artificial snow created in the L.A. heat, because they can do those things these days. Clare showed up to meet Juan Pablo at the first cocktail party looking far along in a pregnancy – turns out it was just a costume. I suppose if you don't go out much, masquerading as a girl knocked-up might seem charming. If Juan Pablo does not work out for her, will she ever meet another man again?
Actually, she will. By age 46, I have had many boyfriends, and I have not met any online and only a few in bars, but life has a way of putting love in your way if you leave the house now and again. Sometimes, even if you don't: not long ago I met someone when he wandered into my backyard with a friend, and we all had too much red wine. L' Chaim to that. The great thing about life is that you don't know what will happen next. At least, I consider that good news. I am not sure I felt that way twenty years ago, when I was the age of the contestants on The Bachelor and nothing good ever seemed to happen next when it came to love. But why would it? I would spend the night with men I met through my boyfriend, and when it all went wrong with everybody and nobody had any sympathy – not even me for me – I would look around like Who me?, and cry rivers into oceans of the shallowest water ever, but it felt deep. So deep. Deep like true love gone wrong and I was not sure with whom. With everybody. Every one-night stand was it. It. And really it was not my fault: things go bump in the night a lot at age 26. If they don't, what the hell is wrong with you?
On The Bachelor this week, a screaming siren of Brazilian descent named Victoria – she has the sense to say Welcome to Brazil before one of her turns – drank too much and believed she saved Juan Pablo's life with the Heimlich maneuver, and now he was all hers hers hers. She was an oozing and writhing scene of a red string bikini strewn along the floor in a bathroom stall, before the cameras stopped. Unfortunately for all of us, the morning after of Juan Pablo telling Victoria a woman of such wild passions is not right for a man with a daughter is the last of that mess. The man could not get out his Swiffer fast enough. Home to Boca Raton went Victoria. If only real life allowed us to mop hysterical women off of the floor and out of the way.