It’s time for another episode of The Bachelorette, America’s pre-eminent reality show for romantic group dates, high-profile rejections, barely concealed male rage, 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.
I like Dylan, even though he does not wash his hands after using the bathroom. I like his seventies hair, which is stringy at the roots. Dylan is an accountant, which ought to mean he is as reliable as the name H & R Block sounds, but Dylan seems like he’d show up late to defend you at an audit. He is a downer: he brooded on his date with Andi, and finally admitted he still was not over his brother’s drug-related death, and then he cried. Somehow, Dylan is more compelling than repelling, which must mean he is trouble. Dirty Dylan is that most unlikely thing: he is a sexy accountant.
Dylan’s hygienic habits were aired on The Bachelorette this week when the group date was a lie-detector test in Venice, Italy. Kudos to Dylan for answering an embarrassing question truthfully! Otherwise, Dylan has not been much of a player in these proceedings, but his charismatic misery has kept him in the game down to the final six. He is the handsome fuck-up every girl wants to save, and sane as Andi seems to be, we all have that weakness from time to time.
Everyone has a salvation relationship somewhere along the way – and some people never stop. But we all try at some point to fix a person who would be perfect if only – or maybe you are that person. Of course, it is an exercise in vanity, because it cannot be done. I forget the Freudian explanation for this impulse. I remember the non-Freudian cure: no mas. Happiness is knowing that adults arrive as is and remain so. Thank heavens.
Which is why Cody had to go. I am not sure what he was doing there in the first place, because he could never be right for Andi. Cody is a personal trainer from Chicago, and after six weeks he finally had a date with Andi in Verona. Before the appetizers even arrived at dinner, Cody was professing his undying love for Andi, in the city of “Romeo & Juliet,” where romance is star-crossed. Andi always makes everybody feel good – she dimples her way out of traffic tickets – but she shut Cody down. Total Heisman. She told him she just was not that into him – or that she wasn’t into him at all.
A black SUV arrived to escort Cody away from the outdoor table. I do not know if he took his meal with him. In the next scene, a bellman furtively fetched his valise from the hotel room, as if something indecent had just happened.
But it had not. Not at all. It was all entirely appropriate, because: you can’t date down. Andi is an attorney, and Cody works in a gym. Of course, there are personal trainers who are highly educated and extremely intelligent – but Cody is not that guy. He is big and stupid. Very nice, but you can’t date up. Not if you want it to work out.
Actually, you can date whoever the hell you want, including fixer-uppers and people above your price range or beneath your station – if you want it to not work out. But what does that even mean? How bad must a situation be to have not worked out at all? A romance that lasted three years can hardly be called a failure just because it did not lead to the altar. The same can be said if it went on for three months or three minutes, if there was something to it. It is great fun to have relationships that don’t last – it has to be, because most relationships don’t last, not even marriages, but we continue to have them, and it’s not just that we’re suckers for a bad thing. There is a great virtue in what is not meant to be, and indulging in it, even in excess.
It is easy to forget how fun life is when you watch The Bachelorette.