Disclaimer: The following post may contain information that could be conceived as questionable in nature as recorded by the author. While the events described therein are truthful, the writer takes no responsibility for his actions or perceptions of the author’s masculinity that may arise in the mind of the reader. That which I did, I was compelled to do.
The Bachelorette is over. Another season, another opportunity for a couple to find true love on network television is behind us and all the visual evidence points to success on the part of Ali and Roberto. They will be married soon, kids surely on the way, and a state of perpetual bliss will rule in their lives. Or maybe it won’t. After all, something to the tune of over sixty percent of marriages end in divorce these days, according to the statistical data, so who can know these things? My wife and daughter watch the show and have been avid viewers for most of the bi-annual seasons. This one was different only because (due to sickness, high fever) somehow I managed to get caught up in in the magic of this particular chapter of the show. Ah, the wonders of Reality TV, I tell ya.
The premise is simple enough. Take a girl or a guy, put them in a sort of semi-isolation with twenty-five members of the opposite gender, and have them perform a weekly 'thinning of the herd' until we are down to three suitable candidates for marriage by the last week or so of the show. They go on dates, they visit exotic locales, they have moving conversations, and the drama continually builds as the list of spouse wannabes gets whittled down. The tabloids love it and it is all the rage on ETV and other celebrity gossip shows. Heck, I missed most of Lindsey Lohan’s imprisonment saga this summer due to my captivation with the burgeoning love affair between Ali and Roberto – the horror!
But, now that it’s over I have to wonder why it left me feeling so empty and jaded by the time it was finished. I should have seen the writing on the wall with this one, and weeks ahead of time at that. Can one truly find love on national television? At some point, does the notoriety or sudden celebrity status of the contestants play a part in the outcome? Is it all smoke and mirrors designed to make viewers believe that yes - true love can be not only achieved, but programmed via the Nielson ratings? I’d say no, although I’m cynical in this area to be sure. But they sure did look the part of a happy, young couple hopelessly in love on the finale last night. Maybe I’m just not with the times anymore.
Whatever happened to old-fashioned love? That’s what I’m saying. Meeting a girl for the first time, usually unintentional, in a supermarket or at a party – the where doesn’t matter. A flutter in your chest when your eyes meet and you get that magical little epiphany that lets you know she is interested in you as well. The tension ripping through your heart as you garner up the nerve to approach her for the first time, trying to make your words come out sans a stutter or at the very least avoid saying something totally stupid because you know you’ll regret it later if you do so. And no commercial break to bail you out should things go badly, because they sometimes do. Getting to know that person and accepting or overlooking their faults as the relationship blossoms into something better as the love grows. Buying a ring, two month’s salary, and the renewal of those earlier jitters when you officially make the proposal to share the rest of your life with her. It’s out of your hands at that point. No season two if she says 'no'.
The world looks so much easier on television, crying out to us that this is the way it should be and these are the things we should aspire toward. And we buy into it hook, line, and sinker. Supposedly in love with several people at the same time with a purpose of selecting the right one in a world of tropical paradises and (sigh) overnight dates. I’m no prude, but some things are better left for after the marriage ceremony, and swiftly lose their charm when rushed to the forefront of a relationship. But maybe things are different in the modern, fast-paced world we find ourselves in today while the convictions and beliefs I hold strongest and dearest to are now fatally outmoded and obsolete.
John writes: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”
I seriously need to consider (or reconsider) what I am watching on television these days. Thank goodness Monday Night Football is on the not-so-distant horizon.