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Sexy or Sweet? (Deepish Questions After the Final Rose)

rose rose Last night, as part of Project Blonde Again, Husband and I snuggled up on the couch to watch the DVRed season finale of The Bachelor.

(I will give you a moment to judge me.)

Okay, onwards. You either watch this show and know how it everything turned out or you don't watch this show and therefore don't really care. The point is that I am not spoiling anything for anyone here. Phew.

A smidge of background: Jake, a handsome and wholesome pilot decides to try his luck on the "Wings of Love" and see if he can land himself a wife. ABC producers corral a bevy of young women - some shockingly normal-seeming and some not so much - and off they go, gallivanting in and out of ubiquitous hot tubs, subsisting on a diet of booze and roses and test-run "kisses." Now, I am not one to judge this format for finding true love. Seriously. I met my man in a bar at one in the morning. It's all good.

Anyway. The weeks fly by (love these aviation puns) and I miss several episodes of the show because I'm too busy flailing like a drama queen in the deep end of my ocean. But I tune in here and there. Just enough to understand the trajectory of this season's story. It becomes immediately clear that there is one girl who is universally detested by the others. Her name is Vienna. And there is one girl who allegedly "fell out of a Disney movie" and "dreams in cartoons" - Tenley - a creature who is cute and giggly and oozing with suspicious amounts of joy. Interestingly, both of these women were been married before The Bachelor. But that is neither here nor there. Just interesting to moi.

In the end, Jake narrows it down to these two women: the blonde and caustic Vienna and the brunettish and bubbly Tenley. When deliberating about his decision for the cameras, puppy-eyed Jake declares that it is so hard because he is in love with both women and that he can see both as his wife. But then he clues us into something and something critical: that he is more physically attracted to Vienna.

Cut to the chase. He picks Vienna. He proposes to her. She squeals yes.

Okay, fine. We'll see how this turns out. The show's track record isn't so stellar. But I'm not that concerned with how Jake and Vienna fare in the big, bad real world. I'm more interested in some questions this flufffest raised for me. And the show might be a bit shallow, but I don't think these questions are. Let's see if you agree.

Is there anything wrong with being a "looks person"? With picking a life partner based on physical chemistry?

I don't think so. Hey, we are biological creatures. There is something very Darwinian about all this. If I am being honest, I fell for Husband at first because he was such a gorgeous specimen. Fortunately, it turned out that he was exceedingly intelligent and funny and kind as well. But in the beginning? He was just an old school hottie.

Is it really possible to be in love with two people at once?

This is where I get confused. Lust is one thing. We can be attracted to many people at once, I imagine. But romantic love? Can it really be felt, truly be felt, for two people at once? And is it really possible to fall in love in six weeks while on camera?

Does the very format of this show render it almost impossible that the ultimate union will thrive?

It doesn't really shock me that the couples that emerge after "the final rose" do not usually survive once the cameras stop rolling. Can a relationship predicated on scripted encounters and a game which pits several (often celebrity-hungry) creatures against each other really stand the test of time? Maybe so. Maybe I am judging from my little plot of real-world existential earth?

Who knows? Who cares?

Thank you for indulging me as I dip my toe in the shallow end once more. In doing so, I am all smiles because I realize something, something so many of you mentioned in your thoughtful comments yesterday: Deep and shallow are not mutually exclusive. These two sides can and do collide and commingle. In moments. In minds.

In blog posts.


  • Do you think a relationship or marriage rooted in physical attraction can flourish and last over time?
  • Do you believe that you can find love anywhere, even on a television show?
  • Do you watch The Bachelor? Did you watch this season?
  • Do you think it is possible to be in love with two people at the very same time?
  • Do you agree that meaning and deeper questions can be found almost anywhere as long as we squint and look?


* Click and read this insightful Huffington Post piece on contemporary shifts in publishing industry roles by my incomparable literary agent Jean Naggar.

* Are we humans shaping our own evolution? Read this fascinating NYT article that identifies human culture as an evolutionary force.

* It seems I am not the only perfectionista who battles the Not Good Enoughs. Check out Tanya Geisler's piece In Support of Settling.

* Do we really have to play with our kids? Is there a benefit to parental preoccupation and teaching our kids skills of self-reliance? Lenore Skenazy of Free-Range Kids ponders these and other provocative questions in her recent post Up With Boredom!

I Am a Writer

The Shallow End