Monday, July 05, 2010

Some say, If only

kw: opinion, popular culture

Some say, "If only..." but I say it is too silly for words. As I write this The Bachelorette 6 is showing on the local ABC affiliate, and my wife has been watching on and off. I looked in about an hour ago, for five minutes, which just about doubled the total amount of time I've watched either The Bachelor or The Bachelorette.

With a bit of Googling, I determined that one couple of seventeen has actually married and stayed together long enough to produce a couple of children. They say they are happy. I wish them well. For most of the rest, the TV exposure helped them land hot jobs, so they got some benefit from the experience, not just what they expected going in.

The fact is, folks, building a relationship is hard work. Building one that will last a lifetime of sharing child-rearing, juggling jobs and trying to snatch some leisure time now and again, and aging together, takes the most work of all, and guess what? The work doesn't half begin until after the wedding. For those who don't bother with a wedding, face it, you're doomed. You've already failed the first important test of lifetime compatibility: trusting another person enough to commit the rest of your life to him or her.

Building that kind of trust takes time. I like long courtships. Six months or a year just starts to scratch the surface. And the other secret is this: the real courtship begins after the wedding also. You will spend the rest of your life courting each other, if you're smart!

The overheated, camera-laden atmosphere of the TV shows makes any semblance of real courtship impossible. The ordinary course of dating is bad enough, but ABC has managed to produce something even worse. All the stage-managing and coaching that go into making the show work as a show simply ensure that, if it results in a newly-engaged couple, the two of them are in for some shocks as they find out just how their new love interest actually operates without all the interference. Sixteen out of seventeen found the differences were too great.

Y'know, thinking about it, spending time with a dozen or more beauties in exotic locales would be a lot of fun. Choosing whom to send home wouldn't even be too hard at first. Even with everyone on their best behavior, someone will slip up, and Boom! out they go. Being a control freak, though, I'd be sure to send away anyone who had any gumption, any girl with the temerity to challenge a whim of mine. I am soon to celebrate 35 years of marriage to a woman who stands up to me a lot. And I need it. I even (this takes time) thank her for her help; she has helped me avoid a number of bad decisions. I'm sure glad I found her. She'd never have survived in a Bachelor setting.

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