On a Monday night in 2017, I gathered with my “Bachelor watching group” in my first post-college apartment. I invited women I had met at a Bible study, through a young adult group, and even randomly at a grocery store. I was desperate for friendship and scared of what would happen if I invited someone into my love-hate relationship with horrible TV. Although it was honestly an attempt to build community, I couldn’t help but feel like I should be doing it another way – any other way. After all, isn’t it better as a Christian and as a woman to do something more productive? How could this show that essentially walks on the graves of modern feminists be appealing?
Building Friendships Over The Bachelor
I almost cringed when the words came out of my mouth: “Would you like to come over to my house for some food, wine, and The Bachelor?”
Yet, time and time again the answer was yes. Starting with just a few women, we met every week in my tiny apartment. We talked, we snacked, and eventually we became dear friends. It was an unexpected blessing.
Initially, however, I was embarrassed to not offer some other activity. It got me wondering why people love The Bachelor so much. I think we love The Bachelor because it mirrors a vulnerable part of our lives.
Now, before you jump ship, I’m not going to try to convince you that The Bachelor is the most enlightening and profound kind of media – but hear me out.
Beneath the “I can see myself falling in love with you,” “I may be falling in love with you,” and “I can see myself possibly falling towards love with you,” there’s a societal case study. The Bachelor is not only fun to watch on its surface, but also something we can engage with as a society.
Every Monday from 7:00 - 9:00pm, I sat in my living room with seven other women as we wondered aloud: How can she possibly believe that he really loves her? How can he kiss one woman and another woman just a few minutes later? How can you claim to love someone after spending two days with them?
As we asked these questions, conversations flourished and the women crammed onto my tiny couch shared their personal experiences. We told each other horrific online dating stories, how we saw ourselves in a contestant’s eagerness, and about the red flags we had ignored too many times. We talked through the journey that is dating and relationships. And in doing so, we were forming a community.
We Love The Bachelor because it Can Inspire Conversation and Connection
Again, there are other ways to build friendships. But my point is that shows like The Bachelor, Love is Blind, and even Selling Sunset open doors of reality to explore where we may have gone wrong and where we desire to be known. I discovered that even trashy television can inspire conversation and community as we observe some of our own struggles played out on a glamorous Bali helicopter date.
Post-college, during a time when I so deeply desired connection and understanding, I made some of my best friends by opening up to those new friends over a bottle of prosecco and a TV show. Whether we watch The Bachelor or not, I think we can be grateful for those opportunities to be vulnerable with others and build friendships where we are seen, known, and loved.