There I was, a 67-year-old man sitting alone in our rec room watching the last half hour of the final episode of The Bachelor. How had it come to this?
When the show first started back in 2002, I dismissed it as another sure-to-be short-lived reality TV offering. One man wooing two dozen or more women over the course of 10 weeks. Who would find that entertaining?
Well, as it turns out, millions of viewers (mostly female) faithfully watch week after week as the chosen bachelor whittles his assigned harem down to one potential mate. For those unschooled in the ways of The Bachelor, there's a weekly ceremony at which the man hands out roses to his preferred women, thereby eliminating one or more contestants.
Early on, my wife Cheryl and my daughter Sarah became converts. They seldom miss an episode and Sarah even gets together with friends to watch the show (and its inevitable and equally popular spinoff The Bachelorette).
Initially, I pretty much ignored the show. If the women in our house were watching it, I would be elsewhere doing what "real men" do: watching sports. In my mind, I was above such trash TV and would have nothing to do with it. After all, as one friend described it, The Bachelor was nothing more than emotional porn.
But as the years passed, I couldn't always avoid the show since I sometimes needed to use the family desktop computer situated in the same room as our big-screen TV. So with my back to the television, I occasionally heard the pseudo-romantic dialogue between the bachelor and his latest "date."
I started identifying the various women and chiming in with my views on who was mean, nice or nasty.
Still, I was not a convert. Rather, I used my newfound familiarity with the show to further ridicule and make fun of it.
But somehow this season things changed. Sarah had been away at school in China for four months, and joining her and Cheryl for a viewing of the latest episode of The Bachelor was a nice way to reconnect.
In the process of reconnecting, however, I noticed I was starting to become invested in the show. I started identifying the various women and chiming in with my views on who was mean, nice or nasty.
Why was Tia trash-talking Becca simply because she was younger? Didn't Kendall seem just a tad crazy? Why did they have four contestants named Lauren? And didn't Arie seem somewhat immature for a 35-year-old man?
Even up to the end, I feigned indifference to the show while ensuring that I had my assigned spot on the sofa for the 8 p.m. start. And for the final episode, I even dispensed with my usual snark as I finally accepted that I was a 67-year-old fanboy and a serious member of Bachelor Nation. The clincher was when I had to tell Cheryl what ATFR meant (it's the "After the Final Rose Special").
So, there I was, by myself late Monday night, yelling at the TV screen telling Arie to just leave Becca alone after breaking off their engagement because he still loved Lauren. At this point, Sarah and Cheryl had already gone to bed since they already figured out the ending and had enough of this nonsense.
But not me. Ironically, I had become the Martin household's biggest Bachelor fan. So don't be surprised if next season you find me on Twitter, Facebook or any number of fan forums sharing my views about the show. Heck, who knows? I may even start hosting my own Bachelor parties.
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