Who ARE These People?

I’m frustrated that I don’t understand whether I honestly enjoy the ABC show, The Bachelorette, or detest it so much that I watch out of spite. I know that last night, I texted my wife, “BACHELORETTE TONIGHT! :)” from downstairs — capitals, exclamation marks, emoticons and all — like a thirteen year-old girl, giddy to tell her friends that she woke up to find a litter of kittens in her sock drawer. “KITTIES IN MY SOCK DRAWER! :-)” So, apparently, I like the show. I don’t want to, but I do. You win ABC, now what do you want me to buy? A Roomba? You got it.

In my defense, I don’t watch it because I’m hoping people find love. The idea of that is preposterous, though I have been heard saying things like, “Oh, looks like someone has chemistry with the beefy entrepreneur.”  Having been married for eight years, and together with my wife for over thirteen, I’m left fascinated by the way single people interact. I could have just as honestly texted my wife, “CONFUSED YOUNG PEOPLE SAYING RIDICULOUS THINGS ABOUT LOVE IS ON TONIGHT! :)” I watch it as a detached observer of human behavior, even though I occasionally do get choked up.

Lindsay gets a little more involved. She’s said more than a few times that in her younger years she would have loved to be on The Bachelorette, but only if it was some alternative version where the guys wore Pixies concert t-shirts, and were significantly smarter. Last week, I said, “I would totally let you be on the Bachelorette, but just so you could play the game. Obviously, you couldn’t marry or even kiss anyone.” Without taking her eyes off of the television, she responded, “I would only go on it to find love,” and gently swatted me away. I’m pretty sure she was kidding, but I went into the kitchen to have a 10pm bowl of cereal anyway.

With each episode I become more confused by the people on this show. They’re always talking about “letting their walls down,” and being “open to love.” What are these “walls” that young people have? Why so closed off, people? Is having walls and not being open a thing that only hot people do? If I had all these walls they speak of, I would have no friends. Are they basically just fake weirdos who never let anyone see them for who they are until they get on a television show and decide to finally be themselves? This is infuriating.

Even more annoying to me is that they’ll often say, “I think I’m beginning to fall in love with you,” or “I’m totally open to falling in love with you.” How many fake stages of pre-love do these people have? You’re either falling in love or you’re not. There’s no status between standing still and falling. “I’m ready to let myself fall in love with you.” WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? That statement means absolutely nothing. Do they go to the grocery store and tell the clerk, “I can feel myself getting ready to pay for this cantaloupe.”  Stop being so weird, and just tell someone that you’re falling in love with them. “I think I might be ready to begin considering drying up the emotional moat that surrounds my heart and then entering the 17 digit combination that opens it so that maybe, just maybe, I can let some love inside.” Might I suggest that you’ve all been listening to too many Adele songs? It’s really not that dangerous out there. Or maybe it is, I don’t know, I’ve been off the market for a long time.

To me, the most ridiculous thing is how the bachelorette seems to be constantly talking about whether the guys on the show have her back. “Y’all, I need to know that my future husband will always have my back.” Why does she need someone to have her back? Is she in some sort of trouble? I’ve been with my wife for thirteen years, and while I would certainly have her back if she ever needed me to, she’s never needed me to because we’re normal people. If you need a husband that has your back, maybe you should stop doing business with the Russian Mob or whatever it is that’s gotten you into so much trouble. Do you want a bodyguard? Maybe you just need a regular husband and then a whole different person who runs your security detail.

Am I old and naive, or are these people insane?

I'm a contributing writer to Parents Magazine, GQ, Psychology Today and some others. My book, "This is Ridiculous. This is Amazing: Parenthood in 71 Lists" is available here http://bit.ly/1exfm34. Look for two more books in 2015: "Must. Push. Buttons (Bloomsbury Kids), and an as-of-yet untitled memoir I’ve appeared on Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham” and “Nick Mom’s Night Out." I live in New Jersey with my wife and two sons and enjoy making them laugh more than anyone else.

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