There’s something you should know about me: I’m a feverish fan of The Bachelor. I love everything about it. In fact, if I wasn’t already married, I’d want to marry the show after a couple of group dates and a really meaningful one-on-one. How many ways do I love it? Let me count them for you:
1. I love watching the women climb out of the limo and greet him for the first time in all their awkward, knee-shaking glory.
2. I love when the girls come up with clever ways to get his attention—knock-knock jokes, fake teeth, opera singing, palm-reading, hot dog-making, poem-reading—ah, but I’ve loved them all.
3. I love when the girls pinpoint their “biggest threat” and start to worry how to keep his eyes off of her and onto them. I’ve been in that stomach-dropping position in dating, too, and it stinks. I’m not sure I’d be bold enough to “steal him away,” but I’m glad they are.
4. I love how honest so many of them are about being ready (and sometimes nearly desperate for) a serious relationship.
5. I love how nervous the girls get trying to be themselves while camera lights hover over their shoulders at dinner in a huge, empty, pin-drop quiet room. Yeah…not the best atmosphere for being yourself.
6. I love how excited I get when I can tell a conversation is really flowing. Phew, that’s when I can breathe a sigh of relief that at least the bachelor has one normal girl to fall back on.
7. I also love when a conversation is clearly not flowing and they stare at each other for a few minutes before taking another drink. (This season’s Natalie talking about “I love bears. All bears!” wins the awful points.)
8. I love the dramatic build-up for “the most dramatic rose ceremony yet” week after week…after week. Some, eh, not so dramatic.
9. I love that after an over-the-top date of a helicopter ride, a picnic dinner, scattered rose petals, candlelight and a serenade by a semi-famous musician, the women turn to the bachelor and say things like, “Thank you so much, you’re so thoughtful, I can’t believe you did all this for me!” I’m sorry to tell you this, my dear: He didn’t.
10. I love watching the girls figure out how to make the bachelor kiss them for the first time. (Molly gets props this season by answering what she’s good at with, “I’m a good kisser. Wanna see?”)
11. I love trying to figure out myself how much of the interaction between a couple is real, and how much is the bachelor being forced to smile back and say on camera, “I can really see a future with her,” so they can edit segments of it together later. Uh oh, he’s not looking at her…but wait! His eyes are watering! Dang those editors are good at keeping us guessing.
12. I love that some women still haven’t figured out that the minute they start naming names about the other women they don’t like in the house, that’s when they move from a “contender” to his “confidante” and are no longer in the running for that final rose!
13. I love watching the two-on-one date go down. Man, it hurts.
14. I love the look of panic-slash-nausea that washes over the bachelor’s face at some point during one of the meet-the-family dates. (This year’s winning moment was watching Jason as Nicole’s father used their bonding opportunity to sell him Jesus.)
15. I love that the vacation getaway date seems to be the time when you have to tell the bachelor “I’m falling for you,” “I’m falling in love with you,” or in some brave cases, “I love you”—or else he supposedly won’t have seen enough of your “emotions” to keep you around.
16. I love that when the final three women made video messages for the bachelor this week, Chris Harrison called them “personal, private messages.” Last I checked, broadcasting to an audience of millions isn’t considered private. But who’s complaining?
17. I love how long they drag out the Rejection Ride home, prompting the woman who’s just been dumped to cry as much as possible. And I love that I can’t tear myself away when she does.
18. I love that sometimes when a woman is rejected, it makes me cry. This season, Stephanie and Jillian both got the waterworks going for me. There’s just something about a good woman owning her feelings that gives me such hope.
19. I love that out of 13 bachelors and 4 bachelorettes, only 3 final roses have led to marriage—and yet every season I really think, These two could be the ones!
20. I love that the bachelor has to call the women “ladies.”
21. And I love that, through it all, despite a painful format that pits grown women against each other and puts them in the demeaning position of watching the man they like blatantly date a harem of women…I’m rooting for him, I’m rooting for them, and I’m really, truly wholeheartedly rooting for real, true love to prevail.
Right now, though, I hate that I have to wait two more weeks to see what actually may be the most dramatic rose ceremony yet!