It is no secret…I have a passion for/addiction/obsession with The Bachelor and Bachelorette enterprise. I should just say “no” and pick up a book and actually utilize a few more crannies of my brain. But, sometimes we succumb to guilty pleasures. This all began just before I got married. My dear roommate and I would bond over Bachelors Andrew Firestone and Bob Guiney from Seasons 3 and 4 or Bachelorette Trista Sutter from Season 1, giving our lives true meaning, intrigue and excitement after especially hard teaching days. The “MOST DRAMATIC ROSE CEREMONY EVER” kept us watching, week after week, season after season to see which contestants, vying for love, would come out the winner.
Now twenty-eight seasons later, I am still watching. And shhhh….but….my husband will watch too. We even included illusions to it in our Christmas letter the year we were married.
Things have changed, though. I have read more and more about how producers influence so many aspects of the reality we naively watch. I now follow many former cast members on instagram and find myself thinking I have a true “insider view” into their everyday lives. And shocker of all shockers?!? I am a big Reality Steve fan. Reality Steve is infamous for his “secret” sources which give him all the nitty gritty details on the season, prior to its premiere. His “spoilers” allow viewers to know background about the cast, blow by blow details of the exotic dates and who goes home on which episodes. Steve even reveals who wins the entire kit and caboodle on the finale.
You are either a spoiler FAN or spoiler HATER. Reality Steve is your hero. Or your nemesis. And the other day I got to thinking about this quandry. What is my fascination with “reality” tv? And more than that…knowing ahead of time what will REALLY happen and then watching “reality” unfold to see if they match up? I think Reality Steves’ spoilers provide levity for me. He is humorous and pokes fun at the whole Bachelor enterprise. Yet, if asked, “Would you want to know is going to happen in the future or not?!?” I would invariably say, “no, thanks”. In this case, though, I love how you can watch the show with totally different eyes knowing who is to come out the “winner”. You watch for the nuances and catch the beginning sparks that lead to love in the end—or at least, perceived love.
There is so little in life that we truly know for sure, except perhaps, that life is unpredictable. So to know FOR SURE who will make what decisions seemingly before they even do feels pretty powerful. The finale for this past season, season 10 of the Bachelorette, just finished up 2 weeks ago. We were camping on the Oregon Coast, far from DVRs, cable and Hulu Plus services. Even though I KNEW Andi and Josh would wind up together, I had a compulsion to watch the episode. I needed to see it for myself. Then….my phone connected long enough to see this picture come up on my instagram feed. Proof! Look at that ring! Engagement confirmed.
But still, once we got home the following Saturday from our camping trip, I had to pull up the three hour show and watch it all. See it and experience it for myself—-in all of its over-produced wonder. Sometimes, though we want sure-fire, guaranteed knowledge of what the future holds, it really comes down to needing to walk through today, the here and now, ourselves. Reality Steve may make me feel all-knowing and powerful, but really? The Bachelor and Bachelorette are a lot of smoke and mirrors. And the truth of it?? I still will watch despite knowing the absurdity. Because sometimes it’s nice to escape reality by being privy to someone else’s. After a long day of household chores and trying to help our children grow into respectable citizens, it can be fun to accompany the Bachelorette to Italy or Belgium or the Domincan Republic enjoying fancy dinners and over-the-top dates.
When it comes to my life, my decisions, my companions and family, though, I am happy to live in my reality. Our stories, our lives, our narratives, are like any plot. There are low moments, highs & mountaintop experiences, day-to-day monotony. God calls us into the story, to be the main character, living in the unknown ourselves. To have perspective to see how the harder moments of our past lead to our self of today. But also, to see how we too can shape the storyline for our days ahead. A call to—like the Bachelor and Bachelorette—to find love. Maybe our love, though, is the capital “L”, love. To find the places where God dwells and is moving and be co-creators on the journey.