Looking for Love in Televised Places
Text & photos by Shannon Kelley Gould
In a world where every aspect of our lives can be played out on one screen or another — friends made and tallied on MySpace, career opportunities seized or blown on Project Runway and The Apprentice, and very personal, very dirty laundry aired, well, pretty much everywhere — who’s to say that true love can’t be found on a champagne-soaked TV game show?
I guess it would depend on whether you’re a Pollyanna or a pessimist. While my more cynical side scoffs at the idea of finding love in between spots for Teen Spirit and Tampax, part of me (the part that digs a happy ending) thinks genuine chemistry — unpredictable, illogical stuff that it is — is as likely to be discovered within a prime-time crucible as anywhere. And it seemed that many young ladies are equally optimistic, judging by the impressive turnout of Santa Barbara’s most eligible bachelorettes at last Friday’s casting call for ladies for the next season of that reality TV mainstay, The Bachelor.
Summoned to the Hotel Andalucía’s rooftop bar, El Cielo, they came, each more beautiful than the last, one in particular not too proud to wear her gimmick on her sleeve — or cape, as the case may have been; she was outfitted in full Superwoman regalia, a tactic the producers seemed to enjoy, much to the couture-clad’s overwhelming chagrin. Unsurprisingly, there was no shortage of catty comments slid in between the sugary niceties and blindingly white smiles. The most stinging, though, was from a wee young thing who asked, “Why is everyone, like, so old?” Ouch. If you can’t beat them, I suppose the rationale goes, talk shit about them. Which is likely a fairly effective strategy for becoming one of the chosen few: after all, what’s a reality show without a decent dose of drama? I said as much to two hopefuls, suggesting that perhaps, if they began pulling each other’s hair, they might catch the casting agents’ attention. They were not amused.
The producers were tight-lipped on the details: The love-seeking ladies jumped in with nary a clue as to where they might be going or whose roses they might be angling to accept. And that pesky, cynical side of me could rationalize why they might want in: After all, even if true love remains elusive, the contenders are treated to a mini-vacay, put up in a sweet house likely found in an amazing location, and flown — probably by helicopter — to even more fabulous spots for their “dates.” And, if they do manage to score a soul mate out of the deal, they might even parlay that romance into beaucoup bucks via a televised wedding extravaganza, à la Trista and Ryan. But the prevailing explanation these ladies offered for their willingness to expose their hearts, souls, and cleavage on network television was simple and sweet: Why not? Neither side of me had a good answer, so I bid them good luck. And if that makes me a Pollyanna, I’m not especially surprised. That bitch always wins.
Where will your peeps be? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.