“The Bachelor” is on again, which is wonderful. No, I don’t “like” the show. I’m a guy. If I liked the show I’d have to turn in my man card. But I do really, really, really like messing with the lovely yet formidable Marcia, a lifelong feminist who, oddly enough, positively loves the show.
“I can’t believe you like this,” I said the other night. “It’s so anti-feminist. How could you?”
“Shhh,” she hissed, flapping a hand in my direction.
Interpreting the flapping to mean ‘Continue, please, dear husband” I said “I mean, you’ve got all these beautiful young women who …”
“Quiet, I can’t hear!”
“… who are in the prime of their life, who could get any guy they want …”
“Zip it,” she growled, using that low, back of the teeth growl dogs use when you try to take food away from them.
“… and yet they fight over this one stupid – and may I say not very handsome – guy, who is apparently such a catch that he’s in his mid-30s and isn’t married and doesn’t have a girlfriend.”
“He’s been busy racing cars,” she said. “Now shut up and let me watch.”
“Not that I can blame him, of course. If someone paid me to have 25 women fight over me, I guess I’d be fine with that.”
Glare from her.
“But why do they do it?”
“Because they’re looking for love!” she blurted. “Don’t you understand anything?”
I pondered that for a moment. “But is a TV show the right place to find it? Seems to me that concentrating 25 women in one place all fighting for the attention of one guy makes the odds of finding love a lot harder than in the real world. In that sense, winning the show seems like winning the lottery, except the prize isn’t a million bucks, it’s some schmo they probably won’t like once the TV cameras are gone, am I right?”
“I’m ignoring you now,” she said.
“I mean, there are plenty of better places to find a guy.”
“I mean, there’s the gym, the office, the grocery store, the bar, the bowling alley, the golf course …”
“That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard,” she said. Which is clearly not true. I’ve said far stupider things. “Now please go away and let me watch in peace.”
In retrospect, I should have taken her advice. But as a husband and a follower of Guy Code, I felt I had to say one more stupid thing: “I still say this show puts the women’s movement back 50 years. But, hey, you do what you want, Gloria Steinem.”
At that point the temperature in the room dipped 14 degrees and she hit the pause on the remote. “OK, that’s it. At first I thought you were just yanking my chain. But I’m beginning to think you really don’t understand why women like ‘The Bachelor.’”
Ruh-roh, I thought, as the music from “Jaws” began thumping in my brain. Run!
“Get back here, buster. (Editor’s note: She didn’t really say buster, though. Family website.) I’ll tell you why we like it. We like it because they go on romantic dates to romantic places, where he looks into her eyes and tells her she’s beautiful, in other words all the stuff that married men forget to do for their wives. Maybe YOU ought to do that, too, and maybe if YOU …”
Ten minutes and a dozen or so more “Yous” later she was still going.
I guess I had it coming. Next time the show’s on I’ll do the smart thing and keep my mouth shut.