Time for a guilty pleasure confession…

I started watching the Bachelorette this summer. First time ever watching any Bachelor show, which started in 2002. For 17 years I have withstood the draw of what many have told me is compelling entertainment. I’m not generally a fan of reality TV. I have enough reality in my life! I prefer scripted drama and comedy, since knowing it’s fictional helps me dial down my empathy sensors, relax and enjoy the story.

But then, a few months ago, I happened upon the Bachelorette. I really didn’t mean to watch it. It literally just happened. One night, I walked in from work and it was on the TV. You know how that happens sometimes? One show ends and the next thing comes on and it’s just somehow left on, so you start watching it out of one corner of your eye? And then I couldn’t look away. I was hooked within ten minutes! My version of crack cocaine…one small hit and I was addicted…a Bachelor junkie!

Who could resist hating Luke P? Loving Mike’s smile? Rooting for Hannah to stop making bad choices and find love? I don’t think I ever actually cried, but I may have come close when she sent Peter home. How could she not choose Peter?!?

My sister (a long-time Bachelor fan) always told me I was missing out, that I’d love analyzing why the people were making the choices they make on this show, why they continually pick those who are bad for them, hoping to change them, hoping they will end up being better than they are. I agree that is the main part of what I love about the show. I have always loved trying to figure out why people do what they do, and there are unlimited opportunities to do that with this show.

So, you’re thinking that guilty pleasure is forgivable…it’s not that bad, right?

Just wait…it gets worse.

The past few weeks, I’ve been watching Bachelor in Paradise. It is so much trashier, and I am so much more ashamed to admit how much I’m enjoying it.

Is it that we like to feel smarter than other people? Yes, I do like that. Last night, Hannah told Blake that his words and actions didn’t line up, and she didn’t know which to believe. DUH! Actions, Hannah!! Always believe the actions over the words! Have you heard of this thing called lying?

Is it also that we like to watch beautiful people make out on the beach? Yes, I do like that as well.

It’s also that I like to watch people fall in love and find happiness. I realize it’s a long shot for two people to actually fall in love on a show like this, yet that potential keeps me invested. A cynic might say that people watch these shows for the imminent crash and burn, for the disaster-waiting-to-happen factor. And that’s fair. There are a lot of disasters. But for me, and I think many other hopeful (not hopeless!) romantics, I’m in it for the possibility of two people overcoming the ridiculous set-up of these shows and connect in a genuine way in the midst of the staged moments of reality TV.

I write fictional stories about love and relationships. Maybe I can call my new pastime research?