Chiara Atik is HowAboutWe’s writer in residence. Her book, Modern Dating: A Field Guide, is now available. For the next few weeks, she’ll be discussing topics from the book with bloggers, journalists, comedians, and other people with lots of opinions on dating. Up next is Callie Schweitzer, the Director of Marketing and Communications at Vox Media. (Previously: Lockhart Steele & Ben Leventhal, Ryan O’Connell, Edith Zimmerman and Kelly Williams Brown.)
Sent at 2:32 PM on Wednesday
I’m excited for our chat!
Me: Okay so we’re talking about
TV (and movies) and the portrayal of love and dating, and how (un?)realistic it is
Me: I feel like TV is wayyyy behind in terms of depicting how people actually date and communicate
like, SO much of dating and flirting takes place online now, right?
Callie: Totally, it’s actually really funny, I’ve started to guess when movies were made based on the cell phones or technology people are using.
I watched some romcom recently where they were using flip phones — and this was a recent movie — and I was like, “WHAT ARE THEY THINKING?!”
Me: Ha! Yeah, it’s always weird the first time you see something [relatively] new, you always clock it. Like, a character using Siri or something
or like, the iPhone ring, I feel, JUST started making it into movies this year
Callie: Totally. And I give the TV shows and movies that try to keep up a lot of credit. I’m catching up on “The Good Wife,” and there was an episode on BitCoin in Season 3, and I was like, they’re so hip!
Me: Are there any others — movies or tv shows — which you feel are sort of getting it right, in terms of technology and dating?
“Dates” on these reality shows always crack me up. I remember one first date on, I think “Millionaire Matchmaker,” where he emptied out the public library and had like, a creepy private dinner there…
I think “Girls” does pretty well
Callie: “Girls” definitely does it well because Lena Dunham is so aware and also living and breathing it.
Me: So, what about reality TV?
Callie: I am a DEVOTED fan of “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette.”
I’ve tried to attach all this deeper meaning to it — what it says about society, my friends, me, why we love this show so much.
Me: First off: do you think (entertainment aspect aside) that it’s possible to actually develop feelings for someone on that show?
Callie: That’s a great question. I think it probably was, and maybe no longer is.
Me: Wow, why the change?
Callie: The show has gotten SO extreme, and with its growing popularity, it’s attracting a different kind of person.
Me: But you think it was more genuine at the beginning?
Callie: One of the only couples that’s actually worked is Trista and Ryan from the first season of “The Bachelorette.”
And yeah, I think it was as “genuine” as a reality show where people have private musical concerts and hot air balloon rides could be.
Me: (“Dates” on these reality shows always crack me up. I remember one first date on, I think “Millionaire Matchmaker,” where he emptied out the public library and had like, a creepy private dinner there…)
Callie: I mean the fact that I’m in a fantasy league where I get points for a “home invasion” (in which someone invades the Bachelor/ette’s lodging) and for a “tragic backstory” means that the drama has just reached out of control levels.
Me: Okay please explain this fantasy league
Callie: There are specific plot points you just expect every season now.
Me: +1 if anyone ever does that kiss where the girl jumps into his arms and wraps her legs around him, in greeting.
Callie: +1 for scrapbook, personal note, etc.
Me: +1 for like, surprise music of any sort. Mariachi band. Violins. Marching band.
Callie: +1 for Bentley product placement, which has been a whole new thing this season.
Callie: Fantasy league basically works like this: you pick 3 members to take with you to the end, and each week you get points based on what happens to them.
I mean the fact that I’m in a fantasy league where I get points for a “home invasion” (in which someone invades the Bachelor/ette’s lodging) and for a “tragic backstory” means that the drama has just reached out of control levels.
Me: Oh my God!!!
That sounds so fun?
Callie: I spent 2 hours strategizing with my partner figuring out who we should pick.
Me: Wait, so I have 2 questions
1) Is it too late, if one wanted to do this/play along at home, to start for this season
Me: 2) Who are your picks??
Sent at 2:53 PM on Wednesday
Callie: 1) It probably is too late unless you haven’t been following anything that’s happened. The key is picking 3 people right off the bat — the pool I’m in began after week 1. You have to weed out the first episode’s worth.
2) We picked Drew, Brooks, and Bryden, and so far, it’s paying off.
I should also note I have an active Google Group that discusses the Bachelor/ette every week.
I was inspired by my friend Chris Rovzar’s Daily Intel Gossip Girl recaps and started doing them for the Bach with a group of friends.
Me: Probably some of the best recaps of all time
Callie: Totally, he was a recap legend.
Me: So do you watch “The Bachelor” because you’re a romantic or because you’re a cynic?
Sent at 2:56 PM on Wednesday
Callie: I watch it because I like TERRIBLE television, but really, I’m a romantic. I think most people watch it for 3 reasons:
1) “If these crazy people can find love, ANYONE can.”
Sent at 2:58 PM on Wednesday
Callie: 2) The voyeuristic and entertainment aspect — direct quote from this week’s episode, “You threw rocks at my face!” “I did throw rocks at your face!”
Callie: 3) The fairy tale aspect: When in your own dating life are you going to climb buildings and dance in Cirque Du Soleil?!
Me: Are you ever/have you ever been like, genuinely moved, in spite of yourself, by a romantic moment on the bachelor?
Callie: HAHA oh gosh. Wouldn’t that just be mortifying?
I mean yes, totally.
I think Ali and Roberto were pretty cute. They have since broken up and Ali now has a career doing the show that’s on AFTER SNL. #sadtimes
Me: I KNOW, I see her on Taxi TV all the time
she’s my favorite
i think she’s adorable
Callie: The times I think, “aww” are the actually genuine/normal-
Me: okay, so, how can you tell the difference?
Callie: I can’t handle the scrapbooks and the “guard and protect your heart” tattoos.
Me: and also
Me: always act so genuinely TORN by two (or more) people
and that’s never happened to me in real life — to be “in love” with two people
Callie: Well the best is the opening of every season, “I never thought I’d have 25 guys/girls competing for ME!”
another one for the drinking game
Callie: BTW, genuinely sad moment at the end of this episode, Des tells this (lame) guy Brandon, “You’re a great guy…for someone else.”
That one genuinely stuck with me for a few minutes. How sad and embarrassing!
Me: Yeah the rejections are HARD to watch
Callie: I know they’re subjecting themselves to this, but man, it’s gotta be embarrassing.
I mean the whole, “I am in love with 9 people right now,” is bananas. But I think something we forget about is that these dates are in RAPID succession. You probably don’t have much time to think or evaluate the guys independently, not to mention it’s hard to see the red flags like incessant texters or people who Facebook friend you immediately.
YOU LOSE ALL THE BENEFITS OF TECHNOLOGY!
Someone just told me about a matchmaker service where you get connected to someone they think you’d like, and then you “talk on the phone for 15 minutes.” I was like, “15 MINUTES?! DO YOU KNOW WHAT A LONG TIME THAT IS?!”
These poor people have to suffer on these bad dates for multiple HOURS!
Me: omg I think I know which one that is
Callie: They’re in Paris?
Me: They REALLY talk up whoever The Bachelor/Bachel
if you told me
“I have this GREAT guy, he’s SO wonderful and nice and attractive and smart, and there are 15 girls competing for him”
Me: It just helps ensure that I’m gonna be interested in him, rather than, “Well, go meet him, see what you think….” and forcing us to make small talk
Callie: True, very true.
But some of the main people have just been sooooooo boring, and I think that’s why the ratings have been down.
It’s just not as fun when the person everyone’s vying for is kind of vanilla.
Me: Right, agreed
I think they sort of need a Win, you know?
Like, it has such a NOTORIOUSLY bad track record
if I thought, “People could ACTUALLY meet and fall in love”
i would be more tempted to tune in.
The stakes lower with each failed relationship, I think
Callie: Totally, it becomes part of the fun to see when they break up.
Me: Okay, final question:
If you had to give a newbie, like, TIPS
to tune in
and give it a shot
Callie: OH MY
Me: What are your tips for best enjoying the bachelor?
‘Cause you’ve pretty much convinced me to tune in at this point
Sent at 3:11 PM on Wednesday
Callie: Honestly? I think it’s a really social show. I don’t mean that in the sense of social media like, “OH I CAN’T WAIT TO READ A RANDOM PERSON’S TWEETS!” I mean it like, it’s really fun to just discuss and kind of be a part of. I’m sure the fact that I run a Google Group about it and am in a fantasy league enhance that, but it’s just kind of something I never want to be behind on because it’s so fun to talk about. It’s absurd and yet, it touches on something we all think about — dating, love, who you end up with, your future. You feel like you’re seeing someone put their vulnerabilities out there, and I think that inherently draws you in to the show a bit more. And as bad as the track record may be, I think there is a part of everyone who watches that wants it to end in real love that lasts.
Me: that was…..
….actually a pretty stirring and convincing argument!!!
Me: I’m so excited to watch now!
Callie: I’M A BELIEVER!!
you wanna join my google group?