Are you familiar with The Bachelor? It’s a massively popular reality show in which one dude gets to date 25 chicks at the same time. As of now, it is currently legal in the United States. If you happen to be a fan of The Bachelor you’ve likely noticed that the show introduces truly strange lessons on how to win at the complex game of love. Like, first and foremost: go on a reality show. But beyond that, the women who succeed at The Bachelor (i.e. get the rose!) are the ones who cry on first dates, confess their demons, and then cry some more. It’s enough to make The Rules authors roll over in their graves. (I don’t think either of them are dead yet, but if they were.) In the service of tru lurve, I decided to test these bizarro Bachelor techniques on real-world men. I’m sorry, real-world men.
Divulge Your Darkest Secrets 30 Minutes into Your First Date
So your Dad was an alcoholic. Better: you fear you may be an alcoholic too. [Big gulp of white wine.] Tell him! Were you sexually abused? Now’s a great time to confide in a stranger about it. But before you divulge, remember to spend a few minutes building it up into something really terrible, with statements like “I don’t know if you’ll be able to look at me” and “I’m so scared telling you this will mean the end for us.” That’s just what AshLee did last season of The Bachelor before she dropped the bombshell of her terrible dark past on Bachelor Sean. “I got married my junior year of high school,” she whispered in his ear on their very first one-on-one, a panicked look spreading across her angelic face. It only made him love her more. “You’re perfect the way you are,” Sean told her. (Ignoring the fact she spells her name AshLee.) Then he caressed her fucking face.
Real World Test:
Unfortunately for me, my parents were kind of wonderful. Nice Jewish family. Minimal darkness. Maximum food and hugs. The dilemma: do I make something up for my unknowing date sitting beside me at the bar? Like, “I have to tell you something. I murdered 16 people and the bones are in my bathtub. How ’bout I get the next round?” I’m worried I won’t be able to deliver a lie with the necessary passion. So I opt for a truth, despite its mildness. “Hey, so I have to tell you something.” “Okaaay,” he says, cautiously. “I hope you won’t think less of me for it,” I add. He is silent. “I used to be a fat kid,” I tell him. “Oh! I was always really skinny,” he responds, clearly relieved. “Well, I was fat.” I insist. An awkward silence sets in. I wait for him to comfort me. He does not graze my cheek with his fingertips. Instead he asks, “Why are you telling me this?”
Be a Model
Hard and fast rule of The Bachelor: models win. It does not matter if the model actually looks like a gaunt Ross Perot, there is something innate and primordial in the male subconscious that is overjoyed by the notion “I am dating a model.” Even if the dental hygienist next to her is smarter, funnier, prettier, and does this great party trick where she looks in your mouth and points out your cavity prone zones. Models are social currency. Models win. Men who date models win. On The Bachelor, models always make it to the hometown dates. Most of the time they win the whole shebang. Even if they’re betches. Even if they’ve only been on the inside pages of Fitness magazine. Take Courtney, of two seasons ago. She won. She was a betch. Ben was repeatedly warned. It didn’t matter. Girl was a model.
Real World Test:
When we first sit down my date asks me how my week is going. I tell him, “Exhausting! I had a couple of day long shoots.” He inquires further: “Like for the magazine? You work at a magazine, right?” I lie. “Yes, but I’m also a part time model.” “You are?” he asks. His eyes light up a bit. This pains me. So I try to turn it into a joke. “No, haha, just kidding!” Silence. I change the subject: “Do you watch America’s Next Top Model?” “No,” he replies.
Cry In Front of Him Before Date Three
This often goes hand in hand with Strategy Number One: Divulge Your Darkest Secrets 30 Minutes into Your First Date. There is a lot of crying on The Bachelor. Apparently the producers make you subsist entirely on white wine spritzers and after downing three of them and anyone will be sobbing over a misplaced sock. Last season Danielle walked in for her solo time with Sean, already in tears, like a goddamn pro. It’s so hard seeing you connect with other women blah blah blah. [SNOT BUBBLE] [SINGLE TEAR] It worked. He made out with her. And she got a rose.
Real World Test:
I couldn’t bring myself to cry this time around so here’s a tale from the past: about five years ago I was on a bad date. I was a baby. I was new to online dating and I thought from our earlier messages this guy and I had real chemistry, but in person I found him repulsive. After an almost unbearable hour sitting at the bar together, he ordered another round of drinks without asking me. I burst into tears. Then I blamed it on missing my dead grandfather (sorry Papa) and told him I had to go. It was despicable behavior on my part. Though, strangely, he did email that night for another date.
Admit You Have ‘Serious Feelings’ Very, Very Early
This is essential. If you don’t tell the man you’ve seen maybe three times that you are “really falling hard” or “see a future together” or some variation of that theme, he will doubt your motives and send you home. Your chance of finding a husband before a national audience will be shattered. Episode five of any season of The Bachelor is just girl after girl after girl telling the dude, “I think I’m falling in love with you”, to which he responds, “Thank you for telling me that” and puts a gold star next to their names in his “Ladies I’m Dating” folder.
Real World Test:
I am on my second round of beers with another date. It is our first meeting. He is very nice. He plays the guitar. His hands are hairy in a good mannish way. I am very nervous to tell him about our future together and all the babies we’ll have, but I must, because I signed up to do this serious work of journalism. “I really like you,” I say, starting slow. “I like you too!” he replies. Good start. “I think we could have a family together.” I add. He starts laughing. I believe he thinks I made a joke. I correct him. “No, really!” I insist. “I want to have babies before my eggos dry up.” “That makes sense,” he says, very nicely. “It must be hard to be… on a timetable or whatever.” A few minutes later he excuses himself to go to the bathroom.
Unsurprisingly, none of these dates lasted long after the emergency trips to the bathroom. The very simple moral here: Do not live your life like the people on the big glowing televisual box. Do not quit your teaching job to make meth in the desert, and do not tell a first date you want his liquid matter to preg up your baby hatch. That is, if you want to have a meaningful relationship with another human. If, on the other hand, you’re looking to scare the men of Brooklyn off of dating websites forever, you now know exactly what to do.