Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Here's a disclaimer. Or two.
I hate, hate, HATE the show The Bachelor.
I do not judge you if you like it.
I have friends who like it and I'm perfectly happy being their friend.
This is my blog and I'll rant if I want to, rant if I want to, rant if I want to (please sing that line).
And this girl is on FIRE. (sing that, too.) So if you want to not read, opt out now.
I was in line at Target and saw the above photo on US Weekly. And instead of rejoicing in the fact that there's a virgin bachelor (I guess it turns out he's really not a virgin but a recycled virgin who is choosing to remain celibate), I was struck with one of those "Are you kidding me" moments.
Where do I start?
Oh, maybe I'll start at the fact that I'm a little super passionate about my children's purity through their childhood and adolescence. Maybe I'll start at the place where sometimes, no matter how steadfast I am in my beliefs and morality, I get tired of swimming against a current that feels like class 5 rapids to keep my kids' hearts in tact. Maybe a good place to start is that if we don't think this "entertainment" is affecting our children, why not put yourself in the place of how you'd feel if YOUR daughter was one of the disheartened fish in The Bachelor's pond who got sent home empty handed and broken hearted. Maybe I'll start at the fact that marriages are dropping like dead flies and no one wants to admit that entertainment such as this serves as Exhibit A as to why.
I hate The Bachelor. I hate the process that teaches young people that a man can stand on a literal pedestal and take his pick from women like a harem of worshipping Barbies. I hate that he will woo more than one of them at a time, give his affection and thus in HER mind his heart to more than one woman at a time, and I hate that he will spend the night with different women toward the end of this process, trying them on to see if they fit like most men test drive trucks. I hate that these women wait with all hope and sincerity that they will receive a rose from this man, this man whom they barely know and mainly have a sexual attraction to. And I hate that the last step in the journey is that two women are completely convinced they will receive a marriage proposal until the very last second when one of them goes home heartbroken and devastated that she wasn't the one after all that hoopla. And the whole Bachelorette thing? What happened to women being pursued? What happened to letting him look for YOU? But I digress-- that's "old school" and I'll save it for yet another tirade/blog.
Seriously? Can you fall in love during the middle of a circus? You're telling me that even though there's countless women, ridiculously little moments alone, constant ping ponging diversions of attention, shared affections, the bubble of reality TV and Hollywood that surrounds you that the real world doesn't live in, and spoiled rotten behavior and drama surrounding you, it's possible to know at the end of it all you've found the love of your life? Oh my. Oh, oh my.
See, in real life, women aren't ok with being option 2 or 3 or 45. In real life, man meets woman, and stops the world to win her heart, singular. In real life, there's coffee dates, long walks, and sitting on the couch asking questions like- What's your middle name? Did you play sports when you were school? And what was your favorite childhood pet? In real life, he doesn't spend the night with you one night, and her the next night to see who is his perfect fit. In real life, (most) women aren't okay with that. In real life, marriage doesn't begin with the "other woman" being sent home and you winning the competition.
And don't even GET me started on the virginity issue. The headlines read: "The girls are stunned to learn Sean's saving himself for marriage." Also, "Their awkward Fantasy Suite dates." And my personal favorite, "How the winner copes with her sexless engagement." Once again, society wins at falsely teaching young people that sex is the foundation for a great relationship instead of the by-product of a healthy marriage like God intended it to be. Once again, society wins at making the people who actually choose to get married before beginning a sexual relationship feel like they are diseased. And once again, our children are taught that if you aren't having sex, you certainly can't be in love. Because after all, sex is the reason we fall in love, right? I beg to differ. My husband and I both were virgins when we married- me at 19, him at 31 (yep, you read correctly) and let me tell you--- I promise you that we aren't lacking intimacy and I am a very, very happy woman. In fact, I can't tell you the assurance I have in knowing there's no comparison games to past partners being played, no regrets we carry, no jealousies bubbling inside... only a love that deepens as the years pass and we live this perfectly imperfect life together.
And furthermore, why isn't the headline reading "It was so awkward that they were having sex, having barely known each other at all" in all of the other seasons?
I can't speak for you. But I am on a passionate mission to show my children the other side of marriage. Not the one that begins with frivolity and hype, or roses and Fantasy Suites. Not the one that shows unrealistic demands and fairy tale endings. I want to show them the one where the baby is up all night with a fever and you take turns holding her so the other can sleep a while. I want them to see one where the best times are spent on your own living room couch. I want my kids to be familiar with the comfort that comes from the arms of the person who has pledged his comfort to you when you're devastated at yet another one lined pregnancy test. I want them to see "hot" as the hands that mow the grass, fix the broken door handle, and catch the lizards that got into the house. I want them to see the strength that comes from holding hands as you wait for answers or while you sit in the ER with a kiddo with a broken arm. I want them to walk into the kitchen when Momma and Daddy are smooching and be totally grossed out. I want them to understand that sometimes you're married for 13 years before one of you falls passionately in love, and that by the 17th year, you miss him so bad at the end of the day, it's like when you were in college and he was four hours away again. I want them to see that sometimes, love is messy, it's inconvenient, it's painful, and it's tiring. But it's also fruitful, refreshing, bountiful, and safe. I want them to see fighting and making up. Giving and taking. Crying and laughing. Worrying and trusting. Making messes and cleaning them up. Growing and changing. Working and resting.
And the last I checked, this isn't the picture our good ol' reality show paints for my kids to see.
I don't remember the last time I received a single rose from my husband. (I don't care for flowers that much. I'd much rather have chocolate, lol.) But what I do receive daily from him lasts way longer than the petals from a flower ever could. In fact, I wear his promise to me on my finger and every day, he makes good on that promise.
And at least when I do get a rose, I know I'm the only woman who got one from him that day.
I'm just sayin. ;-)