to go: 454.25
calls me in the
middle of the afternoon on Wednesday, just as I'm returning from lunch.
"What were those two names again?" he whispers furtively. "Stephanie
and Marsha? Jessica and Vickie?"
glance around the Dirt
Company office to make sure
nobody can hear me. "Helene
and Gwen," I murmur, cupping one hand around the receiver. "And maybe
Brooke, too, if she doesn't get bumped off tonight. But mostly Helene
silence on his end. I assume this means he's busily scribbling the
names down on a Post-It Note or a Subway napkin or the back of his
hand. (I hope it's NOT the back of his hand: that would make it a lot
harder for him to eat the information, after we hang up.)
"OK," he says finally.
"I'll pass those names along to Leslie."
hang up the phone, a
moment later, feeling deliciously sneaky. It's like being part of some
groovy secret underground movement ... except that Leslie isn't a
fellow subversive: she's a woman David works with at the newspaper. And
the names we're providing her with aren't the names of operatives or
*moles* or local publishing-empire heiresses, ripe for brainwashing and
bank robbing duty.
the names of the two (possibly three) young women I believe will make
it through the next several weeks of demeaning group dates, overblown
media scrutiny and abject public humiliation ... all the way to that
golden, *Sweeps Week Moment* when The Bachelor pulls the little black
box out of his tuxedo pocket and says those four magic words we've been
waiting all season to hear him say:
... wanna go steady?"
anxious to see
whether Leslie -- my brand-new "Bachelor"-watching buddy -- agrees with
found Leslie by
accident. David came home a couple of weeks ago and mentioned that he'd
had an interesting conversation with a woman in his office, all about
the new crop of fall TV shows: the new CSI, the new Star Trek, the new
medical drama set in San Francisco, the other
new medical drama set in San Francisco ... and, of course, the new
season of reality shows. One thing led to another, and eventually
Leslie confessed that she was a "Bachelor" fan.
wife loves that
show!" he told her. And thus a kinship was born.
not easy finding
other people who like "The Bachelor." If "Survivor" has morphed into
the Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes of reality shows, over the past couple
of seasons -- the easily-digested, All-American comfort food that
everybody eats now, even your boss and your brother-in-law and your
oral surgeon -- then "The Bachelor" remains the cheap Chinese food of
the genre. It's your favorite guilty pleasure: you love it ... you eat
it at least once a week, preferably right out of the flimsy styrofoam
container with a stale pork bun on the side ... you would probably eat
it every single day if you could.
You just don't want
anyone to KNOW
that you eat it.
love "The Bachelor"
for all of the reasons I'm not supposed to love "The Bachelor." It's
tacky. It's sexist. It's deliberately designed to offend the women (trampolines??
oh please! ) and to titillate
the men (trampolines?? oh PLEASE! ). And of course
it's manipulative as hell. You're going to fill a beach
house with fifteen beautiful, ambitious, emotionally-unevolved young
women, and then dangle one marginally-cute single guy in front of
them, like a single carrot in front of a herd of starving cannibal
bunnies? How do you suppose THAT'S
going to turn out? Plus the show is obviously not targeted to *my*
particular demographic ... otherwise the actual Bachelor himself would
look a lot more
like Matt Lauer and a lot less like Matt Damon.
all rights, I should
hate this show with a passion.
I don't. I watch it
every week. It's part of my ongoing fascination with the slice-of-life
narrative ... along with memoirs and documentaries and (yes) Internet
journals. Furthermore, David watches it with me. It's true that I had
to bargain with him in the beginning -- "One
hour of my sleazy, morally-ambiguous reality show for one hour of your
Boring Old Fart droning on & on about the stock market"
-- but now he's parked in front of the TV at 9 p.m. on Wednesday
nights, ready to dish and diss right along with his reality-junkie
wife. (We both agree that Bachelor Aaron is infinitely more likeable
and more engaging and more human than Bachelor Alex, who always looked
like he might have bodies stuffed in the crawlspace. Bachelor Aaron, at
least, has the good grace to look stricken when his starving cannibal
bunnies turn on each other.)
David is every bit
as much a "Bachelor" fan as I am.
now I have him
running covert messages back and forth to Leslie, my "Bachelor Buddy"
... the only other female
adult human being on the planet I know who watches the show as
religiously as I do. So far it's working out pretty well. I can hardly
wait to hear back from her and find out what she thought of last
night's episode. (Is it just me, or is that Christy person constantly
weeping into a bucket of wine?) In fact, maybe one of these days I'll
show up at the newspaper office, unannounced, and invite my special
*Bachelor Buddy* out to lunch, so we can compare notes in person.
be ordering cheap
Chinese, of course.
throw a rock