The Ruminator

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Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Pick a woman, any woman

I have a confession to make.

Last night, for the first time in my life, I watched The Bachelor. Actually The Bachelor II – the first of a new series. There are so many things wrong with this program that I have no hope of doing the subject justice here, but I would like to make a couple of observations.

The first thing that struck me was the fact that everyone on the show was instantly recognisable as an American. And this is kind of strange when you think about it. There is no such thing as an ‘ethnic American’. Yet put any of these people with a group of others of the same ethnic background but different nationality, and you would instantly be able to pick the Americans. Whether it is all that cosmetic dental work, the hair, the body language, or some other indefinable element, something is instantly recognisable. Perhaps I should say they were instantly recognisable as a certain type of American – I realize that not all Americans look like that. Specifically I mean larger than life, huge toothy grins, and a certain plastic quality. Even the token Black and Asian girls looked, on some strange subconscious level, exactly like all the others. How The Bachelor in question (a pilot who looked like he was produced by Mattel) managed to tell them apart long enough to pick 15 from the initial 25 is a mystery to me.

The women were also all of another particular ‘type’. I used to think there were a lot of stereotypes of women that were just that – stereotypes. Surely there weren’t really people like that out there, or at least not more than a handful. Like the ‘Bridget Jones’ type, who actually knows the calorie content of every single thing she consumes. Or the woman who seriously believes in ‘The Rules’ - man ALWAYS pursues woman; only respond to one out of his four messages; "you must be a creature unlike any other" (What, a bizarre genetic mutation? And how can you be "unlike any other" if you are doing exactly the same thing as a bunch of other people reading this shit?). Or in this case, the ‘Muriel’ stereotype. The woman (or girl) who has been dreaming of her wedding day since she was 8 years old, and has a scrapbook full of dress designs, and cakes, and napkins, and has never thought of what happens the day after the wedding when you wake up next to some guy you have just vowed to (theoretically) spend the rest of your life with. Apparently all these types of women actually exist. Actually, judging from The Bachelor, there are a lot of women who are all those stereotypes at once.

There was the woman who said “I’m willing to do whatever it takes to be a wife, a mother, a lover. Whatever it takes.” You could almost hear the unspoken “Oh dear lord, pick me, pick me, PICK ME GOD DAMN IT!”

There was the woman who said “I’ve pretty much done everything I wanted to do. I’ve settled into my career. I have all my friends. Now I think it’s time for me to share my life with someone”. She was twenty-four. Anyone who has done everything they wanted to do with their life by the time they are twenty-four has neither imagination nor ambition.

I think some of these women would benefit from being allowed to just go out and blow thousands of dollars on a dress, a cake, and a big mother of a party. To have the world revolve around them for the day - that’s all they really seem to want from marriage.

Failing that a good smack in the face would work wonders.


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