The Top Five Things I’ve Learned from The Bachelor This Season

Written by Lisa

I realize that watching The Bachelor leaves me pretty much alone in a group otherwise populated exclusively by Midwestern housewives, but…I don’t have cable, so that’s my excuse.

And, for those of you who haven’t seen it already, The Bachelor is in rare form this season. And…I admit that in previous seasons, I have been genuinely captivated — until stupid Jason Mesnick came along and ruined everything — but this season sort of has that epic Saved by the Bell quality…in which something is so bad it goes beyond bad and becomes good again. (I can’t believe I’m admitting this, too, but I feel the same way about Tim McGraw. I mean, c’mon — how can you not love lyrics like, “I wish I had a dime for every hole that’s in the carpet,” and “That girl is such a hazard that she oughta have a sticker saying, ‘Hard on the ticker.’” I’m going to go out on a limb and say I doubt you’ll find better lyrics in this lifetime.)

And, you know, I’m a little sick of hearing Jake say that nice guys aren’t going to finish last anymore (That horse has been dead and beaten for a loooong time, ABC.) and I’m sort of on the fence about Jake himself. Sure, he’s pretty (which was most readily apparent in TMZ’s Who’d You Rather post versus the producer that chick allegedly schtupped)…but he didn’t really win any bonus points with me last season for going back to warn Jillian about Love Don’t Come Easy…it seemed a little – dare I say it? – staged.

And, I mean, I’m totally a bad picker, too…so I can almost commiserate with him and Ashley the Teacher from Pennsylvania. (I’m pretty sure she’s the one with Crazy Eyes who emerged from the limo with a heart-wrenching tale that her mother calls her a “bad picker” and this could be her one shot at True Love. It may have also been the NBA dancer from Oklahoma who said, “Hook ‘em, Horns.” But I’m pretty sure it was Crazy Eyes.) And I’m certainly not about to put on a flight attendant costume and sit on anyone’s lap…but I can empathize with the two of them to a degree. (My mother, however, does not mail me ball gowns. Which may explain why I did not grow up to become the kind of person who appears on reality shows. Maybe not. But maybe.)

And in watching this show over several seasons, I feel like I’ve learned some powerful lessons…that maybe didn’t gel completely in my head until now. And, lucky for you, I can finally articulate them.

Bachelor Jake

Photo Credit: ABC

So, without further ado, I give you: The Top Five Things I’ve Learned from The Bachelor This Season.

1. Upon first meeting a gentleman, do not reference your landing strip…even if he flies planes and you find it enormously clever.

It was the Cambodian phrase heard ‘round the world and it’s maybe cheap to start out here — and I strongly suspect that the producers put Channy up to it because I can’t possibly fathom a world in which someone would actually willingly say something like that to another human being…but, on the off-chance that she alone thought it was a good idea, I think we can all learn a lesson from her early departure. A universal rule: Landing Strip + Virtual Stranger = Bad.

2. Don’t get drunk and call yourself “the normal girl.”

Granted, I think it was totally bitchy of Christine (or was it Christina? No matter…she’s gone now…) to give candy to the girls upon first meeting them as something “sweet” to soften the blow of losing Jake…but I felt sorry for her by Episode 2. Things started out bad at the photo shoot — although Jake was nice and tried to make her more comfortable — but then things *really* started going downhill at the after-party when she told the cameras she didn’t have Rozlyn’s blatant sex appeal (which – let’s face it – is true…but if Jake is being honest and *is* looking for his “best friend,” we can assume he wants more than a pair boobs…[…which reminds me of a sign I saw at a gift shop in New Mexico that said, “The Top Ten Things Men Know About Women,” and they were all blank except for #1, which was, “They have boobs.”])…but then poor Christine/a had a little too much to drink (and I can commiserate – I’d feel incredibly awkward in a situation like that and be inclined to self-medicate, too)…and she tried to plead her case as “the normal girl” in the tent – which *may* have worked if Jake hadn’t been able to tell that she had been drinking and/or she hadn’t been interrupted. But, alas, he could and she was and I suppose it wasn’t meant to be. Which brings me to…

3. You can’t have hang-ups about swimwear.

This is why I will never be a contestant on the Bachelor…unless, I guess, I’m the Bachelorette and get to call the shots. There’s SO MUCH frolicking in swimwear…even when the Bachelor is nowhere to be seen. It’s like they’re trying to psyche each other out with their giant, freewheeling boobs and washboard abs. I would be the one on the patio in a muumuu and a sunhat and I’m not even joking. Swimwear freaks me out. I bought an old lady suit when I was in Tucson this summer because it was so damn hot I couldn’t not go in the pool in the retirement community where my parents live (…which reminds me of a line in Away We Go about God melting everyone down to make something better…)…but it’s, like, a skirt and a tank top and it’s totally something I could wear to play tennis. It certainly wouldn’t win me any points on The Bachelor. But, lucky for me, it worked just fine in my parents’ Active Adult Resort Community.

4. Leave the crazy at home.

The Crazy Girl has sort of become a stock character by now and there are several candidates this season (Crazy Eyes being one of them)…but Michelle is the most obvious. So we know she’s going to stick around for at least a couple of episodes…if only to drum up dramz. And then they’ll do away with her (as Mr. Wonderfulpants will do with you, too, if you don’t leave the crazy at home when you’re trying to trap Him in real life). She’s intense, that Michelle…and even though everybody has opinions about who is right for Him (“There are some people who are here for the wrong reasons! I wish Jake could see that!” and/or “I don’t know what Jake is doing! SHE’S NOT RIGHT FOR HIM!”), Michelle is really, REALLY crazy-certain. It’s sort of reminiscent of that chick with the teeth who had memorized all that shizz about Jason. That girl was only on long enough to prove herself a basketcase and to provide a subplot before they sent her packing.

But…don’t feel too sorry for Michelle and Big Teeth from the Jason Era. Man v. Food’s Adam Richman (who, like yours truly, lives in Brooklyn and likes food and travel…and who is goofy and funny and charming…and who went to the Yale School of Drama with my friend Matty, who is allegedly going to introduce us…which may prove to be the beginning of my happy ending…or may just result in me getting a cease and desist order…) recently posted the following on Twitter: “Overheard 9 times this week: “Why are the crazy ones always the best in bed?’” So…if he’s right…there we go: Michelle and Big Teeth will fine as long as they find a partner who values sex above all else.

5. There’s a delicate balance between plying your wares and restraining yourself when you’re trying to attract a suitor.

Shockingly, I’m actually serious about this one. It’s something I’ve noticed over and over again: There are the girls who throw themselves at the Bachelor and hold his hand and ask him to kiss them and steal him away from other girls…and then there are the clever ones who somehow distinguish themselves and then sit back and wait for him to come to them…and come to them he inevitably does…and then *he* is the one who holds *their* hands and kisses them and steals them away from other girls. And that’s clearly the preferable position.

And, I mean, I get it, Bachelorettes. You’ve met somebody. You’re excited. You want it to work out. And here’s something I don’t think I’ve ever learned how to do – you gotta have, like, a poker face. And the bottom line is that you can’t let yourself get too carried away. And you really do have to do what all those self-help books say and let him chase after you. Because if you throw yourself at him, you’re not a challenge – Their cavemen ancestors were hunters! It’s, like, in their DNA! — and you’ll end up like Crazy Eyes who said she was giving Jake the look that says, “You can kiss me if you want!” And he didn’t. Because he didn’t want to. She was too easy. A proverbial fish in a barrel.

And…I know you don’t want to just be a name and an age and a profession and a hometown and a hair color and a headshot in the contemplation room. You need to give him enough to pique his interest…and then step back and let him do the rest. This is where Elizabeth from Nebraska may be enormously clever with her don’t-kiss-me-until-I’m-the-last-one-standing-and-you’ll-only-be-kissing-me-forever ultimatum. He’s definitely intrigued. And it certainly plays to his values. Which is not to say it’s not a risky move – he may very well establish an inseverable tie with one of the other girls in the very act of smooching that will render Elizabeth’s edict null and void. And I think she maybe lost a little capital by sitting next to him on a bench and purring, “Do you want to kiss me?” as they watched fireworks. But she’s definitely one that he wants to chase after so she’s good for the time being. Well played, Liz. (Interestingly, Ellen made similar points in her interview with Jake on Monday…)

I have no idea how you figure out that signature move. And the worst part may be that if he doesn’t spring into action in a reasonable amount of time after you’ve played your hand, you’re faced with the reality that maybe he doesn’t like you as much as you like him. And then you really *are* better off just letting go and moving on…because it’s pretty much certain that The End will come sooner or later. (Which is how Greg Behrendt made his fortune…)

I feel like all of this is sort of like that horrible Katherine Heigl movie in which Gerard Butler says a woman has to be two people — the librarian and the stripper. But I’m going to take it a step further and say that’s not enough. It’s like you have to be the librarian and the stripper and a whole other mess of people. You have to be the aloof chick who is also sometimes wholly engaged by him. And you have to be open to the possibility of a new relationship, but also secure enough in yourself that you don’t reek of desperation. You have to wear more hats than the ladies at the Kentucky Derby. (Insert laugh track here…)

But, seriously: It’s all so calculated and complicated…and it feels like it’s so easy to go just a *little* too far in one direction and totally screw yourself over.

For example: Look too much like a librarian and he’ll abandon you for being a prude. But…too much like a stripper? He’ll get what he wants and hightail it out of there because he thinks you’re a tramp. And he certainly doesn’t want the mother of his children to be a tramp.

Too aloof? You may be able to hold his interest for awhile because he likes a challenge…but prove yourself to be *too* hard of a nut to crack and you run the risk that he’ll give up to find a lady who cracks more easily. (But not too easily…because where’s the fun in that?)

Too engaged? That’s easy – everyone knows this one: He’ll run for the hills.

Too open to the possibility of a new relationship? Same thing.

Too secure in yourself? It’s like that episode of Sex and the City in which Miranda thought she had a breakthrough and was confident during her date with the guy she met at the gym and then she never heard from him again and confronted him about it and he said he thought she was a little full of herself.

It’s a wonder anyone *ever* gets together. Which is probably how they end up on these shows in the first place. Or at least how they get girls like me to watch them…

About the author


a Brooklyn, NY-based food and business writer who has worked for Martha Stewart Living, Good Housekeeping, the Financial Times and Dow Jones. She also blogs for the Huffington Post and started her own blog – – to chronicle her preparations for the American Pie Council’s National Pie Championships.


  • Lisa devotes more sheer brainpower in this article to dissecting the Bachelor than Einstein devoted to developing the Theory of Relativity.

  • I thought that this was going to be one of the worst seasons of the Bachelor because the women are some of the most unremarkable women that have ever been on the show. But then the craziness started and now I believe that this may be one of the best seasons ever.

    What I’ve learned is don’t play games and don’t be a tease (bye, bye Elizabeth – couldn’t stand you and glad to see you gone – you are the type that ruin it for other women). Be yourself and let whatever happens develop. Just like life, if something’s meant to be, it will develop naturally. If it doesn’t develop, it wasn’t meant to be.

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