I never start out interested in the current Bachelor. With a face full of zit medication, I judge the latest handsome-Dan with an air of superiority. I feign ambivalence when my husband abruptly changes the channel in the middle of a make-out montage and asks if he can make plans for next Monday night. I tell him we’re free.
Seconds later ABC is mysteriously back on and I am transfixed. With each woman that throws herself at his Kenneth Cole Reaction loafers, I fall deeper under his spell. After the 25th girl tells me how incredible he is, I become convinced they’re right.
By week two, I’ve cleared every Monday in my calendar for the next 11 weeks.
By week three, I’m hosting viewing parties and speculating about who is getting a “Hometown Date.” The front-runner: me. Though I know objectively that I’m in the throes of my addiction and not actually a contestant on the show, I can’t pull myself out. I need to know how it’s going to end, who he is going to pick, how each of the runners-up is going to react as I storm the beaches of Bora Bora on a white horse and steal the hearts of not only the Bachelor but maybe also Chris Harrison and even a couple of rogue grips trying to bar me from the set.
By week four, my husband has stopped nagging me to watch a doc on farm-to-table cooking and is sucked in as well. We conclude that Chris Harrison could offer us a better life than the Bachelor and shift our focus from the wide-eyed 20-something to the millionaire standing next to him. We discuss our strategies, talk about who we’d form alliances with, what sob story we’d tell in our confessional. We’ve set our sights on the final rose.
By week five, I start to wonder whether it’s sane to compete for love with people on television as you’re sitting in your living room on a group date with your husband and two dogs.
By week six, I decide that competition is what keeps a marriage strong.
Week seven, I take to buying myself roses.
Around week eight, I come to terms with the fact that my odds of winning aren’t great. But I take comfort in the fact that a megalomaniacal dental hygienist was sent packing.
Week nine is time for the Fantasy Suite. Since my husband and I are married and no longer have sex, we root for the Bachelor to sleep with as many of the contestants as possible. I’m secretly pleased that Chris’s chastity is preserved (he’s saving himself for us).
Week ten is “The Women Tell All,” but since we feel we already know everything, we opt to watch that doc on farm-to-table cooking. I decide I need to start growing my own wheat.
By week 11 I can feel the stirrings of depression. It’s nearly time to say good-bye. The bachelor will choose his bride and Chris will turn into Tom Bergeron. I’ll insist that I’m thrilled to have my Monday nights back, but when week 12 rolls around, I’ll feel lost.
The next Monday at 8:30 p.m., I find myself reading the menu at some green-market gastropub. Out to dinner, in the real world, living life. Trying to be the kind of person I think I should be. But the truth is, I miss it. I miss Chris. I miss the misguided personal trainer with crazy eyelashes. I miss the helicopter rides through the Grand Canyon, the horrible nail art, the date cards, the silk pillows, the cheap Chardonnay, the Hervé Léger bandage dresses, the collagen-filled lips.
I stop tweeting — I have nothing to say.