Bachelor is back tonight!!! In honor of our new premiere with bachelor Ben, I thought I'd compile some love lessons I've learned from watching 10 seasons of the Bachelor (seasons 2-5 which was Aaron through Bob, and 10-15 which was Andy through Brad 2) and 5 seasons of the Bachelorette (Trista of season 1, seasons 4-7 of DeaAnna through Ashley).
1. Let the ladies do the picking. Trista and Ryan worked. ... OK, no one else has worked since then (I refuse to count Jason and Molly). But Jillian and Ed lasted longer than Jake and Vienna (and we all know that was immature Ed's fault). Aly and Roberto made it 18 months (Emily and Brad--7). And as of this writing, Ashley and JP are still going strong. I think the women are much smarter about their choices, and are the ones more willing to make the sacrifices after the rose.
2. Age is not just a number. See: Brad and Emily (38 and 24). Jake and Vienna (33 and 23). I don't think anyone under 25 should be a contestant on the show, and I'm honestly hesitant to take any males under 30. I just don't think they're ready to "settle down" and if the franchise wants successful marriages, they need to select older contestants. People who know what they want and are ready to commit.
3. If everyone in the house hates him/her, they're probably right. Case in point: Vienna. Everyone told Jake she was awful, but he refused to listen because what he saw in her was something "special." Also, Wes. Everyone told Jillian he had a girlfriend back home and was just on the show to promote his music (love, it don't come easy), but she didn't listen! Even Justin, aka Rated R. All these bachelor/ettes think they have such a great judge of character, but they're blind to who the person really is.
4. Don't cry and whine to the bachelor/bachelorette about how hard it is to be away from your family, compete with all these other girls/guys, and date him/her without knowing how he/she feels about you. THAT IS WHAT YOU SIGNED UP FOR! Having seen the show for 13 seasons, you should have figured out that that's the name of the game. You will not know how he/she feels about you, you will have to deal with seeing him/her kiss, date, and potentially fall in love with many other suitors, and you will have to live in a house with said suitors. Deal with it, or leave.
5. Open up. The ones who take the chance to open up about their tragic past/divorce/children/family issues usually impress the bachelor/ette a lot and end up staying longer because of it. The ones who don't take the opportunity to open up seem to always regret it when they get sent home. I don't know how many times I've seen a great girl or guy (Reid from Jillian's season and Corrie from Jake's season come to mind) go home because they didn't take a risk and put it all out there with how they were feeling. Better to open up and take the chance, then to regret it in the limo ride home.
6. Family can make it or break it. Weird, quirky families (Naomi from Jason's season and Kirk from Ali's season are top contenders) can set the date back a lot, especially when the lady/man was already in last place. The bachelor/ette often walks into hometown dates looking for answers, and sometimes parents can confirm the worst fears (remember hottie Graham from DeaAnna's season, whose mom told DeaAnna that Graham wasn't ready for a relationship?)
7. A sob story can really be an "in." I don't know how many times we heard about Tenley's ex-husband, how she saved herself for marriage, how she was never able to "dance the dance in her heart" for him, and how she's ready to "open herself up to love again." Past exes (Bentley, West from Ashley's season) and children (Michelle Money, Ella, old Stephanie from Jason's season, Jason himself) are great back-stories. So are dead parents (Chris from Ali's season, Ella from Jake's season and Bachelor Pad 2) or mysterious illnesses (Kurt's mold problem).
8. If you sign up for a reality TV show, there's no such thing as "private." We will watch every kiss. Every awkward conversation. Every break-up tear. Every make-out session in the fantasy suite (until the man closes the curtain and the lights ominously turn off). So why do you then expect us "to respect your privacy at this time" when you break up? We watched you meet, date, kiss, get engaged, and now we're supposed to turn a blind eye to your pain?
9. Don't go for the "wild card." Did anyone think DeaAnna should have picked Jesse the snowboarder over single dad Jason? Was it wise for Jake to pick party girl Vienna over dancing divorcee Tenley? NO. The wild card is never a good choice. Research shows (don't fall alseep on me) that similarity attracts similarity. So these contestants should go for the safer choice, the one they have the best chances with.
10. Meeting in an "unconventional way" DOES NOT WORK OUT. Let's be honest...life is not a hot tub. Or a rose ceremony. Or a helicopter ride. Or an overnight fantasy date. Bachelor is a fantasy world, it is not the real world. This is why Bachelor/ette couples don't work! They have 6 weeks of fantasy world with each other, and then when the cameras leave, the roses wither, and the hot tub dries out, they look at who they're waking up beside and they say, "who are you?" They don't know more about each other than possibly what bra size she is and how many tattoos he has. I never hear bachelor/ette couples talk about their careers, their religious beliefs, their lifestyles, all the stuff that makes a real relationship. Then they act surprised, saying, "We didn't meet in the most traditional way. We had a very short courtship and we only knew each other nine weeks before we got engaged. We are still figuring out our lives as individuals" (Ali). Two weeks later, she and Roberto broke up.