How Reality TV Shows And Modern Dating Have Become One And The Same
Dating is confusing. It’s like elementary English class all over again when we're trying to answer the 5 W's: who (would be best suited for us), what (kind of relationship are we looking for), where (do we see our lives going), when (will we be ready) and why (do we want what we want)?
Answering these questions usually takes time, patience and growth. However, dating and looking for your answers takes on a whole new meaning when your search is condensed into 10 weeks on shows like "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette."
But, that’s television. We love watching the Gilmore girls scarf down mountains of junk food with no exercise, yet I limit my junk food binging to breakups and keep the skim milk stocked.
We love watching Walter White be a total badass, giving the bird to the world, but I’m still too nervous to go over the speed limit.
And, as one woman simultaneously dates 25 men in "The Bachelorette" and one man simultaneously dates 25 women in "The Bachelor," in reality, nothing comes close, right?
Does it? Does a scenario in which men and women are encouraged to find multiple matches all at once sound familiar?
As I watched my mom glued to this season of "The Bachelorette," one question ran through my mind: Is Tinder our version of "The Bachelor[ette]?"
Tinder has given men and women the opportunity to make themselves feel like the bachelor or bachelorette, filling up their inboxes with lists of men or women with whom there is a mutual attraction.
You are in charge of the selection process, and let’s face it: Who isn’t going to get an ego boost from watching more and more people show their attraction for you and try to get your attention?
Today’s Tinder gods and goddesses, with their lists of thousands of matches, are just versions of "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette."
Playing The Game
"The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette" revolve around the process of elimination. One man or woman has to eliminate 24 competitors. The 25 suitors are all competing to be chosen by their bachelor or bachelorette.
They must strut their stuff and make the best impression they can within a limited amount of time.
Now, what would that sense of competition look like digitalized? Possibly a single-page profile that displays your best-looking photos and a short, impressive biography to intrigue onlookers? Oh wait, that’s Tinder.
And, once you do find a match, your search doesn’t end there. You, the bachelor or bachelorette, have the option to explore that particular match with some conversation or a date, or you can opt to just “keep playing” and continue to scope out the other options.
But, the games don’t end with just figuratively playing the field. In the show (and the app), the bachelor and bachelorette literally put their contenders to the test with competitive challenges.
This season’s bachelorette, Kaitlyn, wants the show to end with a ring, so what better way to get there than putting her potential husbands in a ring to box it out? Or, in a rap off? Or, in sumo wrestling matches?
Anything to get your contenders vying for your attention and appreciation will do the trick.
But, the Tinderellas out there are just as clever, pitting their matches against each other in “The Tinder Games,” where contestants order their Tinder girls a pizza, hoping theirs is the first one delivered.
Not Your Cinderella, But Maybe Your Tinderella
With Tinder, you choose among your group of matches. With "The Bachelor[ette]," the bachelor or bachelorette chooses among the contestants.
In both scenarios, you’re not necessarily going after people because you’ve sought them out as your Prince Charmings or Cinderellas, the men or women of your dreams, but, instead, because they’re just there.
Maybe I’m just a sucker for fairytales, but I think finding a partner should be somewhat natural. It doesn't have to occur as naturally as a glass slipper fitting your foot, but it shouldn't include simply picking off a list because it is put in front of you.
Is “How did you match?” going to replace “How did you meet?” as the new go-to question for couples?
Staying In The Shallow End
The Tinder gods take out different women every night, and the Tinder goddesses thrive off men competing for them, but what kind of relationship can this yield?
This season’s bachelorette, Kaitlyn, was accused of being shallow, only to then make out with a bunch of men (and sleep with one).
While intimacy is important for any relationship, is it possible to simultaneously fall in love with multiple people, if that’s your end goal? Tinder and "The Bachelor[ette]" eliminate the guilt of not being loyal to one person.
Yet, this contradicts the foundation upon which most relationships are built: trust, loyalty and faithfulness.
There is always an exception to the rule, however. In both the app and the reality television shows, there are people who are seeking happily ever after, their true Tinderellas or the foundations of their forevers.
It’s not to say some people don’t find it this way. All I’m saying is if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and walks like a duck, it probably is a duck.
My advice? Swipe left.