Forgive me, Feminist Idols, for I have sinned. This summer I started watching The Bachelorette.
To be fair, at least it’s not The Bachelor… but still. What screams “Post Breakup Therapy” more than making a fantasy spread sheet objectifying men I’ve never met and rooting for a girl who just got dumped by her fiancé? Maybe a post-break up hair chop? (But I’ve been growing out my hair for three years, so that’s an easy no). So I’ve been eating this show up like drunk-me chowing down two Whooper Jr’s and an Oreo shake at 2:30 in the morning after finishing my last final exam. Grossly satisfied but deeply riddled with guilt.
I know… The Bachelor(ette) is a hot mess. With 22 seasons airing since 2002, only one couple from The Bachelor is still together. That’s right—ONE couple. The Bachelorette is holding down the fort a little bit better with six couples still going strong from its 13 seasons. Hopefully this year’s Bachelorette, Becca, will find a love that lasts once the cameras go off. But success rates aside, The Bachelor franchise is very problematic. The Bachelor(ette) glorifies a really regressive and heteronormative presentation of courtship, love and sex. In the Bachelor House, all you need to find true love are: modes of transportation featuring make-out sessions (e.g. limousines, planes, boats, ski lifts), awkward dinner dates in empty 5-Star restaurants, and hometown visits.
But the biggest problem is how The Bachelor glorifies guys who do decent things.
Decent [‘di-sEnt] adj (16 c) 1. Conforming with generally accepted standards of moral behavior 2. Satisfactory (read: tolerable)
“Little Timmy’s scissor skills are decent enough to pass kindergarten, but all of his art projects like he used his teeth to cut them”
Week by week, I found myself commending these men for doing the absolute minimum.
~OMG this guy didn’t mention Becca’s ex is during their one-on-one date! He’s the one!~
~See how he helps her out of the car? What a gentleman!~
~Ahh it’s so nice to see a guy whose masculinity isn’t toxic right away~
But not in a condescending way… I was genuinely impressed.
And that’s really fucked up. There’s the old adage: “Oh there’s plenty of decent guys out there.” And I always thought that was the goal. Only recently has there been the push from decent to dreamy. To find someone who goes above and beyond. To get a partner who offers you a foot massage after a hard day at work. A partner who knows to get you a side of mayo for your sweet potato fries if your server takes your order while you’re in the restroom. Because there are PLENTY of just decent guys out there who don’t deserve an award.
The guy who matched with on Tinder who doesn’t ask to hook up before seeing you in person
Sure, there’s lots of wild folks on Tinder. So when a non-weirdo comes our electronic-way, it’s easy to swoon. But don’t get too excited. He could be a guy who has the audacity to take you out on a date before creepily asking you to wait for your Uber in his apartment (which is conveniently around the corner from the restaurant he chose). *insert barf emoji* *insert barf emoji* *insert barf emoji*
The guy who takes you out on a date and offers to pay the bill
Yes, female empowerment… and fuck gender roles… and I’m an independent who’s got the bank to pay for my meals. But home-dude should AT LEAST offer to pay the bill. I grew up in a non-heteronormative household, and my moms always told me to never trust a guy who doesn’t offer to pay the bill. Also, guys shouldn’t get romantic Brownie Points for tipping well. If there’s one thing my job as a hostess has taught me, tipping is just the right thing to do.
The guy in a fraternity who calls out his brothers for saying “That’s gay” or other fratty problematic shit
Because if he’s not stopping it, he’s promoting it.
The guy in your Literature and Fine Arts class who consumes art outside of the WASP male cannon
Anytime I meet a white guy that likes Noname, I think I’ve met the love of my life and the end of racism is around the corner. The thing is: women make art. People of color make art. Really every marginalized community makes art. In fact, we make great art, and people should listen to it. Marginalized communities have been the backbone of most artforms time and time again. Just because a guy has read Joy Luck Club and Their Eyes Were Watching God doesn’t make him “worldly.” It just means he proficiently completed high school English.
The guy who asked for your number and responds to texts within 24 hours
My rule of thumb is: workplace-level common courtesy should be part of relationship baseline standards. So that includes: responding in a timely manner, showing up on time for shit, and NOT STEALING YOUR FOOD. If he can do it for his job, he can sure as shit do it for you.
The guy who works at Chipotle and always puts $2 worth of guac in your bowl
Okay, honestly, this guy is BAE, but he’s also just doing his job. You’re paying two dollars for that guac. If you went to the grocery store, you could buy TWO WHOLE DAMN AVOCADOS with that amount of money. So you deserve that full spoonful. You shouldn’t be a giddy, fan girl when some guy gives you what you deserve.
Do you watch The Bachelor(ette)? Have you ever fallen for someone “just decent?” Leave a comment!
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Feature Photo: @awardsforgoodboys