I was a bachelor aus virgin

19 Sep

I love you


That is, I was until about two hours ago, when, after listening to a critique of the program on ABC Radio National Life Matters the other day titled Can a Real feminist enjoy The Bachelor, I decided I better have a look at this show if I wanted to get a bead on where popular culture is currently at in the matter of romance, rose petals, and true lurve.

It was approximately one hour and twenty minutes of my life I will never get back.

I would also like to take up with Life Matters what exactly they mean by a “real” feminist, but one thing at a time.

After watching the final episode of Bachelor (I wasn’t going to submit myself to the torment of the previous fifteen) I was left with the kind of feeling I get when I’ve eaten an entire packet of jelly snakes, which, coincidentally, I also did this week. Sickened, guilty, ashamed, and wondering if I put my finger down my throat and barf will I be restored to my un-polluted self?

The Bachelor, whose name I believe is Sam Wood, scared the bejesus out of me at first glance owing to his uncanny physical resemblance to the actor Jamie Dornan, who, as you will all know, played the character Christian Grey in the movie Fifty Shades of Grey.

An aside: When I first heard the title Fifty Shades of Grey I thought it referred to a new L’Oreal hair colour chart. Then I thought it must be about very old ghosts. Then a friend gave me the book and I chucked it in the recycling. Anyhow. Be that as it may.

Jamie Dornan also played a seriously alarming psychopath in The Fall, alarming because of his ability to both conduct an apparently straightforward and loving family life, while transmogrifying into a serial killer at night. This surely must be the  heterosexual woman’s worst nightmare, that the man with whom you’ve chosen to spend your life and allowed to give you babies has a side you never see until it’s too late.

In a Freudian chain of association these thoughts provoked by The Bachelor are not entirely non sequiturs, given that two people, brought together in entirely unrealistic circumstances, must decide on the basis of absolutely no knowledge of one another to join lives because, as the bachelor puts it :”I have to follow my heart and know that will lead me where I’m meant to go.”

Cue ten jelly snakes cos references to destiny. Biology is destiny. Damn you, Freud.

It took me a good ten minutes to silence the clamour of cultural references, and take Sam at face value. He seems like an OK guy and has very good teeth. He was also kind to the ladies. He lost credibility for mine when he appeared at the end in a royal blue suit.

Also, I have never seen a woman get so dressed up for a dumping. It was heartbreaking the trouble Lana had gone to, only to be told, you are an incredible woman but not my incredible woman, or some such blather, after which she took herself off and stood under a tree asking not to be filmed, but they filmed her anyway.

Look, this is ghastly. It should be bombed.

The Bachelor’s premise is scarcity: a harem of women competing for one man.

Its message to women is warped. You have no agency, rather a man will choose you or he will reject you. You must make every effort to suss out what it is this man wants from a woman and then you must give it to him, even if it isn’t in your nature. This man’s approval is everything. He has absolute power in the circumstances. You have none.

Helicopter rides are incredible. Flower-strewn rowboats mysteriously anchored in the middle of water-lilies are incredible. Classic cars are incredible. The champagne is incredible. Every woman looks incredible to Sam. This word incredible features more than any other adjective in the script and that is, unwittingly, entirely fitting because the entire stupid moronic concept is totally incredible, and so sickeningly hetero-normative it makes me want to barf up all my jelly snakes.

And I still don’t know what a real feminist is, but people seem to have been arguing about it for years.




17 Responses to “I was a bachelor aus virgin”

  1. Michaela Tschudi September 19, 2015 at 11:23 am #

    You should have eaten chippies instead.

    Liked by 2 people

    • doug quixote September 19, 2015 at 11:39 am #

      I needed no discouragement from this absurd program.

      Guinevere, you should have known better!

      Eat chippies instead, as Michaela says.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Jennifer Wilson September 20, 2015 at 6:22 am #

        I knew better and did it anyway.
        This is my greatest character flaw.


  2. Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumpp) September 19, 2015 at 12:01 pm #

    On the Capture of Quintessence:

    This is what happens after an aerial dog fight, when suddenly the sky is empty, and one is no longer in a target-rich environment.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Geoff Andrews September 19, 2015 at 12:58 pm #

    You too, were sucked in by the breathless promise of joining with all the other flappers around the office water cooler to discuss “The Batchelor”, thus steering viewers of ABC TV to a rival channel that evening?
    Maybe that’s what feminism is: a fearless promotion of one’s employer’s rival network?
    I’ve never watched “The Bachelor” and your critique of it, combined with the chatter on “Life Matters”, has justified my decision. It would seem that it would take more than a suspension of disbelief to maintain the weekly torture.
    On the other hand, if the presenter and guests on “Life Matters” profess to be feminists (as, I believe, they did), they surely demonstrated a temporary suspension belief.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. hudsongodfrey September 19, 2015 at 4:36 pm #

    It seems to me that what we should be looking for here are ways to explain why anyone bothers to watch a program that seems on the face of it to be strewn with so many negatives.

    On the face of things taking a group of several women to set most of them up for varying degrees of disappointment seems like it ought to be unwatchable. As empathetic human beings surely that’s a huge potential downer?

    So the very fact this program has aired for several seasons in local and international versions begs an explanation for why apparently the emotional connections we experience through even a confected romantic high not only outweigh the collective lows of all the failed contestants, but seem formulaically guaranteed to deliver ratings.

    Or am I wrong and half of the audience only watch to bitch about how the nicer ones were wronged by the protagonist? A form of dating disaster porn if you will….

    Either way if feminism goes part of the distance in explaining what’s wrong with this program then it will still be only part of the way, just one among several better angels people ignore when they become immersed in a guilty pleasure.

    There’s a questionable kind of suspension of disbelief afforded to some reality-TV. Being told it’s “real” seems counter intuitive given that we’ve come to trust TV producers of entertainment not to allow things to get too real. Before we know it we’re saying “real” with a wink, even if it is a duplicitous one. As “entertainment” it is granted a kind of undeservedly positive reception in the expectation that any genuine harms will have been squared away off camera.

    In other words there’s possibly a point of separation between fantasy and reality, a false proscenium under which the viewer is truly meant to view so called “reality-TV” as more or less the equivalent of drama. If that’s true and it’s also true of other dramatised versions of reality ranging from Hollywood, to video games, and even to porn. So I suppose we’re expected to avoid drawing any serious parallels with real life, and maybe to fall back on evidence and ideology to tell us which fantasies are okay and which are harmful.

    I’m not sure I want to grant reality-TV fantasy status all that readily, but if somebody wants to riddle me whether blurring the lines either way makes a difference then the question becomes whether you’d watch for entertainment something you wouldn’t do in real life, and the answer to that one is easily a resounding yes!

    It could boil down to a question of taste. Then it’d suffice to say I haven’t watched.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nick September 20, 2015 at 2:02 am #

      “disaster porn”

      I’m not sure about that term. People aren’t getting off on it. They’re showing empathy. That shouldn’t be manipulated, but it shouldn’t be discouraged or thought of as gratuitous either.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jennifer Wilson September 20, 2015 at 6:36 am #

        I read the other day about a psychological disturbance known as pathological empathy…


        • Nick September 20, 2015 at 2:14 pm #


        • Nick September 20, 2015 at 2:43 pm #

          The message being we’re not fully human (capable of helping others) until we learn not to be gullible.

          The problem is it’s easy to play on people’s cynicism as well.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson September 20, 2015 at 6:35 am #

      HG, as always your posts are wonderfully thought-provoking. Reality tv? Impossible dream.

      I’m very reluctant to forensically deconstruct the psychopathy behind The Bachelor, suffice for me to acknowledge its existence!
      But not for one moment would I describe it as even faux reality tv. I kept thinking of Disney princesses: society’s sick fantasy of heterosexual love based entirely on dysfunction.


      • hudsongodfrey September 20, 2015 at 11:16 am #

        The less I think about that particular show the better, but the more I think about the TV genre then the more it looks like the production of drama with the scriptwriter taken out and the cameras let run long enough so as to give the editors enough to work with.

        If the editing process tends to a form of projection the audience are complicit in then its almost like any harms it contains are self inflicted. That’s where it may be verging upon politically interesting because I sense the same arguments from freedom of choice that are made in favour of gambling and against recreational drug use. That is to say made, at the same time and without a hint of hypocrisy from their various proponents.

        There’d be some bigger point to be thrashed out about how in a free society we try and allow moral agency to prevail insofar as possible. Most people ought to be able to handle reality TV, and others ought to be able to draw some kind of bright line at self harm as opposed to harming others. I’m sure philosophers could argue either that it’s all an illusion in a predetermined pattern so large it goes unnoticed, or that the bright lines always get blurred because we live in butterfly effect world….. Evidence of harm would be nice, but subjective evidence of bad taste is abundant.

        For the record Disney is mostly in bad taste, except Fantasia.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Jennifer Wilson September 21, 2015 at 10:57 am #

          Yes, how ever did Fantasia happen I wonder.


          • hudsongodfrey September 21, 2015 at 5:33 pm #

            The boring answer would have something to do with the relative infancy of talking pictures, colour film and the fact that they’d been experimenting with similar things since the late 30’s. So there was a kind of natural progression towards more ambitions versions of animation put to music, before all the character driven moral tales took over…..

            The answer that’s more fun to think about might’ve been that its 1940 release fell just prior to WWII in earnest from America’s perspective, at a time neatly wedged between the repeal of prohibition of alcohol and the war on drugs gathering steam.

            Disney strikes me as having been a bit of an asshole, always out to get his workers with communist slurs from the ’50’s onward, but he was an unusually creative figure nonetheless. I don’t think he lived to see the theme parks and all the other derivative crap that oozed forth afterward. I guess his money outlived him in the sense that the cash cow they’ve been milking ever since has been remarkably durable.

            I don’t remember much more about him than an urban myth (false, his head wasn’t frozen) and a misogynistic joke about Mini fucking Goofy.


  5. Gina September 20, 2015 at 12:06 am #

    Well said!

    Liked by 1 person

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