Tag Archives: The Bachelor

Alternative Endings to the Bachelor

16 Mar

Huzzah! Rachel Lindsay–The first POC bachelorette.

by Madeline Iva

I saw the very first season of the Bachlorette while packing for a Big Move to the South.  I made it through a few seasons after that because I was fascinated by watching grown women aggressively fight for the attention of one man–while pretending not to. So deliciously perverse! Alexa Day posted about the announcement of the latest bachelorette on Tuesday, and the rest below is just one long riff about The Bachelor and other thoughts her post inspired.

I loved how the most interesting women (to me) on The Bachelor in the end ultimately had to be–I mean HAD TO BE–there for the money. (Student loans, I’m guessing.) Top ways to tell:

  1. They were very popular with the other women in the house. This, I think, is a key sign. But at the same time, they didn’t seem to have a secret boyfriend at home, or were there for some kind of acting career –and thus could dodge the “you’re not here for the right reasons” attack.   (BTW has anyone ever gone up and attacked a contestant saying “You’re just here to pay off your student loans—aren’t you, bitch?”)
  2. Often they would acknowledge being on the fence about their feelings for the guy. Why? Because they weren’t that into Mr. Available.  This only helps them not seem like a threat to the other women, of course.
  3. The fact that they weren’t so into the bachelor often seemed to make the bachelor far more into them.  Like he wanted to chase them hard.  After all, for most men, chasing is their comfort zone.  (Some of us are challenged when it comes to being adored.) Logically, enlightened men *know* it’s okay for a girl to chase a guy.  But they’re not actually comfortable with it.  It’s not their usual pattern–and sometimes breaking patterns feels odd.
  4. Because these women were just “passing time” to earn their paycheck, they could neatly avoid conflict in the house with the rest of the women–and work on soothing things out.  This is where their attention was.  It’s like they reguard the other women in the house as their fellow co-workers and wanted to be team players more than they were actually vying for the heart of one man.
  5. There’s almost an instant, quick and quiet break up following the conclusion of the show when one of these women was chosen.  The fact that a break up would immediately follow seemed like wonderful karma to me.  That’s what you get, you bachelor guy, for going for the girl that’s “not that into you” and ignoring the ones who were good people and desperate for your man-love.

At any rate — I’m glad that the show chose a POC bachelorette.

But I gotta wonder: how is this show going to continue to appeal to any but the most conservative audience? Because with polyamory becoming an accepted thing amongst all the hipsters and millenials, doesn’t the idea of picking ‘the one’ seem just a wee bit old fashioned?

I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with being a monogamous type of person (I’m one myself). I’m just saying that when the Batchelor says “OMG, I’m in love with BOTH of these women” is this still the shockingly upsetting drama that it used to be?  Aren’t twenty and thirty somethings across the land saying “And? This is a problem why?”

Or–a more radical theory still–was the repetition of season after season of The Bachelor/Bachelorette actually paving the way for widespread polyamory across our heartland over these last ***seventeen*** years by making TV America overly familiar with the idea that one person can easily fall in love with two (or more) people at the same time?  I mean, think back to when polyamory started becoming a thing–right? Amiright?

I’m just waiting for the season when the Bachelor/Bachelorette decides to propose to *both* women or accept a proposal from *both* guys.  Now that would be a ratings booster.

Maybe if this this new bachelorette says yes to a black man AND a white man we can all have our cake and eat it too.

MEANWHILE — Idris Elba for Bond.  Seriously.  Accept no other substitutes.  Unless it’s Tom Hiddleston.  Then we’ll have to talk.

Madeline Iva writes fantasy and paranormal romance.  Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, featuring a magic geek heroine, is available on AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo, and through iTunes.  Sign up for Madeline Iva news & give aways.wickedapprenticefinal-fjm_low_res_500x750


Half Past Time: Rachel Lindsay as the Next Bachelorette

14 Mar

Not sure what lies ahead for Rachel, but she seems to have done pretty well so far, no?

By Alexa Day

Her name is Rachel Lindsay, she’s 31 years old, and she’s an attorney working for a very supportive law firm.

She’s the next Bachelorette. And she’s black.

Some of you can’t be bothered to care, and that’s fine. I will defend to the death your right to apathy. Just understand that this is a really big deal for a great many people.

I’ve never really watched the Bachelor; I could only watch so many grown women burst into real tears on camera over some dude they just met. By the time, I stopped paying attention years ago, the show’s few black cast members were usually on the show long enough to make the network look good. Then they were gone before anyone started to think that the Bachelor, usually a white man, would actually choose a black woman as a romantic partner and potential spouse.

Gradually, black women garnered longer stays on the Bachelor. But before Nick Viall, whose run as the Bachelor will end tonight, none had cracked the final three. Indeed, Nick had a more diverse selection of women than many Bachelors. In the history of the franchise, going back 21 years, the Bachelor and Bachelorette have had only 43 black cast members, and eight of them were with Nick this season.

Rachel left the Bachelor last week, leaving Vanessa and Raven to vie for the final rose. This is about the time I found out that Rachel would be the next Bachelorette, and after I shook my head in wonder that it only took ABC thirteen years to make a black woman the show’s lead, I started to pick through the press coverage.

I liked Rachel immediately. She said her law firm is holding her job open while she films the show, something she knows to be an anomaly in the legal industry. She said she had no desire to know what her dad and Nick talked about, when the two of them apparently had their suitor-parent conference. And then, in The New York Times, she said, “Even though I’m an African-American woman, it’s not different from any other bachelorette.”

You might be asking, at this point, what the big deal is. She says she’s going to be just like any other bachelorette.

That’s the big deal. That’s a huge deal.

I’ve got a few years on Rachel, and so my experience with popular culture’s expectations of black women is probably a little different. Today, we have Rick and Michonne on The Walking Dead, who have moved beyond being the zombie apocalypse’s most dangerous couple and become its most adorable couple as well. On Scandal, Fitz’s adulterous relationship with Olivia might be a thing of the past, but he’s involved in another, similarly complicated interracial relationship with Angela, the director of the FBI … and his ex-wife, Mellie, is flirting across racial lines with her aide, Marcus. Not that long ago, I was delighted to spread the news about the immense but understated magnetism of Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga in Loving.

My point here is that we’re seeing black women with white men in the popular culture. We’re seeing it frequently. What’s so different about this?

The headline that sent me down this Bachelorette rabbit hole was this one, from The Hollywood Reporter: “History-Making ‘Bachelorette’ Opens Up About Pressure to Pick a Black Man.”

Rachel hasn’t even started production yet. And she knows there’s going to be some pressure for her to pick a black man, because to some person or persons out there, it’s okay for her romantic options to be limited by her skin color.
In short, she knows that a lot of people think that black people should be with other black people, to the exclusion of all other people. Whether this view is espoused by enough people to affect her pool of suitors remains to be seen. But she knows the truth about people’s perceptions, and she is willing to tell The Hollywood Reporter about it. In spite of this, she’s determined to pursue her reality-TV romance just like any other woman, of any other race.

“It’s my journey in finding love,” she said. “And whether that person is black, white, red, whatever — it’s my journey. I’m not choosing a man for America, I’m choosing a man for me.”

I hope the network is prepared to support her in this mission.

If Zack and Lisa mattered to you back in the day, then Rachel probably ought to matter to you now.

Because I’m older than Rachel, I remember how many a television show would bring on a completely random black character for the sole purpose of being an appropriate, but temporary, love interest for a more permanent black character. I’m also aware of the longstanding TV trope of pairing the black character with the least romantically desirable character on the show. We’ve made progress, sure. But let’s be honest. Popular culture is still very comfortable with black romance (interracial and otherwise) on the sidelines, leaving black characters with societally appropriate partners who have no chemistry with them, with some grand mission to assist other characters at the expense of their own love lives, or with no partners at all. Honestly, I’m still a bit annoyed with Magic Mike XXL for pushing Rome into the corner. I’m enjoying the rise of Richonne because part of me is afraid it’s going to be taken away soon. Please don’t start me talking about Sleepy Hollow again.

I’m not going to sit here with you and suggest that the Bachelorette is the flagship of romance. I did just say I couldn’t bear to watch grown women devastated to discover that they wouldn’t be marrying some dude they just met a little while ago. But Ali Barthwell from Vulture says it best in “Why a Black Bachelorette is a Big Deal.”

“Celebrating black womanhood in the context of marriage and motherhood might seem reductive to some, but because they’ve so often been denied those roles in pop culture, it’s in fact, revolutionary,” she writes. “Seeing a black woman as the woman pursued, riding off into the sunset, would do so much to diversify the narratives of black romance.”

Will I tune in for Rachel? Well, just last night, one of her future suitors apparently greeted her, on international television, with the promise that he was “ready to go black and never go back.” I have to support a woman who could hear a man say that and not punch him in the face, cameras be damned.

In the meantime, let me present two tales of reality TV romance where black women take center stage.

In The One, by Danielle Allen, heroine Zoe is a reality-TV skeptic who suddenly finds herself on a Bachelor-style show. And Bridget Midway’s Love series, starting with Love My Way, features a reality TV show that pairs Doms with their submissives.

Still looking for excitement? Try this on for size.

Let the Confessional Games Begin!

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Rules for Hunting & Fishing, Or How to Bag Mr. McDreamy

9 Sep
That book has nothing to do with this post.  The connected short stories inside it are whimsical, bitter-sweet tales of estranged semi-daddy love that has practically nothing to do with the title.  (I mean, it's a good book, but it's a brilliant title.)

Great title–but has little or nothing to do with the book. If you are interested in the book–it’s good. These connected short stories are whimsical, bitter-sweet tales of estranged love with an older man.

by Madeline Iva

Hello my romantic darlings.

I wrote last week on Mr. Unattainable, and  I started thinking about two figures. Let’s call the first one McDreamy.  Or McClueless. This is the guy who just doesn’t get that he’s a crazy gorgeous man.  Who can also seem utterly indifferent to the heroine–which makes him all the more appealing.

He wanders around in an intellectual cloud–an artistic cloud–or he’s completely absorbed in good works.

Maybe he even likes someone else.  (Yes, Mr. Edmund Bertram, esq. of Mansfield Park, I’m talking to you.)

This is the guy who is sort of amazed to discover long after the fact has  been apparent to everyone and their cat, that oh, she likes him.

What can you do about a guy like this? You hunt him down is what.  You bag your kill with great sex, and as he slowly wakes up to how much you have in common, how he can’t possibly conceive of living without you, you wind up living happily ever after.

Which brings me to our heroine.  The Heroine Who Knows What She Wants.  I will tag her Ms. Awesome.  It’s a story that happens in reality a lot more than we’d like to admit.  Yet what I want to know is: are we growing more comfortable with the idea of a heroine who bags her guy in romance novels?

Because for some reason Ms. Awesome is deemed very un-romantic.

Repellent to some, catnip to others--The Rules inspired controversy in the 90's.

Repellent to some, catnip to others–The Rules inspired controversy in the 90’s.

Around the time that GIRL’S GUIDE TO FISHING AND HUNTING  hit the best seller lists in the 90’s another book came out that was called THE RULES.

People loved The Rules.  People hated The Rules.  The Rules tried to explain to women why:

a) they needed to put some effort into snagging a man and

b) why some women were putting in the wrong kind of effort.

The book upset feminists everywhere.  They proclaimed  the book advocated feminine deception of a repellant, stereotypical, old-school variety.

Yet I say that in the same way a mysterious, ellusive woman is catnip to men, that the distracted, complexicated McDreamy is catnip to women. And sorry angry feminists, but you’re never gonna get him in his dream cloud unless you DO something about it.

I think, duplicity aside (for that may be true) that feminists really just hated the idea of a woman bagging and tagging a man using any kind of camouflage.

Feminists were challenging the assumption that anyone ‘should’ want a man. (Yet, the simple fact is that many, many, many of us do.)  They also seemed to indicate that anything less straightforward than a woman asking for him/sex in a straightforward way was reprehensible.

Why anyone would assume that just putting it out there works is beyond me.  I mean, do hunters stand up in the open bogs waving their arms and saying Here ducky, ducky–I’m over here! No they do not.   They are subtle.  They use blinds, they make engaging calls out over the romantic foggy air.   Then they sit huddled on the cold rock of their hope to wait.

That’s not to say the blatant frontal attack doesn’t work with guys.   It does–for sex.  A lot. But not always for a relationship-first kind of thing.  Some guys just feel weird about being obviously chased by a woman.

Also, just putting it out there probably won’t work for McDreamy.  He requires tactics.

On the other side of the feminist barricades, millions of desperate, single women  decided to take a look at The Rules and the resulting CHA-CHING!  noises drowned out angry protests.

And many people STILL think a woman going after a man is repellant–even if they bought the book for their sister, etc.

Not me.   I like watching women who hunt.  Fanny Price aside, I’ve seen how many seasons of The Bachelor?

Perhaps people assume  if a woman is going after a man that she’s ‘acting like a man’, i.e. being overly aggressive.  She’ll see a guy she wants, approach him, and put it out there on the table with all the appeal of a gynocological exam.

Thus, the appeal of The Bachelor.  And yes, some women are overly aggressive.  It’s like a car wreck—we just can’t look away.   But this is just a less familiar version of men approaching women and trying the “hey let’s go back to my place and get freaky tonight.” Sure, a few times it may work, but in general…not so much.

Talk about catch & release! The Lady Eve is all about Mc Dreamy & Ms. Awesome.

Talk about catch & release! The Lady Eve is all about Mc Dreamy & Ms. Awesome.

So let’s talk about tactics that actually work.

My bold hypothesis is that “The Rules” is actually a by-product of mating evolution.

If we called these tactics “The Best Hunting  & Fishing Tactics Ever!” maybe they would get the respect that they deserve.  After all, we appreciate a guy who pursues a woman with both skill and charm and then f***s her into heaven—isn’t it time that Ms. Awesome can do the same and get her due?

Metropolitan is a great retelling of Mansfield Park --played out on NYC's Upper East Side. Preppies -- and also a retelling of

Metropolitan is a great retelling of Mansfield Park –played out with NYC’s Upper East Side Preppies.

But the book is a bit of a distortion.

See, real-life masters of The Rules don’t actually need duplicity.  She doesn’t answer his text for a follow up date immediately because she actually IS busy–and she doesn’t automatically drop everything in her life just because a guy comes along.

In this version, Audrey goes hunting and snares two guys--not just one.

In this version, Audrey goes hunting and snares two guys–not just one

Meanwhile, sorry conservatives–you’re wrong in assuming that a woman going after a man has to be repulsive and overly aggressive.

Anyone with half a brain knows that 97% of the time, for both sexes, the aggressive approach is just a little too intense.

Also, it displays a lack of imagination.  Aside from a bold admission of horniness–where’s the fun & creativity? Where’s the marvelous sense of building tension and the unexpected that comes into play when you’re reading a great romance?

Hunting down a guy with subtlety is where Ms. Awesome can display her wit, charm, and intelligence.   It’s the peacock’s plume of mating display–showing off her delicious talents.

The movie Amalie would never have it's happy ending if Amalie didn't step up.

The movie Amalie would never have it’s happy ending if Amalie didn’t step up.

A woman who behaves this way will never make a guy think she’s chasing him.  (I say she isn’t chasing.  It’s not like a dog blindly lurching after a passing bike–she’s hunting–a much more active, empowered, and skilled project).  She conveys the impression that any man would be oh-so-lucky to be included in her next plan to do something inspired/fun/interesting.

This doesn’t involve duplicity–it involves brilliance.  Ms. Awesome hunting down a McDreamy feels no sweaty insecurity about proffering up her invitations–the events she is engaged in will actually be fun–so he’s lucky to be invited.  The other thing that happens to a woman in this state is that with all that fun confidence and open-ness other guys will flock to her like moths to the flame.

Usually at this point Mr. McDreamy wakes from his state of being.  He speaks up, concerned that  if he doesn’t do it soon, and do it right, Ms. Awesome Heroine will no longer be available.

Is it so wrong for a woman to show that she’d be a great potential partner in this way — or is this the man’s job?

The women traditionally shows her competence in a romance novel by taking care of others.  Can Ms. Awesome lead the hero into adventures instead? If so — have you read any romances like this lately?

Call Me Irresistible has a guy-chases-girl dynamic BUT the guy is the town's caretaker (okay Mayor) and the girl is the wildcard.

Call Me Irresistible has a guy-chases-girl dynamic BUT the guy is the town’s caretaker (okay Mayor) and the girl is the wildcard.

Have you read a romance lately where the heroine uses  hunting & fishing skills and the GUY is the caretaker–or is that just way too crazy?

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