We sit in our living room on a cold wintery night, all cozied up. The excitement is tangible as we gather to begin a new episode of “The Bachelor.” The watch parties, loads of memes and tweets of known celebrities just reinforce the popularity of this show.
I never really understood why every girl on this campus was so fond of it. Why does any respectable person want to watch a show that seems to demean women and men? Maybe because it seems so close to home.
I will not deny it: it’s entertaining. But the more I watched it, the more I started to realize this show was so likable because it represents our dating mentality.
We meet people, go on dates, meet more people and go on even more dates. We have so many options and it’s so tempting to follow the roulette of dating until we feel we have found the one, but that’s not always the case, and we end up disappointed.
After six semesters at BYU-Idaho and seeing the popularity of the show in our culture, following Provo’s Most Eligible and Match Made in Rexburg, “The Bachelor” and any of its related series resonate because they represent our reality.
I have watched many friends and strangers go through this process, and I have to admit I’m not innocent from this fault in our dating.
NCMO’s, DTR’S, ring by spring, the list goes on and on and it’s disappointing to see that these are the terms that relate to dating nowadays. I had to go on Urban Dictionary for most of these when I started school back in the fall of 2017 and have become embarrassed by how comfortable I’ve become with our dating culture.
We are so bad at dating that people like Dr. Cole Ratcliffe, a Marriage and Family Studies professor at BYU-I and a marriage and Family therapist created BYUIdo, a website focused to address our current dating issues and questions. Along with that came the dating workshops we have every semester to teach us how to date properly.
We are constantly reminded of our singleness and have to be on the search for an eternal partner. The tools are never-ending, from the Mutual app to our own Home Evening groups being set up. Dating isn’t wrong, but the way we approach dating is.
We date around with no real intent of getting to know people, we commit too quickly, we are too picky, and sometimes we just don’t know what we want except to feel like we are fulfilling expectations.
I’m not an expert, but I recognize that our dating culture is messed up. Dating is not a game. We are all people with feelings, and most of us want to find something real and lasting. The questions is, what do we personally need to change to update our dating status quo?
I think the answer to this question lies in the fact that we need to slow down and seriously think, use our head along with our heart to date with the intention to know someone and with the intention to commit when the time is right.
There is no rush in the process as much as we think there is. We are all agents of our choices and experiences and we just need to own up to it a lot more.
Although “The Bachelor” made me realize the many wrongs in dating, I don’t blame them for making our reality a TV show. I still come back from school every Tuesday and join my five roommates awaiting the drama that will unfold. At least it makes us feel a bit more comfortable about our current dating situation.