Issue 10. TITS OFF
Susannah Alfred- Why are we so obsessed with the bachelor?
Monday nights are sacred in my house. Every week throughout Bachelor season, my roommates and I gather in the living room in undone states of hair up + comfy clothes and bowls of popcorn, to spend two hours shouting at the TV over women who are: ‘too made up,’ too heteronormative in their desire to be hot wives to successful men, and too young to be committing their lives to a man they only know from existing in a glitzy vacuum together.
There’s something deeply upsetting about watching women go on this show “in a quest to find love,” and be both objectified and reduced to the qualities that make a good mother and wife. And even so, when the commercial breaks told viewers to head on over to bachelornation.com/apply to be on the show....I couldn’t resist.
It’s not out of desire to be famous, or get married young, but because of my sheer curiosity about the type of character producers would decide to cast me as. Thinking about how I would react to the other women around me if I were thrown into The Bachelor environment, and how those reactions would be portrayed on national television, became a meditation on how I could truly see myself being painted in any light. I could be the girl crying and drunk at the cocktail party (because who hasn’t been drunk at inopportune events), the angry one causing drama, the cute wholesome one.
And if I could be painted in these ways, then couldn’t anyone else? If nothing else, our Monday night ritual has made me more compassionate. These two hours each week have allowed me to stop and think about how each woman is showing up in that room, and by proxy, how the characters in my life and I show up for each other.
Bonus! If you’re just dying to know what my answer would be for “Why would you like to be on the show?” (one of the only questions on the application besides height and weight) I would say:
I’m from a small town in the Midwest, which isn’t quite as good as being from the South by Bachelor standards, but carries the same wholesome Christian values which make me a more desirable contestant than someone from a city. But I’m not vanilla like most Midwesterners because I’m Jewish, meaning that I add a safe dose of ethnic diversity to the show while still being white.
I have plenty of options to pull from when it comes to being vulnerable with my sob stories, especially when it comes to cancer, divorce, and a family history of mental health issues. And I’m a watery Cancer which means I’m full of emotions and I’m not afraid to share them. Like any good Cancer, I’m driven by my desires to cultivate a strong feeling of home and build my family.
I don’t have a strong social media presence, which I’d argue, is a good thing, because no one these days is ‘here for the right reasons’. My lack of social media activity, however, does not point to antisocial activity. In fact, my job is “Community Manager.” As per the title, it means that I’m involved with overseeing a community (of women) everyday which has made me quite adept at conversation with strangers and navigating complex female dynamics. I will happily talk to anyone whether they’re behind a camera or not.
My job title is also something vague enough to not sound like a real job (i.e. it makes me more approachable than seemingly career driven women) but viewers in time will come to know that I was actually quite driven in college and am self-sufficient now because of the aforementioned job. My innate goofiness and hominess of my Cancer shell make these erudite traits all the more attractive as they’re slowly cracked open throughout the season.