The Final Rose
I have a confession to make. I am totally and utterly obsessed with The Bachelor. Like- I have to read the spoilers before the season even starts, or else I lose sleep over the outcome- obsessed. And yet still, I live on the edge of my seat until the final rose is handed out.
When I stop to think about the premise of the show, it’s pretty ridiculous. Okay, fine- it’s absurd- but I, along with millions of other members of Bachelor Nation, still eagerly await each season, each episode, each rose ceremony. But… why? Why are intelligent humans choosing to watch season after season, hours after hours of a show that is all about rejection and pitting people against each other so they can “win” the heart of their supposed “soul mate”? Isn’t this precisely what we are teaching our children NOT to do?
We know how the story of the season ends. The lead falls in love with multiple contestants then cries tears of sadness when saying good-bye to all the “I love you, but I think I love the other person more” runner ups. Later we watch with gleeful hearts as the final rose is handed out and a proposal is accepted. The diamond ring shimmers in the setting sunlight as the newly engaged couple (literally) ride off into the sunset. We turn off our TVs on finale night with renewed hope in happily ever after. We go to sleep blissfully. Our dreams return to those of childhood, filled with knights in shining armor and rose petal paths leading only to pure and forever love.
And then…. weeks later, we happen to glance at the cover of US Weekly in the grocery store check-out line, and we see the forever-soul mates- can’t live without you- couple broke up. Just like that, they are- done. The fantasy is- shattered. The fairy tale- ended.
And y’all- even though I know this news is coming, I am ALWAYS devastated. I’m saddened to the core of my being. But why? I don’t even know these people. I understand that they met on a reality show and lived in a manufactured world. The romance is far from pure. Even if they did come to the show for “the right reasons,” they all have ulterior motives. So what does this shocked and saddened reaction say about me as a person? What does it mean about our culture that so many millions of people feel the same as I do? Why are we buying into the bullshit?
Growing up, we subscribe to the idea of fairy tales and happy endings. Then we become adults and realize that life is hard as fuck, so we become a bit more jaded, a little more realistic and a lot more guarded. And that’s how we live our lives because that’s what we have to do to survive. We live the struggles of life Every. Single. Day. We understand that fairy tales are just that- tales- and real life is anything but.
While it could be worrisome, here’s the way I look at it: the fact that there are millions of people across the globe that would consider themselves to be part of Bachelor Nation and who watch this franchise warms my hopeful heart. You see, to me, this means that there are millions and millions out there who still believe in love and hope. We watch even though we know the outcome will most likely not be what anyone wanted- but there’s still a chance. There have been some success stories- granted, not many but even one enduring love story gives reason to hope. Because even in the mess of the drama and the produced reality and the chaos of the bachelor mansion, there is still hope that the lead and the person he picks will fulfill the promise of the fairy tale. We still desperately want that final rose to mean something. We need it to count.
The world today is a crazy place and only getting crazier. Out of habit, I turn on the news in the morning. The length of time I can watch is shorter and shorter. Unfortunately, the events of today are not pleasant or joyful in any way. It’s hard not to get dragged down in the darkness of it all. But see, that’s where I believe The Bachelor comes into play. We tune in to watch a love story because we need to turn our sights back to what we so profoundly believed when we were still young and innocent before the realities of life took hold. We want to believe in love because love is always stronger than hate. We must dive into the romance because the initial foundation of any relationship is built on hope.
My cousin’s favorite quote is: No one gets out of life alive. And that’s just the hard truth of it. This life births us, holds us, breaks us, and then takes us. We ride the wave of our existence while clinging to the hope that we won’t sink before we learn to swim. Having come very close to death myself, I’ve come to understand that we all want to be chosen- chosen to be loved. I hope that at the end of my life, I can look back and know that in the moments when it counted the most, I chose myself. Because in the final rose ceremony of life, there will always be enough roses for each of us hopeful souls.
In love and hope,