Masochism has to be the underlining force behind women who sign up for "The Bachelor." Add to that 29 million viewers taking it all in.
Who in her right mind would want to go through such humiliation-cast off, done with, kissed and then good-byed, dined and then ditched, romanced and then ruded?
Masochism — desiring pain inflicted by another.
Brooke Smith, 22 year old senior at the University of Alabama, must have gone through the severe angst. Seated — pretty as a belle — in a limo the length of Madison Avenue, she wept and wept and sobbed and sobbed in front of the whole world. (Nielsen ratings concluded the TVcast rated a "solid win" over "Victoria's Secret Fashion Show").
"Why o why not me?" the runner-up cried out in so many shaking, anguished tremors. "If I had a chance to do it all over again, I would have told Aaron, when he said to me, 'I hope I didn't make a mistake,' that he was making the biggest mistake in his life!!" So lamented Ms. Brooke.
Sad? Seems so. But more. Yet ABC gloated in every close-up shot of the suffering, poor lass.
She tried hard, she said. She put on her best happy face in the visit with rich boy's parents and grandma and brother and sister-in-law. She answered their questions with giggle after giggle. Her beautiful smile never went away, at least not when the cameras were rolling for the final ring-out.
As we watched this whole fall-down, didn't any sensible feeling person have the whole range of emotions and questions, like "What am I wasting my evening watching this for?" "What female of worth would subject herself to such humiliation?" "What true gentleman would do this to all these females?" "Can this really be dragged out for two hours?" "How many commercial breaks do we have to endure before this torture chamber is closed up for the night?"
On and on. And not only for the final episode, but for all those tantalizing, superficial installments leading up to! Are we stupid, numb, coarse or what?
So Helene Eksterowicz, 27 year old grade school psychologist from Jersey, walked off with the prize? She must have thought so — a 28 year old banker from Springfield, MO who has his own bachelor pad as well as a sprawling homeplace for enjoying American success with parents and sibling.
Well, Helene at least got the ring. But, "we're not going to Vegas next weekend or anything like that," Mr. Buerge informed the press.
So Grandma had it right all along when, with creased forehead, she asked the two younguns if six weeks could spell out anything like true love. Wisdom opened up her mouth. Two next generations listened politely. Thank God!
But back to the drive that runs females into such a cattle run — masochism.
Watching the show on November 20 after the actual two weeks' spread since the final taping, Ms. Brooke let loose: "I still am in love with him. I haven't been able to date anybody. It was like getting my heart broken all over again. . ."
Can this truly be tolerated in the name of civility, feminism, equality, decency, kindness, let alone love?
- J. Grant Swank, Jr.