Thursday, October 31, 2002

Dating According to Network Television

Happy Halloween everyone! Today is the day we all get to get dressed up like scary monsters or the opposite sex (which sometimes is a scary monster) and go around acting stupid and getting candy for it. From the previous sentence you should easily be able to see why I love this holiday. I, and a few other friends, are dressing up as women and trick or treating around St. Ben’s later today. I plan on having many pictures to post in the next couple of days for you all to see. I’m sure you’re looking forward to them already!

Now I know I should be writing about jack-o-lanterns and goblins today, but something I watched on tv last night distressed me a little more and I need to talk about it to anyone who might read this. Besides, you’ll get all kinds of Halloween stories within the next few days. Anyhow, so I was sitting down last night with Amanda and Burns watching some television before I was going to go to Magis (a college, student-based worship service). What was on the television? A show called “The Bachelor”. Another reality show (which I loathe), but it was also a pseudo-dating show which I might like. I decided to give it a shot. After the hour of the show was over, I left the room more angry and frustrated with a tv show then ever before. Why? Was the show just terrible? No. Was the show boring? No. Was there too big of a cliff-hanger that I didn’t want to wait a week to have resolved? No. Then why did I hate it? Because of the way it turned dating, and the now shady morals of dating, into a game show, or shopping simulator as I saw it.

The show is set up so that one man gets to eventually choose one girl out of 25 who he wants to date (and will probably marry, as this show spans months as opposed to normal dating shows). By the episode I watched, he had it narrowed down to four girls, and he had been “dating” these girls for almost six weeks now. That’s a long time to date someone. I figure if you date anyone over a month or a couple of weeks it means that there is some definite potential in your relationship—if not, you would have drifted or broken apart much quicker.

Now what really gets me is that he is basically dating these four women at the same time. If some guy was to do this in everyday life, all four women would be so pissed! The whole point of a relationship is for it to be exclusive. This show makes it look like it is completely ok to date four different people and then narrow it down to the three you like best, the two, then the one you like the best of all and that will be your girlfriend / fiancĂ© / whatever. I don’t understand why these women would go along with this, I sure wouldn’t. If three other guys were dating the same girl I was, I would drop her fast as possible. In fact, I would think that most people expect the person they are dating to be true to them—no kissing other people, no random making out, none of that stuff—but in this show it is completely fine, and even advocated because it shows how much he cares for each of them.

Another thing that this television program shows us is that for many, money means more than love. The reason these girls and guy are doing this show is because there is a big prize attached to being the last girl with the guy (I don’t recall what it is, but Amanda told me there was something attached). These girls didn’t come on the show to find true love, they came to win money by pretending to love some guy. It distresses me so much that most of society puts money above love. I’ll admit I felt that way at one time, when I first came into college. I went into computer science and studied hard and worked my butt off because I wanted to make lots and lots of money. As time progressed, however, my priorities changed and right now people, relationships, and love mean so much more to mean than any amount of money. How can something so wonderful and intangible but put below material crap? Maybe I’m missing something here, but I really don’t think so.

I say strongly that love is not a game show, its not about shopping around, it’s not about getting money—it’s about finding that one person (not narrowing down a list), being true to them (not having them be one of many partners), and giving them your whole heart (not 1/4th of it). This show sickened me and I can’t imagine why people would want to watch this show, much less experience it. Whatever, I’m done.

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