Cheering for Polygamy
I know what you're thinking, this posed pic MUST have been taken on the set of the greatest show on earth, The Bachelor. Nopeities, it's just a very cringeworthy photo from a millionty years ago, capturing a gorgeous sunset in Sydney but mostly our cutting-edge narcissism. I should add that none of my friends are actually polygamous (what a bunch of prudes).
For a long time, before children, Tom and I co-existed happily without a TV. He was spared the blusterous intrusion of reality TV (bypassing the entire Kardashian Jenner time-space-gender continuum), and I was saved from the boredom of televised rugby games, where I would be rudely shushed by an entire room for asking important questions such as, “Which one is Shane Warne again?”. It was a convenient truce.
A few years ago, faced with energetic, destructive toddlers, we did what any new-age parents practicing conscious mindfulness would do and invested in a giant plasma screen TV for the household.
Slowly, the PG-rated shows began creeping back into our lives. An All Blacks game roaring through the house at 4am here and there, a spot of Dating Naked over breakfast. Eventually, I discovered The Bachelor – 30 girls trapped in a harem, trying to win the love of just one suitor, getting tipsy and having their vulnerabilities exploited for the camera. I have been completely hooked ever since.
Tom, being the judgemental extremist that he is, finds this utterly appalling. I’d like to argue (actually I would never argue, just murmur quietly and then go all hell-to-leather about that person’s unsatisfactory, INCORRECT, stinking views once they are out of earshot) that The Bachelor is not only riveting entertainment (adrenaline pumping euphoria!) but also presents a fascinating social experiment: Polygamy in Captivity.
Will the ‘hostages’, who came here searching for instant Insta fame, actually end up falling in love with their ‘captor’?
Yes, cheering for polygamy can sometimes make one feel like a bad feminist, however this show delivers everything that is missing from my own existence: sleeping in a mansion, glamorous ball gowns, cocktail parties, flirting, first dates and follow-up dates (in particular, dates that occur more than once a year). It also delivers cattiness, cabin fever, jealousy, hysteria, humiliation and lots of close-up ugly-crying. Like driving past a car accident, I just can’t look away.
Did you know there is a comedian called Hi Josh who LOVES The Bachelor so much that he creates hilarious recaps of the show whenever its on? He even met his gorgeous musically talented now-wife who was likely (most definitely) out of his league after she replied to one of his Bachy IG stories. I bet Hi Josh wouldn’t sit in the next room as you watched the show, shaking his head, making audible groans of disapproving anguish and tut tutting in despair.
Although, I’m not sure I actually want Tom to start watching The Bachelor. He might get some funny ideas about how easy it is to get a date as a single man today or start believing in the validity of bigamy. Reality TV can really cloud one’s perspective, as I’ve learnt…
In Australia’s second season of The Bachelorette (Georgia Love), the runner up, upon learning his fate, theatrically bent over in total anguish. This open display of his feelings won him a place in the heart of every female watching the show. A grown man dropping to his weakened knees over his undying love for a woman? Gasp. Take me! Now!
Soon after that show finished, I walked past the runner up on the street. I was delighted to see him in the flesh. “Matty J!” I accidentally blurted out. He looked over, smiled (grimaced?) and gave a reluctant wave (it may have been a “please stop there”). I then spontaneously erupted with, “OMG I love you, like I’m in love with youuuuuuu!”.
Immediately, I slapped a hand over my disorderly mouth and tried to escape as quickly as possible. Unfortunately I was pushing both my kids in an ungainly side-by-side double pram, up a slight (but deceivingly gruelling) hill. We painstakingly slowly inched our way past him, my face blazing, him just standing there with his mouth half open in mild disgust.
The kids were shrieking, “Mummy who is your friend? Hi Mummy’s friend! Hey! Mummy’s friend it’s meeeee! Mummy’s friend! Look at meeeeee!”
“Byeeeeeee Mummy’s friend!”