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Where Romance Goes to Die

What is Bachelor Night?


It is a weekly tradition that revolves around guilty pleasure TV and serious snacking. Often accompanied by wine and snarky comments.

I first started participating in Bachelor Nation when I had a roommate who was a big fan. Then I carried it on after I moved out and started watching with friends. The tradition became a weekly ritual and the snacks got more decadent. My friends Irene and Mandy started taking cheese platters to the next level.

Sometimes we did many bottles of wine. Sometimes we had dessert after. It was glorious.

Confession: I tried out for The Bachelor

Roll tape back to 2012. I'm 28, single, with zero boyfriends on the horizon, and a few seasons of watching The Bachelor under my belt. My friend Fabian from my church Bible study called me on a Tuesday night to see what I was up to. He asked me if I wanted to go down to Wall Street Cantina to try out for The Bachelor/Bachelorette. It was actually his idea. He was going to bring his friend Joe, and we could all try our luck.


Joe and Fabian were both nice-looking fellas so I think they had a real shot. We waited in a long line on a very sleepy downtown Orlando night and filled out an inordinately long application/questionnaire. There were lots of in-depth questions about relationships and breakups. I really have very little to write on what was probably supposed to be the juiciest section. They did a brief on-film interview of each applicant.

Interviewer, "So, Alanna, tell me about yourself."

"I am in grad school for literary studies, I work at Starbucks, and I've never been in love." (I think I said something like that. Again, this was pre-Michael."

"What do you do for fun?"

"I like reading, beer, trying new restaurants, and singing karaoke. I will sing bad karaoke, completely sober, and have more fun than anyone in the room."

"Thank you. Next, please."

I didn't get a callback. However, this didn't stop me from another shot at fame when Sharknado 4 was coming to town to film part of the upcoming sequel. I was ready to quit my job and be an extra.....but that's another story. 


Bachelor Gus

These low-key parties occur while watching ABC’s The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, and Paradise. The shows typically come on at 8 pm Monday nights, making the start of the week much easier to stomach. The 2023 Season of The Bachelorette is actually on at 9 pm and this is completely throwing my week out of wack. 


The pups watch the show with me, too. My Chiweenie decided to go by the pseudonym "Bachelor Gus" on Monday nights. Every few years he live-Tweets the episode. His comments are not the kindest, but someone must comment on the 80's prom dress that one front runner is wearing to the Cocktail Hour before the Rose Ceremony. Gasp! Woof! 

How the Bachelor Show Works

For those who haven’t seen it, the show is a contest for love in the form of reject-each-girl-right-down-to-engagement. It starts with 30 contestants and a single bachelor. (If it’s the Bachelorette, there’s a girl and 30 men). With each episode, there are dates to get to know the contestants. At the end of the episode, roses are given to contestants who get to stay on the show. The rest go home. Two to four contestants go home crying each Monday night.


At the end of the season, there is one contestant left and either he can propose or she can accept a proposal. If he feels so inclined, he can help market Neil Lane diamond rings and get on one knee. Ah, modern tv romance.

The show is always a sad display of humanity, but a glamorous display of sparkling gowns and dreamy dates. It’s kind of like seeing Cinderella stuck in the land of the stepsisters. The men can be just as petty or magical, it all just depends on the season or episode. While the show is dubbed reality tv, there is always some skepticism about whether or not the producers are in the driver’s seat. Either way, the cameras drive the narrative and Bachelor Nation is holding the tripod.


Do They Do it For the Fame?

You can really explore the behind-the-scenes conspiracy by reading Amy Kaufman's "Bachelor Nation," (which my husband adorably picked out for my honeymoon reading). You can also get the seedier side by watching "Unreal." Both of these glimpses are written by former producer/writer/employees who worked on the real show. 

Shiny Love Commercials

The show parades as a story but, like all good marketing, presents a product to viewers. While watchers consume the moments chasing after love, they are really participating in the longest commercial for this hotel, that restaurant, this steamy hot tub, or those bungee jumping businesses.


It's such a thinly veiled advertisement for businesses that you begin to accept the strangeness of a bachelor saying something like "Machu Picchu, the lost city of Incas has more than one hundred phenomenal structures and nothing is more romantic than staying at the Jaya Suite Hotel." Because that's a totally normal off-hand comment during coffee with the show's host.

To enjoy the show, you must suspend some disbelief and hope some moments are genuine. You must suspend your disbelief in love, and open your arms to embrace what is real on the show. You may find some brief flirtations and the occasional vulnerable, honest, risky, and romantic conversation. Perhaps the realest thing driving this show is the public desire for connection and love. So much so that we will watch a cheap imitation and take that salve. But again, this could be just about entertainment. 

What is more entertaining - or accessible on some level - than a broken heart?

Spaghetti Mondays

But let’s get back to the important stuff: food. For a long time, we went full-on dinner on show night. I decided my go-to would be pasta. Spaghetti Mondays were born.

Each week I would look forward to choosing noodles and doctoring my own marinara concoction. The smell of cooking tomatoes and fresh-cut basil would fill the air. Spaghetti and Bachelor pair well together. Eventually, I noticed I was making enough for a month and after Monday most would go uneaten. Alas.


But cheese platter life was still a frequent meal of choice.

The most beautiful dresses since the Oscars.

Since it’s the beginning of the week, we have to go easy on the wine. We go hard on the snark though. It’s important to discuss matters of hair, jewelry, dress, shoes, makeup, suits, and possibly personality.

It's important to recognize how certain uncomfortable contestant interactions are rife with artificial chemistry, impersonal, strained kisses, and awkward silence slow dances.

Some seasons we do brackets. Post-season we might find a new podcast to listen to (shout out to Scrubbing In and Off The Vine). There might be a new insta to follow – so many ex-contestants become influencers! It’s a busy world out there for Bachelor Nation.

So the point of all this really is to find out . . . how good is your cheese platter game?

Cheese Platters & More by Mandy, Irene, and Me

Reject Island

With only one winner, or one couple, at the end of the season, the motley crew of rejects that America warms up to throughout every bachelor/bachelorette season are left behind. So what do you do with all of the intriguing broken-hearted beautiful people? You put them on an island. 

It's not called reject island. which would be quite apt. It is called Bachelor in Paradise. It is a total split show. Everyone who got split up with is there trying to find a lifeline, a partner in rejection, to get them through paradise. It's Survivor but contestants subsist on margaritas, gossip, desperation, sunburns and skimpy swimsuits.

This show doesn't have the same gowns, the shopping trips for diamond tiaras, or the Eiffel Tower makeout sesh. But, if you missed your Monday night friends, it's one way to stay in touch.


Cheese, Berries and Crackers
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