So here we are again for another season of ABC’s ‘The Bachelorette’, a time when much of North America is riveted by the often-problematic pathway to love of its contestants. Just a few months after I was screaming at the TV, ‘Sean, what the hell are you doing?’ as he sent home Desiree Hartsock home. And now here she is as the new Bachelorette.
Fresh from the heartbreak of being discarded by Sean Lowe, Desiree has regrouped and is now ready to try and find love again, this time making the decisions rather than chasing the prize. As a 31 year-old married male with a poorly hidden crush on her, I am emotionally invested in seeing her find Mr. Right.
Recent seasons of the Bachelorette have given us a real spread of female contestants. In Ashley Herbert, we saw a woman so insecure that she spent most of the series in absolute disbelief that another man could find her attractive. In Emily Maynard, we saw a strong, Southern Belle, a persona so perfect that it couldn’t possibly be true. And so, as it turned out, many tabloid stories have now surfaced of her cheating, power tripping and gold digging.
When Sean Lowe sent Desiree home a few months back, she held him tightly, sobbing and pleading ‘Please don’t let me go’. If past behaviour is an accurate indicator of the future, it is clear that Desiree will spend much of this season in tears. We’ll see tears of joy; tears of pain; tears of rage, and perhaps even tears of tiredness or hunger. But without a doubt, the tears will flow.
On last night’s show, as contestant Ben Scott brought with him his 4 year-old son Brody, in the limo, Desiree’s eyes welled up. And sure enough, he was the first person to be given a rose.
Des cried last night within the first few minutes of the show, telling the audience of how she sees herself as a ‘modern day Cinderella’. Brought up in relative poverty, the opportunity to live in a house with a swimming pool and wireless on this show proved too mind blowing to keep the tears at bay. “Family and love,” she says, in a flood of more tears, “are the most important things, and I need someone to share that with.”
Last night, twenty-five hopeful men entered the mansion to being their quest to win her heart. Desiree handled herself well, with some of the entrances ranging from the bizarre to the inappropriate.
Diogo, awkward and clearly shy, decided to handicap himself by wearing a suit of amour for his entrance. He seemed as mortified by the choice as she did. It was no surprise to see him sent home, and then giving an interview full of embarrassed regret.
Jonathan, torn between what seemed like a risqué sense of humor and genuine psychotic tendencies, attempted to entice Desiree into the Fantasy Suite three times before she sent him home prematurely; a move rarely seen on the first night.
Away from the idiocy, there were some potential husbands, content with themselves and letting their words rather than gimmicks do the talking. Bryden, an Iraq War Veteran, came across particularly well. Strong, composed, but yet, in touch with his emotions, he emerges as an early contender.
One of the strongest moves a man can ever make on the Bachelorette is to tell a sob story. Last night was no different. Alcoholic parents, divorced parents, handicapped siblings; if anything slightly tragic has ever happened to you, then the opening night of ‘The Bachelorette’ on national TV is the place to talk about it. More dying dogs, teenage zits and every other conceivable adversity will certainly find their way to our screens in the coming weeks.
As a man, the best seasons are not always the ones where a perfect love story ensues. The most memorable seasons are full of drama, betrayal and sheer animosity. I am hoping for a season chocked and packed with it, but ultimately I hope Desiree can quit her somewhat ironic vocation as a wedding dress designer and try one on for herself.