This winter, I did a strange, shocking thing.
I started watching an old season of “The Bachelor” over lunch every day. I hadn’t seen an episode since the first season aired in 2002, when I’d sit on the couch with my dad, wide-eyed and confused by his interest. Probably had something to do with all the young women on it.
Being a young woman myself, it makes sense that I would be curious to see what my peers are up to when it comes to bagging themselves a man. So I took a break from my intensifying obsession with French New Wave cinema and spent all my tube time with Bachelor Ben. Like any good journalist, I watched the 2016 season critically, often using commercial breaks to scribble notes.
With each passing rose ceremony, I picked up new tips. Tips that I thought could really help me in my search through Gainesville for Mr. Right or Mr. Right Now or Mr. Right Until He’s Wrong. Am I right, ladies?
1. Stay confident, even when you’re not sure how he’s feeling. (And how could we ever be sure?) When one of the initial twenty-some odd girls tearfully told our bachelor, “You looked right past me. Do I not stick out to you?” she got the boot pretty quickly. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: Fake it ‘til you make it.
2. Act as if you’re having the time of your life…all the time. It’s a zest for life, a YOLO spirit, an indefatigable joy, that really turns the boys on.
3. To be more specific, smile any time he’s within viewing distance. For a little variety, alternate this with that smiling-with-your-eyes thing Tyra taught you. He’ll think, “She’s so complex. I have to dig deeper.”
4. Never make a joke that upsets the established gender-power dynamic. Listen: One of Bachelor Ben’s young hopefuls was a Haitian woman named Jubilee. She was raised in an orphanage after her entire family was killed. (She was so young she doesn’t even know what happened to them.) This is a woman with depth, whose soul knows the meaning of pain and resilience. When she gets nervous, she picks on Bachelor Ben — flirtatiously, but she’s picking on him nonetheless. Guess what happened to her that same rose ceremony?
5. Find out what his romantic projections are and wear them like a mask on your face. If “The Bachelor” taught me anything, it’s that the man makes all the decisions concerning the relationship. He holds the power to dismiss you at any point, even in between rose ceremonies. (Shock! Awe!) Your only choice is to wallow in the limousine, soaking up waves of rejection, wondering if there’s someone out there who will truly see you for you. Truly love you for you.
So I went out downtown on dates, big cheeks taut from my permasmile, flipping my hair and letting out girlish giggles at every joke I heard, no matter the quality of delivery or syntax. What I found, though, was I couldn’t both follow these tips and be me.
Some women are just plain difficult. They have many opinions and emotions and can express both openly and honestly. They are independent and strong-willed and like to do things for themselves in the way they want to do them. I am hard-pressed to believe there isn’t a fair portion of bachelors out there just itching to meet a real difficult sort of broad with whom they can argue and fall in love. Let’s keep the faith.
Tyler Francischine is a writer, event planner and audiophile who would rather be floating on her back in the Atlantic.