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The Bachelorette offers fairy-tale romances — not real-life partnerships

Getting to know someone for who they are is JoJo’s fear in the beginning of a recent episode of The Bachelorette, in part because she feels like she did not get to know Chad well enough. The men comment that she is serious about finding love since she discovered Chad’s true colors and sent him home.

It’s not really JoJo’s fault that it is difficult to really get to know these men. She continues to get to know these men in individual dates and group dates set up by producers of the show and has very little time to develop a relationship that is based on anything other than manufactured entertainment.

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I believe that the façade of exciting dates, fancy dresses and suits can be misleading to what true romance is.Fancy meals and gorgeous hotels are staples of the show, which make for great scenery. The group goes to South America and makes a stop in Uruguay, and they’re thrilled at the prospect of traveling to this far away destination. JoJo and Jordan go on a yacht in Uruguay and have a romantic dinner over candlelight outside with gorgeous clothes and beautiful sites. While this is great to watch, it does not necessarily mean she is getting to know him well enough to know if a relationship would last or even develop. In a real pursuit of love and getting to know someone, it would involve much more complex situations that arise organically as two people form a relationship and might experience real trials and tribulations. True romance has nothing to do with anything external. Real romance is all about the emotional connection and communication between two people.

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The Bachelorette misses key experiences that would allow for contestants to actually get to know each other. It makes me wonder, what would happen if they never left the city? What if dinner dates had to occur in boring places like kitchens and living rooms, without a private chef? Maybe they could go to a movie theater or a local coffee shop. What if dessert was at a yogurt store in your neighborhood? What if each contestant had to keep their jobs and work all week and then go out on dates on weekends and not have fancy clothes or flowing champagne at their fingertips? What if they had to discuss finances and bills? Now that would make an interesting show, and it would be lot more real. Doing basic things can create love just as fancy things can. It is the person, not the scenery, that will make love last a lifetime.

These fairy-tale scenarios do not allow a contestant to see what happens when her partner is under stress or worried about finances. These fancy trips and competitive sports dates do not teach anyone about trust or companionship. Winning a soccer game does not mean you are good at relationships. While it is great TV, in my view, it does not make for getting to know someone well enough to get married.

Don’t worry if your first dates are occurring at the coffee shop down the street from your home. Love can blossom here just as likely as a fabulous beach in some exotic country, and it might last longer.

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