The first thing I learn from watching The Bachelorette is that it appears that no one under thirty-five these days can complete a sentence without using the word ‘like.’  And not the word that goes in a sentence such as “I like watching other people date on t.v. reality shows.”  It’s another word ‘like’ that younger people use a lot for no apparent reason.  I say all that simply to get it off my chest because I actually found myself  counting how many times the Bachelorette and her suiters used it.  I missed an entire scene because I was counting.  Clearly I need to get back to my book on Lincoln.

But on to the weighter things which I’ve noticed about men and women and dating and, as always, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

First, I’ve decided that single men and women aren’t really so different.  First, there are the typical ‘types,” you see it in men and women all the time.  There’s’ the player, the one who’s sincere, the nice one, the bad one,  the one with the looks, the one with the sex appeal or the one you’d rather just be your buddy, the one who has it ‘all,’  the one who just wants to ‘win,’ and on t.v. reality shows, the ones who want to have their 15 minutes. Everybody, men and women, falls into one of those categories.  What’s fun about seeing this play out on t.v. is watching the Bachelorette (Jillian) decide who goes into what category, especially since she doesn’t see what we viewers see.

Second, what’s truly heartening, as a woman who hears from lots of women who think men don’t take this stuff as seriously as we do, is that (most) men do hurt when they get rejected by someone they like.  Every single one who gets ‘voted off’ by the Bachelorette seems truly sad.  But what’s worth noting is how differently the rejected men process it. (And those of you who watch The Bachelor will know what I’m talking aobut.)  When the women get dumped by the Bachelor nearly every single one will cry and mention how ‘This always happens’ to her and wonder ‘What was wrong’ with her, and lamenting how she’ll ‘always be alone.’  The men, on the other hand, don’t see it that way at all.  They say things like ‘She’s really missed out,” or “She’s made a really bad decision not to keep me,” or “I’m a great catch.”   I wish women could be so confident.

The third thing I’ve learned by watching The Bachelorette is that most men seem to want the same thing women do.  To find “the one.”  (However I WISH they’d all quit saying how they want to find the one to ‘spend the rest of (their) life with,” but I think they know that’s what Jillian wants to hear.)  And, I may be completely naive, but I think most of them mean it.  (Except for that country music singer.  A teenaged girl who’s never been on a date could see what he’s there for.)  It makes me feel good to see men allowing themselves to be so vulnerable and to be able to say out loud and on national t.v. that they want to…okay…find someone to spend the rest of their life with.

Finally I’m left with the most obvious observation of all.  When it comes right down to finding ‘the one’  is all about a chemistry between two people that nobody, no viewer, can predict or understand.  How many times have I gone on a blind date with somebody who my friend thought was just perfect for me, somebody she just knew I would like…only to have one of the worst dates of my life!  Happens to people all the time.  And being in television I know there is lots of stuff happening that we’re not seeing on t.v. , lots of conversation and interraction left on the cutting room floor. Which is why when Jillian kicked off Juan but kept that guy with the foot fetish, we sit at home and scratch our heads.  We don’t get it.  But Jillian does. And that’s the point of love.  It doesn’t have to make a bit of sense to anybody else why we love the one we do, it only has to make sense to us.  That’s the mystery and magic of it all.  That’s the way God intended it.  And that’s why it’s so fun to watch—because it’s so unpredictable.  And so affirming that this “love” thing is working exactly as it’s supposed to.