Alex Goes Off! - "Bachelor Bingo"

Wednesday, November 6, 2002

Alexandra R. Yaremko

Apparently the TV show, "The Bachelor," is a big hit. I have to admit I've indulged in viewing it this season, mainly because this Bachelor is from Springfield, Missouri and I lived there for a time. This probably sounds like an excuse to you. Let me reassure you it isn't. If I was looking for an excuse, I could use the reasoning that last season's Bachelor was named "Alex" and my name is Alex.

Supposedly there are vast differences between Aaron, this season's Bachelor, and Alex. Whether this is true or not, who knows, who cares. Both of these characters LOOK like guys a girl could bring home to Mom and Dad and I suppose that's the point. Aaron does strike me as very Springfield, USA in the rah-rah, go-team sort of sense.

The fact that a fella' looks like a guy to bring home to the folks seems to fuel Bachelor Lists. Think "People" Magazine. Oh sure, "People" will throw in a longhaired musician now and then. But they always have the millions he makes listed as part of the stats, or how many copies his last album sold. Also included to back him up is the "really down to earth guy" caveat, or something equally nondescript like, "he really likes puppies."

Puppies? Who doesn't like puppies. The liking of puppies should not be the sole criteria on which to base compatibility and make life-long decisions. Not the sole criteria because if a guy doesn't like dogs, or pets in general, we have nothing to talk about. Automatically, don't trust him. On the other hand, just because he likes puppies doesn't mean you should marry him. As a friend of mine (male) pointed out, the serial killer in "Silence of the Lambs" really liked his dog "Precious."

All of this puppy talk speaks to criteria. What are the criteria for determining a guy is Bachelor List material? As if these lists were a good thing. Beyond looking the part and liking puppies, the guy has to be successful. He can be successful in his chosen profession, but collect wives and children like Grammy's and be considered a good catch. Five divorces excused by the tag line "we just weren't soul mates." Isn't that something you figure out before you send the invitations? Or go on national TV?

This sort of mind set (minus the unpleasantness of divorces that occur like natural disasters; can't be predicted by the I-doers for a year from now) was described by Candace Bushnell as "Resume Dating." Or taking a look at the stats and deciding dinner is a go.

One major problem with Resume Dating is that "sense of humor," a must-have, doesn't fall under "Work History," or any category for that matter. Chemistry is not statistically determined. Another problem with this strategy is it does not weed out "confirmed bachelors," meaning gay men.

Not that there's anything wrong with that, to steal a now famous line. I love gay men. If your hairdresser is not gay you just have someone coming at your head with scissors. They, in turn, love my shoes and generally like my hair.

However, I do not want to date gay men. Lunch, yes. Dating, no. If you strictly Resume Date, you could end up on a date with a gay man who is not out and whose family keeps trying to set up because they do not know he is gay. He won't call and you'll think it's your fault. You thought it went so well. He complemented your shoes and everything.

Another problem with Resume Dating is there are some people, men and women, who do not want to get married. That's okay too. But again, you'll probably think it's your fault. Then there are people who should not be married. They are single for a reason. The examples are endless, but an array can be seen on court TV. You'll probably think it's your fault you couldn't change him. Don't. Change is for buying gum, not for relationships.

Another guy who made a Bachelor List was Robb from "Survivor." Unequivocally a complete idiot, and worse, annoying and arrogant, Robb was named Phoenix's Bachelor of the Year in 1999. All of this at the tender age of 21. You shouldn't even think about 21 year olds in the sense this line of thinking implies, which taken to the extreme is marriage, or worse yet, someone you actually WANT to spend time with.

Whether these lists are a bad idea or just poorly executed (i.e. ineffectual, not-for-real-life criteria), who knows. If you're going to try your own list, include criteria such as: How does he actually treat dogs? Will he road trip with you? Is he high or low maintenance? Is he high maintenance but thinks he's low maintenance? Oh, wait. That's all men... Or maybe better yet, don't try this at home.

All I know for sure is that the legal age for marriage should be raised to 30 for men and 25 for women. This would eliminate a lot of those pesky "first" marriages. But apparently "nice, All-American" Bachelor, Aaron, is 28ish, and last season's, now caddish Bachelor, Alex, is 31ish. So, who knows. All I really know for sure is Aaron looks cute when he unknots his tie, but leaves it hanging around his shirt collar.

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