‘The Bachelor,’ Week 2: Learning to Limit Your Drunken Bathroom Freakouts

The first week is easy. Other Bachelor-related learning programs won’t tell you that. They’ll take your money and fill your head with unnecessarily elaborate limousine-deboarding strategies, with look-at-me displays that backfire as often as they succeed. They’re the ones that disgorge overprepared and undercooked candidates into the harem-pool, peddling up on bike-pianos, toting massage tables, and flaming out in spectacular opening-night self-immolations.

But then the competition enters its second week. The field is tighter, fiercer. Stronger. The Juan-ger Games have claimed their initial victims, and the broken bodies of the vanquished have been carried off in stretch hearses, their demises marked by shimmering Glamour Shots projected on the night sky above ForeverLove Estates by Chris Harrison’s funereal cannon fire. Boom, boom, boom.

And that’s when you need Bachelor School the most. Follow us if you want to live long enough to win the hand of your temporary soul mate. Time to learn.

1. Get That First One-on-One Date at All Costs

Our statistical analysis department has yet to return our query about how many of the contestants who are selected for the season’s first one-on-one date have gone on to survive into Week 3 — this is a very busy time, and occasionally the data-mining servers are tied up with far more complex tasks — but we can say with near-total confidence that the number is high. Your Bachelor follows his heart — or, at minimum, the stirring of his soon-to-be violently overtaxed loins — when making this choice, and the loins are hardly ever wrong when it comes to selecting a partner whose company he might enjoy for a single, perfectly romance-engineered night. And so it would stand to reason you want to be that loin-stirrer. Like, can’t hurt.

So: Be chill. Relax as he ties that blindfold around your head — it’s not kink, promise! Not yet! — and tucks you into the passenger seat of an ecologically friendly sports coupe, ready for whatever adventure awaits you. Tell him he smells like heaven in a bottle, because bottled heaven is among the finest scents in the world. Disembark in an artificial winter wonderland in the middle of a city that celebrates artificiality itself, appreciating that he has personally altered weather patterns and frozen over seasonless hell itself to delight you. Go sledding. Wrap him in a scarf. Dance between the fake snowflakes. (Asbestos warning: Do not eat the fake snowflakes.) Skate on the ice. (Asbestos warning: Do not eat the ice.)

There will be a hot tub. There is always a hot tub. Get in the hot tub. That’s what it’s there for. The hot tub, blessedly, is real.

At that point it is probably safe, if not necessarily recommended, to broach the subject of how much you idolized your now-deceased father, and establish that your personal bar of idealized male relationships is set high. But reassure him that you’re nonetheless open to the possibility of ForeverLove, incubated in its fragile state in that very hot tub you now both soak in.

And if you play this delicate moment correctly, he will reward you with a private concert, underneath the gently falling, possibly cancerous snow-substitute, by one of the finest former X Factor contestants available. The soulful burrito-making one, if you’re lucky.

And with the first one-on-one rose of the season. It carries no more weight than the other roses handed out that night, but it’s special nonetheless. We’re still waiting for the stats people to tell us exactly how special.

2. Being on the Second One-on-One Date Is Also Recommended

Imagine this: A private jet, because helicopters are for poor people who want to hover over one close-by place instead of ride in impossible luxury to a distant fantasy world you’d never thought it possible to visit, like Salt Lake City. Brightly colored jogging attire festooned with fiber-optic strobing effects. Glo-sticks the size of intimidating marital aids. A fun-run through the mountains, ending at an apocalyptic electro-carnival rave art-directed by a $5 light-up-necklace concert vendor.

A single rose upon on an illuminated podium.

And you accepting that rose in front of thousands of molly-addled Tron extras who appreciate the cardiovascular benefits of a brisk nighttime jog to the neon bacchanalia.

Being on the second one-on-one date is also recommended.

3. But Don’t Freak Out If You Don’t Get a Date Right Away

OK: Maybe freak out a little bit. The other girls are enjoying cornflake snowdrifts and nuclear dildos. You’re stuck in the mansion sloshing around a cavernous glass of Ravenswood zin. An immediate strategy adjustment may be in order. But don’t panic.

Not quite yet.

4. Say ‘Cheese!’

The Photo Shoot Date is a staple of virtually every Bachelor season. It’s a chance for your prospective life partner to see how you respond in a group courtship scenario, how well you take direction (always important when winnowing down a field of 18 candidates to its 15 most-pliable members), and how “good a sport” you are when placed in potentially morally comprising positions justified by, say, the making of a charity calendar. Puppies! If you’re not willing to expand your personal taste-boundaries to save a studio full of watery-eyed puppies who will be immediately trucked off to a kill shelter if Miss April isn’t willing to obscure her genitals with a tiny ADOPT sign, well, perhaps you’re not the caring person your Bachelor hoped you are. Perhaps you’re not ready for ForeverLove.

The Photo Shoot Date is a test, and you must pass it if you hope to advance. So let your Bachelor know your apprehensions. He may even pretend to share them. (He does not share them.) But in the end, always be the one who overcomes your fears with his (insincere) help, and not the one who thinks she’s tricking the hippie into swapping a frumpster hydrant costume for a birthday suit. When all is said and done, he’s not going to give you any extra points for surmounting your anxiety about how the fireplug getup isn’t as flattering as it could be. All those points go to contestants willing to be shamed into mutual nudity scenarios by the threat of imminent animal executions. Keep the puppies alive, and you will thrive. That’s catchy. Write that down on your hand. We’ll have the rubberband bracelets ready for next week.

5. Don’t Be a Drunken Emotional Mess

Alcohol consumption on The Bachelor is a tricky thing to manage. How much is too much? What’s the borderline between “having fun with the sisters at the mansion” and “tottering vodkatini-crazed maniac on a hooch-powered mission of utter self-destruction”? Only one thing is for certain: The producers constantly refilling your glass are not going to help you manage that distinction. They are merely dispassionate observers of a grand experiment involving a dozen-plus women navigating a highly charged environment in various, if near-constant, states of inebriation. Indeed, they may prevent you from leaving the set if you seem in danger of physically injuring yourself, but what they will not do is head off any emotional damage you may inflict upon yourself because you ignored your competitors’ obviously strategic admonitions to put your drink down and stop embarrassing youself.

Relative moderation is not only key, it’s the only way to ensure survival. Here’s a simple self-test:

Have you locked yourself in a bathroom stall after drunkenly crashing another contestant’s alone time with no strategic purpose?

Is the cameraman shooting you from underneath the bathroom stall so as not to miss an opportunity to document your uncontrollable sobbing?

Has one of the other women on your group date crawled underneath the stall to make sure you are not trying to drown yourself in the toilet?

If the answer to one or more of the above is “Yes,” you are a Drunken Emotional Mess, and you will not receive a rose. You will receive a somber hotel-room visit (you have been placed in a hotel for your own safety) from your Bachelor, informing you that these unfortunate stall-based antics are probably not what he’s looking for in a new mother to his young daughter, but good luck on your quest for ForeverLove, wherever it takes you.

6. Don’t Depend on Chris Harrison

Didn’t we warn you about Chris Harrison last time? In a quiet moment, he’ll pull you aside and tell you he’ll never leave your side, he’ll always be there for you, just whisper his name. He’ll hear. You’re always mic’d up. Rub your earlobe three times. He’ll see. You’re always on-camera. It’ll be your special signal.

But then he vanishes without warning, in your moment of greatest need, only reappearing when it’s time to step out from behind the curtain at the Rose Ceremony and withhold your magic flower. Then he’ll escort you to the Limo of Despair, gently closing the door.

And he will make you disappear.

Don’t call back to him. He’s already forgotten you.

7. Maybe Put Down the Booze

Seriously, though. Slow down. You’re really drunk!

Filed Under: Recaps, TV, The Bachelor

Mark Lisanti is an editor at Grantland.

Archive @ marklisanti