‘The Bachelor,’ Week 3: Learning to Value Your Time (and Crush the Will of Your Enemies)


Is it Week 3 already? In the words of Bachelor School’s esteemed founder, recorded for posterity by a staff archivist as he scrolled through his ever-lengthening DVR queue, “It is Week 3 already. Time is fleeting, yo.” It is Week 3. It could be Week 30. It could be Week 300, several years into a now-loveless marriage facilitated by a televised dating competition. Indeed, time flees, but the lessons remain eternal. It’s up to the students to open their hearts and accept the learning. So lean back, close your eyes, and retreat for a moment to the utterly tranquil rose garden in your mind. There are roses everywhere, just waiting to be picked. To be placed on elegant trays atop highly polished mahogany end tables. And to be handed to those who know that every minute, every hour, every week counts.

Ready to learn? Here we go.

1. Overlook His Flaws

Your Bachelor is not perfect. Far from it. He, like you, is a human being, even though he has been placed into a situation in which he is treated like a god, where his every whim is catered to, his every dream conjured out of thin air by a host of fluttering, walkie-talkie-wielding angels. In such a heightened environment it’s easy to forget that he’s a mere man. Fallible. Maybe even not that special? And so you must take extra care to remember that he is here for two very important purposes: (1) to engage in sexual relations with as many game-show contestants as possible, and (2) find ForeverLove, you know, whatever, if it happens, it happens, no pressure, Neil Lane has a very reasonable refund policy.

You must overlook his flaws. Inside the carefully controlled environment of the Bachelor Mansion he may seem invincible, protected by a phalanx of producers, editors, and Chris Harrisons. But outside of that impenetrable Fortress of Roseitude he is all too vulnerable. Confronted by reporters on the wrong side of the bubble, he may say things that are really, really stupid. Just remember this one thing: He will only truly reveal himself to you in the Fantasy Suite. And only then will you discover if he knows what the words “more pervert” actually mean.

2. Don’t Let Him Waste Your Time

If you are among the roughly 20 to 80 percent of Bachelor contestants who have a child from a previous relationship (note: the Bachelormetrics Department is still compiling the numbers), your time is every bit as precious as his. You undoubtedly have a rich and full life waiting for you back at home. You have already made the very difficult decision to temporarily abandon your family in the fleeting hope that you will defeat 26 other women in prospective matrimonial combat for the hand of a newer, hunkier father to that child. You weighed the options, did the soul-searching due diligence, and the only logical course of action was a limo ride to the edge of a fountain overflowing with the broken dreams of your predecessors. You are here and you need to be taken seriously. Quickly.

If your Bachelor is a parent himself, he will respect that and do his best to return you to your civilian life as soon as possible if it seems like there is not enough chemistry to advance you to the next round of competition. He will immediately spirit you away in a miracle Jeep that can be driven directly into the nearest shimmering body of water, some real James Bond shit that will blow your mind. (A Jeep in the water! Maybe he really is a god, capable of astounding miracles.) That enchanted Jeepboat will deliver you to a rented yacht, because the private jet budget was blown last week. But again: Jeep in the water!

And then he will take you to his temporary home, a place presumably much nicer than his actual house, where you will marvel over his daughter’s beautiful finger paintings, which have already advanced to the smeared-rainbow stage. You will bond over the delights of parenthood, the challenges of single parenthood, the delicious promise of double parenthood. You will be tempted to say things like, “I haven’t had a first date since I was 18,” over and over again, and to dwell on the hardships facing a 21-year-old retired NBA dancer in the dating world.

But he will shush you and hand you a rose. Because he sees a future that lasts at least another week. He values your time. He really does.

3.  Be a Sport

In every competition, there will come a time when your Bachelor wants to share his passions, and successful contestants will seize the opportunity to demonstrate that they can pretend to be interested in his hobbies for brief intervals of time. So when he piles you and 10 other women into a limousine and drives you to the center of a professional soccer field, the proper reaction is not “Soccer, barf, what are we, bored 5-year-olds?” It is “Wow, we are being deposited in the middle of a professional soccer field by a limousine, just like David Beckham!” Enthusiasm is everything. Genuine enjoyment is immaterial. This is also an important lesson for the Fantasy Suite.

So suit up. Write his name on your back with athletic tape, on your thighs with greasepaint, across your heart with passion for the game. Head a ball. Take an exaggerated dive at the first instance of physical contact. Go with the flow.

Be a sport.

Show him you are ready to join his team.

4. Make Out Awkwardly on a Blanket in Front of the Other Disbelieving Ladies

Sometimes you need to establish dominance with a bold, if ultimately unsettling, power move. Sometimes you need to show the others who’s boss. Sometimes you need to make out atop a blanket in the center of a soccer field, in the most awkward fashion possible. Territory must be marked. Wills must be broken. Faces must be mashed together with no concern for propriety.

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5. Escalate the Power Displays

There is a countermove to blanket-based face-warfare. It involves a pool, a bikini, and a willingness to straddle your Bachelor’s head under the flimsy pretense of an aquatic chicken fight.

This move is not for the faint of heart. You will be hissed at by your rivals. You will be accused of “trying too hard,” as if effort is a thing with a limit when you are fighting for your very future.

6. Yada Yada, Fear of Heights, Totally Coincidental Bungee-Jumping Date, Facing the Infinitesimal Odds of Accidental Death, Double-Inverted-Spider-Man Bouncy Kisses, Involuntary Chemical Bonding Through Adrenaline Spikes, Etc., Etc.

Here is a three-step plan for guaranteed* success on Very Very Dangerous Stunt Dates:

1. Express your trepidation about the very very dangerous stunt.
2. Allow him to talk you into performing the very very dangerous stunt.
3. Complete the very very dangerous stunt.

Congratulations! Your reward is a rose and a lifetime free of uncontrollable sweating every time you see a rickety crane at the county fair with a giant rubber band dangling from it.

[*Unless there is an unspeakable accident and the last thing you see is the bottom of a Pasadena ravine rushing toward you. Bachelor School must recognize that no matter how remote the possibility of a Very Very Dangerous Stunt Date ending in a fatality, it is nonetheless a possibility. Please discuss any further concerns with your producer. He is the man on the other side of the cameras refilling the wine bottle with bathtub tequila.]

7. Leave Them With a Parting Curse

Should you fail to execute your personalized learning plan to the best of your abilities, thus prematurely ending your quest for ForeverLove, there is no shame in leaving the remaining contestants with a taste of black magic. Here is a classic, powerful formulation that has the added benefit of seeming like a genuine expression of magnanimity:

“I hope everyone gets what they want.”

A simple nod Chris Harrison’s way will ensure that your curse will be carried out. He serves at the pleasure of the Dark Master, who will be more than happy to feast on the eventual tears of your enemies. The Dark Master also gave him that shirt. They’re pretty tight. Chris is a chill hang for an infernal footman.

Filed Under: Recaps, Reality TV, The Bachelor

Mark Lisanti is an editor at Grantland.

Archive @ marklisanti