They say you can’t hurry love. (No, you just have to wait.) Diana Ross, The Dixie Chicks, even Phil Collins – they’ve all sung the same story. You simply cannot rush what is meant to be. No matter what decisions you make to expedite the process, fate will ultimately make the final call and love (if that’s what it is) will find a way.
But on Monday night, the world witnessed the kind of fate that can only be orchestrated by a TV production crew, a swanky setting and a ridiculous concept. On ABC’s The Bachelor, Jake Pavelka (32) proposed to finalist Vienna Girardi (23), leaving Tenley Molzahn (25) a heartbroken runner-up. In a matter of weeks, Jake, a commercial pilot and former Bachelorette reject, weeded through the 25 women vying for his affection, narrowing his choice down to the two women that seemed to capture his eye the most. Despite his “emotional connection” with Tenley, Jake “shockingly” opted for the comfortable “physical chemistry” he felt between him and his new fiancé.
Having only confessed to Tenley the day before about his past tendencies to avoid the emotional and mainly seek the physical, Jake proved he truly does always head down the same relationship path every time by picking the woman least likely to remain committed. (Vienna was previously married for a total of three weeks.) The Bachelor does not have a great track record for successful relationships, in fact. Of the 13 seasons prior, none of the bachelors have married the woman they proposed to during the final rose ceremony. And though Jake seems convinced that his feelings for Vienna qualify as love, we have yet to see if their physical attraction will endure and lead to a happy ending, or if their time together will amount to nothing more than a fling fallen by the wayside like every bachelor since the show’s premiere in 2002. (Note: If all these men are such “amazing” guys, and considered to be “great catches”, why must they broadcast their last-stitch effort of finding a significant other on national television?)
Such a show brings into question exactly how one can find true love when their every move is being watched by the resident camera crew. With 25 women chasing after one man, one has to wonder if this is actually a single guy’s honest attempt to find the wife and soul mate he’s been searching for all his life, or simply one man living out his dream of having a harem. By the time the show reaches its final episodes, some scenes border on the pornographic; the ladies of the house need not worry about the resident bachelor ever kissing and telling, for we have already seen it all. But while he is testing the physical waters with everyone in the house, those women not solely in it for fame and fortune begin to actually fall for the man up for grabs, putting the saying “leading them on” in a whole new league of its own.
How, after watching the man you are falling for kiss and become intimate with a flock of other women, can you really feel special if you are the one he chooses? In the case of Tenley and Vienna, Jake was immensely conflicted up until hours before his proposal. True love is something you know and feel deep within, not a decision you make to appease a network’s allotted season. One may be able to find a potential life partner during these short weeks, but to end the season with a proposal is pushing the envelope. Love at first sight may be the culprit and exception to the rule, but with Jake’s tear-filled goodbye to Tenley, we know that is certainly not the case here.
Love is supposed to be a strong bond between two people, something not clouded by desire for another. If love is true, every member of the opposite gender will cease to exist in your eyes, leaving you to see only each other. Perhaps such love no longer exists in a world obsessed with speed dating and matchmaking sites; perhaps this assumption is simply a fairytale that now only exists in the movies. But such ‘happily ever after’ fantasies will never be found through a fast-paced, money-hungry reality television series, whether one relationship succeeds or not. But maybe – just maybe – if we slow down to peruse our bookshelves and take a few cues from our childhood storybooks, we will find the key to putting a little magic back into that little thing called love.