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‘The Bachelor’ Took Us Back to the Chaotic Days of COVID Dating

Just say you got the suds and cancel everything, it's not that deep.

Spongebob got the suds! Woe upon him!

Last night on The Bachelor (or, as some fans are calling it, The Zachelor), our Californian hero took the girlies to London and enjoyed a “very British” date with a very giggly Gabi. All seemed to be business as usual, up until we got the news: Zachelor Shallcross had COVID and would have to isolate for the remainder of their plans.

Oh, the woe, the tragedy. I did genuinely feel bad for Charity, who was looking forward to their one-on-one date and started to cry upon hearing the news. But ultimately, in my opinion, the worst part about this whole shebang was the fact that they were going to try and keep to their plans … through Zoom.

Good god. Zoom dates. Did any of you have to endure any of those, as well? I left a relationship near the “tail end” of quarantine, so by the time it was my turn to go on a dreaded Zoom date, they were already starting to be phased out. Therefore, I consider myself lucky I only had to go on one, but even that one was … an experience. Not because the company was bad, but because intimacy is something most people can’t authentically form over digital platforms. It’s been done before, sure, and to those people: hats off! But I feel confident in saying that, for most of us, it just feels awkward.

So imagine the absolute hellscape that this recent Bachelor fiasco was for everyone involved. Pretty much everyone had their turn with the iPad, and no, of course that wasn’t a pleasant or normal experience. On the one hand, Zach was LITERALLY sick with COVID, so he was understandably In A Mood and probably being pressured to do things he didn’t want to do. On the other hand, the women involved ended up taking the brunt of those frustrations, which isn’t cool no matter how sick you are.

The most notable of these was his date with Greer. Many fans aren’t sold on Greer because of her MAGAdjacent past, yet this date was so bad that even her detractors couldn’t help but feel sorry for her. You could tell from the jump that Zach truly didn’t want to be on the other side of that iPad, so Greer was doomed from the start—especially since he felt the need to call her out for continuously looking at her own portrait during their conversation (it’s not a crime, it’s distracting watching yourself talk! Most people do that!). But when Greer tried to empathize with Zach’s frustrations by relating with a story about the last time she got COVID, he really doubled down with his patronizing behavior.

Greer compared their experiences to the time she got COVID during her last sales quarter, which is apparently the most important time to be present and working (all about the commish, babes). And sure, it might have been contextually clumsy, but it was a genuine gesture of sympathy that he could have just moved past. Instead, the man SCOLDED this grown woman about tact and how her work experience was NOTHING like his Quest For A Wife. That’s bad enough, but the fact that they were doing this over ZOOM is just insane to me. Her leg was bobbing the whole time from how nervous she was, which made me wince so hard out of sympathy.

There’s an ostensible level of disconnect that occurs when trying to organize anything over the computer, and in my experience, it can only be breached if you know the other person fairly well. Some of these women have barely spent 24 hours in total with this one man, so I can only imagine the heightened sense of doom and anxiety they felt having to nudge their way in over goddamn Zoom. And yes, the roses were doled out over Zoom, too. Everyone still had to get dolled up for Zach On The TV.

Maybe the wildest thing to me is the fact that NONE of the women were shown getting tested. None of them. They all continued to be unmasked in the same room at various points of the trip, and they even WENT OUT ON THE TOWN unmasked—after being exposed to Captain Covid! This episode really highlighted to me that we’re in a limbo state of still technically being entrenched in Covidville, yet people are tired of it and would rather be in denial.

And look, I get it. Nobody wants to be holed up anymore when there’s people to smooch and cities to explore. All the same, couldn’t they afford to take a week off so everyone could be spared the iPads and the potential to get even more people sick? At this point, the only people who got out of this episode unscathed were the corgis wearing clothes. Sally forth, little fellows. May you never know the dystopian insipidness of Zoom dating.

(featured image: Nickelodeon)

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Madeline (she/her) is a writer, dog mom, and casual insomniac. Her prior experiences with media have taken her down many different roads, from local history podcasts to music coverage & production. Niche interests include folk music, elves/wizards, and why horses are cool actually.