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What This Chaotic Season of ‘The Bachelor’ Taught Me About Life and Love

Season 27 of The Bachelor is already drawing to a close. Time flies when you’re kinda sorta having fun, no? I normally don’t put a lot of stock into reality television (we’re talking net-zero stock, at best), but this particular season grabbed my attention for stupidly anthropological reasons: Zach, with all his Cali bro-isms, reminded me of some “specific” people I knew, and I wanted to see what those sorts of people would be like under high pressure. The results did not disappoint.

This season came with some truly baffling circumstances regarding love, life, and the over-complications of one’s love life. I’ve been taking notes as the season went on, and now I want to share my findings with all of you. But since this is the internet and you never know how people are coming to you, let me be clear: this is mostly satire. Please, for the love of god, don’t model your love life off of this show.

1. Give a man his favorite cookie, he’ll be down for nookie

Initially, contestant Gabi had a hard time getting a word in with “Zachypoo.” But the producers must have clued her into his weakness for peanut butter cups, because she certainly used them to her advantage. Look at this man’s face once the cups came out:

The guy’s a former linebacker, he’s probably always hungry. No wonder he’s got such an attitude, he’s been hangry the entire season.

Speaking of attitude—

2. Men HATE when you’re emotionally vulnerable

They HATE it!!! It’s become something of a meme that every time a woman decides to let her guard down around Zach, he shows her ass the door with little to no remorse.

Initially, we were excited to see him send the troublemakers (i.e., mean girls) home so quickly. In past seasons, it always felt like the jerks were kept around for the sake of drama, and we were hopeful that Zach would prove to be different.

Oh, he’s “different,” alright. Yes, he hates the drama, but he also’s been edited to seem as though he has NO tolerance for any display of emotion that isn’t playful, flirty, and fun. The minute a woman decides to let her guard down and have a cry around him, you can see him start to zone out. Ugh.

3. Your little “career” is NOTHING compared to the trials and tribulations of finding a wife

I can already tell I’m gonna be sick of the word “wife” by the time I finish this article. Anyways. Some real BS went down during the “COVID episode,” where the Zachelor had to be quarantined and could only go on Zoom dates. By the time he went on a date with Greer—already a controversial contestant—you could tell he was not having it.

And look, one could excuse a minor case of the grumps when literal COVID is a factor, but the date was just uncomfortable and so patronizing. Zach was lamenting how COVID was ruining this part of his experience, and Greer tried to empathize by sharing a time when COVID ruined her plans, too. As a sales exec, her final quarter sales are some of the most important of her year, yet because of COVID she lost quite a bit of profit.

Sure, it’s not exactly the same thing, but it was fairly obvious that this was her attempt at empathizing. Yet Zach really got annoyed by this and made sure she knew it, wondering out loud why she thought it was appropriate to make such a comparison. He didn’t go as hard as some viewers made the situation out to be, but still—punitively chastising a girl for comparing her livelihood to your reality TV wife-chasing experience is kind of a dick move.

4. If he makes the :| face, run

Pardon the emoticon, but that really is the “Zach Shallcross could care less” face, and in my experience, that’s just the general Straight Guy Face of Discomfort. And, as we’ve already learned today, what does any minor discomfort mean? Your ass is grass!

5. It’s mulled wine, not “mold wine”

I don’t even know what to say here. Mold wine? Okay.

6. Dating apps aren’t entirely busted

It’s really looking like Zach’s final choice will be Kaity. They’ve had the best chemistry with little to no fuss over the course of the season, and considering how openly emotive he is, you can really see him physically relax around her:

The funny thing is, Kaity’s from Austin. That’s where Zach recently lived and worked. They could have just met on a dating app or run into each other at some speakeasy and spared us all this nonsense. But noooo, America just HAD to have its fundamentalist values TV show.

Look, dating apps are largely horrible and uncomfortable, so I’m not saying you have to give them a shot. But hey, a tool’s a tool.

7. Sex is NOT that big of a deal

Because of his bad experience with fantasy suites in the last season of The Bachelorette, and likely due to some personal preferences as well, Zach made it clear that he doesn’t want the Fantasy Suite portion of his journey to be a “sex week.” If you don’t know what FS Week is, it’s the week where each final contestant gets to spend the night alone with the lead—no cameras. And bearing in mind the horny nature of young people who date, it’s no wonder that people think of it as “sex week.”

The thing is, Zach should have probably just … not said anything in anticipation. Because, as the teaser for the final episode shows, he does, in fact, get down with his bad self at least once. And we’re not gonna slut-shame him! That would be mean!

If anything, I feel bad for Zach because the traditionally het nature of this show means that it comes with some gross, heteronormative expectations surrounding sex and intimacy. FS always feels really nasty to me, since it insinuates that if people don’t hook up, there isn’t a connection there. I happen to think that the healthiest way to go about these things is: if you’re feeling someone and they’re feeling you too, who gives a shit when (or even if) you do it? If we found out that Zach had sex with someone weeks in advance … oh well? They did a normal dating thing?

Ugh. It’s just sex.

8. You DO NOT need to settle for basic niceness

It’s pretty clear that Ariel is a fan-favorite of this season. People are constantly talking about how interesting and cool she is, even beyond the way she looks. With that has also come some bafflement surrounding her relationship with Zach, whose personality hasn’t really had a chance to … well, exist, this season.

Look, I get the appeal of “nice.” It’s rough out there, so when a guy is surface-level nice to you, it can feel like a lot. But “nice” isn’t a personality trait. Kindness is a practiced habit that you cannot always rely on because people are mercurial by nature. There has to be more in order to make a relationship of any kind work.

And NO, loving peanut butter cups doesn’t count.

9. It takes 27 seasons to even address racism

This isn’t even including all the seasons of The Bachelorette, but, yeah—I mentioned Greer being controversial earlier, and that’s because she’s on record defending someone who dressed up in blackface and she’s been very pro-MAGA in the past. During this week’s “Women Tell All,” the show finally decided to address this, with Greer revealing she’d been in conversation with DEI counselors and is deeply apologetic.

The thing is, while yes, we gotta start somewhere, this is just so late. We’ve had so many similar scandals in the past that just sort of blew over—I mean, last season’s Gabby Windey chose Erich as her fiancé, and he had a blackface scandal, and we all knew it. And this is just scratching the surface. The series has a long history of racist behavior that’s compelled former contestants of color to distance themselves from the franchise entirely.

So, if it takes 27 seasons just to ADDRESS these things in some meaningful way on camera, I don’t know how hopeful I am that things will actually change for the better. I mean, I think it’s great that they chose Charity, a Black woman, to be the next Bachelorette, but the series hasn’t been so kind to its former Black leads. It’s not enough just to seem like you’re putting in the work. You gotta protect and advocate for your contestants of color, too.

I’m gonna keep my fingers crossed for Charity. If this list is any indication, she’s in for a hell of a ride.

(featured image: Borat, via Know Your Meme)

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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.