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The Bachelorette and the sociopath

Last week, Lovefraud received the following e-mail from a reader:

Not sure if you ever pick up on things that go on in the television arena, but Hollywood hit a new low this week with the third installment of The Bachelorette.

The producers are supposed to pick fabulous, eligible bachelors, not sociopaths who set out to do psychological harm. As soon as it became evident that Bentley was without a conscience, purposely setting out to hurt Ashley Hebert, lure her in with false words while telling the cameras (behind her back) that she was ugly, not his type, blah, blah, blah, the producers had an obligation to tell Ashley the truth. But they chose to let Bentley ambush her and break her heart.

But hey, that’s Hollywood, right? Whatever it takes to make a buck and get ratings.

Anyway, you should check it out. You could write a GREAT column about the psychology behind the whole thing, and teach women a lesson about how the sociopath will charm you to your face and knife you in the back… while people you trust allow it to happen.

Personally, I think the producers must have sociopathic tendencies to allow a sweet, innocent woman to be mentally raped like that. In fact, she is being mind-raped all over again, because Ashley is seeing this camera footage for the first time along with the rest of us.

I have never watched The Bachelorette, which airs on ABC, so I didn’t know what this reader was talking about. But full episodes of the show are on the Internet, so I spent the past few days watching them.

I was astounded. There it is, in full motion and living color: the capsulized story of a sociopathic interaction, on the reality TV show, The Bachelorette.

Competing for love

Here’s the premise of the show. Twenty-five guys are contestants, all competing to win one woman’s heart. On the first night, they vie for her attention at a cocktail party. On subsequent episodes, they go on group dates and one-on-one dates. At the end of each episode, there’s a “rose ceremony,” in which the woman gives roses to those whom she wants to get to know further. Men who don’t receive roses go home.

The woman, Ashley Hebert, was the third-place finisher on the companion show, The Bachelor, last year. In the initial episode of this season’s Bachelorette, Ashley reveals that she felt like she let her insecurities get in the way of expressing how she really felt about Brad Womack, the bachelor, and she is determined not to let that happen again. She’s going to give this opportunity to find true love, a husband, everything she’s got.

I must admit, the men are handsome, accomplished, entertaining—if I were 25 years younger, unmarried, and the bachelorette, I’d be in heaven. What really strikes me is how they are all so earnest about wanting to make a connection, wanting to find love—all of them, that is, except for Bentley Williams.

Warning ignored

The format of the show mixes live action—Ashley and the men interacting—with interviews, during which Ashley and the men talk about their impressions of what is going on. Right from the very beginning, Bentley says in his interviews that he doesn’t find Ashley to be attractive and really doesn’t care about her. He’s on the show for the game of it.

What’s truly amazing is that Ashley was warned about this before the show even started. She reveals in the first episode that she received a text message from a friend. Bentley, she was warned, was not on the show for the right reasons. Yet Ashley says she wants to make up her own mind. She’s going to give Bentley a chance

Bentley works his charm on Ashley. All the while, in the direct-to-camera interviews, he’s talking about how he has no interest in Ashley. He’s only there because he’s competitive, and he wants to win.

Well, Ashley falls for him. Quickly. “It’s like game over before the start button is pushed,” Bentley says in an interview.

For Bentley, there’s no longer any reason to continue. He got what he wanted—Ashley’s affections. Bentley decides to leave the competition. “I’m going to make Ashley cry,” he says to the camera. “I hope my hair looks okay.”

Bentley uses his two-year-old daughter as an excuse, telling Ashley that the girl is the most important thing in his life, and he can’t be away from her. Yeah, right.

Ashley is heartbroken.

True sociopathic relationship

This is the most accurate, complete depiction of a sociopathic relationship that I have ever seen on television.

Ashley is honest and genuine in her desire to find true romance, a husband. She is warned that Bentley’s intentions are not honorable. She decides to give him a chance. He works his charm, and she falls for him. Even as Bentley is dumping her, Ashley accepts his explanations. Then she cries herself to sleep.

Bentley doesn’t care at all about Ashley. He clearly thinks he is superior to all the other men, and is only there to beat them, to win. He mixes charm with the pity play, literally sweeping Ashley off her feet and carrying her to a romantic moment in front of a fireplace, then talking about how much he misses his daughter. Finally, bored, he does the devalue and discard routine, and couldn’t care less.

If you’ve had trouble explaining what it’s been like to be involved with a sociopath, tell your friends and family to watch the first three episodes of this show. The whole process is right there. A word of caution for you, though—it may trigger emotional reactions. It did for me.

Outrage

Millions of people were outraged by Bentley’s behavior. They were outraged that the producers allowed him to stay on the show, knowing that he was insincere.

This week’s People magazine features Ashley Hebert on the cover, with the headline of ”˜I feel so betrayed.’ The article says producers were criticized for casting Bentley, and showcasing his behavior. The producers defend themselves by pointing out that Ashley herself gave Bentley the roses to keep him on the show.

Should the producers have yanked Bentley from the show? For Ashley, I’d say yes. But for the rest of the world, though, watching Bentley is incredibly instructive, if he is described as what he is—a sociopath.

The producers aren’t going to do that—but we can. Tell people who don’t get it to watch the first three episodes of The Bachelorette. Tell people 1% to 4% of the population are sociopaths, and these people behave just like Bentley. Tell people that they are charming, they are slick, and can fool anyone—even people who have been warned.

Full episodes are online. To really see the drama unfold, start with Week One, Part One—you’ll have to click the arrow on the right side of the screen.

The Bachelorette on ABC.go.com

The fourth episode of the show airs tonight on ABC. Bentley is gone, and Ashley has to pick up the pieces and move on. I think I’ll watch it. Aside from all of Bentley’s sociopathic drama, the other men seem so sweet, so authentic, that it warms my heart. As I wish for all of us, I hope that Ashley finds love after the sociopath is gone.

Media fallout

The producer, Chris Harrison, talks about the Bentley scam

Chris Harrison says Bentley almost shut down ‘Bachelorette’ production on HitFix.com.

Bachelorette’s’ Bentley Bother “not over” says host Chris Harrison on EOnline.com.

Michelle Money: I warned Ashley Hebert about Bentley Williams on Reality TVWorld.com

 


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100 Comments on "The Bachelorette and the sociopath"

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Donna, thank you so much for posting about this. I feel terrible for Ashley but I think this is ONE HELL OF A LEARNING EXPERIENCE for the rest of the world. I hope these episodes are captured on youtube.

I hope some magazine articles pick up on this (maybe “O” magazine….or maybe PEOPLE MAGAZINE) and they do a REAL in depth write up about people like this – perhaps interviewing YOU, Donna – and covering it responsibily – not something superficial like Cosmo would do with an eight-question survey.

The producers are idiots for letting this happen. It is a travesty. But let us all learn from this.

Thanks for the writeup.

SK

I don’t watch any of these reality shows, but I have to say…do you all believe this stuff is real?? I don’t believe it for one minute. It is all absolutely staged in my opinion. Not that there are not guys like Bentley as we all know!!! But I think this is all put on. I think all these shows are.

I don’t watch them either…..just like the Judge X, Y or Z shows, and the Jerry Springer shows, STAGED—and folks I know some of the actors that have been on the shows….so I am ASSUMING that this show is also pretty much “staged” as well….and the idea that you can take 1 man/woman and 25 of the opposite sex and all complete for the affection of the one looking for love…..under those circumstances which are pretty non normal at best. Even worse than meeting and falling for someone while you are on vacation….it isn’t real life, you don’t get to know the person in “real” circumstances, know their families and their friends, etc.

Nah, I’ll pass. But that doesn’t mean this isn’t a good lesson in “how a psychopath operates” on film. I hope it will spark some dialog in the media about the “P” (S) word.

Oxy:

Yay! I am so glad someone sees those shows as I do. Come on! How could anyone see all that junk as “real?”

Sadly it’s the world we now live in. It has been documented that people do extreme things, like playing chicken on railway lines, because the ‘nanny state’ has taken the risks out of everyday stuff. So these shows give Jo Public drama which is missing from their solitary everyday lives. Sad or wot?

I agree the people are real and not actors, but isn’t it still all staged? It can still be staged without the people being professional actors, right?

Much of the drama on these types of reality shows are staged for the cameras and the audience. Yes, they are “real” people, not actors. This guy may well be a schmuck in real life. He may also be angling for an acting career. The problem arises when viewers may discount Bentley’s trues agenda(s) because of this dynamic. The bachelorette may not have known about this. She may have known and is playing to the drama. The “truth” factor gets skewed here because these shows mix truth and fiction. It’s like a reality soap opera. Daytime soaps are going the way of the dinosaur and these primetime shows are gaining in popularity. I don’t watch them regularly but I know people who watch them faithfully. It’s too staged and suspect for my tastes.

When I was living in California I was frequently a part of survey “focus groups” hosted by a company or television network. The pay for participating in these focus groups was pretty good ($80-$100 for 2 hrs of my time). The group sat around a table in a conference-type room discussing questions and possible attitudes regarding a new product or premise for a new show while we were viewed through a one-way mirror by show or product reps. I was once part of a focus group discussing a relatively new concept- “reality shows”- in 2002 and the drama factor was one of the agendas discussed. The show “Survivor” had premiered in 2000 and so of course the networks wanted to find out if audiences wanted more of these kinds of shows. I made a comment regarding pandering to the audience for the titillation effect and was actually escorted out of the room because my attitude was “skewing” the group’s reactions. Imagine my surprise when more of these types of shows began to appear on television just a couple of years later!

Okay, admittedly, I watch the Kardashians and see the narcissism fly.

From an observers perspective, I find this show and the antics fascinating. My daughters and I do “analysis” of who is healthier than whom LOL! It’s really kind of funny and is solely for entertainment, but some of the things I’ve seen on that show are very sad. Money doesn’t buy you good mental health.

LL

I was watching the news and just saw an ad for the Show, “there’s ONE MORE imposter on the show”—if that doesn’t show the whole thing is a set up for “drama” then I don’t know what would.

The whole thing sounds to me about as “real” as a SOAP.

Thank you for talking about this! These events that aired were very hard to watch. I don’t think the producers realize what kind of person they had on the show. Maybe Ashley doesn’t know what happened to her even after watching it back on tv. I hope she sees how lucky she is that he left when he did!

It does seem like the show encourages the more controvercial people to stay on as long as possible. Now we get to watch Ashley date other guys the day after her heart was shattered! Horrible.

The lable sociopath is one that we don’t truly understand until we’ve been a victim. I have a very close friend who knows what I went through who actually told me that Bentley’s comments were “hilarious”. I feel sad for all the victims and wish we could turn the media’s attention to shine the light on these dangerous, evil people. It’s not drama. It’s a real life nightmare that can happen to anyone.

Hi all,
I just had my cable unplugged! As Bruce Springsteen said:
500 channel’s and there is NOTHING on! LOL

Yea, I unplugged my cable too years ago….the 6 or 8 channels I get don’t have much on them either, but can watch the news and weather, get most of my news off the internet though. I do watch America’s got Talent and American Idol….and occasionally other shows. Not the reality ones though. LOL

one/joy_step_at_a_time

cable? you mean y’all have TV?!

one/joy_step_at_a_time

In reference to the article that started this thread: ‘She decides to give him a chance.’ Well, that’s where it bloody well starts for of us would be Mother Theresas. More compassion than sense. More naivety than sense. More socialization than truth in our minds. What a crazy crock of bad behavior we accept as acceptable.

Accept the unacceptable and feel chosen. Sigh –

one/joy:

No kidding. UGGHH, wish I could take that chance back.

one/joy_step_at_a_time

louise – i don’t remember what you know of my situation – but the person the spath pretended to be gave me something. truly. she just ripped my skin off and I lost my balance when she flicked me off the cliff and onto the rocks.

I personally think this is all staged, because a true sociopath would never just out and tell people that he is a scum of the earth. A sociopath values his facade ABOVE ALL THINGS, even his life.

Still, the part about the producers knowing he was going to destroy her and not saying anything, makes it more true to life. Remember all the people in YOUR lives who had a clue and didn’t clue you in? It’s fucked up.

And no, I don’t have a TV either…
but you know, if I had watched this 3 years ago when still with my spath, I STILL wouldn’t have believed it possible that a human could wear a mask for 25 years. Who does that?
Doesn’t it get hot in there?

one/joy_step_at_a_time

‘Doesn’t it get hot in there? ‘ – nope, the empty space where the conscience, empathy and remorse should be causes constant internal cooling.

🙂

OneJ,
you’re right it’s a black hole where the empathy should be, a vaccuum DOES exist in nature!

Hello, I wish you all a good night’s sleep!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WhWDCw3Mng

Gnite!

one/joy_step_at_a_time

Thanks Ana. you too.

And this is reason number 458 why I don’t watch TV any more. Last week at the gym, I was on the stairmaster. To pass the time, I watch the TV up above with closed captioning. Some Kardashian reality show happened to be on. I watched with my jaw hanging open, incredulous that people actually watch this crap, and that it is prime time TV!

And BTW, what kind of a name is “Bentley Williams”? It’s probably not even his real name.

Hi Skylar,

Just wanted to pass along a bit of my story. My ppath husband held his facade for a long time, *until* he realized that if he told people his evil intentions towards me … they wouldn’t believe he’s actually evil. In fact, he would be negating the evil intentions in this action, by displaying “honest” and “truthful” behavior. This distorts people’s perceptions such that they see the perpetrator as “confused” or “needing help” … all the while taking away critical help from the victim who gets increasingly harmed by ppath with collusion from others. It’s messed up, but clever in a really twisted way.

Anyone else experience this behavior?

Reality bites!

In reality, she chose to go on a television show. Every reality show participant chooses to be featured in a docudrama. What personality type must she be to seek his kind of public exposure?

Perhaps reality shows continue to exist merely because they’re entertainment for a lot of folks who tune in hoping to see a lot of “soap opera” drama. That’s their entertainment. Without the drama, the show might be bland and boring.

Yes, she was “set up”. But in real the world aren’t we all?

I don’t watch reality shows, but I’m glad there’s more public awareness regarding seemingly charming people who can actually be wolves in sheep’s clothing. Hopefully, exposure makes the public become aware that these people exist.

There is actually a whole website dedicated to defending Bentley because he has “amazing hair” and “is hot” and “Ashley is stupid” and “Chris Harrison can suck it”

https://bentleywilliamsapologists.wordpress.com/

Hi Comesthedawn,
welcome and thanks for sharing your story.
I experienced a similar thing. Many people were kept compartmentalized, especially me. He was telling his best friend Harry that he was screwing all kinds of women all the time. He knew Harry was telling this to other people, who knew us, so all his friends knew he was a womanizer. What they didn’t know is that I wouldn’t have cared because I wasn’t sleeping with him by then. (actually he was cheating from the beginning, when I WOULD HAVE cared, but he kept that secret) What he didn’t tell Harry is that he also screws men and little kids and probably horses. His purpose in telling people that he was a womanizer is so that if I ever found out the truth about what he is and had done, people would just assume I was the vengeful scorned woman telling lies.

It’s what they do and how they think.

Kristy
Welcome,
I’m no longer surprised when I see so much evil in the world. We really have our work cut out for us, if they can so easily find people who love evil. My spath even told me, “it’s amazing how easy it is to find guys who would be willing to rape a girl if they think she’s drugged.”

Comesthedawn

I’m not sure I understand what your spath was doing. He was being evil, AND telling people he was evil? Because he admitted it, they thought he was kidding? Can you re-explain?

My spath is similarly twisted. He is so very gracious and polite and kind – but behind the scene he is SINISTER and full of malice. He would never threaten me in email, or show overt anger, or anything like that. It would always be sweet and kind and nice with a STAB in the GUT with a KNIFE.

I believe he’s plotting to kill me – I kid you not – I’m told I can’t do anything unless he threatens me – which he would never, ever do in an overt way. He sends me messages telling me I’m beautiful.

SK

Dear Comesthedawn,

Yep, I’ve had A LOT of experience with this behavior. He would help an elderly person down the stairs and appear like he is a good person. This mask is really important to him. He is a hockey coach and will help out with the car pooling. Oh, but he also was telling people I was crazy and tried to find a way to get me committed. All because I was starting to see through the b.s.

I do think that if people were looking from the outside in, they would have thought I did have a problem. He was so calm and acting sooooo caring. All an act though. All of it. He was inappropriate with our teenaged daughter, and like Skylar’s ex spath, would probably screw a horse. I believe he is a preditor through and through. There is no amount of rehabilitation that will help him either.

I stayed with him far too long because he was so convincing. He wanted to renew our vows and take me on a trip around the world. He even started cleaning the bathrooms and grocery shopping. He went all out. Bought me thousands of dollars in jewlery. I would trade it all for a healthy father of my children.

They are so good with the mask, it is important to him to keep up the facade and he believes he is who the facade is. I also thought he was in denial about the sexual addiciton problem, nope, he is totally cognizant of what he is doing. It’s all to protect himself, to further the image of a trustworthy man because it is easier to manipulate people that way.

Make no mistake, it is all fake.

Dear Hopeforjoy,

Hi, Girlfriend, how are you doing? I think about you often and you are always in my prayers. How is Junior doing? I figure your daughter is doing well now that daddy-o is out of the house but know that your X is still romancing Junior.

Good post to Comes the dawn! ((((hugs))))) and God bless.

Kristy,

That doesn’t surprise me in the least….look at how shallow, self serving people have “fans” even though they have no moral compass evident or any kind of ethics.

I think unfortunately too many people see TV as “real life”—IN REALITY, the “reality shows” are FAR from REALITY, and they are far from being anything of value.

Ox,

Admittedly I do like America’s Got Talent. Fun show. Watched it with my son’s last night and they laugh hysterically.

I like it more than American Idol!

LL

Hope I agree. Nearly everyone I spoke with after he went said what a ‘good’ guy he was (((puke)))

It was actually my kids who saw him for what he really was. Then when I started to tell people what he’d done to me, his ex, other women they were gobsmacked.

Oh, another thing that just came to me in the bath. He told me his ex (before the last one!) had left her 6 kids to be with him. THEN I remembered that later on he said that he got on well with her young son but the teenage daughter was a nightmare!

Wow! These ‘aha’ moments just keep coming.

I too recognized Bentley as a sociopath immediately but what really bothered me was that Ashley was warned beforehand about his motives in going on the show and she chose to ignore that advice. Now, she continues to speak of him as if he would have been ‘the one’ she would have picked even after he tore her heart out. There must be more education on these parasites and women and men need to be more prudent with whom they date. Luckily I was raised by a psychopath father and malignant narcissist mother and can spot them a mile away. They are soul less. Godspeed.

P.S. I believe out of about 20 episodes of the Bachelor or Bachelorette only 2 relationships developed. That tells me the show is far too staged to line up real love. The last show a guy dated up to the end and then ended up breaking his final two gals’ hearts by turning them both down! He was invited BACK to the show for another season believe it or not. Fortunately it was HIS heart that got broken this time because he picked Emily to marry and Emily dumped him soon after the show was over. I watch the show for entertainment and to see if I can pick out the sociopaths. I am sure I am usually right and believe me, the show ATTRACTS ppaths and spaths!

Dear Speaking up, I think you are totally right, the kind of show attracts Ns and Ps

one/joy_step_at_a_time

LL – have you ever watched britian’s got talent? it’s so endearing. you can find bits of it on youtube. i watched a lot of it the winter of the spath (the winter i came here), and the performers and performances were so genuine and unpretentious that they warmed my heart.

I really really enjoy the new NBC show ‘The Voice’ with Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton as judges. I watch it online on CTV.

Ugh, reality shows are why I only watch Netflix, ha!

On “Hoarders” they featured a man calling himself Sir Patrick O’Shannanhan. He didn’t jibe with a viewer, Anita, who did some research on him and quickly discovered he was an unregistered sex offender. He’s also a pretty classic sociopath. When the Hoarder’s show was contacted, they did nothing. He fled Florida and is now living in California under various assumed names, last heard. He threatened to kill Anita because she “outed” him on line. He’s still surfing the internet for victims.
http://beginning.anitawirawan.com/2010/09/the-troubling-history-of-sir-patrick-oshannahan-epic-hoarder-and-convicted-felon.html

I’ve known a few sociopath victims that the SP actually bragged about what he was doing, but no one took action on. One even bragged he had killed her son, which she knew but couldn’t prove. It helped he provided drugs to the local police force, I suppose. Doesn’t help when corruption is added to the story. He had a conviction for killing two old people while driving under the influence and only spent 18 months in jail. He used my friend’s money to pay off the fine. If they hadn’t released him, she never would have married him and her son would still be alive.

Mine stayed nice (mostly) for over 14 years. He never once threatened me. It simply wasn’t in the character he saw himself as. However, he drugged me, tortured me mentally and physically, stole from me and others and abandoned me without a backward glance when he had the chance. All while keeping up his boy-next-door facade. He’s exactly the kind of person who could go on one of these shows and fool everyone. Not stupid enough to brag on camera though. Even having lived through it, I’m amazed at how these souless wonders can still get away with it. It’s totally disgusting that guy would have a fan club, right up there with the serial murderers who get proposals in jail from their fans. I have to wonder, do societies other than our type have these problems?

We didn’t have to unplug our cable. We never had cable in the first place! 😀

There’s just too much trash on TV, and we don’t watch it enough to make cable or a satellite setup worth while. Oh sure, I know there is SOME good stuff on the premium channels—the movies, the History channel, the Discovery channel and the rest of it. But we do have a good collection of DVDs, so we pick what we get to watch on that “small screen.”

About the only “reality” show I watch now and again is the ORIGINAL “reality” show—that is, “Cops.” As for the rest, I’ve hardly seen any.

Jerry Springer? And that clone of his, Steve Wilko? How much do I REALLY want to know about the sordid doings of a pack of lowlifes and the appalling way they carry on, which includes the unedifying spectacle of them smacking one another around in front of TV cameras? My wife is so disgusted she refuses even to watch those shows.

I’ve never watched these Bachelor shows either, but I did watch the infamous Jake Pavelka and Vienna Girardi interview with Chris Harrison a year ago. I did that out of curiosity because there was so much hoohah about this couple.

Watching it was not a complete waste of my time. I did find it educational in some ways. It brought me a deeper understanding of the role of murder in human societies, and helped to solve the mystery of why people are sometimes found strangled. After watching Vienna carping insufferably on and on and on for almost the entire program, interrupting and talking over Jake continuously and never letting him get a word in edgeways, it occurred to me that manual strangulation may be the only way of getting some people to shut up.

Considering Jake had already had to put up with Vienna for several months, I thought he showed commendable restraint on the whole, even trying to remain polite when he was finally goaded into saying “Will you PLEASE stop interrupting me!” He did at least succeed in getting Vienna to switch the tactics she was using to dominate the interview, as she moved to turn on the waterworks instead. After that manipulation failed to get her way, her face remaining noticeably dry-eyed, she threw a tantrum and stormed out. When Jake said “That’s what one of our arguments looks like,” I could believe him.

Despite this demonstration, the interview still left me with unanswered questions of cause and effect. The relationship was doomed from the start, the couple being incompatible in life goals as well as in other ways. Perhaps neither partner was to blame for that much. Yet Jake himself made a poor showing at the outset of the interview, appearing aloof, unemotional, even disdainful. Did this lend credence to Vienna’s complaint that he had been cold to her, neglected her? Or had he distanced himself from her as the only way to stay out of arguments like the one we’d seen with this impossible woman? Was his obvious disgust with her merely a reaction to her monstrous betrayal of him, by selling him out to a tabloid for money? Or was he a supercilious jerk all along? It was a chicken-and-egg debate. Which came first?

It was an important question, boiling down to whether or not Jake himself was just as obnoxious as Vienna was, only in a different way. In the end I couldn’t answer that question based on one interview. Perhaps Chris Harrison was right when he implied after the interview that these two were as bad as one another.

So I can’t say much about this Bentley business, since I haven’t a clue what it’s all about. Approaching it with an open mind, I had to admit the “Bentley Apologists” website that Kristy Fields linked to had something to commend it. For all I can tell, the owners of that site might be right! Maybe Bentley isn’t such a bad guy after all, and the producers of the show have “set him up” ALONG with Ashley, screwing both of them over in different ways! True or not, the site’s owners are performing a salutary service by pointing out to people how TV producers can present a totally misleading image of a person by cunningly editing and splicing interview material. It’s just as well for the public to be reminded NOT to believe everything they see on TV!

Unfortunately the site owners ruined their own credibility by failing to show any hard evidence that Bentley really is a “good guy” after all who’s just been misrepresented—and their only motive for trying to rehabilitate him is pure wishful thinking about his real character because he’s “cute” and “sexy.” Honestly, I thought it was MEN who were supposed to “think with their dicks”! What on earth are these dumb broads thinking with?

That issue stuck out a mile when I saw this RIDICULOUS poll on their site asking “Which would you rather have a relationship with?”

Ask yourself—–is a relationship with Bentley better than every single “fantasy suite” date with any guy on The Bachelor?

Bentley, who feigns interest in you, leads you to kiss him, and maybe even breaks your heart,

[OR]

“The Bachelor”, This man will sleep with you along with 2-5 other girls. He’ll reject you days later for another girl.

Um, how about NEITHER? This is about as stupid as asking “Would you rather be buried up to the neck in a landfill or dumped into a pool of raw sewage?” The airheads who run that site seem to be candidates for Masochists Anonymous!

Um, I chose raw sewage, Alex, for $1,000. Just to make a change from the up-to-the-neck-landfill scenario.

LOL, great comment! I did see the first episodes of Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire? when I was staying at a friend’s house. That was before all TV was cable and we watched it with the same feeling as watching a train wreck in slow motion. She also watched soap operas and we both agreed they were more believable!

I actually happened to be flipping through the channels when this tearful scene happened. It was so bad, it was good. Even so, I moved on. I didn’t think it was an unusual scene for one of these shows until I saw it reported on Entertainment Tonight or something.

This whole episode kind of begs the question of what “sincere” really is. Courting a woman for a lifelong commitment on a . . . TV show? I’ve always found these shows hard to watch — not because I suspect they’re scripted or rigged, but because they’re painfully real. There really are people like that out there, talking about “forever” and all that based on a few nights hanging out in a hot tub.

Any spath worth his/her stripes has got to look at this and say, Wow, what an opportunity. It’s the kind of world where sociopathy is, if not completely normal, at least consistent with the shallow and cheaply sentimental act that’s pulled off in front of the cameras.

There’s just something seriously wrong, fantasylandish, about the American way of mating when people actually watch shiny 25-year-olds do all this on national TV and call that normal. Our expectations are both at an all-time low — targeting potential mates based on their looks and interest in the same movies as us — and an all-time high — “forever” commitments to monogamy in an amusement-park society populated by P.R. princesses in halter tops and guys who used to tend bar in Daytona Beach.

I hope the lessons Princess Ashley (Tiffany, Jennifer, Shawna, whatever) learns from this are more than just how to avoid a sociopath. I hope she seeks some depth herself, and how real life only gets interesting once you’ve left all that kid stuff behind and embraced the less-than-handsome, not-so-rich, just quirky and emotionally available men out there and re-connected with the real world you live in, in which children go to bed hungry and wars are fought over lies and the whole thing won’t wait for her to grow up enough to read the papers to avoid bombing her neighborhood or repossessing her house.

And maybe Ashley might even, as I and some of my friends have, give up on monogamy altogether and just enjoy having an honest good time with men we can’t imagine living with forever — ironically, an experience richer and more accepting/loving than all this winner-take-all wedding nonsense would have us believe. She might someday look into her less-than-perfect children’s eyes and feel deep happiness . . . even if her marriage didn’t work out and she got laid off from her job leading a marketing team for surfboards.

Because basically, they’re selling us low self-esteem on these shows: the idea that if we’re not Ashley-beautiful and Bentley-sweet, or finding people like that in our lives, we’re defective.

We’re not. They are. Seriously. Defective.

Sistersister, you summed it up very VERY well…..unfortunately there are way too many people who watch this carp and Jerry springer, and Dr. Phil, and Wrestling and all this “reality” survivor stuff and think it is “life”—-(head shaking here) people who think what happens to Paris Hilton’s dress is IMPORTANT or who ever is making “news” today….it is simply part of the culture to sell things to idiots.

With all the REAL stuff that is going on in the world today and the fact that too many of our youth today know and CARE what Paris wore last night but don’t know or care what is going on in the rest of the world, it makes me really sad.

One J

I’ve NOT seen it and didn’t know there was such a thing! I’ll have to check it out on Youtube. I really enjoy America’s Got Talentl.

LL

Wow!

Such great thoughts and posts on this thread. Sister, I really enjoyed yours. Great thoughts articulated, mindful and creative. But all soooooooooooooo sad!

LL

Me too. Sad. Angry. Alienated. Like I’m the weirdo or something. Don’t I want to be HAPPY? I’m happiest when I’m farthest away from this stuff.

I’ve thought a lot about it recently, and I’ve decided to stop beating up on myself for not supporting the wars, cheering on the politicians who are bailing out the banks, or even martyring myself for the occasional good cause. My new goal in life is to just get out of the way — be the first one into the lifeboats, leaving screaming children and old people behind. Don’t blame me; I didn’t vote for all this. Nobody ever gave a crap what I thought. I survived cancer by not giving a crap what THEY thought, either. I survived 9/11 without going nuts and waving flags and cheering the “troops.” I somehow avoided all that, so unpatriotically, insultingly, and irresponsibly. I’ve come to believe that this is the only way to be responsible at all.

As a child, I had a dream that I was in my basement, sweeping brooms with a lot of other kids, feeling carefree, and somebody spoiled it and said it had to serve their purpose, meet a goal. I actually used to sweep the garage for fun. No reason, just a seven-year-old fascinated with the technology of a broom and how dust could form a line and then be pushed out the door. It could be put to music. It was low-tech and nostalgic to sweep a broom around.

The only purpose to life is to live and love, and to be loved. In the moment. Useless sweeping, but loving the motion of it in your hands.

Sister,

Perfectly said!! I so relate!

Ya know, even when I watch the news now, like CNN or snippets of the casey anthony trial, I just feel like I’ve been slimed.

I’m beginning to reassess what is really important in life and what that means to me and in the times to which we’re living. this is my conclusion :SIMPLICITY!

Everything around us now just feels so spathy, so selfish, so full of lies,…with all the news I watch, there is rarely a feel good story attached anymore.

I find if I don’t watch all of that stuff, I just feel better. If I just keep to myself or my smaller circle, I do so so so much better.

I’ll never be what society would say I should or making a big splash in anyone’s life.

Just what I can do around me now.

Your post was great!

LL

Thanks, Lesson Learned.

And as if I haven’t got my rocks off already with enough deranged ranting, I’d like to point out the obvious: Our system of courtship and marriage is badly outdated, out of sync with our real needs and maturities, and a feeding ground for spaths.

I used to say that every time I got caught up in “Victorian morality,” I got burned. But I wasn’t stung so much by the Victorian morality so much as the spaths that hung out in that charming mansion with the wraparound porch, whispering sweet nonsense.

I really have no objection to traditional marriage and such — may yet even succeed at it — but the expectations that build up around it attract a lot of bad behaviors. Lying. Acting. Sexual repression. Cheap sentimentality.

Why not just be honest about what we want in life? Wilhelm Reich wrote that natural sexuality was “self-regulating.” In other words, people so liberated from their repressions didn’t go nuts and screw everything that moved. They were very discerning, actually.

Another strange thing — for its time in the ’20s and ’30s — happened. Morality switched from “compulsive” behaviors like honoring one’s marriage vows to honorable principles like raising children in stable homes. And we can, for instance, raise children in stable homes with two mommies, with a daddy who willingly contributes to their support because he loves them, and so on. I object quite strongly to conservatives who tell us the only way to get the job done is to promise Jesus that we’ll die together (which is literally what we do; many of us die together, a slow death). As if everything will fall apart if we don’t.

So what “rules” are we following that attract the worst, most dishonest people into our lives?

For me, it was in trying to build “commitment” as something I didn’t have anyway as long as a guy kept showing up. It was in dreaming about having kids without taking responsibility for possibly raising them alone in a nontraditional way; I wanted it to be perfectly traditional if kids were involved. I also had a big “spaths wanted” sign on my head for playing little romantic games like hard-to-get or you-call-me-first.

I see these shows, and brides’ magazines, and relationship how-to books, and all that as trying to force us back into this mold. A kind of sexual propaganda telling us what we should want.

What I want has changed over the years, I’ll grant that. Maybe it was appropriate to want other things when I was 25 or 35. But I’m 47. What I want is love, nurturing, and to give some of that back. I also still want adventure and the freedom to go off on my own. I’ve sabotaged my own romance novel, and that’s a good thing. In my heart of hearts, I knew what I really wanted.

Y’know those Match.com ads where everybody says they want someone with a sense of humor? I have an officially “ex” boyfriend who keeps me laughing — and vice versa — on two-hour road trips. OK, we didn’t “work out” in the traditional sense, but I still ask about his mom and was able to take his nephews ice skating one time. These experiences are meaningful for me, and I still have the freedom to date other men. Another friend of 30 years lets me trash his ultra-neat kitchen a couple of times a year to make holiday dinners for his family (my family, complete with a quirky mother-in-law, if you ask me).

Against that, meeting some hunk in a hot tub is pretty dumb. But yeah, I can do that. I mean, I do dumb, mindless things sometimes. I don’t base my life plans on them, but hey, enjoying yourself IS life.

“I’ll never be what society would say I should or making a big splash in anyone’s life.

Just what I can do around me now.”

That’s right.

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