Recently, being surrounded by a female majority, and in a moment of vulnerability, the women forced me to watch the Bachelorette. Trying to be open-minded, I did my best to give this popular show a chance. However, every part of my male instincts screamed, “this just ain’t right.” Man, it was painful for me to watch a scripted show, with such lack of depth from both sides.
“Tonight, we are just going to focus on having an enjoyable time,” she says, as three guys sit in front of two roses. The three guys, prompted by the tele card thingies, ogle over themselves to tell her how lovely she is tonight. Gag me a river!
“Why are there two roses in front of them?” I ask, playing along with the lack of depth theme of the show.
I was promptly and matter-of-factly informed, two of the three would go home with a rose, which qualified them to stay on the show. The one who did not get a rose must leave and not return. “Now be quiet and watch the show,” was the vibe I began feeling from the female tribe.
“That’s enough to make me want to cry,” I pretend, knowing soon, tears would flow from one character. I’m pushing my luck and it would not surprise me if they asked me to leave the room soon.
She asks one of the three guys, who are now elbowing each other for position to sit beside her, to kiss her. As they kiss, right on cue, tears roll down her cheeks. She has become a Judas! She explains to him she has fallen “in love” with him in the last three weeks, but she just does not “love” him. Huh?
Young and dumb is what I say. Poor girl is about to make a mistake that will last a lifetime. He will steal her youth and then dump her for someone new. Bad boys always do.
She’s crying, and I don’t even know why. He’s crying because he did not receive a rose. I’m crying because this is so bad!
She just let the good one go. Now, as she passes out roses to the other two, they show their gratitude by sticking out their forked tongues, revealing their true identity to all of us with eyes. But, as they say, love is blind.
As intriguing as this show is, my mind wanders. Suddenly, I am back to the days when a real bachelor existed. Me!
The setting is my college campus. It is the first week of my freshman year. The previous big man on the high school campus, at least in my eyes, is about to discover a sad rite of passage. Freshmen girls want junior boys. The problem is nobody informed me of this beforehand. It is an excruciating but necessary initiation into bachelorhood. It makes for a tough year. But if one patiently waits, he too will soon be a junior and the world will become right again. But try telling that to an anxious freshman bachelor.
In the meantime, what’s a boy to do? Well, you pay the price, that’s what. But you never ever give up. You keep trying. My motto was “if I’m not tryin, I’m dyin.”
Many people think of bachelorhood as one big party. For me, it was downright work. While I was in college to learn about book stuff, the bachelor life definitely became the hardest subject. While on the football field, no doubt I delivered and received many hard blows. But none of the football blows ever came close to the ones delivered when I chose the elective course called “dating” in the school of hard knocks.
I discovered that college bachelorhood came in phases.
First phase- Blind Date Fodder
“Hey Ronnie. This is Stephanie. I really need a favor. My ABSOLUTE BEST friend is coming into town this weekend. She has a GREAT personality. Would you want to take her out on a double date with me and my date? We’ll have a blast.“
If I heard that once, I heard it every weekend of my first semester.
“Sure,” I say, knowing that “personality” word was code for…well, you know.
Once a freshman bachelor takes this bait, word spreads wildly throughout campus and soon I became labeled “blind date fodder.” Offers came in from near and far.
Need a blind date? Call Ronnie. He is blind date fodder.
After a few hours of trying to get Miss Personality to talk, I’m wanting to shed a tear or two. I never received a rose during this phase, but honestly, I was a okay with that!
Second phase- Last Choice Date
This phase comes into play once you tire of being blind date fodder and dealing with that “personality.”
A freshman girl is similar to a football quarterback. The quarterback walks up to the line of scrimmage and looks at his options. He chooses the play based on his best chance of making the play successful.
A freshman bachelor who has entered this phase learns to make his call on Thursday evening. By doing this, she has had her chance to survey the field. If she has not received an offer from a junior or sophomore, she now must decide if the choice you bring to the table is better than sitting in her room over the weekend.
Not owning a car made being a freshman bachelor even more of a challenge.
“Hi, this is Ronnie. I was wondering if you would like to go out this Saturday night,” I ask, trying not to sound like the desperate fool I was becoming.
“Where are we going?” she asks.
“I thought I’d come by and we could walk over to the student union and watch a movie,” I replied, hoping she did not know our choice was a documentary on chimpanzees or a foreign western with French subtitles.
“I just forgot. I have a thing on Saturday evening,” she says, as both of us know she is lying.
Heck, I would lie too if that was my only option!
About four weeks after school started, I dislocated my shoulder. As a result, they relinquished me to a very sexy looking sling that held my left arm in place next to my body. Once I convinced a last choice freshman girl to go out to the western with French subtitles. Her dorm was about a mile away, uphill. Now I’ve always been one to sweat profusely. Once I arrived, arm in sling, shirt dripping wet, smile on my face, smelling earthy. Let’s just say I did not get a rose that evening. I wanted to cry. In fact, I think I did!
Third phase- Rebound Date
This phase can be confusing. At this stage, the junior guy, caught cheating on the young freshman, has moved on to another freshman, who he will eventually cheat on. Once a dog sucks an egg, he will always suck an egg, a saying I believe rings true. Nevertheless, her heart has been broken. The man of her dreams is gone. Perhaps she can forgive him and let him come back! She can change him and make him be true to her forever, she mistakenly thinks.
For a bachelor going out on the rebound date to have fun, proper time must pass from the breakup. If the proper time has not lapsed, expect tears to flow as you play Dr. Phil. She still has her heart struck on Mr. Egg Sucker. It is enough to make me want to cry!
No roses were ever awarded in this phase.
Fourth phase- Becoming a Sophomore Bachelor
This is a tricky phase. You’ve now graduated out of the dreaded freshman phase, but you are not quite to the ultimate junior phase. What do you do? It is imperative to set yourself apart from the other sophomores and align yourself with the juniors.
One of my buddies and I discovered a secret passage to the top of Old Main, the highest point on the campus. This proved to be just what we needed to move us up on the list. Until authorities found us out, this was a sure-fire ticket to a date.
“Hey, this is Ronnie. Wanna go get high?”
“Whaaa?” she would say.
“I want to take you to a height you’ve never been before. It’s a secret place,” I boasted, knowing the intrigue factor was working and I had graduated to junior level.
Sitting on top of the north tower of Old Main with my date, knowing few others had ever accomplished this feat, was exhilarating. Survival of the fittest. I had adapted. Corny as it sounds, it was the break I’d been waiting for. The Old Main Bachelor! I was proud of myself. Gimmicky yes. But it worked and that was all that mattered.
I was so happy I could cry! But still no roses awarded.
Fifth phase- Finally a Junior
Ahh, finally. I’d paid the price. I had endured all the idiosyncrasies of those past dates. Blind date after blind date, thinking of things to make Miss Personality talk. Being last choice so many times. It was tough knowing she knew I knew she knew I was her last choice. So many rebound dates, cut short with tears of her broken heart rolling down her face. The sophomore phase was a little better with the Old Main gimmick.
Now, I had finally arrived. I was a junior bachelor! Utopia!
Did I lower myself and go for the freshman bachelorette? You betcha! That year made up for the previous two long years. But as wonderful as that year turned out, I still had no rose. It was enough to make one want to cry!
As I awaken from my daydream, my eyes began to come into focus. I see the woman of my dreams. The one who finally granted me the rose. Indeed, she has quite the personality. I was not a last choice date for her; nor was I a rebound. I was not forced to develop a gimmick for her to go out with me. I asked her to marry me and she accepted. That was over forty years ago. Not only does she love me, but she is also in love with me. We’ve had blast after blast together. She has taken me to heights far higher than the tower of Old Main. The terrible reminders of all those non-rose dates fade away. Thank God for unanswered prayers, as I recall the multiple prayers asking him to let this or that one give me the rose. I’m so thankful he did not grant those requests. A tear of joy streams down the side of my face.
Suddenly, I have a yearning to give her a thousand roses!