We British folk do not like feeling left out.
Alas, not every popular U.S. show makes its way across the pond and onto our screens. The Bachelor is one such show that inexplicably has never graced UK screens. And, yes, we do feel decidedly left out of your Bachelor brackets and viewing parties.
As an Americanophile with lots of American friends, I wanted to be a part of this cool clique with a matter of extreme urgency.
So, it relieved me greatly when my my best friend — an American living in London — urged our Anglo-American friend group to watch this supposed pillar of her culture (her words, not mine).
Did I know what I was letting myself in for? Absolutely not.
As it happens, watching The Bachelor was an educational experience. One that taught me a great deal about cultural differences between Brits and Americans. But, also taught me the odd lesson about myself.
Here are seven things I learned while watching The Bachelor through a British lens.
1. British cynicism is why we can’t have nice things
British people are very cynical. It’s just in our DNA. But I soon realised that my cynicism was not a welcome addition to the airing of the very first episode of the latest season of The Bachelor. My scoffs, eye rolls, and intermittent proclamations of disgust did not go down well among my non-British pals. My dear friends instructed me to “tone it down,” and I had not choice by to respect their wishes.
2. Things move really fast (and maybe I should too)
A few times during the first few episodes, I found myself protesting aloud at how quickly things escalated in the romantic stakes between Arie and his suitors. One minute you’re exchanging first names and the next you’re locked in a dramatic embrace.
When I told my friends that it usually took me until the second or third date to kiss them, I wondered if I might be taking things a little bit too slow. Resolved to take a leaf out of The Bachelor’s book, I didn’t take things quite so slowly the next time I went on a date.
3. Am I a prude?
I was immediately struck by this year’s bachelor Arie Luyendyk Jr.’s excessive snogging action. Now I get that these ladies, and one gentleman, are here to find everlasting love. But, this much snogging in one sitting is just too much for my prudish British sensibilities. How have they not all come down with a cold? This much saliva-swapping seems downright unhygienic. If all the contestants get coldsores, don’t say I didn’t warn ya.
4. The Bachelor melted my cold, icy heart
Once I’d reined in my derision of the show, I found myself tearing up a certain moments and getting emotionally invested in certain contestants (namely Kendall and Bekah M). Reality television is, of course, edited in such a way that elicits strong emotional reactions. Reflecting on this journey from cynicism to investment, I wondered if British people hide behind a cold, impenetrable wall of humour when confronted with romance and emotions. This show, in all its drama and soppy romance, cracked my wall with a pickaxe.
5. Arie has go-to date phrases (just like the rest of us)
You learn a lot about a human being when you observe them on dates with 29 people. I noticed that Arie has several favourite phrases that he likes to whip out during his dates. “I love that,” is one such phrase. “That’s awesome,” is another. He also has a real love of the word “amazing.”
My default response as a cynical Brit was, of course, to scoff and guffaw loudly every time Arie uttered his go-to phrases. But, then I wondered, am I really so very different to Arie? As I awkwardly fumble and flail my way through the revolving door of online dates, I too rely on stock phrases when I’m immobilised by nerves.
That said, I’m still not convinced Arie isn’t a robot.
6. Saying how you feel is a good thing
Brits are definitely not good at talking about our feelings. While I’m not fully sold on the idea that people can fall in actual long-lasting love during a reality dating show, I learned a lot from the upfront honesty of contestants like Tia, who told Arie early on that she was falling in love with him. Watching Tia, I vowed to always tell people how I feel.
7. Romance = good
Britain does not have a reputation for being the most romantic nation on the planet. But, after watching this show I was overcome with jealous rage. I want romance! I want candlelit dinners! I want a goddamn rose! I want a hometown visit! PSA to all British men: I want Bachelor-level romance.
Mashable reached out to ABC to find out why The Bachelor doesn’t stream in the UK, but didn’t hear back immediately. But, honestly, I really feel that the UK needs to be exposed to The Bachelor in all its highly edited, soppily romantic glory.
Sure, there’s a lot of too-close-for-comfort kissing shots, but we Brits could do with getting out of our comfort zone every once in a while.