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Juan Pablo, Mi Amor.

27 beautiful, intelligent women packed into one Los Angeles mansion all competing for one thing. True love. The Bachelor has found a place in the hearts of Americans for the past 12 years for a variety of reason. Its major audience consists of women of all ages. In 2011, the show’s season premiere drew in over one million viewers, 30% of people watching television that evening and ranked #1 of the night across all key women viewer demographics. Why do women enjoy watching this and other dating reality shows so much?

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  1. The Title Role- The leading man of the series is historically handsome, suave, educated and has some type of well paying job or inheritance. It doesn’t hurt that 99% of the time the bachelor is shirtless.
  2. The Judgment Factor- Viewing 27 women competing for one man on television draws out the ugly in a lot of pretty people. Whether we cheer for our favorite contestant because she reminds us of our sister, or we hate the “crazy one” because she reminds us of a mean girl from high school, there is something to be said about the sick pleasure of passing judgment on someone you don’t know from behind a television screen for entertainment.
  3. Bonding Factor of Mindless TV- If you live with roommates like me, or your mom watches…it becomes an easy way to stay in touch. Shooting texts while viewing like, “He’s kissing ANOTHER ONE!” Brings a touch of excitement to an otherwise potentially dreary Monday night.

But what I like to believe is the real reason for watching The Bachelor….

  1. True Love: I firmly believe that love is the strongest force in the universe that can make people do truly amazing and truly awful things. When we watch these women on television, making them vulnerable to not only one man, but also millions of strangers, we can’t help but feel for them. They want what everyone else wants. Someone to confide in, drink morning coffee with and mostly someone to be there to hold their hand when shit hits the fan. The justification is that they will be the “chosen one” and they are the soul mate of this man they have never met before and know nothing about, aside from hysterical google searching. Every single woman walks in with the conviction that the Bachelor is her destiny, but only one walks away with a ring.

But what is the likelihood of falling in love with someone in such a condensed period of time?

The BBC reports that it takes anywhere from 90 seconds to 4 minutes to fall in “lust” with someone. Biologically, you subconsciously pick up on pheromones and the quality of a potential mate’s genes by evaluating factors like facial symmetry and overall quality of health. Your sex hormones are released during the lust period before ascending into attraction then attachment phase, respectively. During attraction, your brain releases high levels of dopamine and serotonin, which can make a person feel euphoric, high even. These are no doubt the chemicals which make our young bachelorettes think that they’ve found their forever. Whether or not they’re compatible enough to make it to the final rose? I suppose only Juan Pablo knows.

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