As an avid fan of the reality dating show The Bachelor, I'd always dreamt of going on the journey myself and getting to accept a rose. Well, I came as close as the average girl can get without actually being on the show when I got to be a part of The Bachelor Live, which is touring in 66 cities and just happened to come to Mesa as its first stop.
Basically, The Bachelor Live is a two-hour version of the television show adapted to the stage with local contestants. It's complete with dates, drama, roses, and background dancers.
I could go into the details of our rehearsal day, but I don't want to risk violating the confidentiality contract I signed. Instead, let me tell you what I learned: There is no reality in reality shows—that part comes later.
When I first showed up, all I could think was that I'd be fine as long as I didn't get sent home first. I met so many wonderful women that day, and we all bonded over the fact that we had no idea what we were doing. I also got to meet and work with my all-time favorite bachelor and bachelorettes Ben Higgins and Becca Kufrin, who are hosting the tour.
As if meeting my Bachelor idols wasn't nerve-racking enough, I had to prepare myself to go date someone...on stage. What? The girls and I danced away our nerves backstage, and then we got in the faux limo and stepped out for our big entrances.
Well, I didn't get sent home after the limo entrances. Or after our group dates. In fact, I even won one, thanks to my shameless dancing. The dates and challenges progressed, and almost two hours later, I found myself practically alone on stage, just one other woman besides me.
I don't know what it's like on the real show, but I can tell you that as I stood on that stage, ready to accept the final rose, I didn't know that man one bit. I knew that he was unbelievably attractive. I knew that he loved dogs (which, let's be honest, who doesn't?), and I knew that he was significantly older than me. That was about it.
So when he said my name and I stepped up to the podium to accept that final rose, that rose that said "I pick you," I still didn't really know what it meant. And so, flanked by my favorite television personalities, I popped champagne (unfortunately, it was actually just water), and toasted to this new connection that I was still wildly unsure about.
Away from the glare of the lights and the dramatic music, the bachelor was really just a chill guy with a strange love for reality television. And so, the final rose led to a date. Then another. They were really great dates, but all the honest communication we were forced to have on the show went out the window, and it was back to the same games I'm all too familiar with.
I kept thinking how strange it was that everything we went through had led up to this, and there was nothing to prove what we experienced but a dark picture backstage and a crumbling red rose.
I think this article may be premature as I'm still seeing what happens with him. We have plans to see each other again, but honestly, we could end up hanging out for a long time or we could stop next week.
This made me think about the real show and how easy it must be for things to fall apart or fade away. When you exit a high-pressure situation, it leaves you dizzy and confused. Though two hours is nothing compared to months of dating, I feel slightly closer to understanding what real bachelor contestants must go through. I think that it can be hard to move forward in the real world when you've only known each other in a fantasy. I absolutely believe it's possible to succeed though, if both parties are committed to making something work.
So, here's to all the people who've ever accepted or been denied a rose. What does it really mean anyway? For Becca, it was a husband. For Ben, it was a failed relationship that would eventually lead to a successful one. For Hannah Brown, it was heartbreak. All that matters is that someone had the courage to ask and that you had the courage to say yes. All you can do after that is give it your best shot and live your life—and that's the reality of it all.