I do a lot of things for this blog. And I’m willing to do a lot of ridiculous things in life, mainly since I’m a collector of stories and love being able to tell people (in detail) about the crazy things that happen.
So, that all being said, a very patient friend and I ventured out to Costa Mesa yesterday afternoon to audition for the upcoming season of “The Bachelor”.
Let it be known – I have literally NEVER watched “The Bachelor” before. I’m watching “The Bachelorette” this season for the first time cause I wanted to see what all the hype was about. Most of the time, I just wind up yelling at my television: “YOU HAVE KNOWN HER FOR TWO WEEKS. YOU AREN’T IN LOVE WITH HER!!!” It’s hard to understand how full-grown adults can go on national television and make fools of themselves for a person they barely even know.
Yet somehow, I found myself at the Costa Mesa casting call yesterday afternoon. I think a part of me was curious to see what it was all about; to learn about the process of finding regular people who are genuinely interested in finding love on national television. Another part of me was going cause I figured it would just be an entertaining blog post. And a tiny, tiny part of me was actually holding on to a bit of hope that maybe this could be something good.
It feels like a lifetime since I’ve sat down and actually written about dating. Last year, it was an activity that I really threw myself into. I had ALL of the apps (and even some website subscriptions) and I was going on dates pretty much every other night.I don’t know if the word “jaded” is a good way of describing my feels about the whole dating scene today – but it comes close. There have been a lot of almosts. People that I genuinely liked and/or cared about, which ultimately wound up just going nowhere.
These past six months, my approach to dating has been a lot more relaxed. Gone are the days where I go on a date every other night. Gone are the days where I lay in bed upset over some guy I met online who really didn’t care about me in the long run. These days, I only have one app on my phone (of which I can only access when I’m in a wifi zone) and I barely even check that.
One of my girlfriends, when I told her that I was going to the casting call, asked, “Are you going actually looking for love and engagement with one of those dudes? I feel like everyone just goes on to get famous…no one goes on for love anymore and all they do is be annoying on Instagram.”
I genuinely felt like I was going to this casting call with good intentions. Dating on TV can’t be worse than dating online, right? The chances of me actually making it on the show are slim to none, but I figured that I have nothing to lose and it’s on a day off and I would just be sitting at the pool anyways, so why not give it a shot?
I got to my friend’s house in Hollywood and after giving me a once-over, he insisted that we run to Zara to grab a different dress than the one I was wearing. This resulted in me literally changing into a new outfit in The Grove parking lot. We opted out of an overly revealing look and went with a white dress since we were like, “duh, they’re looking for a wife for this guy, so obviously I should look bridal and angelic…”
Dress: Zara; Shoes: Steve Madden; Sunnies: Ray Ban; Necklace: Madewell
After sitting in dreaded 405 traffic forever, we got to the casting call around 2pm and after signing in and having my photo (up-close and full body) taken, I was given a very large packet to fill out. This thing was probably 15 pages and even included contracts that I had to sign in case I actually made it on to the show…
Here’s evidence of me carefully considering questions, such as:
“What are you looking for in an ideal mate?”
“What are three adjectives that would surprise people about you?”
The room full of hopefuls. The casting was open for both men and women (for either show)- but the number of women FAR exceeded the number of men looking to audition.
Here’s a snap of my friend and I cause we were both beyond bored while waiting in line. He spent his time chasing Pokemon, so at least he was occupied for the majority of the time.
We then waited in one line, to get moved to another room where I waited in another line (this time on chairs) while they slowly called people into meeting rooms to be put on camera. We were especially thankful for the fact that the whole thing took place indoors, since I had read online that different castings required the potential hopefuls to wait in line outside.
I was literally the next person in line to be called into the room to talk to a casting director and by that point, I was pretty much over waiting for this whole experience and I’m pretty sure my friend could tell, based on his edit:
Two hours after initially signing in, I finally got brought into a meeting room where a nice casting lady (with some stellar glasses) hooked me up to a microphone. She had me say my name, age, place of residence and occupation to the camera – then began asking me a series of questions to get an idea about if I would be a good candidate for the show.
Naturally, she asked me about my dating history. I told her about how I was in a long relationship and after that ended a year and a half ago, I had been trying to stay afloat in the dating world. She asked a couple of personal follow-up questions, but it was pretty much exactly what I was expecting.
Then she asked me to tell her something interesting about myself. I told her about this blog and about how writing is something that allows me to try and stay honest and authentic in a world which feels like everyone is trying to be something that they’re not.
The interview ended after I had been in the room for about five minutes, which was pretty standard based on what I was seeing while sitting and waiting outside. She thanked me for coming in and told me I should hear something, if I’m selected as a semi-finalist, by the beginning of August.
I left the casting with a weird taste in my mouth. It was nothing personal, since everyone at the event was super polite and friendly, but the experience as a whole had us raising our eyebrows about the nature of love and image as a whole.
For one thing, there was a severe lack of diversity in the girls who showed up to audition. There were no women of color and, for the most part, all the girls there were tall and thin with their hair expertly done and their long legs on display as they walked around in tiny rompers or dresses. True, we were in Orange County, but we walked into the room and EVERY single person in there was white.
I’d say the average age of the girls auditioning was around 22.
Think about it. 22 years old and willing to go on a show where they are expected to MARRY someone at the end of it. I sat there observing and listening to the conversations that were taking place. Most of the girls surrounding me were talking about how they were home for summer vacation and were headed to Disneyland the next day, or how they had just graduated college and had to start looking for their first jobs. I heard one girl complaining about some guy that wasn’t texting her back and one group of ladies talking about how they got super wasted the night before. One girl gave our whole section a speech about her dress and where/when/how she acquired it. At one point I looked up and the entire row of girls across from me (six girls in total) were taking selfies of themselves on their phones, complete with the signature pout that you see all over Instagram these days.
All I could think as I sat there (being one of the older girls in attendance at the ripe old age of 25) was: “NONE OF YOU HAVE LIVED YET!”
None of you have actually worked, or had your heart broken, or had to hustle to achieve something massive, or be financially independent for yourself. Why on earth do you want to subject yourself to a life on reality TV where you may or may not find love, but it’s 100% certain you will be publicly ridiculed on national television (you agree to it in the contract that we all signed when we first got there)?
It just made me think about the lengths people will go these days for notoriety. Like my friend who I quoted at the beginning of this essay said, people are going on these shows and literally saying YES to getting married to a practical stranger – mainly for the chance to become Instagram famous for five minutes.
We got back to my friend’s apartment and I took of my white dress and we snapped some pictures a la Terry Richardson against a wall that he has in his apartment…
I had to take a second to remind myself that my body and my identity is beautiful – even if isn’t necessarily what the ‘ideal’ is in terms of casting a reality television show. I’m a petite, curvy girl. I have boobs, I have a butt. And when I walked into the holding room yesterday afternoon, I instantly knew that there was no chance in hell that I would get cast, which reminded me why I quit my short lived acting career all those years ago.
After leaving that casting call, I realized that I don’t WANT to marry some guy I meet on national television. Here I was, a girl who had my heart broken and lived to tell the tale, sitting and waiting to be interviewed by a casting director to potentially marry SOME guy (identity TBD).
I get that yes, people do find love on this show, but that’s not that kind of love I want. I don’t want a relationship that I have to compete for with a bunch of other young, blonde hopefuls, that’s pretty much contrived by producers to make good TV. I want something honest and natural and real – and I just don’t think that’s honestly something that can be found in a casting room in Costa Mesa.
I’m not a cookie cutter version of anyone else. I HAVE LIVED MY LIFE. I have scars on my body (and my heart) that prove that I have hustled and moved and had epic adventures, and I’ve done what I have to do to make my life the one that I want. And eventually, I will meet someone who accepts me for who I am, who has approached living his life the same way. But why rush?
I’m 25. I have no desire to get married at this point in my life. I prefer to run around and have a blast and travel and explore and work my ass off to achieve my goals and eventually, love and marriage will be something that presents itself and when it does, it will be a beautiful thing.
But until that happens, I’m just happy being me. The girl in the pink lace (not in the white dress), partially buzzed off a homemade Moscow Mule, trying to stay cool in an apartment on a summer day in California.