I grew up watching The Bachelor
with my mom,
with many other American housewives.
We’d curl up on deflated couches
and she’d stand in front of the TV
during the kissing scenes
because I’d never seen
two people in love kiss before.
That season’s bachelor would play
my male role model for the year.
I think my mom wanted me to see
how I deserved to be treated
by a man,
because dad lived in the basement
dad lived a few miles away
dad lived a few states away
and I’d never seen my mom with roses
like the girls on TV.
We’d curl up on couches
and romanticize the love stories,
investing ourselves in them,
wondering when the next casting call was
at age 10,
I knew it wasn’t fake—
like stepdad said,
like all men said—
Girls and women knew this was reality:
sending people home after the first date,
being in love with too many people
all at once,
and ending up with none
years after they give us their last rose.