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I grew up watching The Bachelor

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,

age 25,

age 50.

I knew it wasn’t fake—

like stepdad said,

like all men said—

Girls and women knew this was reality:

the drama,

the heartbreak,

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.

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