A new season of The Bachelor started up last week. I read in the newspaper that only one of the 18 Bachelor and Bachelorette seasons has resulted in a marriage. This was viewed as a pitiful success rate, but I'm actually surprised that any of the couples stayed together, since I bet you can count on one hand the contestants whose top priority was finding love, and not just being on TV and becoming G-list celebrities.
These people certainly aren't television's first serial daters. I was watching a Seinfeld rerun the other night, and for some reason got the urge to see how many of Jerry's girlfriends I could think of in ten minutes, and then I took another ten on George, Elaine and Kramer. In just 20 minutes, I came up with 99 romantic interests for the four (43 of them Jerry's).
After the time expired I came up with even more. Some of my most embarrassing omissions from the original list: for Kramer, I forgot the librarian (LOVE the library cop's monologue in that one) and the girl he buys a faulty wheelchair for; I left off Elaine's older boyfriend who has a stroke, and the guy who thinks she smells after she rides in Jerry's B.O. car; I somehow forgot George's piano playing girlfriend (the Pez dispenser episode) and the one he accompanied to the funeral (he double-dipped the chip!), not to mention his flings with the cleaning lady at work and an old man's Senegalese housekeeper; and, worst of all, I somehow failed to come up with Jerry's girlfriend with the talking belly (Helllloooooooo!!) and the woman Jerry drugged in order to play with her toy collection (it's only my all-time favorite episode).
Keep in mind that there were only 180 episodes. That's a pretty impressive track record, especially by the guys. I can understand Elaine not having trouble scoring dates, since she's attractive, fun, and, uh, easy. But George and Jerry...sure, Jerry's character is moderately wealthy and famous, but I don't see many women considering them handsome, and neither of them have very attractive personalities. And it's not like they were dating the riffraff of New York...Jerry went out with a bevy of ladies which included a star from seemingly every show of the '90s (Courtney Cox, Kristin Davis, Teri Hatcher, Lori Loughlin, Debra Messing, Jane Leeves, Jami Gertz, Tawny Kitaen, etc.). More power to them, I guess.
This seems to be the time of year for people to date lots of people at once. At this time last year, my friend Tamara was starting her "31 dates in 31 days" project. Happily, she will be marrying the guy who won the second date this weekend! Congrats, Tamara and Evan! My friend Larissa also set me up with her friend Shayla, who's involved in a similar dating experiment. You can read about our date and, if you want, vote for me to win a second date here.
As far as my dating life goes, I have a few other irons in the fire, kind of. I plan to start attending sacrament meeting in a singles ward. There's also a chance that I could meet someone at work, though that seems unlikely. When I was working evenings while in training, it seemed like there were a lot of weirdos who worked there. But on the overnight shift, there are actually a LOT of good-looking girls. However, talking is basically not allowed on the work floor, and besides my lunch break, the breaks we get are too short to have a decent conversation with anyone. Plus, one of the cute girls seems to try hard to avoid me, which makes me worried that I inadvertently did something to creep her out (I can't be expected to act normally at 3AM, although I know I've never talked to her).
And then there's the temple...since I started working there in October, almost every week one of the older ordinance workers has mentioned to me, knowing that I'm single, that they have a granddaughter or a niece or a neighbor who is single...and that's it. No follow up comments--they just stare at me. How do they expect me to respond? "I'm not picky. Just have her here next week and we'll get married when my shift is over," or maybe "bring in a picture and I'll tell you if she's pretty enough for me"?
But then, last week, the shift coordinator (a quirky old man who looks like David O. McKay and has personal space issues) grabbed my arm and paraded me around in front of the sister workers, and explained that if I am still single when I turn 30 in April I can no longer be an ordinance worker (a relatively new policy). These are mostly all grandmothers, so he wasn't trying to fix me up with them, just helping me network. I already got a name and number from one of them, and may have several more waiting for me this Saturday.
So who knows what will happen. My body isn't hot-tub ready, so I'll likely never be on The Bachelor, but my dating track record and the effort I've put into getting my own dates through most of my adult life indicates I may need some kind of gimmick if I'm ever going to find "the one." That's the good thing, though--whether it takes 18 seasons, or 43 Hollywood starlets, or a different date every day for a month, or just the traditional years and years of swingin' and missin'--you only need to be successful once.