Off The Press

June 15, 2010

By Chantelle Lusebrink

Reality TV an easier dating experience than reality

So, why do you want to find love on “The Bachelor?”

That question, or some form of it, was asked to each of 200 women sitting before casting directors June 13.

ABC’s well-known franchise rolled into the greater Seattle-area, to find throngs of single women and yes, even a few men, that showed up for their chance to find love on the national television show.

Chantelle Lusebrink Press reporter

The dating scene leaves a lot to be desired, trust me. So, it’s not surprising two locals have landed on the national show.

First, there was Bevin Powers, then 28, who landed on 2007’s “The Bachelor: An Officer and a Gentleman.”

And most recently, Issaquah resident and businessman John Crivello, 32, made an appearance. In case, you aren’t engulfed in reality TV, he’s the guy who had enough gusto to actually propose to this season’s bachelorette, Ali Fedotowsky, 25, during the first show May 24.

I headed to the casting call with several girlfriends to see what exactly was going on. More directly, why would people risk public heartbreak — not to mention a complete invasion of privacy since you’re asked questions like “Have you ever had a restraining order issued against you?” and filmed 24/7 — to make whatever reality of love happen?

So, why do you want to find love on “The Bachelor?”

What followed as an answer from one of the women who attended the event was entirely unexpected. Simply stated in her written application, “Reality hasn’t worked for me.”

With the advent of telephone chat lines, speed dating, blind dating, Internet dating sites, tweeting and social networking, plus all the traditional ways of meeting someone, one would think there are plenty of ways to find love in reality. But judging by the lineup, which began at about 7:30 a.m., those realities hadn’t worked for many people.

As one would imagine, the archetypical stereotypes were represented: The wannabe “child star” who came to the casting armed with professional headshots and a helicopter mom to boss around; the misunderstood artist-type, who chain-smoked in line and wore a choker resembling a dog collar; the divorcee, who hadn’t watched the show enough to know it’s rare that anyone older than 35 is selected; the quiet professional that never made time for love, but has a doctorate of some sort; and then there was the showstopper, gold lamé stilettos, a flashy, fuchsia dress and a coif that would put Dolly Parton’s to shame.

More surprising, however, was how “normal” many of the hopeful bachelors and bachelorettes appeared: young professionals, generally photogenic, well-groomed and from observation, generally intelligent and ambitious.

So, at the end of the day, what does this long-shot chance of getting cast give to these contestants actually looking for love, not fame?

In more than one interview, applicants said they hoped someone could help them choose someone better suited for them than they could.

Essentially, that’s what you do on a dating site or with a trusted friend, many said, so why not put your faith in someone else’s ability? It’s just another venue and another experience. And just maybe, you can get a little slice of your 15 minutes.

So, what happened to our Issaquah singles that vied for affections on “The Bachelor” or “The Bachelorette” amid 25 contestants?

Powers proved to be unstoppable on the show and was one of two women left ready for a proposal, when bachelor Andy Baldwin let her go for the other contestant.

Unfortunately, Crivello’s proposal didn’t win him the day and he was eliminated from the show during the season’s third episode June 7.

Well, best of luck to all of you singles out there, whether it’s in reality, virtual reality or some form of predetermined TV reality. And if you missed it, you can still apply.

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