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Should Ali Choose Chris or Roberto on The Bachelorette? Critiquing Different Views

July 22, 2010

Who will she choose? Does it matter?

Let me start with an admission.  I don’t regularly watch either The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, because so much other good TV needs watching.  If something amazing or scandalous—both relative concepts—happens, I catch up with clips of the good stuff.  This gives me enough to comment on some of the more “newsworthy” happenings.  (Now you know the secret to frequent blogging.)

It is with this limited knowledge that a recent Huffington Post article caught my eye.  In it, a gentleman named Tom Matlack and his college-age niece, Maria Sulimirski, offer their reasons why bachelorette Ali should choose Chris (Tom’s choice) or Roberto (Maria’s), the last two contestants.  Tom and Maria’s justifications offer insights not just into their own personalities and biases, but those of many men and women in general.

In the first part of the piece, Tom lets on that he identifies with Chris, who comes across as a little awkward but good-hearted, a man who is grounded in family, and values sincerity and honesty.  Tom makes it clear that he feels a kinship with Chris, a guy who has made his way with a solid personality because he couldn’t rely solely on his looks, though he’s not lacking in that area.  What really comes through, though, is that Tom, and a whole lot of other guys that you and I know, has an irrational distrust of the “hotter” Roberto borne of envy:

“Now let me come clean. The reason I am pulling for Chris is because I was a loser in high school, a semi-loser in college and frankly didn’t find my footing with the opposite sex until I met my current trophy wife at the ripe old age of 37. Guys like Roberto have always pissed me off. They make it look so easy. Women flock to them. And by definition they don’t have to look into their souls to figure out what is important in life.”

Notice that Tom says that Roberto-types “don’t have to looks into their souls…”  To a point, he’s right: extremely attractive people can get away with a lot more—and get by with a lot less—simply because a lot of people are willing to put up with a lot more crap in order to sleep with them.  (Please realize I’m not saying this is right, just that it is.)  However, I get the feeling that Tom understands that his rejection of Roberto isn’t entirely fair, and it isn’t.  Just because Roberto doesn’t have to look into his soul doesn’t mean that he doesn’t.  I’ve had the good fortune to be close friends with extremely good-looking people who are very intelligent, wonderful human beings.  These things should not be considered mutually exclusive; as well, it should not be surprising when these desirable traits happen to converge in a person who is easy on the eyes.  I think Tom knows this, but his early experiences with the opposite sex and men who more easily interacted with them have compromised his ability to look at such situations objectively.  While he sees the big picture for a successful relationship—substance over style, big stuff over minutiae—he fails to understand, or at least fails to put on paper, that great things can come in great-looking packages.

Tom’s niece Maria, on the other hand, is fully in the Roberto camp and makes a far more convincing argument.  Whereas Tom speaks mainly in generalizations about why the more “normal,” awkward guy should win Ali’s heart, Maria notices the details of the actual interpersonal dynamics.  To hear Maria tell it, Roberto and Ali interact in an easier, more genuine manner than Ali and Chris.  She even catches that Ali’s climate preference agrees with Roberto’s and not Chris’.  (This may seem like small potatoes, but it, along with other such “insignificant” details, are anything but.)  While the reader gets the impression that Maria’s opinion might be a little clouded by Roberto’s good looks, she enumerates what makes his personality stellar as well.  (I’ll forgive her complaint about Chris’ sartorial style, since I am a reformed fashion failure myself, and everyone has pet peeves.)  Even her concerns about Roberto are based on sweeping assumptions: “Roberto is exactly the kind of guy most girls want but can’t have (because most charming, attractive young men are non-committal womanizers).”  Clearly from one woman’s point of view, and on The Bachelorette it’s only the woman’s point of view that matters, Roberto has the upper hand.  And fair or not, his looks don’t hurt.

This may prove a wasted discussion, anyway.  (Some people will say it always was, given that we’re talking about a silly reality TV show.  Some people are probably right.)  Leave aside the ridiculousness of having a woman choose her ever-after partner among 25 strangers in a completely contrived, controlled, and structured environment after two months of “dating,” without going through money troubles, family deaths, and all the big and little things other couples must endure that forge—and sometimes break—bonds of love and friendship.  Forget about that, because every day plenty of “real” people decide to marry with less thought, and less information about the other party than he Bachelorette has.  No matter whether Ali chooses Chris or Roberto, and no matter what the reasons, her odds aren’t good: only one Bachelorette, Trista Rehn, remains married to a show winner, and no Bachelor has stayed with a show winner.  For the sake of Ali and one of the final two contestants, let’s hope they can buck the trend.

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2 Comments
  1. July 23, 2010 10:02 am

    Dude, where is the love for the fraternity of men looking for love for all the right reasons with not a clue as to how to go about it?

    • Matt Shorr permalink*
      July 23, 2010 10:21 pm

      Tom,

      Much love to those guys, of whose fraternity I counted myself a member until I, like you, found my footing after college and somehow ended up with a lady way out of my league. My point is simply that just because Roberto is hot doesn’t mean he can’t be a good guy, too. If he is–and the way Maria talks about him, he seems to be–we can’t help but feel the same way we do when someone who is already a millionaire wins the Powerball.

      You and I agree on one thing (and probably many others): we hope Ali makes the right choice, whatever that may be. Either way, may everyone be as lucky as you and I.

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