Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Bachelorette and first impressions

It's no secret to those closest to me that I have a fondness for chick flicks and television typically targeted at women. With only a shred of shame do I declare A Walk to Remember to be one of my favorite movies. I did experience a pang of embarrassment recently when one of my favorite shows was classified as a part of a Monday night lineup called "Man Candy Monday."

I have long been intrigued by The Bachelor and The Bachelorette and yet, when asked, I have a hard time explaining exactly what it is that appeals to me. In an effort to decipher this show's ability to capture my attention, I will blog about The Bachelorette from time to time this summer. In case you don't watch The Bachelorette, I will try to keep the posts generic enough to appeal to the average reader (or even better, you should just start watching the show and follow my twitter feed @sethwatchestv as I live tweet whilst the show airs).

For those of you who aren't awesome and thus don't know, The Bachelor/Bachelorette is a show where one guy/girl essentially "dates" 25 girls/guys at a time, slowly dumping some as he/she goes, until there is one left and he proposes/lets him propose (gender neutrality is sooooo tedious) at the end of the season. If you think this sounds ridiculous, you've about got it.

Last week was the season premiere of The Bachelorette, where Des met all 25 of her gentlemen callers. One by one, the guys step out of a limo and introduce themselves. Over the course of the many seasons of this show, it has become a bit of a foregone conclusion that each guy stepping out of the limo has to have some sort of shtick; something special to make a lasting first impression. Monday night was perhaps the strangest combination of first impressions yet, including a knight in shining armor, a four-year old boy, and a guy with no shirt on.

What strikes me about these introductions are how planned out and non-spontaneous they are. Each guy knows that he is about to meet a girl that he hopes to woo and perhaps propose to and he has plenty of time to plan out what he is going to do. Some guys go the hot-bod route, like the shirtless wonder, and others go the funny route, like the guy who dropped to one knee as if to propose but then just tied his shoe.

We don't always get the opportunity to plan out what type of first impression we will make. If I did get the chance, I might try to come off as kind and caring. These are the traits that I find most important about myself.  However, I think reflecting on how we typically act around a new person or group of people is very telling of not what we find most important about ourselves, but rather what we think others will find most appealing about ourselves. For example, when I meet new people I think about 75% of the things I say are attempts at humor (and 5% are actually funny).

Perhaps I'm hypothesizing that we are more motivated to be who we think others want us to be rather than who we, ourselves, want to be. Not exactly groundbreaking stuff, but first impressions offer an interesting test to the hypothesis. When you really think about it, what characteristics are most important about yourself? How do those compare with how you act around new people?

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