15 Dating Lessons The Bachelor Has Taught My Teen Daughters

For many of you, the New Year means a change in eating and exercise habits and a fresh start. For others, it means the excitement of the football playoffs and the impending Super Bowl. But then there are those of you who look forward to it for one reason and one reason alone: January means the return of The Bachelor.

The Return of The Bachelor

Hey, I’m not judging. For years The Bachelor season (January to July, for those of you wondering) was my favorite season all year, even trumping summer. And I live in Minnesota, so that’s saying a lot. My husband and I watched from the very first season (who else is still shocked — almost 18 years later — that Alex picked Amanda?) and every year waited anxiously to ridicule another round of heartache and heartbreak.

When our girls were old enough to join us on the sofa of scorn (around age 12 or 13), The Bachelor and The Bachelorette nights became regular Family Fun events. We always looked forward to our hilarious, snarky commentary each week, and while we certainly hate-watched most of the seasons, actually cared about the outcome of a few as well (Sean and Catherine, you still complete us). And while sure, there are countless reasons not to let your 12-year-old watch The Bachelor, we liked to count all 120 minutes as teachable moments. Because while some may view The Bachelor a fairy tale, we all know it’s really just a cautionary one.

Here is a list of things my (now grown) daughters have learned from watching The Bachelor over the years; important lessons that I’m certain they’ll remember to ignore as they navigate the complexity of mature relationships and eventually play the game of love. I mean, except wearing a swimsuit without a statement necklace, because we all know that’s just a rookie mistake.

15 Dating  Lessons We’ve Learned From The Bachelor

1.The best way to make a first impression is if you show up riding some species of hoofed animal, wear an animal onesie, or — and this could be a game changer —disclose a heart wrenching, tear-jerking anecdote from your past.

2. If you’re a virgin, make sure everyone knows because it’s the only interesting thing about you. (And also, something is very, very wrong with you.)

3. It’s not possible to have fun without being fueled by a tank’s worth of alcohol. And by tank I mean an actual Army tank.

4. If you’re a single mother, leaving your precious lamb for a couple of months to find her a new Daddy on a reality show is a brilliant parenting choice and will certainly earn you her future respect.

5. Accessorize heavily, especially with swimwear. Less is not more, unless you are referring to the amount of fabric.

6. Swimming pools aren’t really for swimming, but hot tubs are always for having sex in.

7. Cry. Cry as much as you possibly can if you want to be noticed.

8. If you know your man has just had sex with two other women the two nights prior to asking you if you’d care to retire to his room, don’t even think about turning him down. Smile and accept his offer — and the residue and communicable diseases — graciously.

9. Saying, “I love you” repeatedly and never having your feelings reciprocated is totally fine and shouldn’t be a deciding factor in, say, accepting a marriage proposal.

10. Three other things that don’t really matter when accepting a marriage proposal: really knowing the person who is proposing; having a thoughtful, collective plan for the future; and common sense.

11. Don’t expect to be special.

12. Sound judgment is a sign of weakness. Don’t take longer than one, two dates tops with a suitor to let your guard down, show vulnerability, and risk your heart. #nowalls

13. If a man breaks up with you, it must be something you did.

14. Self-respect is for losers.

And the most important lesson?

15. Winning is really all that matters.

You Will Also Enjoy:

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A Mom’s Practical Dating Advice For Teenage Girls

About Michelle Newman

Michelle Newman is one of the hosts and producers of The Pop Culture Preservation Society, a podcast dedicated to preserving the pop culture nuggets of our GenX childhoods, from Barry Manilow and the Bee Gees to Battle of The Network Stars. She’s spent the past nine years writing for publications like Grown & Flown, Entertainment Weekly, and The Girlfriend, as well as for her (now silent) blog, You’re My Favorite Today. A recent empty nester, Michelle finds immense joy connecting with others through the memories of their 70s childhoods. Follow the Pop Culture Preservation Society on Instagram and listen wherever you get podcasts!

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