How to Watch “The Bachelor” with Your Wife or Girlfriend 

The start of the 4,532nd season of The Bachelor means my wife has reinstated her ongoing Bachelor viewing parties with some of her female friends. Rather than rolling my eyes and hiding out in my non-existent mancave, I crack a beer and settle in next to her on our couch…because I love my wife, because I’m secure in my masculinity, and — most importantly — because I actually enjoy it. Here are 8 ways you can, too: 

1. Engage in competitive nicknaming. It’s recommended as you age to keep your mind active with creative tasks and puzzles, like DIY refurbishings, crosswords, adult coloring books and shit like that. Working out the perfect nickname for a contestant that balances just the right amount of disdain, juvenility and low-brow humor may (re)activate those creative centers in your brain. Your wife — and her friends, if it’s a viewing party — will be doing this already, so make a game out of it and see if you can get any of your monikers to stick for the rest of the season and then reap the glory. (Feel free to keep score…in your head). Some of my past favorites include Fivehead, Vagina Face and BabyRuth (spoken like Sloth from “The Goonies”) — and those are just for the dudes. Am I proud of myself? No. Is it fun? Of course it is. 

2. Learn how NOT to be romantic. This can be an educational experience for you. The Bachelor franchise offers excellent examples of how to be a dick in dating and mating. So watch, learn, and do the exact opposite. Arranging an evening where just the two of you get serenaded by a 14-piece band? Awkward. Not responding with your own feelings when a partner you like spills her guts about how she really feels about you? Best to start oversharing. Trying to juggle more than two hookups at the same time? You’re asking to get your balls handed to you on a plate. 

3. Get some good date ideas (but be selective!). Contestants onThe Bachelor go on a lot of truly stupid dates. Bikini tractor racing in the middle of a metropolis, Sumo wrestling in traditional diapers, a fake wedding, etc. You don’t need to try so desperately hard and be a psycho producer of your real life dates. That said, one thing The Bachelor does get right is often making one-on-one dates thrilling or novel. Bungee-jumping, repelling, whitewater rafting, hot-air-ballooning, and even, dare I say it,  ballroom dancing. Getting out of your and/or your partner’s comfort zones or even conquering some fears together — without stripping yourselves of your dignity — can make you two solid as a rock (yes, I just quoted Ashford and Simpson, deal with it). 

4. Drink. Hello, this is an excuse to sit back, relax, laugh, and get a nice buzz going that is totally sanctioned by your girlfriend/wife!

5. Submit to the guilty pleasures. Yes,The Bachelor/ette is terrible, it’s petty, it’s bullshit, it’s just plain bad. Your partner knows this. But sometimes it’s so bad, it’s good. (If you watch one episode in its entirety, you’ll be forced to admit this at least once.) The fantasy is so over the top that it’s just ridiculously entertaining. There’s a metaphor for porn in there somewhere, I’m sure of it. 

6. Enjoy the eye candy. The producers will put every single woman on The Bachelor and the main protagonist on The Bachelorette in a bikini…on more than one occasion. Being fit — and willing to strip in front of a camera — is a requirement to be on this show. Your partner will certainly be enjoying all the long, lingering shots of the male contestants’ six packs. What’s good for the goose…

7. Be the designated dealer. If, during a viewing party, the baby monitor goes off or an older child needs a glass of water or the cheese plate needs more crackers or the glass case protecting the emergency bottle of wine needs to be shattered, step up to the plate. Being cool enough to enjoy a Bachelor viewing without gagging but not so obsessed that you can’t tear yourself away for a few minutes will score you countless points with your partner — points that can be redeemed later. (For what, exactly, should be diplomatically negotiated between you and your partner.) Bonus ego boost: this propensity will probably make her friends wish they had a husband/boyfriend like you). 

8. Don’t be a douche. Everyone has their own particular hobbies. You may not particularly enjoy your partner’s,  or even understand it. But if it brings her joy, why poop on it? Wouldn’t you like her to be supportive of — rather than critical of or even embarrassed by — your ultimate frisbee league, your poker night, or your porn habit? Hey, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em! 

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