As an occasionally proud and occasionally embarrassed big fan of The Bachelor , I can't help but notice a theme: the men who star on the show are surprisingly bad at picking a woman to end up with. Which is kind of a lot of pressure to put on Ben Higgins midway through his season, don't you think? For the entire direction of the franchise to fall on his 26-year old shoulders? So why don't we give him some help? I have one twist for the Bachelor to consider doing that will help Ben H., and all the Bachelors who come after him, to have a better track record with marrying their final choice than has been seen in the franchise so far.
While there's been some limited success on the Bachelorette side, with Trista Rehn, Ashley Hebert, and Desiree Hartsock marrying their final choice, and Kaitlyn Bristowe getting engaged to hers, it's a pretty desolate wasteland when it comes to the men. Even with eight more completed seasons to work with — 19 to The Bachelorette's 11 — the field of successful relationships is a lot smaller: only Season 13's Jason Mesnick and Season 17's Sean Lowe got married to contestants on their seasons, and Mesnick only qualifies because he dumped the winner, Melissa Rycroft, to rekindle things with the runner-up, Molly Malaney. So, essentially, the gentlemen of The Bachelor are working with just over a 10 percent success rate, compared with the women's success rate of 36 percent. (That's assuming Kaitlyn marries Shawn, of course, which I'm thinking is very likely.)
As much as I fancy myself a social scientist with a PhD in Reality Television, I can't begin to tell you why this is, except that the data suggests that the women of this franchise have significantly better judgement than the men do. And that's where the twist I have in mind comes in. Why don't we take some of the pressure off the guy making the decisions by giving him some outside input? What if, every week, the other female contestants were allowed to anonymously vote on who they thought the best possible matches in the game were for this guy? And the person with the highest rating gets a Yellow Rose of Friendship! (Don't hold your breath, Olivia Caridi. You don't seem to be the favorite.) Maybe this rose doesn't even keep her in the game if the Bachelor wants to eliminate her, because you can't manufacture chemistry where it doesn't exist, but, if this person is walking around all week with a physical symbol of how much her peers like and respect her, I think that might plant some seeds in a guy's subconscious.
It would also force the women to spend some serious time thinking about what they personally wanted, in addition to just what the Bachelor wanted, which is hugely important and often overlooked. Plus, this looks out for the guy's best interest in the long run, which is, theoretically, how you should feel about someone you're trying to get married to, right? That, even if you don't end up together, that you ultimately want them to be happy?
I know it's against the snarky, competitive nature of the show — they'd be much more likely to do the opposite, like voting for the worst woman for the guy — but the women always seem to catch onto the phonies among them pretty quickly. I know we could be putting their instincts to better use with a twist like this. All I'm saying is that it's worth thinking about. And, you know, I'll expect my check in the mail if this catches on.
Images: ABC; Giphy