8 Things People Get Wrong About 'The Bachelor'

All right everybody, it's that time of year again, where I have to embarrass myself by knowing way too much about a reality show, and start correcting you when you say one of these things that everybody gets wrong about The Bachelor . You may think you know this show, but you really have no idea. But don't worry! I'm here to help! It may not be what you want from me, but it's what you need. Anytime someone says, "Don't the contestants get paid?" or "Filming for this show is so long," I will be there, cape snapping in the breeze behind me, to say, "Um, actually that's not true." I'm a reality TV Batman, and I take my job very seriously.

And since Ben Higgins' season of The Bachelor is premiering Jan. 4, there's no time like the present to tackle some of those common misconceptions about the show. You know, now that it's in its 20th Season. (What do you want from me? I'm new to the superhero lifestyle, and I can't fly that fast yet. I got here as soon as I could.) Whether you're a long-time fan of the show, couldn't care less about it, or are tuning in this season for the first time, here are some things you might be getting wrong about The Bachelor. The more you know, right?

1. They Don't Film For As Long As You Think

Considering how many couples get engaged at the end, you might imagine that these people are around each other every day for six months to a year, so they can know if they want to spend the rest of their lives with someone. But, in actuality, it's only about six weeks. So get a move on!

2. The Couples Aren't Totally Sequestered While The Show Airs

I always thought that, once the Bachelor gave away the final rose, that he and the lucky lady had to be completely isolated from each other until the show finished airing, so the ending wouldn't get spoiled. As it turns out, that's not the case. The show wants the couples to stay together, so according to former Bachelorette Ali Fedotowsky, producers do everything they can to facilitate that:

The couple is whisked away to a "safe house" about once every 10 days for a five day period. At least that is how it was for me and a few other couples I've talked to from the show. Keep in mind, this has a lot to do with how much free time each of the people have to travel (work could get in the way of this). So it's around 10 days away from each other, five days together, 10 days apart, five days together and so on and so forth.

Yeah, that makes sense. Otherwise how are you expected to maintain a relationship?

3. They Don't Have To Get Engaged At The End

It's rare that a Bachelor doesn't take a knee to drop the question at the end, but it does happen! Brad Womack of Season 11, and Juan Pablo Galavis of Season 18 are a couple semi-recent examples. What doesn't typically happen, however, is the relationship continuing on much longer after that point, assuming the couple doesn't get engaged.

4. The Cocktail Parties Aren't The Length Of Your Average Party

In the real world, if you showed up to a cocktail party at someone's house, you probably wouldn't expect to be there for more than three hours or so, but you'd have to quadruple that to be ready for the Bachelor set. According to Leslie Hughes, who was a contestant on Sean Lowe's season, the first night in particular was a real test of stamina: "[It] was very long. We didn’t start until 7 at night and we didn’t finish until 8 in the morning!" Woof.

5. There's More Inebriation Going On Than You'd Think

Ever wondered how they manage to find a crop of women every single season who will cry at the drop of a hat over a guy they just met? Well, it's a little thing called alcohol, and realizing how much of it there is available on set really made some puzzle pieces fall into place for me. According to Hughes, it was pretty much an unending flow of emotional lubrication:

It’s how they get you to be more talkative, more sensitive. When I came in for the producers’ weekend, I remember it was like 12 noon, and they were like, "You want some champagne, wine?" And I was like, "It’s 12 p.m., noon!" And they’re like, "Welcome to the Bachelor family."

As someone who's been at a bar at 3:00 a.m. before, drunkenly crying because someone I just met liked my friend better than me, oh boy do I hear this.

6. Contestants Likely Don't Get Paid To Appear On The Show

I haven't seen any tax forms from the show or anything, so this is unconfirmed, but the general consensus appears to be that those vying for the heart of the Bachelor or Bachelorette don't get any kind of compensation for the time they spend on national television, away from their real lives. Which sounds crazy to me, but does explain why there's so much pressure to be there "for the right reasons." Because you know who does get paid? The Bachelor or Bachelorette themselves. There's a lot of pressure to last long enough, and get enough screen time, that this could become a lucrative opportunity in the future, whether or not you have real romantic feelings developing.

7. They Don't Have Stylists

This is a biggie! According to Hughes, not only do the contestants do their own cooking and laundry, just like they would at home, but they also prep themselves for dates on live television with the guy they might one day marry. No pressure. I guess I figured there must be some kind of professional assistance, because the women always look so gorgeous, but apparently nope! All the clothing, hair stuff, and makeup is brought in by each individual lady for her own use. "It's a lot of suitcases," says Hughes.

8. The Bachelor Isn't The Only One Making Decisions

Yes, this is a show about finding love, but, at the end of the day, it's also about making a very popular television show, so producers are more involved than you might think. According to Sean Lowe's book, For The Right Reasons, they have their hands in everything from the call-out order at the rose ceremony to conversation topics during one-on-ones, to steering contestants toward an on-screen persona, like being the villain, for example.

I think, at the end of the day, the thing to remember is that this is a show meant to dazzle and entertain, so there are things about it that are going to appear differently on camera than they are in real life. But, armed with the answers to these eight misconceptions, you can handle anything the show throws at you. Now get to watching!

For everything Bachelor Nation, check out Bustle's podcast, Will You Accept This Podcast? and follow our Bachelor fan page on Facebook.

Images: ABC (8); Giphy