What 'The Bachelor' Is Really Like For Contestants

by Emily Lackey

No matter who you are, it's difficult not to fall for the glitz and glamour of every season of The Bachelor. And who could blame you! The show is good. Honestly, I’m convinced that during most scenes it's directed in a way that it is psychologically impossible to look away, and I don't hate it. (And yes, that is what I tell my boyfriend when I find myself seven York Peppermint Patties deep on the couch, my mouth hanging open, and my finger poised on the DVR rewind button to watch that kiss again). Even though plenty of contestants from the show have come out with tell-alls that uncover all of the behind-the-scene secrets from The Bachelor, I still can’t help myself.

I can't help but believe in The Bachelor in the moment I'm watching it like a four-year-old girl believes in the tooth fairy. I want to watch that romantic one-on-one date as much as that little girl wants to wake up and find a dollar sprinkled with a light dusting of fairy dust. But, no matter how much of the show is real, the fact of the matter is, there is a lot that goes down behind-the-scenes on any reality TV show that none of us knows about. And, sometimes, that other stuff is just as interesting as the show itself.

Just look at some of these amazing details that past contestants have spilled about what really goes on behind-the-scenes of The Bachelor.

1. Contestants Have To Come Prepared

If you think that those 25 girls are given endless wardrobe opportunities like some sort of Kardashian, then you would be wrong. In Sean Lowe’s book For the Right Reasons, the former bachelor opens up about the girls having to pack enough clothes for six to eight weeks and 14 rose ceremonies in case they make it all the way to the end. Here’s hoping some of them can borrow their friends’ clothes.

2. The Girls Have To Dress The Part

And part of dressing the part, according to Lowe in his book, is not bringing certain items with you. Including clothes that are striped, checkered, patterned, or solid white. I’m guessing because they don’t look good on camera?

3. The Contestants Are Put To The Test

Like, literally. According to Lowe's book, they have to take an STD test, complete a psychiatric evaluation, and be seen by a psychologist.

4. Rose Ceremonies Are Like Parties That Never End Because Nobody Wants To Go Home

In his book, Lowe says that his first rose ceremony didn’t wrap until six in the morning. Can you just imagine for a second standing in heels for that long? Those poor, poor girls.

5. More Happens Off Camera Than You Think

Lowe says in his book that he snagged a number of sweet moments that happened off-camera with Catherine, including an hours-long car ride home from a one-on-one date. I wonder if everyone gets that amount of freedom — or if, in Sean’s case, they had enough scenes of them being sweet to last an entire season.

6. No One Eats On The One-On-One Dates

Because they’re not allowed to, says Lowe in his book. Instead, food is sent up to their rooms ahead of time.

7. It Actually Takes A Long Time To Send Someone Home

An impromptu departure means bags have to be packed, reaction interviews need to be filmed, and exits need to be planned, according to Lowe in his book. Sometimes, a tearful goodbye is actually taking hours.

8. The Proposal Sites Are Beautiful For A Reason

Um, because they’re legit built for the occasion. Those things don’t exist in nature. For Lowe’s season, he said in his book that the site took weeks to build, —including a bridge and a pond that they dug up for the moment he dropped to one knee.

9. Those Rings Cost A Fortune

OK, this is what I’ve always wondered: How do those guys afford those rocks? Well, obviously they’re provided for them, and Lowe reports in his book that the ring he proposed to his wife with cost a staggering $75,000 alone.

10. The Casting Process Is Super Intense

According to Courtney Robertson’s tell-all book I Didn’t Come Here to Make Friends, Robertson reveals that the final weekend of auditions is a 12-hour audition where the women are kept in isolation and asked to participate in hours upon hours of interviews.

11. The Girls Have To Do Their Own Makeup

The make-up artist that makes them all look like beauty queens is only there for the first couple of rose ceremonies, according to Chris Harrison on Twitter — but, as he added, "many just do their own." Apart from the first few rose ceremonies of the season, the girls are on their own with make-up. I have to say I’m pretty impressed by that information: On-camera make-up is a whole other kind of make-up game, and I’ve never noticed any of those contestants looking pale or out of place because of it.

12. Sex Definitely Happens Outside Of The Fantasy Suite

Ben and Courtney rendezvoused after Ben’s date with Elyse: They had a notorious romp in the Puerto Rican bushes that left both of them with some weird rash. Courtney admits in her book that they did have sex that night, and it wasn’t even their Fantasy Suite night.

13. Sometimes The Producers Give Ideas

They wouldn’t be producers if they didn’t, right? But in the case of Courtney’s season, says the former contestant in her book, a PA apparently talked her into some ideas for what to do when Ben came to her home town of Beverly Hills. Not that I can blame her — coming up with ideas for dates is hard. But, according to Robertson, that whole wedding dress thing? Not her idea.

14. There Are No Condoms In The Fantasy Suite

I repeat: There are no condoms in the Fantasy Suite. Future contestants be aware. Robertson says in her book that, if you make it to this point in the show, you better come packing.

15. There’s No Gym On Set

Nothing. Nada. There’s no exercise equipment at all, according to an interview that Jennifer Weiner conducted for Allure . But something tells me that mansion is plenty big enough to do some laps and get your FitBit buzzing.

16. There Is Literally Nothing To Do

No TV, no Internet, no leaving the compound for any reason, according to Weiner. It turns out that most contestants use the time that they’re not either on a date or in an interview to do each other’s hair, nails, and makeup. I guess that would be fun?

With all of these behind-the-scenes details in mind, the whole thing seems way different than it looks on TV.

Image: ABC (12); Giphy (6)