Chris Harrison, the longtime host of the most famous dating reality present on countries around the world, is waiting for someone to set him up.
I wait for people like you to say, Oh my gosh, I have the greatest person, he tells me when I ask how someone so accustomed to listening to women, so seemingly attuned to how they feel and what they want, could possibly be single.
Though he offers wise attorney every Monday to the twenty- and thirtysomethings who appear on The Bachelor ( or The Bachelorette , or Bachelor in Paradise ) and after-show analysis of their every wrong turning, the reigning king of #BachelorNation has yet to find a finger to slip a Neil Lane ring onto, since his 2012 divorce from Gwen, his wife of 18 years.
He doesnt meet women online, or use Tinder( owned by The Daily Animals mother company, IAC ), and hes never dated any girls from the depict, either, he claimswhich seems like a little bit of a garbage of such a large pool of eligible ladies.
But Harrisons singledom isnt for want of women.
I need to quit running a little bit and maybe work on my own life a little bit, Harrison, 44, tells me over the phone. This, he tells, is also the reason why he hasnt been so lucky in the love department since his divorce, echoing the self-help speak Bachelor fans will recognize from the depicts confessional-style interviews.
Its been cathartic to have work which I love, and to dive into that and my children[ son Joshua, 14, and daughter Taylor, 12] and make sure theyre good, Harrison insists. But they are now, and so am I. And I would love to find love now. Seem, as you can tell by the book and by the display, Im a hopeless, helpless romantic just like everybody else, so hopefully Ill follow my own advice one day.
That book hes referencing is The Perfect Letter , a romance fiction( newly in paperback) that was inspired by a drunken conversation Harrison had with Nicholas Sparks, who also writes books about devotees who write things on paper.
For his first crack at writingHarrison swears to me its not ghostwrittenits not terrible. His freshman effort is basically a romance novelization of the Reese Witherspoon movie, Sweet Home Alabama , with a assassination and some very explicit sexuality speech hurled in. Theres no question at what audience this book is aimed.
Why not give the fans, #BachelorNation, more of what they already crave, more of what they already love? Harrison asks, as if anyone could possibly suggest a reason why this volume should not be added to the romance novel canon.
I think there is an insatiable appetite for romance and for love tales, which is partly why these volumes and movies do so well. Its why The Bachelor &# x27 ; s been on for 15 years and was more important now than its ever seen. No matter what, that story never gets old.
Since 2002, hes ferried 19 bachelors( its season 20 but Brad Womack got to go twice) and 11 Bachelorettes through their Journey to Find Lovenot to mention dozens of rejects through summer shows Bachelor Pad and Bachelor in Paradise .
In words of primetime hours and longevity , no other franchise can come close to the kind of dominance The Bachelor has achieved. And no one expected it.
If anyone have been told that they knew their show was going to run for 15 years, youd say youre out of your mind, Harrison says.
Like the female protagonist in his novel, Harrison was born and raised in Texas, where he played soccer during the school year, and painted fencings in the summers. A soccer scholarship took him to Oklahoma for college, and before long, he was calling basketball games for the local cable station. After school, he worked as a reporter and a sportscaster through the 90 s before moving to Los Angeles to host on a horse-racing network, which maybe isnt that far off from The Bachelor when you think about it.
Soon Harrison was auditioning to be the host of The Bachelor , current realities indicate brainchild of Mike Fleiss, a television producer who had just come off of Who Wants to Marry a Multimillionaire ?, a two-hour televised beauty pageantry where the win was awarded with an on-the-spot matrimony to a human who was later discovered to be not-so-rich and have a record of domestic abuse. It was a turning point in exploitative reality television.Likewise, The Bachelor was roundly panned by every critic.
The New York Post s Linda Stasi dedicated The Bachelor minus-four stars and called it, degrading, debasing, desperate, depressing, dull and dopey.
The general appetite for more of The Bachelor s brand of reality Tv maintained the prove on the air, but the public reception didnt completely drown out the indicates critics, who through the years have charged it with racism and sexism( and several other isms, actually ). Harrison rejects them all.
Were just victims of our own success, he tells me. If we are sexist, were equal opportunity sexists, he adds , noting the 2003 addition of The Bachelorette evened the scales, and rejecting the idea that women on the indicate absence agency.
In all seriousness, I believe sexism has a lot to do with power, and while it seems like the Bachelor or the Bachelorette has all the power, they genuinely dont. Its always a two-way street. You always have the power to leave. Contestants have the power to do whatever they want.
Would Harrison consider himself a feminist?
Yeah, I guess maybe I am, he says. Not to get too deep, but I was brought up by these women who if you wanted to label them, perhaps the latter are feminists, but you know what? They never asked for that or wanted it and they never get up on a soapbox and spoke about it, they just did it.
They did the performance of their duties, they did their jobs, they were who they were. They were kick-ass moms, they were kick-ass grandmothers, the latter are kick-ass in the office, they just did their thing. They never needed an awarding for it or a name for it. They were never martyrs, they were never victims. I think theres power in that. And I have a lot of respect for that. So perhaps I am a feminist, Ive never thought about that.
The host uses the reveal as an icebreaker for difficult conversations with his daughter Taylorwho he also dreams of taking over his duties as host one day.
Shes just coming to an age where shes allowed to watch the entire episodes, fantasy suite and all.
We had long discussions about how to respect yourself and how to respect your body, the choices youre making and how they affect and reflect on your family and your faith, Harrison says.
He points to the uncomfortable scenes that Id rather die than watch with my own fatherlike the one where Kaitlyn hooked up with both Nick and Sean in last seasons Bachelorette .
It gives us a chance to broach some subjects that could be a little difficult, Harrison says.
As for the lack of diversity among contestants, the 25 hopeful are either totally lacking or gently peppered with people of color, some who claim to feel like token additions.
The lead role has only once been filled by a person of colour: the ferociously derided Juan Pablo Galavis was conveniently cast on the heels of a 2012 suit which accused the producers of omitting people of color from the show.
To Harrison, the fact that no black contestant ever makes it very far isnt racist; the heart wants what it wants. Anyone has the same chance to end upand I dislike to say win because its not a game show. It has to do with your connect with someone. But everybody has a chance to fall in love, it doesnt matter who you are, he says.
The call for more diversity is way above my pay grade, tells Harrison, but ABC Entertainment President Paul Lee said in January that the next bachelorette will be a woman of colour. Im the host and so rain or shine Ill be there, Harrison tells me.
Fans hoping the next pick will be Haitian-born, tattooed, Awko-taco Jubilee, who Ben unceremoniously asked to leave mid-date last week, are likely in for some disappointment.
Jubilee has a lot of work to do on herself, Harrison says, referring to last weeks episode, in which the Army veteran pouted and pulled backrefusing to play the game, and thus being sent home for her failure to open up.
You can see from the episode shes get a lot of issues. I havent talked to her since she left, but Ill assure her at the special and I believe shes going to be one of those people who comes on and tells shes learned a lot about herself and she learned that maybe shes not so ready.
Did she come on the present with all honesty? Absolutely, you cant topic her sincerity. But did she find out that she was not quite ready to open up and have a relationship? I suppose she did. And thats one of the great things about the indicate: You learn so much about yourself.
If all of this stuff, all of the -isms, as Harrison laments, just take away from what the show is really aboutthe human conditionthen what does The Bachelor say about society and dating?
Being single myself, it says that it sucks out there, Harrison tells. People want help. People need assistance. We all want companionship, and we all want to find that someone, that true love.
Listening to Harrison, its odd, almost unbelievable actually, that anyoneespecially the man at the center of it allwould still buy into what The Bachelor is selling, 15 years on, and merely a handful of successful relationships to depict for it.
Isnt the best part about The Bachelor , especially in recent seasons, is that the show appears to be in on its own joke? At this point, even the women who are there to be the chicken-enthusiast or a twin, know what theyre signing up for, and isnt that is likely just a moment of fame?
Sure, some people might get drunk on the notoriety. Some ensure The Bachelor as a ticket out of their one-horse townships or away from their waitressing jobs.
Who among us, Harrison asks me, would begrudge a no-name from Denver for taking a container of money to go on a ballroom dancing rivalry or hawk products from their newly popular Instagram accounts?
But the fame is a byproduct of the show and its audience, Harrison tells me, insisting that most of The Bachelor cast are, clichd as it may be, there for the right reasons, to determine someone who will love them.
After 20 seasons and a divorce under his belt, the one man who could understandably be jaded over the whole processon and off screenstill seems inexplicably is accessible to it.
I probably became more understanding and empathetic about The Bachelor , and why people are on it, than I was the first 10 years of the demonstrate when I was married, because I truly do understand how hard it is out there, how hard it is to meet someone that you really have a connection with. I probably get it more now than ever.
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