I Auditioned for 'The Bachelor'—Here's What the Open Call Is Really Like
"Describe your past relationship history."
It was a question that I probably should have seen coming, especially given the cameo JoJo's ex made on the most recent (most dramatic) season of . I briefly toyed with the idea of making up some wild backstory, but my interviewer at the open call forThe Bachelorin New York City had instructed me to be honest, and I felt oddly guilty about lying to her.
So I looked into the camera and started to spill all the details of the disaster relationships that had led me, at the age of 28, to commit the ultimate single girl act of desperation: auditioning to compete against 20 or so other women for the affection of one stranger. Which, if we're being honest, really isn't that much different than dating in New York City. In fact, I'd say my odds onThe Bachelor might be slightly better.
Why was I going through with this? Aside from sheer curiosity and the fact that putting myself through this type of experience is a writer's duty, it was my track record of making extremely poor dating choices that ultimately drove me here. As my best friend recently, very bluntly, put it: "You like them damaged."
Granted, ABC could potentially do even worse than I have when it comes to finding me a suitor. I mean, Juan Pablo was pretty damn awful. Chris Soules put me to sleep every week, and Ben Higgins had the personality of a sack of potatoes. Still, I was captivated by the idea of handing over the fate of my next relationship to a major TV network. So I decided to pretendThe Bachelorwould ever cast a contestant who’s barely 5'2" and wears a size that's not zero.
The Long Line ofBachelorHopefuls
What immediately struck me about the line of girls waiting to audition forThe Bachelor(aside from the fact that it spanned an entire city block) was how young all of them were. The two girls behind me were sisters—one had just turned 21, and the other was freshly 23. Yet both of them were "over" dating—especially in New York. When I joked that the two of them should get out of line because they hadn't done their time out there in the dating world, they looked at me like I was as crazy as Olivia from last season.
The two girls behind me were sisters—one had just turned 21, and the other was freshly 23. Yet both of them were "over" dating—especially in New York.
Some of the otherBachelorhopefuls were more down to earth. I watched one girl go on a pizza run and return with an entire pie. She even handed out her extra slices to the hungry people on line. Granted, this may or may not have been a sabotage tactic. But I like to give people the benefit of the doubt.
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The Holding Room
Fast forward past three hours of small talk with girls who were way too young for this level of dating despondency, and I finally made it to the audition room. Security guards checked my bag to make sure I didn't have any weapons on me (apparently you can't be too careful when you're offering the single women of New York City a chance at love with a guy who actually wants to commitorsayshe does, at least.)
Once I got clearance from security, I was given a number (lucky contestant #221) and an application packet that was at least 30 pages thick. I was asked to pose for three pictures—a close up, one with my hands on my hips, and a full body shot. Then I headed into the room where everyone else was busy filling out page after page of the monster application, seated at tables that reminded me of my high school lunchroom.
I chose a table where one of the few guys who had showed up to audition forThe Bachelorettewas seated, thinking this was a better bet than sitting at a table where I'd be sized up by girls who were technically my competition. This backfired in a big way, because I was forced to listen to the cheeseball lines he was rehearsing for the camera—most memorably, the fact that he builds houses for a living, but now he's finally ready to build a life with someone.
I was asked to pose for three pictures—a close up, one with my hands on my hips and a full body shot.
I tried to tune him out as I beasted through the application packet. Questions ranged from the standard, "What do you do for fun?" and "What do you do for a living?" to more obscure prompts, like "What three adjectives would people be surprised to learn about you?"
I also took this opportunity to wax poetic about my cat, for good measure.
After another hour of waiting to be put on camera, it was finally my turn to try and sell ABC on why they should cast me on the next season ofThe Bachelor. The woman who was doing my interview was nice enough, but you could tell she had heard it all and was just trying to get through the last hour of this open call. She put a mic on me, and told me she was going to ask me a few questions and to answer them honestly.
I told her everything. I talked about what I do for a living, what I like to do for fun, and yes, what kind of toxic men I'd fallen for in the past.Like the guy whose Jekyll and Hyde personality had me googling queries like "gaslighting" and "narcissistic personality disorder" and "how do you know if you're having a panic attack?" on the regular.
Finally, she asked me the kicker: "Why love now?"
"Because I've made a lot of mistakes in past relationships," I told her. "But I've learned from every one of them. And I think that this time around, I've got a really solid chance at getting it right."
My interviewer nodded, told me we were done, took off my mic and thanked me for my time.
Do I think it's actually possible to find real love onThe Bachelor? Truthfully, I can't speak to whether or not a couple who meets on a reality TV show would have any staying power. But I'd venture a guess that the people who feel so compelled to find love that they're willing to brave a three-hour line, fill out 30 pages of paperwork, and spill their guts on camera just might have an edge on actually finding it—if not on the show, somewhere else along the way.
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