We human beings have a limited amount of mental storage space for Bachelor-related recollections. Each new season of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette brings a bounty of 25-plus faces, a collection of earnest and absurd occupations, and typically indistinguishable hairstyles. The new contestants inevitably bump a few old ones out of the collective memory; Lauren B. comes to stand for Lauren Burnham (Arie Luyendyk Jr.’s bride-to-be, Season 22) instead of Lauren Bushnell (Ben Higgins’s ex-fiancée, Season 20). On Thursday, though, we found out that Lauren Burnham will continue her ride atop the Lauren alphabet and memory bank, because Colton Underwood’s group of 30 has no Laurens and no Ashleys. Chris Harrison took to social media to unveil the suitors, including a pair of Alexes, a couple of Hannahs, 25 women with unique names, and one woman who has never been kissed.
In years past, the day the Bachelor contestant bios were revealed was momentous. The contestants are asked to fill out a questionnaire in the casting process, and their forms were posted on ABC’s website for all obsessive fans to read. The women of The Bachelor became familiar through their selection of favorite movies, their choice of items to have on a desert island, and their biggest dating fears. Many of the women seeking love on a staged dating show also admitted to fearing suffering explosive diarrhea on a first date. Others left hints that they may be murderers. With the introduction of the Chris Harrison–hosted social media live show—Thursday’s was the second in Bachelor history, after ABC did it for Becca’s season of The Bachelorette last year—though, we’ve been deprived of the telling questionnaire. After the 19-minute live show, in which only a few crumbs of gossip were dropped, ABC.com posted the names, photos, ages, and occupations of the 30 new contestants, along with two-to-three-sentence bios. Gone are the revelations of yore. Now, all viewers’ first impressions of Colton’s potential girlfriends are based on information Harrison supplies, rather than information we gather ourselves.
Introducing the Women
We're live with Chris Harrison as he introduces the women vying for Colton Underwood's heart.Posted by The Bachelor on Thursday, December 6, 2018
I miss the old system. It’s essential to know who chooses the Bible and who chooses an Ayn Rand tome as her favorite book. How can a judgment be made when we don’t know who loves The Notebook vs. Twilight? This information is crucial, and in its absence, we learned more about Colton and the tenor of his season than we learned about the women. Chris Harrison breezed through the women so quickly that viewers were forced to keep their focus on Colton, who is a virgin. His virginity is the main attribute that anyone knows about him, because it’s unusual for a 26-year-old former football player and because ABC has worked it into all of the marketing materials since he was announced as the new lead. Since the virgin bit is getting a little tired, let us mine the subtle details that can be gleaned from Colton’s contestant pool.
Puppy Love Will Dominate
Colton loves dogs, and his first gal, alphabetically, is Alex B., a dog rescuer from Vancouver. Canadians fare well on this program, but I don’t have a good feeling for her. After all, she’s 29, and the median age of these women is 23. Colton’s performance on Bachelor in Paradise over the summer did not paint him as someone with a firm grasp of his own emotions. Of course his ladies skew young.
And Yet, Colton May Have an Inner Betty Friedan
The price of access to the contestant questionnaires was having to pretend that the obviously made-up jobs were either funny or plausible. Who will ever forget Alexis, the dolphin enthusiast? (Alexis was dope.) This season, the made-up occupations were, for the most part, jettisoned along with the access. The only joke job belongs to Alex D., who is listed as “Sloth,” because she wore a sloth costume on Night 1. Colton is picking from a woman who works in finance (Annie), a caterer (Courtney), multiple successful pageant competitors, an accountant, a recruiter, a phlebotomist, and many more formidable career women. Tia, his previous Bachelor-related flame, also had an impressive career as a physical therapist. He’s certainly not only in it for the sex. The most exciting career in my opinion, by the way, is Catherine’s. She’s a DJ from Ft. Lauderdale, and her nom de turntable is DJ Agro.
Dude’s Got a Type
Each Bachelor and Bachelorette season tends to overrepresent a certain region. Becca’s season of The Bachelorette had a few guys from Denver; the Chicago area used to be a geographic hub. Colton’s gals are largely from California and the South, or have ties to the two areas. Annie, for example, is a Midwesterner who went to the University of Alabama. Hannah B. also went to Alabama, Hannah G. is from Alabama, and Katie went to LSU. Other than being a virgin who loves dogs, Colton’s most identifying signifier is football, which is hugely popular in the South and in SEC territory. Play to your strengths, and date the girl who will appreciate them.
Colton Has Not Seen Call Me by Your Name
Courtney is from Atlanta, which gave Chris Harrison occasion to inform his viewing audience that Colton may not know what a peach is. That’s strange, because peaches are among the best fruit. But, more importantly, this is confirmation that Colton has not seen the dreamy, poignant 2017 film Call Me by Your Name (nor has he read the book upon which it’s based) starring Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer. In the movie, there’s a sexually explicit scene that involves a peach. He would undoubtedly know about the fruit were he familiar with the source text. I think we can also assume that Colton doesn’t follow Kim Kardashian on social media, given her fondness for the peach emoji. He also probably doesn’t sext much.