15
Apr
08

Reality Show Shoo-In

ABC’s latest Bachelor is a bona fide British hunk and I’m swooning. Let it be known that this is something I rarely do. Let it also be known that I’ve got a little personal history here. Yes, reader… I was a bachelorette… season eight.

And I’m still peeved with the producers for sticking me with the goody two shoes Doctor.

Given my crazy dating history, I was a shoo-in for casting.

Was I a match for Tennessee’s Travis Stork? Not so much.
Rewind to 2005. Network producers have sequestered me and 24 other Bachelorettes inside separate rooms at the Sofitel Paris with only a

disconnected telephone, a bathroom and French television to keep us entertained. I spend most of my time devouring croissants in the bathtub while devising my strategy. Four nights later, we’re dressed to thrill (me in my new glass slippers) and riding in limos en route to a cocktail party at the Bachelor pad, a 14th-century château.

At the entrance stands our supposed soul mate, a doctor from Nashville, who at first glance is a living mannequin.

A split-second assessment of his uptight demeanor and the surrounding obstacle course—mossy stairs and cobblestones—tells me the odds of falling on my behind are greater than the chances of falling in love with this stranger. In any case, I’m nervous. I get out of the limo and, doing my best goddess-walk, make my way toward the thirtysometing star. Maintaining my balance is a real feat in the slippers, but I manage.
Making friends with the other women is the fun part. They’re hilarious and most of us share a distaste for our Bachelor’s last name (not to mention the shaggy pre-makeover pic we discover of him on the Internet upon returning to the US). Upon saying a few snarky remarks, I’m summoned to give an on-camera confession outside. That’s when my prized glass slipper (okay, so it was really a gold, strappy Stuart Weitzman) slips hard—down the stairs. The entire weight of my croissant-loving being lands on my ankle. My shoes look even sadder than I do, all splotched with mud and scraped up at the heel.
The swelling is immediate and the pain is unbearable, but I must keep up appearances for my public: “I’m not crying! I’m a brave soldier!” I limp back inside on my perilous heels in search of ice and I’m devastated when the doctor Bachelor is of no assistance. Is he a quack, I wonder? Or just consumed by all of the cameras and girls revealing nipples through their dresses? [Note: I’m so candid about my ankle, which swells to resemble an eggplant, that during the several months leading up to the show’s airing I can think of nothing but how the editors will find a way to use my words out of context. Fortunately, they left my fall—and my squabble with Stork over the merits of fame and fried chicken—on the cutting room floor.]
Later, the ladies assemble for the climactic elimination ceremony—the one featuring the famed “rotten egg” debacle. We gather around a pedestal bearing precious few roses (symbols for romantic potential and a guaranteed appearance on next week’s episode) for the Bachelor to distribute.
Thus commences the largest contestant exodus in the show’s history. Thirteen of the 25 women will be dismissed over the course of two or more hours, and I can’t bear all this standing around: I’m now swaying in my stilettos on the weight of my one good ankle. Stork sighs as he makes eye contact with me then offers the final flower of the evening to the woman in ringlets next to me.
Cue the Prozac commercial.
[Note: Allow me to digress once more to mention that Dr. Phil has since hired Stork as a correspondent, which disproves my quack theory and lends credence to the nipple theory. My friends joke that I should call in for some advice about methods for healing a broken heart and a ruptured ankle.]
Needless to say, this whole experiment in romantic roulette did force me to confront the question, Is the slight possibility of finding love worth the risk of looking like a fool?
The answer is a resounding oui.
Was it worth ruining a new pair of shoes? I’m not so convinced.

(ed’s note: You can find current badboy Brit Bachelor, Monday 9:30 pm on ABC. You can find Stephanie, Shoetube is sure, at home at that time, eyes glued to the screen. Don’t call, don’t text. Wait til after.)

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