Searching for a Soules-mate

“This season will be unlike anything we have ever seen before,” said Chris Harrison, host of “The Bachelor.” Although he has used this same phrase on the past 18 seasons, the statement always proves to be true.

This season’s bachelor is Chris Soules, a handsome farmer from Arlington, Iowa, whom many remember from Andi Dorfman’s season of “The Bachelorette.” Hearts across America broke for Soules after watching him profess his love to Dorfman, only to be sent home immediately afterward.

“I believe in the process,” he said in an interview with ABC News. “I believe in what I went through on the previous show, and that’s why I am doing it. I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t see the potential.”

Although the process does include dating 30 women at once, it was surprising to see the sexual tension begin on the first night as well as the dramatic progression over the past four weeks.

If women are not busy making out with Soules, they are making sexual innuendos or sneaking into his living area, doing just about anything to have time alone with him.

“I think this has a lot to do with Chris,” said Chandler Nolan, a junior cinematic arts major. “[On the first night] he kissed a girl, and that put pressure on all the other girls to make a physical connection with him,”

How could this setting possibly build a loving and lasting relationship? It seems as though the women are seeking physical connections with him before making emotional ones for the sake of the game and the competition.

“I know I’ve maybe kissed more girls at this point than the average bachelor, but I was taking things seriously, and isn’t kissing a huge part of any romantic relationship?” said Soules in the weekly “Bachelor” blog on people.com.

Aside from the amount of kissing going on, this season has also required women to physically compete against one another for individual time with Soules.

During the second week of competition the contestants had to compete in a barnyard obstacle course. This was different from the show’s past obstacle courses because the ladies had to shuck corn and wrestle greased pigs in record-breaking time. In the end, Carly, a cruise-ship singer from Texas, won the challenge, but did not win the one-on-one date with Soules that night.

Fast-forward a week later when a group of women were flown to San Francisco, where they were to compete in a mud run while wearing wedding dresses. Jillian, a highly competitive woman, won the group-date and continued on a romantic one-on-one date in the city, while the losers returned home to the mansion.

“Winning a date with Chris should not be determined by a test of strength, but rather by who Chris wants to pursue further,” said Nolan.

On the other end of the spectrum, Dr. Daniel Pawley, an associate professor in the Communication Studies Department at Azusa Pacific, sees the necessity of the competition.

“If you want to make strides in Hollywood, you have to play Hollywood’s games and abide by its rules,” said Pawley. “The competition for what passes as love, as you say, is the game that’s being played, and the contestants are governed and measured by how well they play the game.”

While it is true that contestants are measured by how well they play the game, it’s a concern that this is the foundation of an engagement and presumably a marriage.

Love cannot be determined by physical strength, and especially not by how quickly you can wrestle a greased pig. I understand that the producers must provide entertainment for the viewers, but at some point it must be acknowledged that time is valuable.

“You spend about a total of 12 hours together in the first two months of the show and it’s under very strange circumstances,” wrote former bachelorette Ali Fedotowsky on her E! News blog.

Twelve hours is nothing compared to the eternity they are committing to one another by accepting a proposal. The time they are given should not be snatched from them simply because they didn’t physically perform to the extent of the other women.

With only 11 contestants remaining, it will be interesting to see what the upcoming weeks have in store as Soules continues his journey to find his future wife.

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