Might it be a subconscious desire to “keep up with the Jonses?”…but in reverse? “How’s that?” you say. What if instead of wanting to be like the stars of reality TV shows, we want to make sure we’re not like them at all, or that we’re better than them? Kind of a convoluted way of thinking. But isn’t life these days…convoluted? twisted?
Who would have thought guys and gals would flock before the cameras for a chance to win the heart of the opposite sex? Twenty five single or divorced men and women do just that every season on The Bachelor or The Bachelorette. Go figure. Millions of viewers, including me, tune in to see the unfolding drama of men and women dissing each other to their faces, or behind their backs. There’s no shame, no embarrassment, no “What are my family and friends going to think?” The star of the show is kissed and cuddled and who know’s what else, by as many people to whom they find themselves attracted. After all “the end justifies the means,” and they have to “kiss a lot of frogs to find the prince, or princess,” and “the game’s the thing.”
My daughter, who also watches now and then, swears off ever wanting to be a contestant on The Bachelorette. Thank God! I’d probably want to string some guy up by his toes if he ever toyed with my daughter and made her cry, in front of an audience of millions. I know, I know. These people deserve what they get because they’ve opted to look foolish. Well yes, but my daughter’s still my daughter. I’d expect most parents of these frolicking singles are mortified to see what goes on with their children…and not behind closed doors!
Just as I watch swinging singles get together, or try to get together, I use to spend time with The Housewives…of Orange County…of New York…of New Jersey…of Beverly Hills. Why did I bother? Knowing that most of these women are wealthy, or aspire to be wealthy, I was curious. I was also hopeful they’d be nice people. After watching several seasons of a combination of the various ones, I can count on one hand how many were, and remain, women I’d befriend…in another life, of course. In my current one, we’d never, ever cross paths.
I enjoy watching HGTV shows where couples or families are seeking new living quarters. Again, I’m mentally comparing my life with theirs, whether as young marrieds, parents, or empty nesters. I’m amazed at the amount of money folks are plunking down for homes these days. This, probably our last home, cost us in the high $200,000’s some 14 years ago. How can couples in their late 20’s and early 30’s afford to buy mega homes for 3 times what we paid in our 50’s? It’s mind-boggling! But it’s also a sign of the times.
The dot.com generation has money to burn. Forget manufacturing, agriculture, construction. People in those occupations are becoming what housecleaners, fruit pickers, and landscape workers are to my generation. Employees of Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Apple pay others to custom-make whatever they fancy, often dine at up-and-coming, new wave eateries, and oversee the building of fantasy homes.
So you see, I’m just your average middle-class, suburban housewife, eyeballing what others have and how they live. But in all truth, it’s not because I want what they have or want their lives. Whether it’s that my Catholic education continues to hold sway, or that my imagination allows me to momentarily insert myself into someone else’s life, when I switch off the TV I thank my lucky stars for the life that’s mine. But I can’t pass judgment on those who are in reality TV, for I’ve no clue…
what their own lives are like…so to each her own…hugmamma.