What do you call a group of women who drink wine and talk all night?
Biologists call a group of lions a pride. Many ants make a colony. Cows are cattle. Crows are grouped into a murder. Fact: The crow is one of the few birds that can make tools; in its case, the crossbow. A bunch of salamanders is called a congress, which, if you’ve ever seen 535 salamanders in the same place, is right on the money.
Yet there is no name for a group of women who talk and drink wine all night.
Let’s go with a cork.
Last Monday night I joined a cork of women watching The Bachelor. I had been invited many times, but I always declined, politely explaining to them, “It’s a stupid waste of time.” But eventually–and a cork of women will do this to a man–the women wore me down and I agreed to join them for the two-hour season premiere of The Bachelor.
The Bachelor is a reality television show about 25 women who vie for the love of one man by drinking until they’ve convinced themselves he’s not an incredible bore. Chris Harrison is the show’s host. At least, I think Harrison is the show’s host. The show might be hosted by a sports coat draped over a chair. It’s often difficult to tell.
The Bachelor this season is named Ben Flajnik. He is a winemaker whose dog is named Scotch. Ben asked someone named Ashley to marry him on the previous season of The Bachelorette, but Ashley rejected his proposal and, according to the video montage, Ben was put on a skiff and driven to the middle of the ocean. Ben dealt with his heartbreak by doing what all men do. He went out with Jennifer Love Hewitt and then broke up with her.
In the first episode the contestants are poured out of limousines in front of the mansion, where they meet Ben. One woman came with her elderly grandmother–the only woman that night who did not try to make out with Ben. One contestant, Jenna, tried to recite a quote to Ben but screwed it up. This was the only point in the episode in which Jenna did not cry. One woman told Ben her name was “The Baconator,” which was a refreshing change as 21 of the 25 women were named Amber or Lindsay.
The episode centered on Jenna’s disintegration as a functional human being as she cried and whined her way through imagined adversity. Every man has dated a Jenna. She’s hot. She’s crazy. She has a relationship “blog.” Her “blog” is rife with “default text here” placeholders. She thinks every woman hates her. She hates every woman. She cries more than those North Korean people did at gunpoint after Kim Jong-Il died.
Naturally, the producers, I mean Ben, kept her at the end of the show.
The Bachelor-viewing experience, I learned, is more about the cork than the show. For example, while I tried to watch the show to gain insight into what makes Jenna cry (everything), the women in the room insisted on talking about Ben’s hair. They didn’t like it. Ben keeps his hair long on the sides for a male who is not a high school lacrosse player. In Ben’s case, it’s the smart play. When it comes to hair men are either playing offense or defense and Ben is clearly playing defense.
I spent a good 10 minutes explaining this to the cork, making use of a laser pointer, Excel and a nearby kiwi.
Ben appears to be going bald from front to back. He compensates by keeping his hair long on the sides. The cork thinks Ben could cut his hair and he would look better. Wrong. Ben has to go with that mildly-bad haircut because it covers the sides of his forehead. If Ben trimmed his hair tight the cork would no longer be attracted to him for reasons it would never quite be able to explain—but every bald guy could.
The cork thanked me for my keen insight into the mind of an insecure balding man and rewarded me with champagne.
Other than Ben’s hair most of the time was spent discussing who among the female contestants is crazy. Jenna’s name came up a few hundred times. I learned that the cork wants crazy. The cork craves crazy. Crazy makes the show interesting. The ideal Bachelor ratio is this: half of the remaining women in any given week are nice girls who are just like the viewers at home and the other half probably will throw a candlestick at someone this season.
The Bachelor proves my brother Dan’s Reality Television Theory. Good television is best watched alone and bad television is best watched with others. The Bachelor is bad television, which makes it perfect for a cork of women.
Will I tune back in next week?
No way in hell.