Reality of being a bachelor
May 5, 2003
I’ve never watched “The Bachelor” until Wednesday night, two days before I was to audition for the reality dating show at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe.
It wasn’t my idea to audition. I’m a bachelor who gets nervous in front of friends’ video cameras. But the combination of curiosity and my boss telling me I should do it for work made me think otherwise.
Now in its third season, “The Bachelor” is ABC’s reality-based dating show where a single man picks a potential wife out of 25 contestants. The show attracted 11.5 million viewers in the second week of April.
The bachelor is Andrew Firestone, heir to the tire company and sales manager for the Firestone Family Estates winery. Besides being a young multi-millionaire, he’s also the dark and handsome type women typically adore.
I’m 5 foot 10 on a good day. My eyes are my best feature and I have good hair, but the rest (no offense, mom and dad) is rather boring. But I practice good hygiene, read and am fairly successful with jokes.
In relation to a catch, I’m like a flounder.
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I watched Firestone on television last Wednesday. The guy was smooth. He was a swordfish. I found myself in front of the television taking notes from this guy.
The thought of what I was about to do was a little daunting, but I felt relaxed as I dressed for Friday’s audition. For the first time, I put on the dark gray polyester shirt my aunt gave me for Christmas. The television types would appreciate the shirt, I thought.
The audition was from 5 to 9 p.m. at Harrah’s. It was inside a convention room on the second floor. About 5:30 p.m., I took a seat next to a string of seven talkative women auditioning for the bachelorette and filled out my application.
I wrote I was in advertising because I overhear what goes on on the other side of the newsroom and might be able to answer questions if asked. I marked “no” on questions such as was there ever a restraining order against me.
My turn came. I was escorted down a hallway where I shook hands with Bo and Gwen. A small black video camera on a tripod faced an empty green chair. I took a seat.
“Can you give us your full name please?” asked a very cheerful Bo.
“William Walter Ferchland,” I said, looking at Bo who stared at the camera during my response. “WWF. Like the wrestling federation.” I received smiles and a laugh. Good joke, Billy, keep it up.
Bo asked what I did for a living, my age, relationship history, where I have lived. Gwen never said a word. I believed if I were a viable contestant, she would speak.
Then I was asked why I wanted to find a wife in front of millions of people. I began to squirm. I wanted to impress them, to make Gwen talk, but ended up mumbling something about how I could possibly find a marriage-worthy woman out of the 25 contesting bachelorettes. I was politely excused.
My time with Gwen and Bo had been seemingly shorter than the others.
I left with my self-confidence semi-intact and wandered through the casino thinking of my weekend trip to the Bay Area, if Firestone sweated in the hot seat and which attractive single woman he was going to eliminate next.
I should have listed my occupation as an international businessman.
— William Ferchland may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org