Bravo—the network known for its focus on housewives, designers and other dramatic, table-flipping characters—is in on the dating game.
Last night I stumbled about their newest reality show, “Online Dating Rituals of the American Male.” As the name implies, episodes follow men during every step of their online dating adventures. Each episode brings a pair of new suitors and a new set of issues and encounters.
It sounded like a TV version of my experience trying to get into the heads of area single men who are using online vehicles to meet women. So I wanted to tune in to the Bravo version and see whether I’d once again get something out of stepping into the minds of boys.
I noticed that it’s not apparent where these test subject men are trying out their dating rituals; There are cityscapes, parks and bars, yet, the city isn’t explicitly referenced.
We do get to meet two gents who could not be more different. Marcus calls himself “Fitartist” in the cyber world because he is, in fact, fit and working in the art world. He’s 36, divorced and trying to get back out there. Instantly, I like him. He’s good-looking, respectable, funny and makes probing, intriguing statements like, “Did love forget about me?” He seems to want love to remember him again.
Then there’s Alex, who sees himself as God’s gift to the ladies. He speaks with a Southern twang, yet, unfortunately, uses it to say things like, “I’ll go out with anyone.” Then he follows that up with his mantra: “Maybe half the time I get slapped in the face and half the time I get slapped in the ass, if you know what I mean.” We get it, buddy. Calm down.
Many times during the episode Alex’s booty-grabbing backfires. I found myself cheering when this occurred, as he was unable to dupe a woman into going home with him. At one point a brunette female is not having his attitude and sense of entitlement and tells him that it’s over. Because Alex has only taken the woman out for ice cream, he responds, “Luckily, I’m only out $8.”
Marcus (thankfully) meets a woman with whom he clicks. Yet on the way to Ms. Right he does have an amusing encounter with a blonde woman with a severe case of TMI. When Marcus runs off to the restroom, for example, she wants a full toilet report before and after.
What’s the lesson of spending an hour viewing this?
Well, Bravo used extremes to show the crop of single men out there. It confirms what I already knew: There are well-intentioned good guys out there who are just hoping, as I do, that someone’s not trying to pull a fast one and misrepresent themselves when they switch from on- to offline. And then there’s Alex. I’ve met a few Alexes in real life. All I can hope is that karma does its job and he gets slapped somewhere worse than his face someday.
The most revealing parts of the first episode were the conversations the men had—either with themselves or a nearby friend—when deciding who to message and try to meet. The thought process was swift and took place on phones, in bed, at the office, between meetings, on the way to other dates. Basically constantly.
Dating, as Bravo’s show reminds us, is an all-hours, all-consuming affair. Alex, in fact, calls the cyber menus he can glimpse addicting.