For more than 30 seasons combined, men and women seeking mates — or seeking something, anyway — have competed for love on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. You can count on one hand how many relationships spawned on the shows have worked out, but long odds didn't keep about 200 women from spending an evening in a Fort Worth hotel ballroom, ready to take their shots at winning a chance to find a husband on national television.
And why not? Texans buy tons of lottery tickets, too.
From 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday at an Embassy Suites, the (mainly white) women piled into a room on the hotel’s fifth floor to see if we were made for reality TV.
I was one of those women, but I was there for the story. Swear. To understand the nature of an opening casting call for a TV show that’s been on since 2001, I got in line to see if producers thought America would welcome me into their living rooms every Monday night.
The process was much like going through sorority recruitment, but worse. Judgment was in the air. The women were beautiful. The dresses were short, the eyelashes were long and the heels were high. Toned and tan legs were everywhere. Was this an open casting call for The Bachelor or the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders?
The first step in the process was to fill out an application — name, address, age, weight, relationship history, Social Security number, all of the usual things you want written on a piece of paper that would soon be in the hands of reality TV show producers. I then headed to the main room, where we waited for our one-on-one interviews with a casting producer. A DJ blasted music while some of the women bobbed their heads. Mothers stood by for emotional support, and a bartender passed out Champagne for liquid courage. Each new woman who walked in got a close once-over from every other woman in the room — slowly, like clockwork. After that, the meeting with the casting producer would be a snap.
These women weren't nominated by friends or family members. They made the drive to Fort Worth from all over DFW, Texas and even the nation because they wanted their spot on the world’s most dramatic dating show. They actually, possibly, sort of believed The Bachelor was where they would find a husband.
There was bubbly Jessica, whose hidden talent was bad hip-hop dancing. I met a single mom and cocktail waitress, and another woman who said Tinder has ruined the modern relationships. At least on The Bachelor, you meet your potential suitor face-to-face, she said.
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My interview with the casting producer was relatively painless. The questions were short and simple. Tell me about yourself. What is your dating history? Why do you want to be on the show? And anything else we should know? I answered quickly out of fear of rambling and sounding too much like a moron. As I spoke, a video camera filmed every move. At the end of the three-minute interview, the camera scanned me from head to toe while I stood there smiling, wondering what qualities the casting producers look for in the final 25 women. The scanning-head-to-toe part might provide a clue there.
Some of the women avoided one another, some ran into old friends they hadn’t seen in years and some bonded with strangers. (That's probably not a bad ability to have for someone on The Bachelor.) I left the same as I came in — skeptical anyone truly believes they can find a husband on a reality TV show.
On the other hand, if the call comes ... well, we'll see.