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Cartoon of a woman in an evening gown and heels on a couch with a guy in sneakers looking at his phone

The (actually accurate) Bachelorette

I’m not looking for roses. Just someone who can stop looking at their phone.

Humor, political cartoons, and graphic journalism from The Highlight, Vox’s home for features and longform journalism.


The Bachelorette franchise, which is wildly popular despite its iffy success rate, is built on one idea:
That if you remove all the little things that keep a man from reaching his full romantic potential, you can reveal THE REAL HIM.
But, in reality, his slow-dancing skills, the way his hair moves in a convertible, what he looks like in black-tie attire — none of this is helpful information when planning a future.
I don’t care about the carefree, adventure-drunk, relaxed version of a person. I need to see the stressed-at-work, fighting-a-cold, can’t-decide-what-to-order-for-dinner version.
Love bred in a bubble seems unlikely to survive the harsh realities of the outside world.
So wouldn’t it make more sense for the show not to relieve the pressures of everyday existence, but to intensify them?
I think a better version of The Bachelorette would offer me the chance to sort through a batch of good-looking guys based on the person I’m going to be navigating everyday life with. (The (actually accurate) Bacherlorette.)
In my version of The Bacherlorette, every contestant will have to live in his own 574-square-foot apartment with no laundry unit.
He would definitely have a cellphone and full access to the internet. (Cartoon of a woman in an evening gown on the couch with a man staring at his phone. She’s saying, “Hi. I’m still here.)
Between-date challenges will include: Putting away groceries. (Carton of a woman peering into the fridge, saying, “He put the new milk in front of the old milk?) Who can go the longest without checking Slack. (Cartoon of three men on a couch, one checking
I’ll need to be sure we have compatible systems for loading the dishwasher. (Cartoon of woman in a one-shoulder dress with a pen and clipboard saying, “Wide pan on the bottom rack? That’s minus 5 points for Luke.”)
And there will be a lightning round where we see how long it takes for us to agree on which Netflix show to watch.
I’m probably never going to need to know whether he’ll hold my hand during the pre-skydive safety check.
But it would help to know if he’s going to feel neglected when I need space. Or if he leaves the hand soap dispenser empty.
None of this is sexy. It wouldn’t make for good TV. But that’s the thing about real, lasting relationships: Most of it isn’t sexy. Most of it is boring and plodding and dry. (Cartoon of a woman and man in pajamas with coffee. He’s staring at his laptop.)
But that’s what makes it real.

Aubrey Hirsch is a writer and illustrator in Berkeley, California. Her work has appeared in the Nib, the New York Times, the Rumpus, and elsewhere.

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