Father Knows Best – Finally, Reasonable Parents Reject “The Bachelor”

(Spoiler Alert: If you’ve not watched this week’s episode of The Bachelor on your DVR, you might want to skip this article.)

I’m the mother of a young teenager who’s not dating yet, so I can only imagine a nervous young man asking her father for her hand in marriage. Many argue that the whole idea is chauvinistic and reminiscent to times when women were treated like objects. Most people, however, still think it’s a respectful gesture, an important tradition, a rite of passage, and a moment that dear old dad can really let his expectations be known.

Even on The Bachelor, a show not known for its traditional views on morality, the bachelor winnows down the crowd until there are only four remaining contenders.  That’s when things on the show get really serious, emotional, and – sometimes – complicated. This week on the show, Bachelor Ben Flajnik traveled all around the nation to visit the remaining four contestants’ families in what are known as “hometown dates.”

With each woman, he explores her hometown before sitting down at the table with her family.  There are polite questions, there are awkward pauses.  This allows the bachelor to get a feel for his potential future family and it allows the family to get a feel for the potential future son-in-law.

Normally, the conversations go something like this:

Dad: “You better treat my daughter right. She’s very precious to me.”

Bachelor: “I understand.   Thanks for letting me know.  I have begun to really like her.

Dad: “Why?”

Bachelor: “You know… Because she makes me feel good.”

Dad: “Well, she seems happy and that’s good enough for me.  You have my blessing.”

I’m always shocked  parents are so eager to approve of this complete stranger their daughter met on a reality television show.  Sometimes, parents give their blessing right off, usually with some kind of inane comment like “Well, marriage is a 50/50 gamble, so you just have to have the courage to take a risk.”

Sometimes, these parental interactions seal the deal, as the Bachelor envisions himself as a part of the family.  Sometimes, not so much.  For example, this week, one set of parents finally demonstrate they are less enamored with the set-up than their daughter.

Kacie Boguskie has been my favorite of the season.  She is kind, generous, and considerate in a show that encourages drama.  When she had her hometown date, she took Ben to her (and my!) home state of Tennessee.  While sitting in the stands of her old high school, she told him that her father is a federal probation officer and doesn’t drink. Ben, who is a long haired winemaker from California, is unnerved by this news:

“You’re in the Bible belt now,” she explained.

“I’ve always considered it the bourbon belt,” he laughed.

“Well that’s great,” he said in an off camera interview.  “I’m a winemaker and my business is booze. So strike one.”

When they arrived at Kacie’s home, the dinner table was nicely set up with crystal goblets holding ice tea.  Soon, however, everyone was breaking out into different rooms for personal conversations.

“Marriage is something that’s very, very, very serious,” Kacie’s father Denny told the bachelor. “Don’t rush into anything.”

Off camera, the bachelor senses the disapproval, and says, “I had a great conversation with Kacie’s father, but I don’t get the feeling he likes me.”

When Ben talked to Kacie’s mother, the conversation was even more direct.  She said she’s watched enough of the show to know the “winners” of the show end up living together prior to marriage.

“I have a serious problem with that,” she told him.

Upon hearing this, he looked absolutely flabbergasted.  He did manage to collect himself enough to mumble assurance that he shared their “traditional values.” Later in the episode, however, as he recounts the date to host Chris Harrison, he says he fully expects to co-habitate with his fiancé.  (He says this with the exasperation of a person having to explain why water is wet.)

In other words, Kacie and Ben don’t seem to share the same worldview.  In her pre-show interview, she answered some questions about what characteristics  she hoped to find in her future husband.  She answered, that she hoped he would be “outgoing, fun-loving, athletic, driven, goal oriented, sensitive but strong, not afraid to try new things, Christian, family oriented, and love children.”

But she didn’t seem to realize the ideological chasm that existed between her and Ben.  That’s when she sat down with her father outside during the hometown date, and he gently tries to talk sense into his daughter.  He asks her to prayerfully consider what she’s doing.  She assures him that she has prayed and has fully considered her actions.  He very pointedly asks her if she would move in with Ben if they became engaged, and she assures him she would never do that.

Kacie becomes increasingly upset that dear old dad is not impressed with her choice of men and that he doesn’t trust in her intuitions.

“I’m falling in love with him,” she tells him.

“But aren’t the other three girls as well?”

Silenced by the question, she says she doesn’t know.  But she knows.  She’s seen Ben take all of the other girls on dates, kiss in the pool, and exchange meaningful glances for weeks.  She knows that her dad is onto the truth, though she continues to plead her case.

“Ben and I have something that nobody else does, and you might think that’s naive,” she told him. “But I would say ‘yes’ if he were to ask me to marry me.”

Her father seemed pained as he gently responded, “Okay, if he was to ask me if he could marry you, I would probably say at this point, ‘No.’”

I’ve not watched every season of The Bachelor, but this may have been a first.  Even more impressive is when Kacie’s father – who senses the emotional calamity about to be wreaked upon his beautiful daughter – takes Ben aside and asks a favor.  If Ben knows he’s to end up with a different women, please end it soon to avoid more emotional damage.

And that’s exactly what happened.

At the end of the episode, Kacie is weeping in the limousine of shame, asking, “What happened?”

But the audience knows why she didn’t get the rose.

Kacie’s teetotalling, praying father scared the heck out of the Bachelor.  And even though she was devastated by the rejection, the viewers know that – especially in this case — father knows best.

About Nancy French

Nancy French is a three time New York Times Best Selling Author.

  • Gary Netherton

    Nice take Nancy. Thanks for watching so that I didn’t have to!!

    • http://www.NancyFrench.com Nancy French

      Gary, you’re missing out!

  • http://www.dorothygrecophotography.com dorothy greco

    Wow. I’ve never watched the show. Had no idea. I hope it doesn’t take the daughter too long to come to agreement with her father!

    • http://www.NancyFrench.com Nancy French

      Dorothy, the trick of this whole situation is that the audience can see what the daughter can’t… him going skinny dipping with one girl, him making out with another… So, when she watches the show, I bet her jaw dropped and realized quite quickly that dear old dad was right. :)

  • http://www.elizabethhillgrove.com Elizabeth

    Father does know best!! Wow, thank you for this. I used to watch the show, but it just got so dramatic. I never truly realized how messed up it is until I read this!

    She’s falling in love with him, but she really can just look out the window to the backyard and see him having an intimate moment with one of her roommates. She’s supposed to be okay with that.

    Good for Denny! He’s protecting his daughter. That’s real man!

    • http://www.NancyFrench.com Nancy French

      I know — it’s a little like having a harem of women… waiting to see if the man shows up that night. Gross.

  • Paul

    Nancy,

    What was this girl doing on The Bachelor in the first place? Obviously, her father can’t stop her, (she’s an adult) but the fact that she was oblivious to what the show is all about (and what these Bachelors are all about) that is in her.

    • http://www.NancyFrench.com Nancy French

      I have been wondering if it’s possible to be a “moral bachelor.”

      I wrote about one bachelor that tried — it didn’t turn out well:

      http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/195824/moral-bachelor/nancy-french

      • Paul

        Great looking young men with such promissing futures, have entirely too many options in this day and age. They know exactly why so many women chase them (women that would not give normal/average guys the time of day), so they take advantage of their God-given-blessings. I can’t say that I blame them. Morals are designed within the bounds of religion based on rules set up for eternity. With an increasingly secular society or for those who are secular, life is amoral.

        • http://www.NancyFrench.com Nancy French

          Yes — and if you watch this show through that secular world view, their behavior does make sense, doesn’t it? Thanks, Paul!

  • Wendilynn

    Right on Dad!! We live in an increasingly lust based society that promotes selfish behavior and then wonder why people can’t stay married. Well duh!!

    • Anna Quinn

      I know! I think he deserves the Dad of the Year award. And Mom was no slouch either!

  • http://devinrose.heroicvirtuecreations.com/blog/ Devin Rose

    Great post. We haven’t watched the show in some years. We were stunned that the woman near the end of the show would sleep with several guys for a night. No words to describe the ugh.

    • http://www.NancyFrench.com Nancy French

      I know — I was surprised they did those “overnight” dates. A couple of seasons ago, a woman said, “I have a daughter at home (she was widowed) and I’m not going to set that kind of example.” Emily was the ONLY person who declined to my knowledge.

      • http://devinrose.heroicvirtuecreations.com/blog/ Devin Rose

        Good for her; nothing could be more detrimental to a future marriage, and to think that it is televised and recorded for all eternity…ugh!

      • Nina

        Emily didn’t actually decline the fantasy suite. She said she wanted to set a good example for her daughter but that she couldn’t decline the chance to spend more time with Brad. You can view the clip here:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5Z8t1u6sSc

        It is around the 9:30 minute mark.

  • CarolHS

    Good take on the show. I’ve never watched, but you can tell if you happen to see a commercial how manipulative and hurtful it can be for the bachelor/bachelorette.
    The entire show makes the case for courtship over dating.

  • Reality Check

    I think the other fathers deserve a bit more credit. This is reality TV, not real life. In real life, the odds of any of their daughters marrying the bachelor, even if she is selected as the winner, are slim to none. Their daughters had already agreed to participate in a show that asks contestants to engage in morally and medically questionable practices (such as consecutive “overnight” dates with different partners). So, are these capitulating parents really giving their approval for someone they barely know to marry their daughters, or are they giving their daughters the opportunity to add a few additional minutes to their “15 minutes of fame”? That is to say, in real life, the dad’s may not be considering the odds that marriage is a 50/50 gamble; they may, in “reality,” be considering that in 15 seasons only one bachelor actually married one of the final two contestants and it was not the one he proposed to on the show (based on Wikipedia statistics).

    By the way, what do you think makes people (both contestants and their families), whose moral values are not aligned with the show’s practices, agree to participate? In other words, before we applaud the father for standing up for his moral principles, perhaps we have to ask, “Where was dear old dad when each member of his family was signing a network contract to appear on this type of show?

    • http://www.NancyFrench.com Nancy French

      Great point! You may be right.

      Remember when Jake was sent TO THE SHOW by his Methodist church because they said America needs a moral bachelor?

      Wow — that didn’t end well. So the question is – can Christians effectively participate in the show. Emily was the only contestant that did not agree to the overnite date…

  • valeria

    Was this the girl who advised him about the other women before she left? She laid in the floor for a few minutes before she got up to leave?

    • http://www.NancyFrench.com Nancy French

      Yes! She essentially indicated that SHE would live with him — it was her decision, not her dad’s. Oops!

  • Susan

    But now Emily is coming back as the next Bachelorette. She’ll be the one making all the moves on a houseful of men!

    • http://www.NancyFrench.com Nancy French

      Yes — how will she navigate it?

  • Jackie F

    What a strange show… Thanks for the run-down!! Wow. The depths people will sink to. Poor Papa – you know when she announced she was going on that show he had a small heart attack & probably threw up a little bit in his mouth… Ick.

  • http://scoutesia.com/blogs/viewstory/11897 Lesa Lenberg

    Howdy, i read your blog from time to time and i own a similar one and i was just wondering if you get a lot of spam feedback? If so how do you prevent it, any plugin or anything you can recommend? I get so much lately it’s driving me crazy so any help is very much appreciated.

  • Karen Laughlin

    I know Martha and Denny Boguskie and I’m so proud of them! Let’s hope that this isn’t taken lightly and many more fathers do exactly what Denny did.

  • cindobindo

    Way to go, DAD!!!!! WOW!!! To have the courage to state Christian principles on CAMERA that way, and to warn his daughter that this ISN’T the man who’d make her a husband to be happy with! All fathers should be that courageous and loving towards their daughters and family members. The mother was wonderful,too. I don’t watch the Bachelor because we don’t have cable, and even when we did, its shallowness and godless sexuality depressed me and I only watched it when with clients who were watching it. UGH.


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