The Dystopian Dating Hell That is NBC’s ‘Ready for Love’

PUBLISHED May 30, 2013

Clap, barbies, clap. You’ve made through rounds of casting, hours of track glue ins, eyelash extensions and layers of foundation. You’re greased up and ready to “fall in love.” But wait, not before you get counseled on how to land your man.

I’m as much infatuated with this show as I am disgusted by it. I had no finals to study for so instead I packed up a bowl and kicked it with Comcast On-Demand. Dating shows give me the heebie-jeebies and always end in tabloid scandals. Not my type of entertainment. But lazy summer days have a way of bringing out the bullshitter in you.

Ready For Love is like The Hunger Games of dating shows. It’s part Bad Girls Club (all these lovely ladies live in a mansion together and get into catty disputes) part The Bachelor (one man dates multiple women at a time as they all reveal porcelain veneers at everything he says and swoon over his boogers and butt hair) part competition (three matchmakers send their groomed ladies off to dating battle and compete amongst each other for best “match”) and part disgusting show of Patriarchy. Okay, mostly the last one.

The women are presented, LITERALLY, like Barbie dolls. Complete with individual boxes. They are presented to their respective dude sans-flaws. But the glam-on-steroids image isn’t even what bothers me; it’s the advice these women get from the matchmakers.

“Don’t draw attention to your insecurities. It’ll plant seeds in his head and it’s all he’ll focus on about you.”

“You’ve got this great sense of humor, but you need a balance of sweet and sexy. You’ve got to do something subtle to get him to see you in a sexual way.”

“Take him aside during the group date to show initiative.”

“Be coy.”

“Flatter him!”

“Smile more!”

“Be smart!”

“Cook him something delicious!”

“Appeal to the child in him!”

“Appeal to the man in him!”

“Prove to him he can trust you!”

“But keep him guessing!”

Women around the world are jotting down on note pads the ridiculous advice coming from the mouths of the bottom feeders who have made a a career of people’s insecurities. I don’t disagree with a lot of the advice from the matchmakers; I think some of it is sound. But why is it that as girls we feel the need for all this dating advice? Magazines are making MILLIONS on girls seeing themselves as something that needs fixed to find “the right guy.” Men’s magazines are telling guys how to grill and grow a stock portfolio. No where on the cover of GQ, Esquire or Men’s Health do you see, “How to de-code her text messages: What she really thinks about you after the honey moon phase.”

I find it truly sickening that women fall victim to this. And the reason I say that is because I’ve often found myself doing it. I want to be seen as sexy…but approachable! And, and I want to be supportive, but not get walked all over! And everyone looooves Mila Kunis, she’s so “girl next door,” maybe I should try that! 

We’ve all been there because how can you not when every where you look there’s a stamp of some domesticated Barbie playing her part.

I can safely say I will never be that girl. My life will never fall at the feet of someone else’s. As women, we have way too much to offer to boil down our existence to the pains and pleasures of a pair of balls.

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