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Did you catch the finale of ABC’s consummate train-wreck-pseudo-reality-show this week? The Bachelorette wrapped up yet another season with confidence-challenged Ashley making the heart-wrenching decision between JP’s lips and one of the Josh Groban look-a-likes. It was no mystery who she’d choose in the end, but as she fidgeted with her bangs and gnawed incessantly on her lips, ABC lived up to its editing prowess and delivered the most dramatic rose ceremony in the history of Monday night prime time.

This episode concluded the 22nd season of this reality show (including its original counterpart, The Bachelor). And out of all these theoretical “cream-of-the-crop” suitors, we’re left with only three couples. (And really, only one… because Ali and Roberto are still planning their wedding, and Ashley and JP are still wrapped up in the excitement of foregoing their individual rooms. I give ‘em two months.) So, that leaves us with a 4 percent success rate, pioneered by Trista’s squeaky voice and her apparently hard-of-hearing, fireman husband.

Four percent. Wow. The odds are stacked against us single ladies, eh?

We can find solace in this: The real world is nothing like The Bachelor. I’ve never had the opportunity to choose between 25 hand-picked men and eliminate them one by one. (I’m lucky if, once a month, a high school student/part-time Starbucks barista tells me I have a pretty smile.) I’ve also never had the opportunity to vie for one man’s attention in a game show format, competing against two dozen crazy drama queens. (Frankly, this second version sounds painful.) And to top it off, I’ve never been put up in an 8,000-square-foot mansion overlooking the hills of California with a 24-hour open bar policy! (This one I could get used to.)

So after we’ve switched off the TV for the night… What’s the real life dating scene like?

  • In real life, every day is an opportunity to meet someone new. And every day is an open door for rejection or humiliation.
  • In real life, I can walk up to any guy and offer him a rose. And he can accept or reject that rose (and me) as he sees fit.
  • In real life, I can choose to sit around and wait for Mr. Right to just stroll through the door. Or I can put myself out there, open to the possibility of a broken heart, loneliness or—just maybe—love.

I suppose in the end I’m starring in my very own season of The Bachelorette—except it’s been on air for 30 years, there are very few hot tub scenes, and the men are slightly less inclined to whip off their Ed Hardy t-shirts and reveal immaculately toned and tanned abs.

I’ve got one life, one heart and (ultimately) one rose. Praying I will find the right guy to offer it to—and hoping he’ll accept it. (Let’s get real—I hope he’s the one buying me roses!) Life ain’t a reality show—it’s just plain reality. We just gotta get out there and start to live it.

~Ruth