January 2013

Jan 2013: A Line in the Sand-

Author: Frank Dunne, Jr. & Courtney Hampson | Photographer: Photography by Anne

C2’s Bachelor/Bachelorette Contests Good clean fun or superficial and exploitive?

FRANK DUNNE JR.

Congratulations to C2 for raising about 14 grand for Island Rec Center with the bachelorette party. As always, when Maggie and crew do something, they get it right. I have a beef with this bachelor/bachelorette concept though.

Here’s my problem: the whole caper smacks of that celebrity obsession syndrome infecting the culture. “Oh, look at me! Look at me! Me! Me! Me!” It’s like those creepy TV shows, American Idol, The Voice et al. And then there’s this notion that we will rank people’s eligibility for…whatever…by voting on who looks best in a suit or a little black dress and comes up with the pithiest answers to probing questions like, what song do you want playing as your entrance music? What?!

I remember when they launched the bachelor contest a few years ago and the mag ran a promo ad with a bunch of women in bridal dresses chasing some hapless dude in a tux down the beach. Now help me out here. Haven’t we been lectured for decades that this image of women desperately seeking husbands, living in mortal fear of growing into an old maid is offensive and old fashioned? Sure Frank, but rules like that go out the window for a guy who would choose AC/DC’s “Hell’s Bells” as his entrance music. That guy rocks! He’s a catch!

I read some of the entries out of curiosity and clearly remember my spidey sense telling me that these guys are full of you-know-what. Okay, not all of them, but enough of them. You can’t prove that, Frank! How do you know? Remember in Field of Dreams when Ray Liotta asks Kevin Costner, “Is this Heaven?” and Costner replies, “No, It’s Iowa.” Well, this ain’t Iowa. This is Hilton Head. That’s how I know. Need more? I asked Maggie why she made the switch to bachelorettes this year, and she basically said it was because too many of the guys were full of you-know-what, and too many guys with girlfriends or wives were getting in. Who saw that coming? Not to mention the fact that a convicted felon came within a cat’s whisker of winning last year. Ladies! Here they are! The men of your dreams!

I’m not quite as critical of the bachelorette version (Well, what did you expect? It’s a gaggle of pretty girls for crying out loud!), but I still see some peril in the concept. Riddle me this, what’s the stupidest idea in the world? Answer: say or do something to make a woman feel unattractive. See where this is going? You ask a bunch of guys to pick their 10 favorites out of a crowd of women, and what do you think is going to happen? Think anybody gives a rat’s backside about Suzy’s plan to end world hunger or that Sally was the southeast region’s sales rep of the year for three years running? No, my friends. In a contest such as this, the fellas aren’t looking at résumés, and they aren’t thinking, “Hmmmm. I wonder which one these women would make a good mother to my children.” They’re looking through their imaginary X-ray goggles and trying to determine which 10 would look best in a little number from Victoria’s Secret. In other words, telling the rest that they’re not pretty enough. Ouch!

Wouldn’t want to be in that room where, by the way, Mags did admit that some tears were flowing. Who saw that coming?

Anyway, I know it’s great promotion for C2, a great fundraiser, always well executed and I’m sure a lot of fun for those who are into that sort of thing. So from that standpoint, I’ll give it a thumbs up…but I can still poke fun at it.

COURTNEY HAMPSON

Last year’s bachelor, CJ Steedley, went topless, dropped and started doing pushups at my feet during his interview and photo shoot. That move alone could have easily pushed the envelope past good clean fun. But, despite Frank’s best efforts to make this annual fundraiser and fun time for all into an exploitative farce, I argue that the bachelor and bachelorette shenanigans are all in good fun.

I mean really, it takes a certain amount of hutzpah to parade around in a bad wedding dressing, convince your closest friends to wear the worst bridesmaid’s dresses ever, and still be smiling at the end of night. In fact, the ladies in the running for this year’s first-ever Bachelorette title raised more than $14,000 along the way. In total, approximately $30,000 has been gifted to the Island Rec Center through this endeavor. In $3 votes, that is no small task. When is the last time you convinced 10,000 of your closest friends to do something for you?

According to our esteemed editor Miss Maggie, who has been monitoring this enterprise for seven years—just about the time the economy started to nosedive, “I know some bachelors definitely did it for the money, but I really think most of the guys did it because some gal pal talked them into it.”

For this year’s bachelorettes, however, it is clear that their altruistic attitudes got the best of them. This year’s corps of eligible lasses raised more in one year than the previous six years of bachelors had collectively. I’m just saying…there might be a little something to the concept of “girl power.” That said, I’m not completely naïve; I’m sure a $5,000 prize doesn’t hurt either, and by gosh who wouldn’t want her face on the cover of a magazine, if only just once.

With the title, comes great responsibility. Actually, I’m kidding. The title comes with little responsibility, other than the wherewithal to ignore a year of fun jabs from your friends. Speaking of jabs, I wound the clock back a bit and resurfaced my story on 2010 Bachelor of the Year Ben Wolfe, whose own perspective on the annual contest was to just have fun with it. Two of Ben’s fellow Hilton Head Prep teachers nominated him for the bachelor contest, and at the time Ben said that he agreed to participate, recognizing that, for him, “it would all be tongue-in-cheek.” However, on the off chance that Carrie Underwood reads C2, he was also hoping that it could be the start of something beautiful. No luck there.

The bottom line is, everyone who participated, if only to place a $3 vote, did a good thing. In addition to getting your favorite friend a little added attention of late, you’ve also helped the Hilton Head Island Recreation Association. This non-profit organization, dedicated to improving the quality of life for all area residents, produces and coordinates public recreation programs, “wellness” activities and special events.

Chances are everyone you know has been involved with “Island Rec” at some point, through youth sports (we’re talking basketball, cheerleading, football, golf, hockey, karate, lacrosse, tennis, track, ballet, swimming); or perhaps your ol’ Ma has been hitting the line dancing classes at the S.H.A.R.E. Senior Center, a division of the Island Recreation Association dedicated to providing all adults with quality educational, recreational, and social activities.

Due to the charitable aspect of this hotly debated (actually Frank, there is no debate) contest, I believe it is safe to say that Island Rec touches the lives of thousands of local residents each year, and I think it is perfectly pleasing that we get to say that our sugary sweet bachelor and bachelorette contestants are a part of that. See, it really is good clean fun, all in an effort to support some good, clean fun. Literally.

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