February 11, in the midst of a winter snowstorm, hundreds and hundreds of hopeful young women lined up at the Sheraton Centre on Queen Street West in hopes of becoming the next Canadian to find true love on The Bachelor Canada.
I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would be one of them.
As a 22 year old student and part-time waitress, marriage and finding ‘true love’ was definitely one of the last things on my agenda (and in my opinion that’s probably normal). So why was I there? Equal parts curiosity, social experiment, and largely because my friend agreed to buy me a $15 dollar sushi dinner if I went. What can I say? I’m easily persuaded by food.
So down to the Sheraton Centre I went, in the midst of one of the snowiest weeks of the year. I planned to get there early with the hope of being one of the first in line so that I could do the audition, and swiftly get the hell out of there. However, I had no such luck.
By the time I arrived, hundreds of beautiful, wide-eyed, open-hearted young women of all ages and backgrounds were there already, nervous and eager to impress the casting directors and to meet their future husband. It was incredibly busy.
Who in this crowd would be the crazy girl of the season, I wondered? I had my eye on a short very thin brunette in high-heels who kept pacing back and forth on the phone, yelling viciously at someone in a language I could not understand.
The vibe was a little bit intimidating and unfriendly. It was a competition, after all, and most of the girls were looking around the room at everything that stood between them and their one true love. They were all there to win.
The only person I really talked to during this entire experience (besides the casting directors) was the redhead sitting next to me. She was 24, had gone to school to be a teacher, and was now pursuing a career in acting. She seemed genuine, and I could picture her as the wholesome down to earth girl of the season. She had come well-prepared with headshots and literature in hand.
Finally, after a gruelling two hour wait, it was my turn. I was called over to the casting directors who handed me a form to fill out and asked me a few questions. Nothing too out of the ordinary, but there were a few moments that caught me off guard.
On the form, I was to list not only my height but also my weight. Why could they possibly need to know this information? I thought about it for a while, and it later dawned on me how The Bachelor franchise makes it pretty clear that if your BMI is over 18, your chances of finding true love in on-camera paradise are not looking so good.
Then, when one casting director asked me “So, why do you want to be on the show?” My answer was “I think it would be a fun way to meet some really amazing people and maybe find love.” My truthful answer would have been, “I don’t really. I’m only here because I can’t say ‘no’ to people and it lands me in all kinds of weird situations.”
“We’ll be in touch,” they said as I got up to leave. I had the distinct feeling that they probably wouldn’t be in any further contact with me or my glistening sweat moustache.
Throughout this whole bizarre experience, I felt fraudulent. Here I was, among this hopeful group of women who were truly vying to be on The Bachelor Canada, but all I could think about was that it was 10am on one of my rare Saturday mornings off work and that I just wanted to go home and crawl back into bed!
The Bachelor Canada premieres in the fall of 2017, and I probably won’t be on it. The crazy brunette wearing high-heels might be, though.