Would I go as far as to say that The Bachelorette is prestige television? No. That’s a stretch. But it is a solid way to burn two hours if you’re flush with free time on a Monday night. When you sit down to watch, you might scoff at first, but then you’ll get a sinking, gross feeling that comes when all of these men (this woman has thirty dudes to parse through) introduce themselves to Hannah B. for the first time. It’ll make you think, “God, I’m better at this than they are, right?”
The journey begins on night one, when a new crop of two-and-a-half-dozen men arrive at the Bachelor Mansion to greet Hannah B.—a contestant from the last season of The Bachelor—with the hopes of stealing her heart. The premiere episode of each season of The Bachelorette is always full of initial introductions and awkward schticks that makes your right eye twitch a little bit, as the guys try to impress the girl. But it’s also a learning opportunity. When you’re out at your local Buca di Beppo, spending that early- to mid-20s date money on a nice plate of carbonara linguini, you can remember something from these overly masculine men who look like they’ve been poured into their navy blue suits. Their missteps are your gain, friend.
So here, in all their The Bachelorette premiere night glory, are the 20 tips you can learn from those who dared to find love on reality television.
1. Garrett, a golf pro, said that he could be Hannah’s “hole in one.” That’s gross. Remember to read the room before you make your puns.
2. Connor S. jumped a fence for Hannah—a coy reference to last season when the Bachelor jumped a fence. While a shtick is fine, referencing someone’s ex (yours or your date’s) is not advised.
3. Devin jokingly called himself a virgin, also referencing Hannah’s ex. See above. And don’t reveal yourself to be a virgin on first impression, whether it’s true or a joke.
4. Remember that just because you think a reference is funny, it could be alarming to someone else. Take Joe, The Box King, for instance. He scared the shit out of Hannah when he jumped out of a human-sized box. Also, it conjured up memories of this:
5. Cam rapped. Don’t rap. Unless you’re Eminem or Jay-Z or literally anyone but Cam.
6. Oh, and then Matt Donald sang a song called “Old Matt Donald” after riding in on a tractor. You’d think this is ill-advised, but it was a fully realized concept. Put thought into the gesture you offer a date, be it flowers or a tractor.
7. Don’t show up to meet a woman with a baby car seat, even if there’s champagne inside.
8. Pray before every date.
9. Luke P. immediately grabbed Hannah after her toast to be the first to talk to her one-on-one. This is a power move. Remember on every date to capitalize on the moment, as long as you’ve prayed first.
10. If you do happen to be in a group setting—say a bar or a cocktail party where you’re competing with 29 other men for one woman—it is not acceptable to pump yourself up by saying, “You just gotta get in there.”
11. Asking to kiss your date is awkward. But it’s also the clearest way to get consent, so live your truth.
12. Know your strengths. If you can legitimately sing, then sing. Jed did it, and it worked out great.
13. Remember that in the age of the internet, you don’t have secrets. You have truths that are simply waiting to be uncovered. That’s what happened when Scott was revealed to have a girlfriend on opening night.
14. No, seriously. This is just doubling down on tip 13, but if you are already dating someone, you should absolutely not date other people.
15. If you do get caught in a lie and someone finds out that you’re dating someone else, own up to it. You’ve already lost.
16. One last tip about Serial Dater Scott: If your haircut is reminiscent of a TGI Friday’s waiter, seek out a barber.
17. If you happen to be the person lied to, take a moment for yourself. Everyone thinks that dates are high-pressure, non-stop races. That’s not true. Take a beat and walk around the pool like Hannah did. Pray again, if need be.
18. Speaking of prayer—if your date confides in you that she/he is a person of faith, it’s okay to bring faith-based jargon into the conversation. Find your common ground. When Hannah gave Luke P. the first impression rose, he mouth kissed her hard before saying, “Amen.”
19. If you have so many people chasing after you, line them up in two or three single-file lines, stadium-style, and tell them all that you are simply “trusting your heart” before making eight of them go home: Scott, Hunter, Box King Joe, Matt Donald, Ryan, Thomas, Brian, and Chasen. (This will also help to hide the fact that you are bad with names.)
20. If all else fails, just yell your name at your date to make sure she/he remembers you. This worked for John Paul Jones, whose name is definitely the only thing he has going for him right now.
Are all of these somewhat niche dating tips from The Bachelorette applicable to you? Perhaps not. But maybe upon some reflection, you’ll find how they fit into your life as a single person out there tackling the world. Most of all, remember that lying never got anyone anywhere. Be true to yourself and do not underestimate the power of prayer. Amen.