Last night's episode of The Bachelorette featured one of the sillier challenges in the show's history: The "Husband" challenge. On the one hand, this all well and good; after all, the show is about getting engaged. The men on the show should be husband material. The trouble is, "husband material" means something different to everyone. Qualities I deem important in a potential future hubby may be very different from those Rachel Lindsay does. According to Bachelorette producers, though, being a spouse is all about being a parent. Sigh.
Let's say it together: No one is obligated to be a parent, nor is having children a compulsory post-marriage activity.
Last night's husband challenge consisted of a series of tests. First, the men had to change a diaper, dealing with excrement, as parents do. (There was made-for-television poop. The show decided to blur said poop, either because it was truly disgusting or truly banal.) Then, the men had to place the "baby" in a carrier. Next the men had to push a vacuum down a racetrack, do the dishes, find an engagement ring, set the table, and grab a set of flowers.
Although this is pretty standard fare for the ever-silly Bachelor franchise, it misses the mark on the whole "husband" thing. Being a husband means a lot of things, but it doesn't necessarily mean being a dad. Not all dads are husbands, and not all husbands are dads. Got it?
Twitter had a few words for the challenge.
Other ideas for husband challenges: Picking a movie to watch on Netflix in under an hour, successfully completing a dual trip to Ikea, or chasing after zombies in case of eventual post-apocalyptic nuptials.
Another thing Twitter took issue with: Lucas, the clown of the season, won the challenge. Lucas is perhaps better known as "the Whaboom guy." He has a catchphrase. It has T-shirts. One is never sure if he's screaming whaboom or spontaneously climaxing.
We'll be generous and say for every Whaboom, there is an equal and opposite reaction — a person to match or to temper Lucas' overwhelming energy. For someone out there, he is husband material. Someday, he will meet his Whabae.
That's the thing! Husbands can be anything. Doctors! Lawyers! Full-time dads! Birthday party clowns! Part-time lovers and full time friends! The franchise loves to put people in boxes, but the qualities that constitute an ideal life partner are different for everyone, even on TV.
Welcome to Mothership: Parenting stories you actually want to read, whether you're thinking about or passing on kids, from egg-freezing to taking home baby and beyond. Because motherhood is a big if — not when — and it's time we talked about it that way.
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