Admit it. You snickered, rolled your eyes and laughed out loud as the group of "Average Joes" filed out of their bus to meet Melana that first night. You probably thought "no way" as you settled in for a soap about a beautiful girl's rejection of the geeks. Indeed, Melana herself stated, "someone is messing with my head", as the next "average" guy stepped down to meet her.
However, in the episodes that followed, there was bonding, friendship and attraction between Melana and a number of the guys. It actually began to look as though she was falling for at least one or two of them. Then came the twist. The "gorgeous" guys were sent in to challenge the Joes and test Melana's ability to see past the surface and choose based on what each man had to offer as a total package.
At that point, what were you thinking? Who was your front-runner? Did you think it possible that the bonds that had been formed would be strong enough to hold Melana's attention- and heart? I'm guessing that many people did. I know a lot of people were routing for Adam or Zack.
So, what happened? In the days that followed the final episode, virtually all of the commentary centered on a very basic and "simple" explanation of Melana's choice. They all said it was about "looks".
While I agree that physical attraction played a significant role, I believe Melana's choice involved more than this. How we choose has to do with many things. These include:
* physical attraction
* shared interests
* social compatibility and friendship
* intellectual compatibility
* ability to communicate
* basic values
* level of self-knowledge
* level of maturity and dating experience
* personal and family goals
I am going to do a brief examination of how these played a role in Melana's final decision. Follow along with me and think about how these factors come into play in your meeting and dating life. Perhaps Melana's public struggle with these can provide some valuable insights into how you choose potential partners and assist you in your desire to make the best (and healthiest) choice for you.
Let me begin by stating an obvious point that we are all aware of. The circumstances and setting of the meeting and dating that takes place on a "reality" show have little resemblance to the real world of dating. Dates are chosen, as is the person who will be doing the choosing. They are sequestered in a beautiful, romantic place where all their physical needs are attended to and everyone can present themselves in their best light. The real world of money, time, energy and the need for making dating plans are all handled by professionals who go "all out". Even though the contestants spend weeks together, they are not confronted with the real life issues that singles in the dating world must deal with. Therefore, the circumstances are idyllic. This has pros and cons. I think we all have a pretty good idea of what these are. The major plus is that everyone can present themselves "equally". The major drawback is that each relationship is limited to this fantasy existence, and there is no opportunity to see each other deal with the day to day challenges of real life.
Stepping back into the episodes prior to the inclusion of the "hunks", can you recall the great dates that Melana had with the guys? The group dates were full of laughs and bonding on a friendship level. We all enjoyed watching Dennis get to the top and see the support and caring that were shown towards him. With each week, Melana discussed and demonstrated the attractions she was forming with different guys on different levels. A few rose to the front of the line as she eliminated based on not just looks, but on the "connection" she felt with each. Indeed, she used this word a lot. This connection was formed by the elements of:
* social compatibility and friendship
* ability to relate
* comfort level
* basic attraction
Just prior to the twist episode, Adam and Zack seemed to be the front-runners. In their individual dates, they were able to get to a deeper level of communication. Personality issues arose. There was discussion centering on likes, dislikes, attitudes and some of their own personal and family history. They began to get a sense of each other