Goddess mug shot The Goddess Speaks

Nadine Kam

‘Average Joe’
teaches love’s rules

I would not have wanted to be in Malena's shoes last night, when she had to pick one "Average Joe" from two men she seemed to like equally.

Been there, done that and chosen wrong every time. (A hint to 16-year-olds out there: If a guy ever asks you to choose, lose him. Fast.)

I didn't expect to get caught up in television's latest "Bachelor" wannabe. With its contrived and potentially cruel twist -- expecting a beautiful woman to find her Mr. Right from a pool of hoary-looking dudes (it seemed producers had set their sights on "below average") -- I figured NBC had found a new low.

I had no plans to tune in, so missed Malena's initial reaction to the bunch. By the time I tuned in, midway through the series run, she had fully embraced the game and had whittled the original 16 guys to a field of six. I liked four of her picks, especially Adam, who has a great sense of humor and didn't lose it even when Malena was moody over having to take to the air in a glider or ultralight aircraft (I'm not sure which because they showed only the two of them crammed in a passenger seat).

The cruel turn came when three guys were relieved after surviving the cut that pared the group from six. That's when producers brought in "the models," three hunks that made me say, "Wow!" followed by "Oh no!" I tell you, as much as I thought Adam her perfect match, his stature paled in that moment. In the meantime, Malena's eyes lit up also, and the average Joes later compared that moment to being in a bar and connecting with a beautiful woman until the moment a hunk walks in and steals her away.

Oddly, these average Joes seemed more "real" than past reality contestants in that they were doing more emoting than primping and posturing. In the end, this didn't work for Dennis L. He was cute in a geek-chic Tom Green kind of way (hey, it was good enough for Drew Barrymore). But he spent so much time fretting about his position with Malena when he was with her that I started telling him to grow up and be a man. Malena -- no woman -- needs a whiner.

What a difference distance makes. I've never been one to talk to a screen before, but I'd taken to warning Malena: "No, not him. Get him out of there! What do you see in him? Are you crazy?"

I had no problem with most of the men, but Zach I could not stand.

To my boyfriend: "How come everybody knows he's a jerk and she can't see it? I can't believe he's still in the game."

BF: "Maybe she's the jerk."

TMBF: "She is so not a jerk, and you're a jerk for saying it."

THERE ARE SOME for whom fare like this is a total waste of time. But those still playing the dating game could learn a lesson from the rules of the TV game, resulting in Malena's cold analyses of the AJs' strengths and weaknesses and lucky ability to ditch a guy at the first disturbing sign.

No, you don't want a liar like Zach, who acts one way with you and another way with the guys.

No, you don't want a guy with a temper. Tareq was ousted when losing a golf game reduced him to a club-flinging tantrum.

No, you don't want someone obsessive. Alex, the first of the models to go, seemed perfect, a sweet, hopeless romantic with a heart of gold, until he confessed he found out a past girlfriend was cheating on him by waiting six hours outside her home for her to return. Double no.

If only it were this easy in real life. The rest of us, for whom meeting a potential soul mate can be a once-a-year accident, don't have the luxury of dismissing someone at the first small sign of weakness.

Instead, we let the little things go and learn to take the bad with the good, learning from our mistakes over years and hoping for the best, one average Joe, or Jane, at a time.

Nadine Kam is the Star-Bulletin features editor.

The Goddess Speaks is a feature column by and
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