I managed to get my Gram all into this season of The Bachelorette. For two months, we talked every Monday so I could remind her to watch it, then every Tuesday so we could dissect the week’s happenings.
We had similar opinions on the men, though Gram was absolutely outraged at the amount of kissing Andi did with them. “Whatever happened to a peck on the cheek?!” she’d rage.
We were discussing the finale this afternoon. She was talking all about Nick and how his feelings were hurt and how she felt so, so, so bad for him. Now, for the last four weeks, mind you, she has been saying, “I just don’t trust that Nick. He’s hiding something. Why can’t she pick Chris?” (She married a farmer, so she is a little biased). About Nick, she said, “It’s just so sad. He’s so heartbroken. Why does that have to happen? He’s so heartbroken.”
“But Gram,” I said. “Didn’t you, little miss, leave a man you were engaged to and marry Gramps instead?”
Cue the giggles that teeter between a young girl’s and a mischievous woman of age.
“Well, yes, yes. Yes! I did. I did do that.”
“Remind me how that happened.”
“Well I was engaged for two years beforehand, you know. Tony (The Other Guy) gave me a diamond when I was just 16. And my mother let him do that! That’s how it was in those days. You know, the old Italians, just wanted you to get married so young. Well over the next two years I sort of grew up, you know, and I started seeing things in him I didn’t like. He didn’t like to work, for one. He was just living off his father’s money. I didn’t like that at all. So one day I just told him, ‘I can’t marry you.’ And I gave him the diamond back. I just had to grow up a little bit, you know.”
“See, heartbreak happens. That’s real life,” I told her.
“Yes, it does. He was devastated. He followed me around, showed up at my work, at my house, just everywhere. And you know what I took the diamond back one time. I did. He used to buy me things. A stack of records, new shoes, everything. Then I realized he was sneaking in his father’s store at night and taking money out of the register! That’s the kind of guy he was. So I gave him back the diamond for good.”
“When did you meet Gramps?”
“Well, the day after I had the diamond off is when he started talking to me. Not a day before.”
“A man of honor, huh?” (In case you haven’t figured it out, I pretty much think my Gramps hung the moon).
She laughed. “Yes, he was. He said to me, ‘I see you don’t have your diamond on anymore.’ In those days that was a big deal, you know. So we started dating. The Other Guy was still kind of following me around, even though I was with Sam,” she giggled again. “It was all very exciting for a little while.”
“How did Gramps ask you out on your first date?”
“Well, he said ‘I see you don’t have your diamond on.’ and then, ‘Maybe we can do something on Saturday.’ It was different in those days, you know. And that was that. That was March 15, 1947. And 10 months later we were married.”
“And you got the gem, huh?”
“Oh yes, yes I did. He was much more handsome than Tony, anyway.”
What impressed me most about her story were two things: the fact that my Gramps didn’t wait at all to ask her out. He had his sights set on her for awhile; and the fact that my Gram remembers that date. She doesn’t remember certain details about her day, stays in her jamas until 10 or 11 a.m., but she’ll remember March 15, 1947 until she closes her eyes for the last time.
We can scoff at the Bachelorette all we want, but all people want is to know they are wanted, they are loved, they are cherished. That’s all those shows are about. Whether wanted, loved, and cherished by one other person (in the quest for true love), America (the quest for fame), or a general pool of applicants (previous Bachelor contender Juan Pablo comes to mind). That’s why “reality show” players play, and that’s why we watch. We look for the gleam in someone’s eye when they feel like they belong because either we want it too, or we have it and want to watch others find it.
So, Miss Andi Dorfmann, thank you for making Gram happy with your choice. She’s been in your shoes and though she’s not happy about your physical endeavors with these men, she’s happy you’re happy. She hopes you found your gem, too.