Its recent sixth season drew 36 million—about as many people as watched the last Oscars in the U. By comparison, its American prime-time counterpart, equaled the population of some countries was only part of the embarrassment I experienced.The first time I saw the video clip of myself, I called a Mandarin-speaking friend at 11 p.m. Reduced to pure vanity, I shouted into the phone, “Do I wear weird hats? ” I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry as I watched the line between my inner and outer lives dissolve before my eyes, repossessed by a TV show I didn’t even know.

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(I tried to imagine the conversation between David and the show’s producers about how to construct the story of our two-year relationship for a 30-second spot.) As the reality TV version of me gazes toward the sky in the style of a My Space picture, David explains in voiceover that I was a student when we met, a bookworm, and an aspiring professor.

But I was also the prototypical American woman: strong, independent, and not reliant on a man—the implied reason for our break-up.

For more than a decade now, reality dating shows like franchise, which refers to its fans as “Bachelor Nation,” encompasses some of the longest-running U. dating shows and has consistently produced some of the most-watched television across female viewers of all ages..

The show isn’t serialized, but instead features multiple bachelors per 90-minute episode.

It would also be easy for me to dismiss the whole absurd incident out of hand, as some friends advised me to do, and to simply declare that this portrayal of me wasn’t me.

“She’s an actress in a relationship dramatized for reality TV,” a friend reassured me.

Male contestants take the stage encircled by a panel of 24 female candidates—standing at individual podiums in a configuration known as “the avenue of love”—who use lights to indicate their interest.

As the women listen to a suitor banter with the show’s host, reveal information about his life in video clips, and watch him perform in what amounts to a “talent” portion, they can elect to turn off their podium lights and clock out of the competition (similar to ).

He also participated in the show’s “love resume” segment, where our relationship rehash came in.

I was one of two ex-girlfriends portrayed by the same actress—who also portrayed David’s future ideal partner—all of us wearing different hats and subject to the same nauseatingly saccharine piano music.

The last women with their lights left on become finalists, and one of them—hopefully—becomes a match.