They feed each other cake, walk down the aisle, vow to be faithful to one another, and when the priest tells William he may now kiss his "almost bride," the music rises and the camera cuts to a close-up of the two smooching in front of a stained glass window. After the ceremony, William goes the extra mile, so to speak, by picking Ashley up and carrying her across the threshold. Then they both giggle and admit that this is the best first date they have ever been on.
Yet, it was all based on a superficial reenactment of wedding stereotypes. It was fictional; it wasn’t real. Their emotions, however, seem to be, and this is where it gets kind of tricky. Franzen argues that we hide behind the world of liking because it protects us from getting hurt and from being vulnerable with each other. I’m not sure that I agree with that.
If you watch the The Bachelorette as much as I admittedly do, then you know that Ashley and William could both potentially break each other’s hearts. William will be devastated if she doesn’t give him the final rose this season; Ashley will sob uncontrollably if he decides to leave early, or rejects her in any way. Based on these scenarios, it seems the world of liking can be just as painful as the world of loving—especially when we can’t tell the difference between the two.
Perhaps that is the biggest problem of all.