Booze, babes and tinder talk welcome to the world of ‘bachelor’ auditions – houstonchronicle.com

Rather than working, I pondered for a few hours about whether my Christ-like standards of art and the sublime would be sullied by giving publicity to a reality television show that perpetuates fairy tale-like romance myths. Then, I consoled myself with the fact that any uncomfortable situation can be turned comfortable with the aid of alcohol.

I hope so. The casting call took place in that “aquarium” operated by the same chain that also owns the Golden Nugget Casino in Lake Charles, the aquarium that has the name of a sequel to a Syfy original movie (“Downtown Aquarium: An Underwater Adventure”) and features, inexplicably, a white tiger, a Ferris wheel and a thrilling train ride through a parking lot underneath a freeway.

On Thursday afternoon, I took a Lyft there.


Confused where the audition was — certainly not next to the frog tanks — I spotted a tall woman with long, straight hair and high heels. Journalistic instinct, honed to perfection over the years, said follow her (but without being creepy). She rode an elevator to a third-floor lobby, where clearly she was in the right place. The room was full of tall women with long, straight hair and high heels filling out paper work.

It takes a certain specimen of a man, I thought, to not only know what “The Bachelor” is but to want to be on the ABC prime time staple (the men would be featured on the sister show, “The Bachelorette”). At the bar, I ordered a whiskey and Coke and took in the scene, thinking about who I might interview, when a producer approached me, asking if I needed any help.

How many opportunities does one get offered by simply sporting an H&M blazer and the confidence of a white male middle manager? Soon, I was drinking a second whiskey while writing down my name and cell number on a whiteboard and being photographed, mugshot-style, by a woman with a digital camera that looked like it was salvaged from the early 2000s.

I sat down on one of the tables and tried to make some friends. There was Alyssa, who told me to put in a good word for her, and a girl with a blue dress who chatted with Alyssa about veneers. Jerri was once on the MTV show “Disaster Date” but had been rejected from the Texans cheerleading squad. Sam was just there to support her friend, but we roped her into trying out as well.

After the audition, I tried, unsuccessfully, to record a useable interview. This was mostly my fault. Then Nioki showed up. She was there as moral support for her cousin. The Chinese-Japanese-Filipino Marine vet bought me drinks and blasted the songs of Cardi B on her phone, trying to get the other girls to sing along. After Nioki talked to me about PTSD, she sauntered to the other side of the table and sat on the lap of a man with black-rim glasses and a Superman-like build. He claimed he’s had thousands of online dates — literally, over a thousand — and that most women can’t hold 30 minutes of conversation. He was an exotic dancer at a local club.

Parroting Nioki, she started playing Shania Twain on her phone and asking us to sing along, but no one could hear the words. More drinks from Nioki and her crowd. Around 8 p.m., the auditions were dying down but the party, apparently, was only starting. People had moved past following each other on Snapchat and Instagram and began trading actual phone numbers. Our table wanted to all go grab food together. I left by myself, in a half-sober daze, wondering if these people showed up not to audition but to meet attractive singles.

The aquarium entrance reeked of algae floating in warm water. None of the parents or the children there had high heels or pressed suits. They wore shirts that sagged, pants that looked comfortable to be in. Disgusting. I walked out into the swampy night, sweat already trickling down my leg, sweat perforating through my shirt, the weather already transforming me back into an ugly, regular person.