How I became “more than friends” with a reality TV star

by D.O.

Some of the details of this story are more important than the “why” of my watching and enjoying ABC’s The Bachelor, so don’t worry about that part. Just know that if my schedule, my access to a television set or an Internet connection, and the right viewing partners align perfectly, I’ll be as committed to watching that show as a sports fanatic is to watching Superbowl.

For those who didn’t catch this past season of The Bachelor, there was a contestant who made it to the final four before getting the boot. We knew her as the funeral director/embalmer, and if we were really paying attention (perhaps maybe because we’d formed a small crush), we knew her as “Shawntel N.”

By the end of the season, I’d decided that if I had to pick one of the girls, it’d be Shawntel N. After the season finale, I half-jokingly posted a facebook status stating my intent to woo and marry Shawntel N., and I asked my friends what they thought the best means of going about that were. Not much fruit came from that, until March 25th, when my friend sent me the following on twitter:

Apparently Shawntel N. had joined twitter, which isn’t altogether surprising considering twitter’s popularity. I responded:

I sent that tweet fully expecting that to be the end of it. Normal-girl-turned-reality-show-celebrity would certainly have better things to do than desire friendship with the author of an award-winning blog. Then, less than an hour later, I saw this pop up in my feed:

No lie, I was pretty excited to see that, but I kept my cool. I took a little while to think through what the best possible response was. I took a chance and sent her this:

And that was the last I heard from Shawntel N. for a while. I did the whole thing “maybe she hasn’t checked her twitter yet”, but her tweets spoke to the contrary. I clung to hope for a few days, but after about day four, I’d let go. It seemed that the best I could come up with in the way of a reply wasn’t good enough. Shawntel N. had no doubt forgotten about me — if she’d even remembered me in the first place.

Then, two days ago, this happened:

I fully expected this to be a (pretty good) prank from a friend with a California number. I tried to think of ways I could turn the joke on the person who picked up the line when I called, and I thought it’d be funny to blow my top and scream at them, making them feel really bad for playing games with my heart that way. But when I called later that day, the voice on the other line sounded remarkably like Shawntel N. from The Bachelor. A couple back-and-forth’s into the conversation I was convinced: this actually was her.

Unbelievable! I mean, seriously, this stuff does NOT happen to me.

So it turns out that she has a younger cousin who is considering attending University of Idaho, and she and her cousin are going to be in town for “Vandal Friday”, an event for prospective students. Apparently a ton of people come in town for this event too, because the hotels are all booked, which is why she contacted me. She saw on twitter/facebook that I live in Moscow, and she was wondering if she and her cousin could crash with me.

I told her that they were more than welcome to stay in our guest room, and in a moment of great charm and boldness, I asked her if she’d let me take her out to dinner while she was in town… and she said that’d be nice.

This was just too good to be true. I was, and am, beside myself.

They’ll be getting here in the next few hours, and I feel like the dorky junior high kid who got asked to dance by the most popular girl at school.

I mean, I’m even blogging about it, and I NEVER blog about girls. It’s just too risky. What if I write a lot of blog posts about a girl, then I end up marrying a different girl? I don’t see that going well for me in the long run, so I don’t do it. But since it’s April Fool’s Day, I thought I’d take the risk implicit in blogging about girls to let the masses know that I’m taking Shawntel Newton out on a date tonight.

Be jealous.