Since we鈥檙e just hours away from The Bachelor season finale, it鈥檚 high time we take a step back from obsessing over bachelor contestant confessions 鈥 and who鈥檚 going to win 鈥 to think about the man, the myth, the boy from Indiana: Ben himself. It鈥檚 pretty obvious that being a Bachelor contestant can get pretty rough, but Ben seems to handle it like a champ (okay, save for a couple of tears) 鈥 maybe even more so than some of his predecessors. So what is it that we love so much about this reality tv star? Is it his dimples? His laid-back style? Media studies expert Holly Holladay says his looks are part of the charm, but the science behind why we love Ben is so much more than just chemistry.


Psychologists call it parasocial interaction. It鈥檚 a term used in the field to describe a one-way relationship with something or someone (mostly celebrities) who can鈥檛 reciprocate it. While this type of relationship can be with anything or anyone you feel emotional closeness with 鈥 a sports team, a book character, a political figure 鈥 Holladay says this type of 鈥渞elationship鈥 is especially common and inevitable when it comes to reality TV.

鈥淚 think what makes parasocial relationships so different when it comes to reality TV is that the characters are real, especially on shows like The Bachelor,鈥 Holladay said.

This realness is accentuated by a very important factor in The Bachelor franchise: perceived accessibility. Because we, as viewers, can audition to date the people we see on screen, we have an ability to create a relationship with them without ever meeting them.

鈥淭hat鈥檚 the beauty of The Bachelor cycle,鈥 Holladay said. 鈥淥ne minute, you鈥檙e watching the bachelor as this figure on TV. And then all of a sudden, you鈥檝e applied to be on the show and you鈥檙e dating him. In our minds, that person could be any of us.鈥

So that鈥檚 why the bachelors/ettes are so attractive to us. But what about Ben? Isn鈥檛 he special? Holladay says that we love Ben for the exact same reason we love all of the leads of the show. He鈥檚 accessible, and most importantly, he鈥檚 generic. Unlike Chris Soles and Juan Pablo, he could be any guy in America, and that 鈥渂oy next door鈥 characterization makes him relatable.

鈥淣ot only is he perfectly generic, he鈥檚 emotional and open,鈥 Holladay said. 鈥淗e tells us how he鈥檚 feeling. He cries. He says 鈥業 love you.鈥 He鈥檚 expressive in a way that not a lot of men are conditioned to be, and that鈥檚 appealing.鈥

Why are you in love with Ben? Tweet us @BritandCo!

(Photos via Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty)