Lisa Bonos: Marriage isn't all hot tubs and helicopter rides - 7 real dates for The Bachelorette

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This year's US 'Bachelorette' Jojo Fletcher. Photo / ABC
This year's US 'Bachelorette' Jojo Fletcher. Photo / ABC

In two months of episodes of The Bachelorette, contestants have completed all sorts of challenges to prove their love (or at least interest) in 'Bachelorette' Jojo Fletcher. Among other things, they've pretended to be firefighters; told sex stories onstage; and bonded over their mutual disdain for the season's villain, Chad Johnson.

But married life isn't all hot tubs and helicopter rides, roses and candlelit dinners. (Or so we've heard.) With that in mind, here's a list of more practical one-on-one date ideas that could better simulate the mundane challenges of everyday life. (Hat tip to Bachelor Nation experts Veronica Toney and Lauren Moore for their date-planning suggestions.)

1. Survive a trip to Ikea

Photo / iStock
Photo / iStock

The goal of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette - aside from all the drama and making out - is to get engaged and settle down. The final contestants usually have conversations about where they'll live and what kind of life they'll have together. But first, they'll need furniture. What could be more Sensuell than roaming the aisles at Ikea, trying to decide between and a Knubbig and a Milf? The next challenge is to put everything together without losing your cool and acting like a Dombas.

2. Wait for the cable guy

There's a lot of waiting around while these reality shows are being filmed. What good practice for the time-sucks of real time! Such as waiting around for a cable repair person to show up. In meantime, contestants can practice the tango steps they learned in Buenos Aires. Or put together more Ikea furniture. Now where did that hex key go?

3. Watch a presidential debate together

Now that the cable is fixed, it's time to take in a presidential debate. (Contestants missed so many while the show was filming!) They'll try not to alienate each other with their extreme, previously undiscussed worldviews. If that goes poorly, producers can bring in Daniel the Canadian to defuse the tension.

4. Go grocery-shopping on a Sunday night

On the show, there's always food around. But in the real world, sweet potatoes and cold cuts are not always readily available. What better way to bond than navigating a local Whole Foods on a Sunday night, with a strict $100 budget and dietary restrictions in mind. Oh, and don't forget the chardonnay! After all, contestants have never had a conversation without freely flowing alcohol.

5. Go out to dinner with both sets of parents in a loud restaurant

Photo / iStock
Photo / iStock

The missed opportunity of hometown dates is that only one set of parents is involved at a time. A better simulation of the messy reality of marriage would be to get two sets of parents (plus any applicable stepparents) meeting at once. That way everyone can exchange their opposing political views without being able to properly hear one another. Preferably somewhere with low lighting, too, so that everyone needs to activate their cellphone flashlights to read the menu. Bon appetit!

6. Navigate your way out of traffic without GPS

On The Bachelorette, transportation is always provided. It might be private plane or a dinky private bus, but contestants are rarely responsible for getting themselves - or anyone else - from point A to point B. May we suggest a set of errands taking contestants from downtown Los Angeles to Burbank to Northridge to Santa Monica at rush hour, with Waze continually rerouting. Once they've done this successfully, contestants can be tasked with surviving a day at Disneyland with someone else's children while not spending any money. Just your love and patience to guide the way.

Photo / iStock
Photo / iStock

7. Visit grandma in the hospital

Rather than a trip to the fantasy suite, the top three contestants will earn themselves a night in the hospital, comforting the Bachelorette's demanding grandmother who preferred her ex-boyfriend. Bonus points to whomever can negotiate with the health insurance company to cover the biggest portion of her hospital bill.

- Washington Post

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