Bachelor Nation, rejoice: Those long weeks spent without rose ceremonies, tears, and love are finally over. The show’s 20th season returns on January 4 — and there’s no better way to celebrate than with a viewing party where you can drink, laugh, and stare longingly at all the beautiful people trying to find True Love. As a Bachelor addict and consummate hostess, I’m here to help you create the perfect Bachelor viewing party.
This season, at the center of it all is 27-year-old software salesman Ben Higgins, a man with the sweet, open face of a Ken doll and the body of a Greek god. Here’s how to celebrate Ben and his 28 potential future wifeys.
Leave the Prom Dresses in the Closet
On that magical first night in the Bachelor mansion, there’s more than enough formalwear and full hair and makeup to go around — so don’t force your guests to adhere to some super-ambitious dress code. Monday nights are the perfect time for Bach Nation members to have a pajama (or sweats) party. That loose-fitting clothing is going to feel even more comfortable as you watch contestants arrive in dresses that barely allow them to walk — much less climb — out of a limo.
Drink Up as the Journey Goes Down
You’ll need something strong to dull the pain of your aching heart when your favorite contestant gets the boot. Plus, ugly cries and newfound frenemies are best paired with drinks! Expand your horizons beyond the standard boxed vino with these options:
- Sex on the Beach in the Ocean — Make a standard Sex on the Beach (1.5 oz vodka, 1.5 oz orange or pineapple juice, 1.5 oz cranberry juice, .5 oz peach schnapps) and then add a shot of blue Curaçao to create a Sex on the Beach in the Ocean, as a tribute to the infamous Season 18 incident when Juan Pablo and Clare went “swimming in the ocean together” (wink wink).
- Ginger beer — Express solidarity with this season’s lone redhead, Laura. She’ll need the support, especially if she follows her predecessor Kylie’s lead and another epic mix-up happens during the first rose ceremony. Barf.
- Shirley Temple — Who doesn’t love a delicious Shirley Temple? In honor of the fact that pretty much every season of The Bachelor has one virtuous virgin, mix up a batch of grenadine goodness for those guests who claim to abstain. (No judgment if you see any of them adding a splash of vodka on the sly; even the most prim contestant cuts loose at least once a season.)
- Rosé wine — Experience the nail-biting drama of a rose ceremony for yourself, but (even) tipsier! Walk a mile in the Bachelor’s shoes by formally presenting a glass to each guest and asking her if she will accept this rosé.
Is This Just a Game to You?
Watching an episode of the greatest reality-TV romance competition show is already a delight, but you can more easily indoctrinate civilians into Bachelor Nation with a game. You’ll create new Bachelor addicts before you can say “first-impression rose.”
The rules are simple: Every time one of the following phrases or occurrences pops up, you can tweet, post a selfie, or sip your drink. If any of the below items happen twice, take a big gulp. Three times? Might as well go balls to the wall and down some shots.
- “The right reasons”
- House villain being villainous
- “Not here to make friends”
- Bikini/pool shots
- “My wife is in this room right now”
- Contestant shows up to 8am date-card meeting in full makeup
- Emotional story shared much too early in relationship
- “The journey”
- Any time you see a Lauren or a Laura (there’s a lot of them)
- “Can I steal him away for just a minute?”
- “I believe in the process”
- Helicopter rides
Don’t Forget to Eat — It’s Going to Be a Long Night
During one-on-one dinner dates in the show, a couple things always happen: (1) The couple drinks wine and has an intensely emotional conversation; (2) Their food seems to be a prop, as the couple never eats. That won’t fly at your party — your friends are here for the right reasons, and that reason is food.
- Beer-Battered Chicken — Ben hails from Colorado (beer) and contestant Tiara’s occupation is “Chicken Enthusiast” (because apparently that’s a thing). While it’s doubtful that they will be a match, it’s certain that if they combined their powers in the kitchen, you would get beer-battered chicken.
- Brownies and Blondies — The rivalry between brunettes and blondes has been plaguing Bachelor ladies since time immemorial (aka Season 1). What better way to symbolize this than with delicious dessert bars? Include a layer of chocolate or caramel in the center of your blondies to represent the hair roots that will be growing in as the season progresses. Then get ready for #RootWatch2016.
Don’t Go Home in Tears
All good things must come to an end. Luckily, you can close out on a positive note with party favors! Buy some plastic champagne flutes that your guests can take home with them. Then, fill ‘em up and close your viewing party the way ABC ends every episode of The Bachelor, with glasses held aloft for a celebratory champagne toast. Selfie this moment and tell everyone you’ll see them next Monday night for another viewing party, because Bach friends are best friends.
Stock up on Bachelor Viewing Party supplies ahead of time and catch the season premiere on Monday, January 4, at 8pm on ABC. You’ll watch more than two dozen long-haired knockouts stream out of limos and into the arms of a 27-year-old hottie who wants to settle down (really). Game on!
Selena Coppock is a NYC-based standup comedian, writer, storyteller — and proud Bachelor Nation member. She is the author of The New Rule For Blondes (It Books/HarperCollins), a collection of funny personal essays that celebrate and subvert the blonde stereotype.