Scene from “Dating Naked,” which ran on VH1.

I’m not a big fan of reality dating shows. I don’t think I ever watched a full episode of “The Bachelor” or “The Bachelorette.”  So, imagine my surprise when I ran across an article recalling 43 dating shows I never knew existed.

The article, which ran on the lifestyle blog, “Beamly,” covered gone and best-forgotten programs such as Dating Naked,” which featured strangers dating strangers in their birthday suits; “Age of Love,” that matched up a 30-year-old man with a group of  women in their 20s, and a group of women in their late 30s to 40s to see which one he’d pick (Give me a break!); and “Gay, Straight or Taken?”  where a young woman went on a date with three men, one of whom was in a committed relationship with another woman, one who was in a committed relationship with a man and one who was available.  Her task (should she accept) was to pick the available man.

While these shows may be off the air, there’s a new one coming up in June, from ABC “The Proposal,” which centers on 10 eligible women who compete “pageant style” for the affections of a mystery suitor.

We know about it, because we know Janice, a 37-year-old account executive who’ll be featured in one of the upcoming episodes.  Janice tells us how it all happened.

In order to qualify for her “shot at true love,” she first did a Skype interview with a casting director, answering 40 or 50 questions.  This was followed by a 26-page document, which asked her to reveal every intimate detail of her life.  Then there was the drug test, the STD test, the background check and the 16-page legal document.

When the casting call finally came, she had a fast week and a half to assemble her “pageant” wardrobe (a cocktail dress, beach look and evening gown) before getting on a plane to LA.

Meeting her fellow contestants was a bit of a shocker.  She was probably the oldest, tallest and curviest of the bunch.  Without meeting the mystery suitor, she realized she was an outlier, selected for the sake of diversity.

Not so, the young, blond bubbly contestant (we’ll call Kimmy) who told everyone she was a model.

You know those “candid” scenes on reality shows where the contestants interact among themselves, well, the camera seemed to follow Kimmy everywhere she as she sidled up to various contestants and told them she thought they’d be the winner.  To no one’s surprise, Kimmy walked away with the proposal from mystery suitor.

So how did Janice feel about the being on the show?

“Life is about experiences,” she says, philosophically.  “You never know where they’ll lead you.”

As for the mystery suitor?

“He was 5-foot 8-inches and outdoorsy.  Not my type at all,” she says.

What about you?  Would you go on a dating show?  Please use this link to comment.

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