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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Where Are They Now: Melana Scantlin of Average Joe v. Life Love

Melana Scantlin: Then on Average Joe
A little over 10 years have past, and the craze of reality TV has ramped up a bit from the days of Joe Millionaire, The Bachelor, Average Joe, and the "grand Puck" of the genre, The Real World. The Real Housewives, Jersey Shore, Survivor, and too many others have turned the genre into a whack-a-doodle, oh-no-she-didn't-uh integrity-less food fight for ratings and audacious behaviors. But back a decade, some limits and slight decorum existed. A social psychology experiment, if you will.

For instance, the premise of Average Joe was to get ordinary Joes dating and marrying "up" to extraordinary looking women. It pitted former beauty queens, Melanie Scantlin and Larissa Meek, versus a trove of ordinary guys that soon faced the ideal male: those that work on pecks and their tans well and guys who usually land these inherently, socially pretty women. 

In the inaugural season, Ms. Scantlin did not use her final selection wisely: if you were comparing the successes of Adam Mesh versus Jason Peoples. On one hand, Adam did not look the part of a successful trader and owner on The Street; whereas, Jason Peoples, looked awesome, but was not particularly well off, or successful in his life, then. Melana judged, or at least, picked a book by its cover. That cover selection turned out to never fulfilled her needs.

Meanwhile, Adam later published a book on trading, and still runs a website that is about investing.  Later, he got married in 2006. His turn on the show boded well enough.

Melana Scantlin has went on to be a host of the World Series of Blackjack, and works for E!TV/Hollywoodlife.com, as I found out just today in reviewing the Emmy Awards on Youtube. (This was why I wrote this post.)

In the world of 'Reality TV' this is the normal ending. The parties never stay together. If anything, its just a stepping stone to something else for them, or the 15 minutes of Warholian fame. The show too becomes part of the recycling bin of Hollywood where it will be revamped and hurled at the next generation. The where are they now? posts, like this one, usually end here.

But I am here to provide advice and a lesson demonstrated via the wits of academia and my own logic.

Scantlin is yet to tie the knot- and she's now in her mid-30s. While not a huge problem for her - she hosts exercise shows and blurbs and looks in good health - it seems ironic that the lead, is yet to find the right one. Scantlin, who according to Florida State professor and psychologist Roy F. Baumeister and Ohio State professor in psychology and communications Brad J. Bushman, "wanted to meet and marry a man with good inner qualities (324)," but has yet to do so. In their academic book on Social Psychology and Human Nature, the professors went into further detail on Melana's quirks of choosing:
"she had eliminated every man weighing over 200 pounds. Meanwhile, one man clearly regarded himself as better looking...and this narcissistic fellow engaged in a variety of bullying and putdowns that made most regard him as a jerk, but Melana went out of her way to convince herself that he was not a jerk...she was seen lying on the floor with the narcissistic fellow with arms around each other, kissing passionately."
The attraction of two people comes down to physical, emotional (or mood), and spiritual (philosophical) aspects. It is natural to find instant attraction with the eyes - many of us are visual-first creatures. Some though go further, and adapt better to those whose outward mood or spirit is lively or in sync with theirs, despite obvious physical disparities. Lastly, philosophical mirroring or acceptance takes a while to find out. Certainly longer and more in-depth than the Reality TV time frame. Additionally, social acceptance means people have come to like you, respect you, approve of you, and include them in their groups and relationships. While rejection means other(s) exclude you and will not form a social bond with you. Again, the reality show time frame make this a cruel game of excluding based on the lowest denominator of selection: that which we see through eyes only.

So what makes a person attractive for a mate?

As the professors intone, "Melana Scantlin may someday recognize, is that the traits that make someone attractive upon first meeting are not the same traits that make for a successful relationship."

Melana Scantlin may have learned this advice. But I suspect fear or inability to adapt towards a different trek may have taken place. (I don't know her; so she may be in a committed, if unannounced, relationship.)
But if she had, I suspect she would make it public enough. It did not stop her participation a decade ago in a very public display of both her and the men that sought an opportunity to date and build something with her.

Nevertheless, what we thought then is not necessarily what we think now, and so, it should be remembered: things change and we do change with them, if just in the march of time. And not all that glitters turns into gold.

Many times, it is pretty average.