What (Alaskan) Women Want

TLC: (The Last Channel) You Want to Watch

Sharing a couch and television time with my sister on Sunday night was a rare occurrence. She’s a teacher and so her quiet time is sparse, but her quiet time with other adults is even more scant. So, when she grabbed the remote after Long Island Medium and told me that she was going to try to stay up past her bedtime and watch TLC’s new special, Alaskan Women Looking for Love, I was happy to stave off sleep as well, despite her choice.

Now, I am not here to argue the validity of TLC or its shows. I understand that the majority of their air-time is filled with selections that would not be contenders for the Nobel Peace Prize or the award for the most intellectually stimulating programs on television (if there is an award for that).

I’m looking at you in particular, Honey Boo Boo.

However, there is a considerable amount of what is scientifically termed as the “warm and fuzzies” on TLC. From Say Yes to the Dress to the Long Island Medium, all of their shows bear some valuable message that transcends the characters’ circumstances and simply makes you feel good.

With this in mind, I was not disappointed when it came to Alaskan Women Looking for Love. For the next hour, I met five young ladies living in Alaska, ultimately looking for love outside of their hometown, Kodiak. A few of them had given birth to their children when they were children themselves. Others were struggling to find their first spark of romance in the frozen terrain of the 49th state. But all of the girls wanted to remove themselves from their bearded exes and their typical way of life.

High Heels and Happiness

The more I watched, the more I began to smile and laugh with my sister. The women, under their many layers of coats, had big hearts and great senses of humor, which came out especially when they began to talk about their “dream men.” Amidst their introductions, they fantasized about the men they would meet, or rather, the “meat” they would meet in Miami in the next episode. Their descriptions of abs and tight buns merged into one over the duration of the show. They might as well have been trying to pinpoint the specific color of the snow in Alaska in trying to typify their taste in Miami men, it all melted together.

But there is one thing that the girls were adamant and anal-retentive about when they referenced their trip. They wanted to wear short dresses, wear their hair down, and wear high heels. They wanted to be “real women,” they oozed.

Femininity at its Finest

And I completely and totally sympathized with them. All women have experienced that inner stirring of power and control when you strap on some strappy heels or finish the final swoosh of your eyeliner. It’s like putting on war paint, as you brace yourself to take on the world. And for once, you feel good about yourself, and it’s finally you against the world and not the other way around. Pulling from another TLC legend, What Not to Wear, clothes can influence how you see yourself and how others perceive you.

In the end, these women may think that they are looking for love, but really they are looking for an excuse to dip into their stores of self-confidence. They are looking for a new start, and a chance to reinvent themselves as women, specifically. Not as moms, not as girlfriends, or as daughters. Most of them are leaving comfortable lives behind, while others are eager to step outside of their comfort zone. In the highest heels possible.

And really, they don’t want to find new men. They want to find new shoes to make them feel something that they haven’t felt in a long time: wanted and appreciated. Which, by the way, is a much cheaper way to go in terms of emotional and monetary investments.

While I agree that putting on a dress doesn’t transform you into Wonder Woman, or a “true” woman in general, and that it would be stupid to think this way, it is a way to convince yourself that you deserve kindness and attention. So take a trip to the mall before you take a trip to Miami, girls. They might have what you want in stock and they might have it in your size. But make sure you leave enough room in those jeans for your long johns when you head back from the Sunshine State.

Watch Alaskan Women Looking for Love next Sunday at 10!

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