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For the Bachelor's Beauties, a Little Dirt Doesn't Hurt

01/29/2013 at 12:30 PM ET

Bachelor styleSean & Selma; Sean & Leslie

If we were betting women, we might guess that the Bachelor contestant who was showered in diamonds and dresses and taken by limo to a romantic restaurant would fare better in the competition than the ones wearing sports bras and minimal makeup.

But as last night’s elimination proved, that wasn’t the case for the ladies vying for Sean Lowe’s heart — and N.Y.U. sociologist Anna Akbari has thoughts on why.

“The theme of this episode was an interesting juxtaposition of ‘sporty adventure’ and ‘Pretty Woman glamour’,” Akbari says, “which brought out strong emotions in the girls.”

For early fave Selma, getting her out of her favorite six-inch heels and into rock-climbing shoes and workout gear helped Sean see another side of her, which appealed to him thanks to his “multi-faceted personality,” Akbari says.

Leslie H., on the other hand, was treated to a Badgley Mischka shopping spree and a 100-carat Neil Lane diamond-and-platinum necklace to wear, so being rejected was all the more crushing for her.

“When she was sitting there like a princess in her diamonds and designer gown — her dream date, no doubt — it must have been devastating to be told that he’s ‘not feeling it’,” Akbari says. “If she had had dinner in the trailer park in her sports bra, like Selma did, perhaps the rejection would have been less jarring.”

Since we’re always looking for life lessons from The Bachelor, the takeaway here is to get out of your comfort zone and embrace the adrenaline from a less-than-typical date. Getting down and dirty may inspire more romance than even the most movie-perfect night out. Tell us: Would you rather go on an athletic date or a glam one?

–Alex Apatoff

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