Bachelorella: We Need To Retire The Las Vegas Herpes Joke


I haven’t been writing Bachelorella recaps this season of The Bachelor because I am busy and tired and nothing interesting has happened. And then tonight The Bachelor put Ben H.’s harem of girlfriends on a jet (or, possibly, on a passive aggressive party bus) and dragged them to Las Vegas. And I cringed, because I knew what was coming: the herpes jokes.

The Las Vegas herpes joke is a classic. Its most famous iteration is from the iconic cerebral masterpiece The Hangover, cemented into my pre-teen brain as perhaps my first memory of herpes at all. It’s so well known that someone on Tumblr even made a GIF:


My only question going into the episode was: how long am I going to have to wait for someone on Twitter to take the obvious bait? The show itself is above such lowbrow humor (lol), and The Bachelor is an explicitly herpes-free zone (because rumor has it a blood test is a factor in the casting process). But I had much less faith in everyone watching the show on Twitter, and they did not disappoint.

It started with Sean Lowe, better known as my FAVORITE BACHELOR OF ALL TIME, who broke my heart with glee:

And it, uh, it didn’t end with Sean.

I should say again that I am not surprised. Herpes jokes related to The Bachelor aren’t exactly rare:

I think you get the message.

Hey, Bachelor Nation. This is Ella, your friendly neighborhood Bachelor franchise live-tweeter and herpes stigma fighter, reminding you that herpes jokes are lazy, predictable, and mean spirited. 2 in 3 people in the world have HSV-1, the strain of herpes that typically causes oral herpes, but can also cause genital herpes. Joking about herpes dehumanizes the millions of us who live with it, and I don’t appreciate being your punchline so you can collect a few hearts on Twitter. Don’t make herpes jokes. You can do so much better. This show already gives us all the material we will ever need. I mean LOOK:

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Ella Dawson is a sex and culture critic and a digital strategist. She drinks too much Diet Coke.

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