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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, May 16, 2003

Hawai'i's reluctant bachelor moves on

By Tanya Bricking
Advertiser Staff Writer

It's time for a reality check.

Despite the public's infatuation with dangerously addictive reality dating games, these things don't always work out. But you already knew that.

Hawai'i's Bachelor game was an experiment in documenting such a drama in the newspaper. Gauging by the Web site hits (more than 2 million), it succeeded in entertainment value. But romantically, it was like watching a train wreck.

Bachelor Kelly Komoda did not meet his match. The reality was that he wasn't even really looking for love — at least not with any of the dates in this game.

Komoda, a fourth-grade teacher, will walk away from the game poorer than his counterparts such as "Joe Millionaire," Fox's construction-worker star of a dating drama, who also succeeded in staying single after his chosen one bailed out of the relationship. Our game didn't offer any payoff, and his chosen one didn't have to bail out — he wouldn't even kiss her.

So Hawai'i's Bachelor will go back to teaching fourth-graders at Jefferson Elementary in Waikiki and selling Herbalife products on the side.

Komoda may not have been the most eager bachelor in Hawai'i, but he was a representative candidate: an attractive, polite teacher of Japanese ancestry who grew up on Maui and won the readers' popularity vote. People recognized him and talked about him at dinner parties.

Now he's anxious for his 15 minutes to fade. He has the VIP card he wanted from The Ocean Club — a nightspot he has been frequenting — but he has grown tired of answering questions about his bachelor status.

As much as entering the game might have been about ego, as with so many other reality dating games, this one ended in frustration.

The same could be said for The Bachelors of the ABC series. Bachelor Aaron Buerge dumped Helene Eksterowicz five weeks after proposing before a national audience of 29 million viewers. The bachelor before, Alex Michel, joined the broke-their-hearts club when he ended things with Amanda Marsh.

The hardest part about being in national reality dating games ("The Bachelor," "Mr. Personality," "Married by America," "Meet My Folks") is escaping with dignity.

Hawai'i's Bachelor, played before a gentler audience, escaped with minor scrapes from critics who may have hurt his feelings, but for the most part left him to exit unscathed. Odds are that when he does look for love, it will be the island way: His toughest critics will be his mom and grandmother (who coaxed him to enter this contest) — and not the rest of us.

Tanya Bricking writes about relationships for The Advertiser and was the moderator for the Hawai'i's Bachelor game. Reach her at tbricking@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8026.