For many, dating in this day and age is more of a hassle than the romantic journey it once was. Filled with dating apps, awkward first dates and social media stalking, modern dating is a shell of what it once was when courting was all the rage and impressing your date’s family was top priority.
What if you had a chance to go back in time though and experience dating as it used to be? That was exactly the case for Holmdel native Jarrett Schanzer when he was selected to participate in NBC’s new dating show “The Courtship.”
Filmed in the United Kingdom against the backdrop of the English countryside, 16 men from around the globe arrived in their best Regency-era outfits to win over the heart of 26-year-old Nicole Remy, a software engineer from Seattle, Washington, the old-fashioned way. The twist? Not only do the men have to impress Remy; they have to win over her family too.
“I wouldn’t say it was too intimidating because I’m a schmoozer,” Schanzer said. “I know how to be a gentleman. I was raised with the best standards, and it has always been easy and common nature for me to mingle and to get people to feel comfortable. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.”
As a prominent anesthesiologist and aesthetic medicine doctor with a large social media following, Schanzer had been approached several times to appear on dating shows, but it was never the right time.
“I was never able to do it because I was always in a relationship, in medical school or residency,” he said. “I also couldn’t take off more than a week or two because you don’t know how long you’re going to be on the show.”
Finally though, after two and a half years of practicing anesthesiology at a hospital in Miami, Schanzer found himself in a transitional period and decided to take a leap of faith.
“The honeymoon phase of my career started to fade, and I found myself really tired all the time and sensing a lot of negative energy in the hospital during the pandemic,” Schanzer said. “I found myself just getting out of a one-and-half-year relationship, and I was looking for an excuse to escape. So that’s what I did. I was approached and asked to apply for [the show]. I applied, got through all the Zoom stages of interviews and, all of a sudden, I found myself flying out to the United Kingdom.”
Schanzer was greeted by a team of professionals who did their best to transform him into an eligible, Regency-era bachelor which included dressing up in clothing from the time period and teaching him to ballroom dance, ride a horse and write using calligraphy. Schanzer also took a few matters into his own hands before leaving the United States.
“I made some calls around Miami, and I went and took private lessons in ballroom dancing, archery and horseback riding,” he said. “When we got to the show, we went through hair and makeup, and I had a master barber style my hair for 30 minutes. After that, we’d go through wardrobe. You’d have like two or three women handing you your clothes and helping you out, buttoning you this way and that. I felt like a prince or a king. It was really cool.”
While Schanzer was open to and hoping to find love through the process, he also wanted to enjoy the journey and take it all in.
“For me, it was 50 percent the possibility of finding love because it was a blind date and I’m pretty selective of people, and for me to just go in and say, ‘This is going to be the woman I love,’ that’s an exaggeration,” Schanzer said. “The other 50 percent for me was the adventure, the excitement and the journey to do something completely different than anything I’ve ever done before. So it was the two together and it kind of just shipped me out there.”
When asked if he would ever return to the small screen, Schanzer was hesitant, but ultimately said he would return to the world of reality TV under different circumstances.
“I think I would, but it would be different,” he said. “I’d just try to be more mindful of the fact that I need to think about the other person and what they’re going through and less about what I’m trying to achieve. I’d make them feel comfortable and secure in that moment.”
He also encouraged those who are thinking of taking the leap to give it a chance.
“If you’re thinking that you might be interested in going on reality TV, take a leap of faith and go for it,” Schanzer said. “If you get the chance to do it in your early 20s, go for it. If you don’t get the chance right away, don’t worry, you have plenty of time to figure it out. Set yourself up for success.”
You can watch the “The Courtship” on Sundays at 8 pm on NBC.