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Last night felt like the empowering sequel to Kaitlyn Bristowe’s sex-shaming scandal on Season 11—where Hannah was able to defend her right to do what she wants with her body, and while on her own season. Kaitlyn never had that opportunity because she was never confronted about her choices on camera—rather, the trolls took to Twitter. Perhaps the difference is one thing for which we have Luke P. to thank. His judgmental tirade on sexual purity in last night’s episode allowed Hannah the chance to show the world something that we rarely get to see: How a woman who identifies as deeply religious is not a hypocrite—nor promiscuous—for exploring her physical connection with someone she cares for. For a topic typically seen as stark black and white, I for one appreciate the many shades of grey.
Luke P. has every right to want a woman who shares his precise value system. If abstaining from premarital sex is something he prioritizes as highly as he claims to, and is something he himself commits to and follows through on, that is his prerogative. However, there are right and wrong places to seek that out—the man is on The Bachelorette, for Pete’s sake. While Hannah does appear to share many of his beliefs and they clearly bond over that connection, she has shown a great deal of comfort with her sexuality. She’s spent most of her life participating in pageants at a high level, she went on The Bachelor and the country has known for a while that she’s not a virgin. Hannah and Luke P. may have connected to the degree they have because of their faith, but it’s not like they met at church. It just seems like such a huge leap for him to have assumed she’d view sex through the very specific, very narrow lens he views it, given the circumstances of their meeting. In other words, if that’s indeed what he’s looking for, he’s sure as hell going about it wrong.
Moreover, if sex is the sacred thing Luke P. appears to believe it is, he’s a hypocrite: Luke P. admitted to having “chased sex” in the past, while Hannah revealed she truly thought she might marry the two men she’d ever slept with. The double standard here is astounding to me. He was a player who admits to having “taken advantage” of his looks. Yet, because of some born-again moment, he now has the right to cast shame and judgement on Hannah, who has been reasonably and dedicatedly committed to her beliefs for far longer?
But the real kicker is that, every step of the way, and in his judgement of what he deems “sinful,” Luke P. executed this conversation with a flurry of his own “sinful” behaviour.
First, Luke P. claims several times throughout the day he loves Hannah, yet in the evening gives her a clear threat: If she’d had sex with any other guy there, he’d leave. Pretty rich for a contestant on The Bachelorette… and isn’t jealousy a sin? Now, if you truly love someone, you don’t threaten them. (Threatening has to be a sin.) Further, as Hannah said, he couldn’t possibly love her if he’d so easily scrap their relationship for such a reason (a topic they hadn’t even discussed!), so he had to have been lying one way or another. (Is lying not a sin?) Luke P. then backpedals, saying he’d be “willing” to work through things if she’d had sex. In this, he proves his threat was an empty one, nothing but an ultimatum to assert control over her and her body, to shame her (judgment = sin) and, as Hannah pointed out, to bolster his pride. (We know pride is a sin.) As Hannah becomes progressively angrier, Luke P. goes back to his favourite angle: playing victim and saying he’s been misunderstood. (Gaslighting should be a sin of the highest order.) As Hannah asks him to leave, Luke P. grasps for straws to change her mind. Instead of opting for the only reasonable recourse—apologizing profusely and asking for forgiveness—he instead suggests she owes it to him to hear her out (manipulation at its finest). At the dreaded black van, he tells Hannah that though she “thinks” she has clarity, she’s “wrong”. (More sinful gaslighting.) Before climbing into the van, he goes as low as it gets, asking her if he can “pray for her,” intentionally using her faith—the very thing that bonded them—against her. (I don’t even know what to call that but it has to be a sin.) Finally, based on the previews, he returns (amazingly, to give Hannah another chance!), showing a clear lack of respect for her and her decision-making. This is toxic masculinity at its finest—he values his own feelings over hers, doesn’t take her at her word, doesn’t respect that no means no. For all his Holier Than Thou antics, Luke P. regularly conducts himself with a veritable cocktail of the least “Christian” traits imaginable.
Something that I think bears reminding is that, in this scenario, Hannah wields the power. Luke P. approaches every topic and concern with an aggression that suggests—and often with plain wordage that claims—he’s the one auditioning her. He’d be the one continuing to explore their relationship, he’d be “willing” to work through her transgressions. It is painfully clear by his language that he sees himself as God’s gift and any woman showing interest in him is at his mercy. It’s only when Hannah asserts her position of dominance that he backpedals and claims he’s been misunderstood. It proves how empty his threats are, which is fine and well unto this unique circumstance where he can be put in his place. But what gives me chills is imagining Luke P. in a real life relationship, where there is no threat to him, where he doesn’t need to backpedal to stay alive. How would he treat his girlfriend, fiancée, wife? How would this woman stand up for herself, withstand his endless, varied attacks, without the trump card of being the Bachelorette?
Here are predictions for the final two based on The Bachelorette episode ten…
1. Jed, 25
Whether you love or hate Jed, there is no denying that Hannah adores him. Hannah has stars in her eyes for him, stars that don’t twinkle quite as bright when she looks at either Tyler C. or Peter. While I typically don’t think a contestant should use up their precious 1-on-1 time to speak ill of another contestant, I believe Jed’s concerns about Luke P. came from a sincere place of love and concern. (If Jed were truly there for the Wrong Reasons, it would have been a hell of a lot easier to have just kept his mouth shut over Luke P. and continued on his merry way towards the finale.) It’s also worth mentioning that when Luke P.’s antics affected Jed the most—while they were still forced to live together—Jed kept his mouth shut. It’s only now, now that he’s as invested in Hannah as he is, that he’s said something. THIS is what it looks like to warn a lead about a contestant; it’s not to whine to Hannah about someone who sucks to live with, but rather to genuinely warn her about the man as a potential partner. On this front, I really respect both how and when Jed decided to speak up. I do think he went a bit too far, however, in saying, “when I feel worried I feel like I retract how I feel.” This sounds mildly threatening, like a faint ultimatum unto itself. It was how this date wrapped, however, that has me thinking Jed will be the last man standing. They solved their dispute quickly—he went after her, apologized, and they swiftly patched things up—and their time in bed the following morning was the stuff of romance novels. Hannah is completely smitten with Jed and he isn’t going anywhere.
2. Peter, 27
I confess that, going into this week, I was pretty sure Peter would be the one going home after overnights. It felt like her relationship with him was a bit slower and a bit behind, like she saw him as more boyfriend material than future husband material. However, their Fantasy Suite date was next level. Not only did Peter drop the long-awaited L-bomb (right on schedule!), the two possess a mutual understanding and clear, cerebral connection while still having FUN together, plain and simple. To top it all off, we now know Peter is the Windmill man, the man with whom she “did it twice.” It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that it had to have been a good time.
Going home next week…
3. Tyler C., 25
It’s been a long time since the final three felt like this much of a toss-up. It honestly feels like Hannah could pick—and end up very happy—with any one of these men. I really like Tyler C. and he’s been a favourite of mine (and it would seem many of you) all season. And while it sounds like Tyler C. was ultra-respectful and a total gentleman with her on their overnight date (THIS is what it looks like for a man to respect a woman’s decisions), I still feel like the connection is not quite on the level of the other two guys. Both Jed and Peter appear to challenge Hannah, while Tyler C. challenges her more in the sense that she has to implore him to open up, to connect with her on a deeper level. I really admire how Hannah used their private time just to talk—it shows how seriously she’s taking him and their relationship by doing this. But the fact that she felt the need to do this when all the time they’ve had together so far was to do just that—talk—stands out to me. They may be on similar wavelengths, but it’s not airtight.