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Well, that didn’t take long. Leave it to any man who comes on as strong as Luke P. to get prematurely attached and possessive and end up, as Peter aptly put it, “sinking his own ship.”
I begrudgingly admit Luke P. is fantastic television, but seeing as he’s such an obvious narcissist, I’m reluctant to say even that, lest it be interpreted as praise. He is entertaining in that he is so transparent; he wears his emotions plainly on his face and in his body language. Luke P. cannot stand not being the centre of attention—not being Hannah’s Number One—even if he has done nothing to deserve it. Being a narcissist, he is both unable to admit fault and that lack of reciprocation on Hannah’s part might be why he’d consider leaving. (When he said he’d thought about leaving because he didn’t feel he could say he “loved” Hannah, just a week after his “I’m starting to fall in love” Group Date stunt last week, my eyes couldn’t have rolled further back in my head.) From the comfort of my sofa (and that’s as close to him as I’m happy to get, thank you very much), he is downright mesmerizing to watch.
All that said, Luke P. is not quite a villain, either; he doesn’t go out of his way to clash with others the way Cam did. (Though, with Cam now gone, Luke P. may well get promoted to that role.) But I’d argue Luke P. is and always will be the villain, until and unless he does some major soul searching and maturing. Luke P. falls quickly but is an obvious “love bomber” (remember when I said I’m subscribed to the topic of Narcissism on Quora?), where his affections eerily resemble a form of manipulation. He’s “in love” with his early idealization of the woman, not with the charms and flaws that make up who she is. (This early in the season, Luke P. doesn’t know Hannah well enough to even know what those are.) Thankfully, Hannah has plenty of (far better) options and can see through Luke P.’s potentially abusive ways, so it’s safe to say his days on this season are numbered. But I still fear for the other women in Luke P.’s future and sincerely hope watching himself on television induces some self reflection.
We’re only at Episode 3, but last night, anyone who doubted that Hannah could hold her own as our lead was proven wrong. I personally felt confident Hannah would charm us and give us sporadic doses of realness, but I couldn’t have predicted just how fabulously strong and articulate she’d be in this role. Becoming the Bachelorette does transform a lot of ladies in terms of glam, but they are usually more or less the same woman we came to love on their Bachelor season.
As a contestant, Hannah struggled with her insecurities, arguably even more than your average Bachelor contestant. But becoming the Bachelorette has completely transformed her on every level. Hannah went from seeming like the sort of woman who might have a tendency to be taken advantage of, to one who is in complete control and has zero tolerance for BS. She went from not being able to deliver a low-pressure toast to—even on the spot and in the heat of the moment—finding not only the words, but the right words with which to lay down the law and put a man in his place. Hannah isn’t blinded by abs and jawlines, as last week had me worried she might be (and as Bachelorettes all too often are). She doesn’t confuse a man’s aggressiveness for assertiveness. Power suits her—she wears it well.
To top it all off, clearly Hannah has a way with men. Yes, she does wield power, but she is still inherently vulnerable, in a way that intoxicates men. Call me old-fashioned, but there’s something about watching a Bachelorette over whom men legitimately do swoon, on and off screen. (Being beautiful and cast as Bachelorette does not automatically make someone swoon-worthy!) There’s an old-school vibe to her as Bachelorette, a certain feminine fragility à la Emily Maynard—one of my all-time favourites who truly did captivate every one of her men. There’s the sense that, beyond just finding her hot and wanting to “win,” the men want to protect, support and nurture her. Tyler mentioned wanting to be Hannah’s “cheerleader,” to “fuel her fire,” while Peter felt she inspired him to “be a better person.” Connor S (adorably) left Post-Its all over her living room describing the things he loves about her, and more than one man has mentioned the “twinkle in her eye.”
A good half dozen or so of Hannah’s men are legitimately falling for her (again, only Episode 3!), which is FAR more interesting television on our end.
My Episode 3 frontrunners are as follows…
1. Peter, 27
Peter continues to hold down my top spot despite the leaps some other men are making. We got serious Group Date 1-on-1 time shown this week, where the conversation continued to flow easily. Peter revealed his mother was Miss Illinois and shared the cute story about how she and his father met, and the banter culminated with a killer makeout sesh (complete with Arie-esque against-the-wall action). It was about as picture perfect as 1-on-1 time gets, securing Peter the Group Date rose. It’s safe to say a 1-on-1 date card bearing Peter’s name is coming any week now.
2. Connor S., 24
Everything about Connor S. and Hannah together still feels very young and high school-ish, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t enjoying it—and enjoying it immensely. In fact, I caught myself grinning throughout his entire pajama-clad 1-on-1 date, it was so sweet. Their conversation feels very natural and effortless (Cam should be taking notes), and Connor S.’s adorable Post-It notes put Post-Its back on the dating map but in a good way. (Yes, that was a Sex and the City reference.) It’s hard to see Connor S. going anywhere anytime soon.
3. Jed, 25
Jed’s time with Hannah landed early in the episode, but was memorable. I like that Hannah took note not only of Jed’s passion, but his pursuit of that passion; this observation says a lot about both of them. These two have terrific chemistry and I enjoyed the wish-making chicken nugget toss; Jed stating that they’d reveal their wishes to each other on his 1-on-1 date was a smooth, confident move. No way is Jed not in this season’s Final 4.
4. Tyler C., 25
I never thought I’d say this about a guy in his mid-20s, but Tyler C. is my crush of the season. He is quietly confident, a bit quirky, relaxed and funny. I’d argue his light banter with Hannah is the season’s best. His game is very smooth (but not disconcertingly smooth), and I LOVE that he took his 1-on-1 time to observe Hannah’s strength (instead of selling his own). Tyler C. being in my 4th spot has more to do with airtime than the fact that I think he’s behind the other men here, so here’s hoping we get a 1-on-1 soon.