Bachelor Nation

"He Hasn't Changed One Bit:" Sharleen Joynt on The Bachelorette: Men Tell All

Sharleen Joynt—FLARE columnist and former Bachelor contestant—shares her insider POV on last night's episode

Ahhh, I’m so happy! I have to admit I was dragging my feet in watching last night’s Men Tell All since this season has felt less and less compelling with each passing week. However, last night’s episode was legitimately fantastic. It had the golden ratios of drama and sentimentality and humournot taking itself too seriously, and at the same time, not going too far on any front. Men knew when and how to simply and humbly apologize (major kudos to Chris for probably the best apology in Tell All history) and there was a resolution (or at least a marked close) to most outstanding conflicts. Though it might’ve been one giant Bachelor in Paradise audition, from our perspective, it didn’t FEEL like one.

Before getting to my Top 3 moments (my Tell All tradition), special homage must be paid to Becca herself. This woman truly is such a class act. Last night she was kind without a hint of insincerity, easygoing without coming off flippant and on the whole, so gosh darn gracious. While her answers to the men with lingering questions were on the safe side (usually including some variation of following her heart), they did feel tailored to the men themselves and always prioritized their feelings. It speaks volumes that when Chris Harrison asked the men if anyone had anything negative to say about Becca, the response was crickets. It’s not often a lead of this show can make it to the end with no bitterness in his or her wake. I’ll put it this way, since you guys know by now that I’m a big fan: If this were Survivor, Becca would win all those jury votes.

My top three most memorable Men Tell All moments are…

3. Jordan Kimball: Unchanged for the Better

One of the stars of last night’s episode was indisputably Jordan, and it was obvious from the second he opened his mouth that he hasn’t changed one bit. It’s always interesting to see how people act after their season has aired, and it was clear that Jordan not only stood by his behaviour during filming, but also didn’t plan on kowtowing to his haters moving forward.

I often applaud contestants’ ability to self reflect with all the feedback, but in Jordan’s case, I’m actually happy he doesn’t appear to have changed. It’s not that I think he’s perfect—Leo said it best when he called Jordan “a modern-day narcissist”—or that Jordan couldn’t benefit from adopting some curiosity in others. It’s more that I think he’s got a true self love that I suspect he’s had to work hard to achieve, and a real “you do you” attitude that I admire. He is his own unique flavour which he totally stands by. He never targets others (he only retaliates when they pick a fight with him) and never hits below the belt (à la Jean Blanc with his cringeworthy virginity dig at Colton—if he was hoping to be better liked on this Tell All, he sure blew it with that line).

I agree with what Connor asked when some of the guys were getting riled up by Jordan’s antics: “If he wants to wear underwear and dig himself a grave, who cares?” EXACTLY. While Jordan may not be your cup of tea, if he’s not actively affecting you in any way, what’s it to you? I see Jordan vs. His Naysayers as a microcosm for a lot of the hate in this world. His choice to prance around in gold underpants doesn’t mean YOU have to prance around in gold underpants. Live and let live.

2. Joe Amabile: Grocery Store Jewel

I’ve noticed people tend to fall into one of two camps regarding Joe: the completely enamoured camp and the what’s-the-big-deal camp. I happen to fall into the former category, so I love that #GroceryStoreJoe is getting all this attention! With his endearing awkwardness and general what-am-I-doing-here vibes, his appearance felt so refreshing, different and at times, even forth wall-breaking. When asked how he thought his time on the show resonated with people, Joe flatly stated they just want to take a photo. He openly referenced the cameras when Chris Harrison called him a man of few words. He said, “I don’t know” when asked about his dating status, and when Chris Harrison asked, “What does that mean,” Joe hilariously stole Chris Harrison’s big reveal with, “You know, the whole Paradise thing? You gotta wait and see?”

Tell All episodes have become synonymous with contestants running their mouths, seeming to want to extend their 15 minutes, and moving up to the Paradise cast short list. So in this interview setting, for a contestant to only speak when asked a specific question or when he actually had something to say, is something I couldn’t root harder for. Frankly, I have never really anticipated Bachelor in Paradise but have to admit I’ll be happy to watch if it means I get to see more of this guy just being himself.

1. Jason Tartick: The Gentleman

I am about to love on Jason HARD. Second runners-up on this show tend to be a bit revered at the Tell All (especially since so many of them are obviously in the running for next Bachelor/ette), but sometimes that reverence feels misplaced—but not so in Jason’s case. Last night we only saw more of the good stuff and more insight as to why he made it as far as he did.

Jason showed true confidence and an in-check ego in his ability to not only recognize that he would like to remain friends with Becca, but further by admitting that openly. He was consistently clear, concise and eloquent. My favourite point he made was, “I don’t know if I got the closure that I was asking for, but she got the closure she needed to move on to find her happiness, and moreover, that gives me the conclusion that I need.” This sentence is EVERYTHING. It applies to not only every breakup on this show, but every breakup in real life. When one has questions regarding their ex, they’ve usually already been given the answer.

It doesn’t end there, though. He took a proud and loud stand on marriage equality, on a show known better for skirting bigger issues. But there was humour, too—like when he referenced Becca forgetting his name, later remembering it after their first kiss. Finally, when Becca came out on stage, even his question for her felt constructive and classy. Instead of the usual “When did you know?” or “What went wrong?” he asked, “What could I do better?”

I do hope we get to see more of this gentleman (and his kisses); I’d settle for Paradise, but would prefer it to be at the helm of his own season.

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