It might be hard to believe since it’s pretty much *all* we’ve been hearing about since he was announced the next Bachelor, but Colton Underwood is more than just a 26-year-old virgin—and he wants you to know that.
“The thing that I stress the most, or at times I get frustrated with, is that [my virginity] is just a small part of who I am,” the former pro football player told FLARE while on a press call promoting his upcoming season (premiering tonight, you guys!) “Instead of it being like, ‘Colton Underwood, Bachelor,’ it’s, ‘The Virgin, Colton Underwood,’” he continues. “Do I think that’s right? No, because it’s a small part of who I am. That’s like saying, ‘Colton Underwood, Football Player.’ I don’t believe in that either. I’m a human being. We’re all human beings, and we all have parts of our life that make us unique individuals.”
Um, can someone say: PREEEACH?
Listen, I totally understand that every season of The Bachelor or Bachelorette has to have a hook (I’ve been watching this show for longer than I’d like to admit, so I get how things work by now). Boring Ben Higgins was pegged as “Perfect Ben.” Rachel Lindsay was the badass lawyer. And Becca Kufrin was the “Let’s do the damn thing!” girl (cue me *still* eye-rolling at that lame-o tagline). So when it came time to promote season 23 of The Bachelor, it honestly wasn’t surprising that ABC exploited Colton’s virginity with the tagline “What does he have to lose?” (subtle) and artwork referencing The 40-Year-Old Virgin. “I think that would probably be the one thing that I would say has been the hardest part of becoming a big, if you want to call it, public figure on [The Bachelor franchise]. Just having people put a label on you,” Colton admits.
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But, NEWS FLASH, there’s more to Colton than just the fact that he’s never had sex. Like, dude has his own non-profit charity supporting people living with cystic fibrosis (which, IMO, speaks to his character 148,487 times more than being a virgin does). But instead, producers continue to drive home this one minuscule fact—something that, as Colton points out, is a pretty common thing. (I seriously bet there are more virgins out there than charity organizers, amiright?)
It’s not all bad, though. After explaining his frustration regarding the pervasive label, The Bachelor star told me about the bright side of talking openly about his virginity. “I have some really cool stories from people in my life that I would have never in a million years expected to reach out to me or relate to me on this,” he said. “And hearing from them, after I opened up about [my virginity] on The Bachelorette—it’s been unbelievable. It’s been cool to one: know like, hey it’s not that uncommon. And then two: know that it’s just a normal thing,” he continued, adding that he hopes speaking openly about it on The Bachelor will “allow people to be able to express themselves” and reduce the stigma around being a virgin.
As for whether or not Colton loses his V-card this season? Well, he’s tight-lipped on that one (which, like, fair…that’s totally his business). “I don’t want to give you the typical ‘tune in and find out,’ but it’s one of those things,” he teased. “I always said from the beginning: ‘I’m waiting for the right heart and I’m waiting for someone that I feel like I could spend the rest of my life with to share that moment with.’ And by answering that question I would obviously be spoiling the rest of the season and I wouldn’t want to do that for you.”
So, while we wait to find out what this season holds for Colton—and his virginity, which I’m sure will somehow find its way into *at least* one conversation every episode—follow @FLAREfashion tonight as I live-tweet his THREE-hour long premiere, and drink every time one of the girls makes a virgin joke.