Sharleen Joynt on the Bachelor in Paradise Finale!

Sharleen Joynt—FLARE columnist and former Bachelor contestant—shares her take on last night’s Bachelor in Paradise season finale

Sharleen Joynt Bachelor in Paradise

Jen, we totally feel your pain—and you didn’t even know Nick was the Bachelor yet (Photo: Courtesy ABC)

Remember the first season of Bachelor in Paradise, when Marcus proposed to Lacy and it seemed pretty out there? Beginning to end of filming is a total of four weeks—versus The Bachelor/ette’s nine (though I definitely think Paradise offers a lot more QT)—and a proposal seemed… I don’t know, really fast. It’s funny how quickly we regard things as normal and how even the final women, you could tell, were hoping for and almost expecting proposals. Lace said: “For some reason I feel like if we’re not getting engaged, we’re not gonna make it.” I can’t think of a more nonsensical thing to say and can’t help but think the environment breeds that mindset. After all, at every turn we’re referenced to Jade and Tanner, Paradise’s one and only (literally, its one and only) golden couple, and how “that’s the dream.” (Thanks for the wisdom, Chris Harrison.) Don’t get me wrong, Jade and Tanner are really adorable, but I’m inclined to think their success story is more exception than rule.

Perhaps what grates me the most is the culture of “happily ever after.” There’s a notion that once you find someone to settle down with, you’re good. The story needn’t continue; it’s smooth sailing ahead, never mind that you’re about a quarter to a third the way through the average life expectancy. And don’t even think about what other accomplishments one could achieve; without a fiancé or a husband, are they really happy? If I sound like I have a chip on my shoulder, it’s because I do. I can’t begin to count how many times I’ve gotten comments on Instagram along the lines of a (surprised-sounding) “She found love!” Don’t get me wrong, that’s really sweet and I know those people are genuinely happy for me and that’s both bizarre and touching. But then I may post a photo of me in performance, or on the other side of the world, and I’ll lose followers. Never mind that my career has been a near-lifelong labour of love, or that there may be something really interesting or beautiful to observe in another country. What people want to know is how Andy and I met and (the ever-popular) when are we getting married? (For the record, our date is set for a year from now but I’m realizing I’m terrible at planning. I have a very real inner struggle about whether I actually want a wedding or if society is telling me I want a wedding. Maybe I’ve just been watching too much Adam Ruins Everything.)

But enough about me and my “happily ever after” issues. I realize people follow me because I was on a dating show, and we’re here to discuss the finale of a spinoff of said dating show.

There’s no denying the three (!) engaged couples appear very happy and that’s a wonderful thing. Despite my issues with Lace seeming to equate an engagement with success, I think she and Grant are very well-matched. There’s a maturity to him that works with (and is clearly amused by) her unfiltered, almost juvenile persona. It’s been truly great television watching her come into her own and almost love herself through his eyes. I’m a bit on the fence about Amanda and Josh as a couple. The “family” photo shoot was certainly beautiful but I would have been more touched by some candid selfies of them with her daughters. And while I believe they care about each other, to me there was a rigidity to Amanda on After Paradise. It may have been because of the relentless teasing Josh was being subjected to, I’m not sure, but she did not seem at ease. I do believe they care about each other, though, so I wish them all the best. I, along with most of America it seems, am completely enamoured by the Carly and Evan love story, not because he chased her while she wouldn’t give him the time of day, but because of their quirky compatibility. (As a weirdo who found a weirdo, I dig these two weirdos together.) I love how they look at each other with a sort of twinkle in their eyes; there’s such a sense of support and understanding and finding each other so delightful. I wholeheartedly believe in these two.

That’s a wrap, dear readers! For you Canucks, I’ll be recapping the first-ever season (it’s about time) of The Bachelorette Canada right here, starting a week today. Thank you guys for your ever-thoughtful, ever-respectful (and so well-written!) commentary and for following along all season with me!

For more from Sharleen Joynt, visit her blog, alltheprettypandas.com.

The Bachelorette Canada premieres September 13; Sharleen’s recaps will follow every Wednesday.

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