I have yet to watch a season of The Bachelorette where I could fully relate to the lead’s taste in men. The closest was Ashley Hebert’s season, where I found myself having mini crushes on three out of her final four men (and I totally dug her final pick, especially for her). Second would be Desiree, where I could absolutely see the appeal of her favourite two. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not one of those “she should have picked so-and-so” people; it irks me when viewers think they know the whole story and presume to know what these contestants are really like based on an edit. But when it comes to taste… it’s such a subjective yet undefinable thing. And in my experience as a contestant—and having met and gotten to know many contestants—an edit may skim over the intricacies of a person but can’t create an entirely new one. But as a viewer of The Bachelorette and a woman with admittedly off-the-beaten-path tastes, I’ve struggled for the last few seasons.
For example, I would think someone who wasn’t at all comfortable on a reality television show would be appealing. Someone with their walls up would be intriguing, not troubling. Someone who always says the right things at the right times would be suspect, and someone who appears to spend every waking moment working out strikes me as more vain than masculine. I’m not knocking those whose tastes differ from mine; most of my closest girlfriends’ do, after all. But for me it was painful to watch someone like Wells, who was deliciously normal in staving off the pressure (while actively waiting for the “right moment”) to kiss JoJo, get sent home. Especially while Alex, who despite not having had a 1-on-1 still manages to make out with JoJo at every turn, remains.
I’m going to share a somewhat personal story to support my point: the night I met my fiancé Andy, we both knew it was something very special. I didn’t necessarily know he was the man I was going to marry, but the excitement about each other was mutual and palpable. We shared a cab from Tribeca to the UWS where we both lived, and before dropping me off Andy leaned in for our first kiss. But, this particular taxi stunk. Like, bad. It was one of those undeniably smelly cabs that tourists use as an argument for not understanding how people live here. (Another popular one is the mounds of garbage bags on the streets.) And despite the fact that I was a ready and willing first kiss recipient, Andy hesitated, thought for a moment, and pulled back, saying, “Never mind. I know I’m going to see you again, and I’d rather the memory of our first kiss not be marred by this cab.” Our first kiss would eventually occur in a deserted stone corridor of The Cloisters—a much more perfect, appropriate and picturesque moment, and well worth the wait.
I guess my point is, waiting for the magic moment, waiting out someone’s walls, waiting to utter ILY, waiting for “right” can be really worth it. I’m aware time is of the essence on this show and there’s constant pressure at every turn (administered by professionals, no less) to amp up to the next level and feel ready, even if deep down you know it’s premature. But to me, the more reticent Wellses and Chases of The Bachelorette world deserve more consideration, as their complicated and tender underbellies are most certainly shared with fewer and are thus likely worth the extra time and curiosity.
My frontrunners this week are…
1. Luke, 31: Luke’s slow and steady burn finally dethroned Jordan this week. I like how constant and not volatile Luke is and the fact that he is never (and I mean NEVER) involved in any house drama despite being such an obvious frontrunner (and thus threatening). And of course, his chemistry with JoJo is through the roof. There is nothing to not like about Luke.
2. Jordan, 27: This is the first week where I don’t have Jordan in the top spot. That’s not to say I don’t think Jordan has a serious shot of “winning” this season, but there have been multiple instances of guys having beef with Jordan (even if they can’t give legitimate examples or their criticisms are limited to ITMs) and JoJo said his ex didn’t have favourable things to say about him. Just based on the where-there’s-smoke adage, I have to knock Jordan down a notch as I think these little dents in his perfect image can add up and take a toll on JoJo’s impression of him. All that said, I still think JoJo is starry-eyed for Jordan in a way she isn’t with anyone else.
3. Robby, 27: I’m still recovering from Robby’s incredibly premature proclamation of love last week, but that doesn’t keep me from thinking he’s a frontrunner. JoJo, while reasonably a bit freaked out by his profession of love on their first date, responds well to Words of Affirmation, which Robby has no qualms about doling out. Though I don’t quite see it being in the same league as her connection with either Luke or Jordan, the two do seem to share great chemistry. I can’t see Robby not making Final 4 at this point.
4. James Taylor, 29: James Taylor (or rather, his edit) has been laying low, but it’s hard to not root for this wonderfully different, self-effacing, modest, talented man. While I think he chanced dangerous waters to be criticizing Jordan to JoJo, I appreciated that he didn’t deny it to Jordan’s face (à la Leah with Lauren B last season). JoJo appeared to really take James Taylor’s feelings to heart, confirming my belief that she has a true soft spot for him. Not only do I think James Taylor will stick around, I want him to.
For more on this season of The Bachelorette from Sharleen Joynt, visit her blog, All the Pretty Pandas.
The Bachelorette airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on City. Catch up on past episodes at citytv.com.
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