Yes, yes, we know I watch The Bachelor and The Bachelorette (um... because it's research for my dating articles, of course). I balk at it, and yet am still drawn in by the over-the-top, sweeping romance of it all. "The moment we jumped off the bridge on our second date, I knew I was going to marry her..." The "all the other guys left have told me they loved me. I'm just waiting for him to say it now -- I mean, it's been three weeks, if he doesn't know by now then he obviously doesn't love me... " And in the case of this season's the "I can't wait to be a father to your daughter. We're going to be one big happy family." Really? You've never met the little girl. You've never seen Emily with her. These dudes were expecting Insta-Dad.... Well, most dudes, anyways.
Which leads me to last night. I have to say I am very impressed with Arie and Jef (one "f," really!?). Either the quality of men on this show is improving, they're fed new lines to say, or they're really good actors. But, because I am always the optimist and a romantic at heart, I'd like to give these guys the benefit of the doubt -- each of them did things I have never seen before on the past seasons which showed integrity.
1) Refused to forgo their separate rooms and stay together as a couple.
Yep, we all know what this is code for. SEX. Throughout all the seasons, when it gets down to the final three, they have the option to stay the night together in the "fantasy suite." Maybe I have missed something, but I don't remember anyone ever turning this down. For The Bachelor or Bachelorette, they get three nights of slutty wild abandon with a get-out-of-jail free card because "you know, it's part of the show and part of the process." And for the love-sick lady or gent who gets to be the flavor of the night, they get to spend the next few months worrying about just how many diseases they may have gotten, when they realize their "princess" or "knight in shining armor" had just been doing the wild thing with two other hopefuls the night before and after...
But back to the point. Last night, Jef turned down this invitation, before Emily had a chance to turn it down first (which she was very disappointed about, saying "I wanted to reject him!"). Jef acknowledged that Emily is a mom, and a role model to her daughter. He acknowledged that both of their families were watching, and he wanted to respect them. As much as he wanted to forgo their separate rooms, he felt that it wasn't the right thing to do... because, as he so cheesily, I mean romantically, put it, they have their whole life to stay together in a fantasy suite.
(Note: Emily didn't stay the night with any of the guys. She didn't even offer the option to Arie because she knew she wouldn't be able to keep her hands off him... you know, because he's so HOT.)
2) Didn't try to "shop lift the pootie" (remember that line from Jerry Maguire?)
While most of the guys were all about becoming the dad to Emily's little girl, Ricki, like poof, it's magic -- one big built-in family -- Arie said he wouldn't even try to be her stepdad. He told Emily that nobody can rush being a father figure, that he'll be Ricki's friend first, let her build trust with him, and then, one day, if it's natural and organic, it can grow into that kind of fatherly relationship. I thought -- FINALLY. Someone's being real about all this. Jef also recognized that while he was 100 percent sure he wants to be with Emily, he's not 100 percent sure how it will all work out, because he also has never met her daughter or been around them together. He asked Emily if he'd even be a good fit for Ricki.
These two men, finally, were not just thinking about themselves, but actually thinking about the little girl. I wish Emily would spend some more time doing that instead of thinking about making her fairy tale come true, ushering in one new father and husband after another to come in and rescue them. After being so disgusted during Jason's season when his son was shamelessly exploited and used, and thinking about just how messed up Ricki would grow up to be when one Bachelor daddy after another leaves (um, Brad Womack, anybody?), I was relieved and impressed with these two gentlemen's approach to Ricki and to their becoming stepdads.
Emily, from what I've seen so far, you can't go wrong offering either of these guys the final rose... and then breaking up with on national TV.