Welcome back to The Bachelorette, the only competition show where third-place is the real winner.
Tonight’s finale began with a betrayal. Is there anyone among us who does not feel disrespected by the new structure? As someone vehemently opposed to both staying up past 10:15 and watching Rachel Lindsay process the emotions I just watched her process for over eight episodes for another fucking hour, I think I speak for all women when I say fuck you ABC.
I’m going to go ahead and say the term "victimized" is not too strong to use here. ABC knew people like me would have no choice but to wait until the big reveal so they decided to break up “After the Final Rose” into multiple little bullshit pussy ass sections.
And on top of all of that, they have the gall to not reveal who the next bachelor is going to be. At this point, I’m basically calling everyone I’ve ever wronged to tell them I finally understand how they feel.
In conclusion, The Bachelorette franchise is a tool of neoliberalism and ABC is honestly lucky that I have too many launch parties to attend to wage an aggressive viral campaign against them.
But seriously, back to Rachel Lindsay.
What happened last night? A lot and also nothing at all that we didn’t expect and therefore not expect.
Eric was released by Rachel back into the world from which he came. Their goodbye was dispassionate and their subsequent reunion was that of two people who had a drama-free one night stand back in college and are just now running into each other at the mall with both of their respective mothers present.
The rest of the episode is, quite frankly, not worth wasting my breath on and I mean that literally since I am now relegated to using a voice technology to write articles after spraining my hand transcribing an interview for WNYC. Fuck you, WNYC. But God dammit, you do produce some pretty great radio.
What we witnessed last night felt too real for a reality show. Peter chose to walk away from Rachel because he had “only known her for roughly a cumulative 46 hours” and “didn’t feel ready to propose.” After negotiations came to a standstill between them, Peter showed Rachel the door and then made a big production of ripping off his gray sweater in a display of anger and passion.
Of course, Peter is made out to be the unreasonable one in this scenario. It’s him that is forced to ask of himself “what is wrong with me?” As this question is usually demanded of women, I have no problem with asking all men to ask themselves this question. I also have all of the answers to that question for each of the individual men who have passed through my life.
But this isn’t about them. This is about Peter. And right now, in this specific scenario, nothing is wrong with Peter. He is performing the actions of a stable man who grew up with a support system that taught him to trust his gut and date someone for more than two days before combining finances.
It might seem to a lot of people that Rachel Lindsay is rushing into love and marriage. But to those people I say the methods employed by The Bachelorette are, in fact, much closer to the way people used to choose spouses for most of civilized world history.
Back in the 16th century (and just humor me here because I’m making most of this up based on a light knowledge of the Medieval Era and the fact that I saw both the live-action and animated versions of Beauty and the Beast in theaters), this was simply how one did things. Your life was constantly in imminent peril and you didn’t have three or five or 12 years to decide whether you could coexist with a man or not. After all, most of the children you would bear for your husband would die at the hands of diseased rodents or angry kings. You needed to get this party started, and fast.
This led to multiple proposals, especially if you were a smoke show, and many of them may have seemed to come out of thin air. If you were a pretty girl in 16th century Europe, you were getting proposals from every which way — the baker’s son, the blacksmith’s son, the old wizard from down the street, and the son of that guy who would go around putting leeches on people to get all of the diseases out of their body. If you were in this position, and came across someone like Peter who just wasn’t ready for marriage, wouldn’t you do exactly what Rachel Lindsay did? Yes. You would. Especially because you were not allowed to work and at a certain point grown ass women without a husband were forced to turn to prostitution.
What I’m asking you to do is to consider Rachel Lindsay’s situation from a different perspective, specifically that the 16th century wench facing war and plague.
When Peter’s breakup with Rachel turns out to be real, there are literal screams across America, including in my room. Peter’s departure from Rachel Lindsay’s heart means she has no choice but to choose Bryan, the windup doll that women buy each other for their bachelorette parties.
To suggest that the proposal was lacking in joy would be an understatement of biblical proportions. As the scene plays out in front of us, it’s almost as if there is a producer standing just off screen holding a gun to Rachel’s head.
Juan Pablo’s non-proposal seemed to emanate more hope for the future than this one. And with that, I can’t help but feel Rachel Lindsay’s journey, once so promising, has come to a tragic end.
Join us next season but only if Eric is King.