For The Reality Check Blog Tour, Lexie at The Book Bug and I thought it would be fun to dish on The Bachelorette and Emily Maynard's search for love, a husband, and ready-made daddy for Ricki. (Notice that I didn't call her Little Ricki, since I don't want the I Love Lucy theme song stuck in your head all day long . . . oops . . . my bad.)
Three guys remain. This season has been different from the others for a big reason: Emily isn't a free-wheeling, single girl simply out looking for love. She's a single mom looking for a partner. Jason Mesnick is the only other single parent who has been in the lead spot besides Emily.
Emily is drop dead gorgeous and undeniably sweet, but she also has backbone. That girl's a bonafide Steel Magnolia. She also went through a huge public breakup with Bachelor Brad. As a result, she hasn't wasted any time getting rid of the guys who weren't for her or weren't there for the right reasons.
Usually by the time there are three remaining bachelors, there's a clear winner or the threat of a clear winner ("No, no, Jake, not Vienna!"). But in Emily's case she seems to have three great guys, which I think is largely due to the fact that they are guys who realize they're also dealing with the life of a child here, and have been willing to man up.
So off they head to Curacao. (By the way, Curacao is an island off the coast of Venezuela—I had to go to Wikipedia to find out. Didn't you love the colorful Dutch architecture? Somebody send me there on a cruise, please!!)
Sean: Mr. Perfect
But perfect doesn't necessarily work for Emily. All you have to do is refer back to Ryan, the guy who thought he was perfect despite having alien crop circles shaved into his beard, to know that, in Emily's mind, perfect is an ideal that is destined for failure.
There are a few other red flags during their magic date, which includes a true-to-Bachelorette-form helicopter ride around the island. First, he confesses that he treated the girls he dated like "buddies," specifically, the girlfriend he had for three years. "I loved her but I wasn't in love with her," he says.
Then he admits he skirted the M-word with said girlfriend for those three years. Three years of her trying to talk marriage, with him constantly changing the subject? Just aim that gun right at your foot and shoot it now, Sean. Because right now it isn't you Emily sees sitting in front of her, it's Brad Womack, Mr. Commitment Phobe himself. A girl who claims she wants babies yesterday doesn't want to hang around for three years to find out if her guy can figure out the difference between "love" and "in love" and whether he's willing to do anything about it once he does.
And then, in an awkward attempt to at least get the L-word out, Sean tells Emily that no one he's dated has ever "measured up" quite like she has. Oh, Sean, Sean, Sean. To his credit, after several false starts, he does manage to tell Emily he's in love with her, but it's a little late in the Bachelorette game at this point, I fear.
Clue from Emily: "You represent everything everyone looks for."
Jef: Mr. One F
But his youthful looks and crazy joie de vivre make some wonder if he's really responsible and ready to settle down and be a dad—even his brother questioned him on it. But the guy's a college grad and has a successful entrepreneurship. That means he's acted responsibly more than once in his life. He can probably figure out when he's ready to take the next step and settle down with someone he loves.
He's also a "non-practicing" Mormon, which seems to confuse a lot of people. One thing I can tell you that it does mean is that Jef was raised in a culture that promotes marriage commitments over long-term engagements with living arrangements. The conversation he and Emily had in the library in Prague seemed to show that they're on the same page (ha, no pun intended) there. And that might also mean he's more willing to take the marital plunge sooner, if he really is in love with Emily, than either Sean or Arie. And for a woman who's looking for a family for Ricki now, including all those babies, that could be a big plus in her eyes.
Clue from Emily: "It's perfect on paper but also things you can't put on paper."
Ah, Arie: Mr. Start Your Engines
But it's difficult for Emily to get to know a guy when his lips are busy not talking. She tells him she doesn't even know what he does on an average Tuesday morning. Of course, finding out Arie avoids living the sad bachelor life (when he's not on the road, racing) by sleeping in, heading for the shop, then eating and hanging out with friends may not be what Emily was hoping to hear. This Steel Magnolia gets up before six-thirty after all, y'all. It may not cost Arie the checkered flag at the finish line, but it at least earns him a cautionary yellow.
Emily also understands that chemistry has clouded her mind—and opts not to even offer Arie the fantasy suite card. It's just too, too much temptation. Hooray, Emily! Attagirl! All the moms of daughters across America salute you and simultaneously feel your pain.
Clue from Emily: "He's so good-looking. **Sigh** That's a problem. I wish I could just enjoy Arie."
And then, suddenly—after nearly two hours, that is—it's rose ceremony time. Each guy has strengths Emily is looking for. Sean is handsome and strong, a real go-to gentleman. Jef is edgy and playful, yet somehow manages to stay down to earth. Arie is all smoldering romance. Emily has strong feelings for each man and realizes tearfully that she's going to be blindsiding and hurting someone. She can barely watch the videos the guys have made for her. She breaks down several times before going out to face them.
In the end, Sean is the one who doesn't receive a rose. And again he's absolutely perfect. He takes the news stoically, expresses his hurt without being spiteful, and doesn't break down in the limo. Ah, Sean, there are only about a million women in your home state of Texas alone who would be happy to give you the time you need to get those tricky words out. Just don't lead the girl on for three years if you're really not feeling it. Promise me.
And then there were two.
The Bachelor/ette Historical Firsts:
First: There has never been a Bachelor/ette who has opted out of all three fantasy suite dates until Emily. (I am giving her credit for all three, even though Jef turned her down first, since she said she was going to turn him down in her ITM.)
First: Jef is the first guy ever to voluntarily turn down the fantasy suite card, although a few guys have played the gentleman and deferred to the bachelorette to make the call. (And for those LDS readers, did you catch his scriptural reference from the Book of Alma? The world could do with a few more bridled passions, frankly.) I only remember one woman ever turning down the fantasy suite card. The Bachelor "respected" her decision—and then sent her home at the next rose ceremony.
Another First: This is the first time I think I've heard or seen anyone on the show say this particular phrase, and I think it says a lot about Emily. Here is a quote from her blog on People.com this week (emphasis mine):
"I say it every week, but this was definitely the hardest rose ceremony yet. I went back and forth so many times, but I reminded myself that I couldn't make a mistake as long as I prayed about it and followed my heart."
I hope, for Emily and Ricki's sake, her prayers are answered.
Next Monday is The Men Tell All, and I'll be blogging about it the following Wednesday. The finale and a live After The Final Rose will air on Sunday night July 22nd, instead of Monday night, as it's been in the past. Will you be watching? Add your comments (including your email address) below to be entered into our drawing for the grand prize (a copy of my novel Reality Check and a gorgeous charm bracelet)! And be sure to check The Book Bug for the other blogs participating in the tour so you can have as many chances of winning as possible.
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