This year has been a year for polarity, but perhaps nothing has been more polarized in pop culture than Bachelor Nation’s views on the latest Bachelorette, Clare Crawley. I’ve spent the last three years of my life as a dedicated member of ABC’s cult. I watch every Bachelor/ette season, every godforsaken spin-off, read the think pieces, write the think pieces, deep dive into every contestant’s social presence, buy into every Ponzi Scheme past contestants are pushing on their IGs, and just generally find myself enmeshed—almost against my will—in Bachelor culture. (Keith Reinere could have taken some notes from Mike Fliess on How To Build A Cult Following 101). Which is why I feel qualified in answering the question that seems to be on everyone’s minds since last Tuesday’s episode: why does everybody hate Clare?
When it was announced last spring that Clare was going to be the newest Bachelorette I felt… fine about it. I didn’t watch Juan Pablo’s season because it was a blight upon humanity which should never have seen the light of day, and I didn’t watch Clare’s stints on BiP either, as I’m pretty sure that was when I was still young and hopeful and had some semblance of a social life. I did watch her on Winter Games, but had no real lasting impressions of her. I liked that she was older but I didn’t like that the franchise had given her so many chances already. Now that we’re three episodes into The Bachelorette, I still just feel very fine about her. I’m not actively rooting for her like I was with Hannah B, or enviously jealous of her like I was with JoJo, or overly impressed with her like I was with Rachel, but I’m not ready to filet her character on the internet like I’m a chef at Benihana either.
The internet seems to have three major points of contention with Clare: one, they’re outraged over the nude dodgeball game; two, they think she’s leading the men on; and three, they consider her “super immature” for having an immediate connection with Dale. I don’t really get the hate over the naked dodgeball game, because humiliating contestants on national television is sort of ABC’s thing. If anything, I found it refreshing that a female lead had the audacity to ask men to put aside their own pride for her pleasure. As for the second point, it’s completely normal, especially for the Bachelorettes, to form early attachments with front-runners. And in terms of “leading the men on” I’m not convinced that ABC isn’t giving Clare a bad edit on purpose. There are rumors that production forced her out, so who’s to say that the footage we’re seeing isn’t heavily edited to build up resentment towards Clare and excitement towards Tayshia’s takeover?
I think the real reason people hate Clare so much has to do with the way she plays the game. Normally, Bachelorettes pick a front-runner early on (no really, it’s a trend that the recipient of the first impression rose goes on to win the whole thing) and then spend the rest of the season testing their connection with that person by pursuing other people in the house. That makes the process sound mature and elegant and like there’s not a lot of puffy-eyed confessionals that will eventually be embalmed for all eternity in the form of a viral GIF. But here’s the thing: Clare’s not playing the game like a Bachelorette would, she’s playing it like a Bachelor would.
Let’s look at the evidence. Clare is decidedly a rule breaker. She skips half a group date when she doesn’t feel like going, she spends hours of other group dates exchanging hickies with Dale, she sent a guy home for not knowing enough about her on the first date, and it’s rumored that she leaves the show after only three weeks with one of the men from her season (in case you don’t have working eyes or ears and have been living in an underground bunker, SPOILER, it’s Dale). So, yeah, Clare breaks the rules and we hate her for it. But why do we hate her for it exactly?
When Colton decided to leave his season after the fantasy suites for a woman who seemed decidedly less interested in him than he was in her, the internet, while poking fun at him a bit, ultimately declared his gesture romantic. He was a go-getter. He went after what he wanted. When Arie ditched Becca after his proposal to her to pursue Lauren B instead, he was vilified at first, yes, but now that they’re married and have a baby and an Instagram for that baby that doesn’t at all feel like a cry for help or a certain descent into madness (seriously, someone check on Lauren, those captions worry me), Bachelor Nation has forgiven him. Here again, his gesture was ultimately written off as romantic. Ben Higgins broke one of the cardinal rules of The Bachelor by saying “I love you” before the final rose to not one, but TWO women. He remains a beloved member of the franchise. So, why are we vilifying Clare for breaking the rules of her own damn season when Bachelors have been doing it for years?
The bottom line is this: Clare isn’t twentysomething years old. At her age, she’s been dating for roughly 15 years, so she knows what she’s looking for and what she isn’t looking for. To put things into perspective, the average age of ABC’s Bachelorettes is 27, and before Clare there had only ever been two Bachelorettes over the age of 30. I’m not saying age determines everything, but I do feel like women in their 20s are more likely to play games and put up with bullsh*t than women in their 30s (especially their late 30s). I know at 28 I’m exhausted from swiping and casual dating, and yet, when I’m drunk I still call an ex-boyfriend who has ghosted me on no less than six different occasions. If I’m tired, I can’t imagine how I’d feel in 10 years at Clare’s age.
I think because of her age we expected her to be desperate for love, a doormat for ABC producers to walk all over, and Clare’s proving to be anything but. She’s challenging the men to take stock of their emotions and negative relationship habits through therapy. She’s asking them to step outside their comfort zones (and clothes) simply for her pleasure. Selfish, unhinged, demanding—we vilify her for acts that we’d tolerate from male leads.
When it comes to the Bachelorette, we want a strong woman, but we still want her to play by gendered rules. Be strong, but not pushy. Be in love, but not head over heels. Show attention, but don’t play favorites. Clare might be breaking ABC’s rules, but she’s also breaking ours. I’m not declaring Clare my personal favorite Bachelorette, and I’m not saying she’s a feminist icon or above critique, but I am saying that we should question where this hatred for her is coming from and why we’re not ready for her kind of Bachelorette.
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Images: Giphy; @tvgoldtweets/Instagram (1)
I’m Jared Freid. I’m a 35-year-old comedian who loves The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. I love them so much, I yell at every episode on my Instagram stories. As you can imagine, my father is very proud. Very.
This is my preview for the season. I’ve been doing this preview for both shows for half a decade. When I first started writing this, Instagram couldn’t pay a person’s rent, and ABC would only give me a picture, a name, an age, a hometown, and a profession. That was my preview, and I’d make massive assumptions based on this small amount of information. Then ABC was like, “Let’s interview these whackos,” and suddenly my job got easier. Maybe too easy. The contestants began to give weird answers, and you could always tell who came on the show with aspirations to say to their IG followers, “a lot of you have been asking…” The last couple seasons, they’ve changed it to a short bio written by an intern who recently posted that we’re all in this together from their parents’ beach house.
So, join me as I make massive assumptions based on very little (now secondhand) information. It’s like sitting with me while wearing sweats and screaming “Yuck” at what people wore for an awards show red carpet. Please enjoy and follow me on Instagram where I’ll be making fun of these crazies every Tuesday night. (Before you start this season with me, you can also check out the last two seasons in my highlights.) Let’s have a fun season.
Clare Crawley / Tayshia Adams
With every decision about the Bachelor and Bachelorette, there are two things to break down: the decision itself, and the audience’s reaction to that decision. Clare Crawley was a FANTASTIC choice for the Bachelorette. The show always needed an older Bachelorette so that it would force the contestants to be a bit older, making the show more realistic. There was just very little that was real about 31 25-year-old men looking to settle down after receiving 100,000 new Instagram followers. And because of that, we’d get a lot of contestants who could barely make it through the first night without becoming a cartoon. They’d basically fart on their way out of the limo as they flashed their Instagram handle where they were selling, “Yup, I just farted” T-shirts. What you’ll see from the men below is that they’re mostly pretty serious guys with serious jobs who all wrote something about being “ready”—and it’s all somewhat believable. So it wasn’t that I loved Clare as much as I loved how she helped the show.
Well, the audience reacted to Clare weirdly. She was never really enough. She was never old enough. Every time I made the JOKE about her age, I’d get one person who was like, “38 ISN’T OLD!!!” But what people choose to forget is that she is old FOR THE BACHELORETTE. Even still, that storyline hit a little too close to home for some people. You could tell that Clare being considered “older” was a bit depressing for someone single around the same age who didn’t have a whole show revolving around setting them up.
Clare was also never representative enough. Sure, she yelled at Juan Pablo, but it’s at least a year too late for her to be the face of #MeToo. The audience had moved on to wanting more diversity, and choosing Clare, a white woman, felt like sidestepping that movement—as if they’d searched every nursing home in the country to avoid picking a woman of color (again, I’m kidding. I meant “assisted living facility”).
Lastly, Clare wasn’t aspirational enough. Her big moment came before you could cash in with a social media following, so it wasn’t like she had this army of people who felt like they knew her because they used her promo codes.
(SPOILER ALERT…BUT NOT REALLY) Clare did find love on The Bachelor Winter Games, but that’s a bit of a letdown. It’s kind of like telling people you got engaged on a Carnival cruise ship. We’re like, “Good for you!” but also a little sad that it wasn’t one of the nice cruise lines. So when news broke about Clare finding a guy, basically ending her “journey”, and Tayshia coming on, everyone kind of perked up. Tayshia has the social media following, and as a Black woman, she’ll bring the diversity that the show desperately needs. Plus, she gave this season a bit of “anything can happen” vibe that The Bachelorette can sometimes lack, because there’s usually only two marry-able guys who own a box spring.
28, Software Salesman, Playa Del Rey, CA
AJ is a 28-year old-software salesman from Playa Del Rey, California, who says that he’s “very excited to pursue a woman like Clare who he sees as mature and experienced.” I hope to god that’s his opening line out of the limo: “Hi, Clare! I’m excited to meet someone who is as mature and experienced as you! Are you enjoying going through the change?! We can talk further about it in the mansion!” You thought the marches were tense this summer? Well, if AJ calls a woman under the age of 40 “mature” and “experienced”, you’ll see thousands of white women with midwestern haircuts marching on the White House lawn burning AJ cutouts in-between Activia yogurt breaks.
29, Army Ranger Veteran, Venice, CA
Ben is a 29-year-old army ranger veteran from Venice, California, who, due to a back injury that forced him out of active duty, is now a personal trainer who says he shows his affection through writing love letters. My favorite part of The Bachelorette is how they find guys I only thought existed in Hallmark movies. Ben probably looks at the moon while telling women how the nights in Iraq changed his perspective on life. (I, on the other hand, once told a woman that I have a bad relationship with cheese, and then we just stared at one another until she realized I meant it gave me diarrhea.) Ben’s bio made me wet. Until now, I didn’t know men could get wet. Well, tell that to my couch! Or maybe that was the cheese…
36, Wealth Management Consultant, NYC
Bennett is a 36-year-old wealth management consultant from New York City who looks like he just shut down an orphanage to put an addition onto his ski mountain. Bennett’s bio casually mentions he went to Harvard, and he’s never really worked for a girl since high school. Bennett also lists that he “hates golf”, which is the white guy who works in finance’s version of a white woman saying she’s not really into brunch. As if we’re going to be like, “Whoaa, you hate golf?!?! Wow, Bennett, you’re not like all the other Bennetts who went to Harvard who work in finance. You’re like…different.”
31, Male Grooming Specialist, Phoenix, AZ
Blake is a 31-year-old male grooming specialist from Phoenix, Arizona, who looks like he’s had more lines of coke than showers this week. “Male grooming specialist” is a job description that could only exist for a good-looking guy in Phoenix. Plus, men in Phoenix have the stupidity of a Floridian mixed with the confidence of someone who moved to Los Angeles to act. So I absolutely believe that a guy could walk around Phoenix claiming to be a “male grooming specialist” without anyone saying, “Oh, so you’re a barber!”
29, Wildlife Manager, Hamilton, ON
Blake Moynes is a 29-year-old wildlife manager from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. I like that there were two “Blake M’s” so we had to learn their last names. They could’ve just gone with “Blake Bottle Service” and “Blake European Henchman From The Taken Movies” and it would’ve been easier. Anyway, Blake Henchman’s bio is a lot like The Bachelorette in that it’s a fairytale that women want to hear. It says, “Blake spent his Saturday nights hanging with his best friends, but now all of those friends are married and he’s the last single man remaining.” This is written as if it’s a tragedy in Blake’s life. As if his friends were like, “What? No wife? I guess we’ll see you when you’re married…hopefully, our kids aren’t too far apart in age to hang at that point.” No; that’s a very female spin on a man’s life, and it’s just not how it works. Every time Blake mentions that he’s single, his best friends probably ask to see his dating app matches, and then they high-five for an hour.
28, Real Estate Agent, Cleveland, OH
Brandon is a 28-year-old real estate agent who looks like he should be on Selling Sunset. (They’d probably make him permanently stand seven feet away from the Oppenheim Brothers so you could never tell that they’re actually three feet tall.) Brandon actually spent the last few years modeling in New York City, and now he’s moving back to Cleveland where he grew up. Can you imagine a guy this good looking living in Cleveland?! Brandon will get off of the flight from New York and the people of Cleveland will kneel as if he were a plate of cheese fries. Then they’ll remove their hard hats and unzip their zip-up hoodies as a sign of respect for their new leader. Brandon will rule the land benevolently and make sure that his people stay full on regular sodas and sampler platters for the rest of time.
30, Commercial Roofer, Milford, MA
Brendan is a 30-year-old commercial roofer from Milford, Massachusetts, and his bio is the most 30-year-old single dude living outside of Boston bio that I’ve ever read: “After losing his dad at a young age, he knew that his purpose in life was to be a father. After relocating to Los Angeles, Brendan decided to move back home to Massachusetts to work for the family roofing business and be closer to his family—especially his nieces and nephews, whom he can’t get enough of.”
There’s a very specific Boston guy who paints himself as this Mark Wahlberg/Good Will Hunting/Manchester By The Sea type who has a tough exterior and a soft soul. They’re as plentiful in the greater Boston area as guys named “Sully”. They love their nieces and nephews even though they’ve never babysat them, they have a Boston accent even though they didn’t have one when they moved to LA, and they come back to work as a “roofah” because “Pop woulda wanted it that way.” And even though they went to LA for, like, three months and never even got a job there, this is literally all they talk about in-between sips of a “LAHHHGEE REGULAHH” from Dunkin’ that you paid for because they “FORGAHHT THEIHHH CAHHHHDDD.”
31, IT Account Executive, San Diego, CA
Chasen is a 31-year-old IT account executive from San Diego, California. Nobody has ever looked more “Chasen” than Chasen. I’m waiting for his wife, Madison, to passive-aggressively explain to me that their wedding band is unbookable for the foreseeable future. Also, I can’t imagine any woman enjoying Chasen’s description of adventure: “He is a self-proclaimed adventure seeker and loves to say yes to things other people might consider insane. His latest insane adventure? You’re looking at it!” I’m sure that’s what every woman wants to hear! That dating them is like a hike where they encountered a moody bear who had a dream last night that they HAVE to tell you about.
27, Landscape Design Salesman, Salt Lake City, UT
Chris is a 27-year-old landscape design salesman from Salt Lake City, Utah, who got asked to “describe himself as a lover”. Being asked to describe yourself as a lover during an interview for The Bachelorette is brutal. There’s no right answer. Chris tried to be subtle by answering with “I like to think I’m good at what I do” but that sounds like you lick a woman’s belly button before asking if she came. Then again, what was he going to say?!?! He couldn’t have been like, “I’M A COCKSMAN!” while tonguing the air. This is a family show.
If I were asked to describe myself as a lover, I’d say, “Like a waiter at an understaffed restaurant, you’ll appreciate that I’m doing the best that I can.” And anyone reading this is invited to use that at their next family Thanksgiving.
31, Former Pro Football Wide Receiver, Brandon, SD
Dale is a 31-year-old former professional football player from Brandon, South Dakota, who looks like he should be playing a guy on a soap opera who’s involved in an “entanglement”. I don’t trust Dale! He just says too many things that sound right, but ultimately could be huge red flags. He says that he’s “passionate”, that he “doesn’t hold back”, that he “doesn’t want a woman who’s turned off by his intensity”, and that he’s “yet to master patience”—which all sounds nice until you’re at a restaurant with him. Then Dale gets his steak, and he’s a little too passionate about medium rare. And instead of waiting for the waitress to come back, he starts snapping his fingers. And when she says, “Oh, I’m sorry about that!” Dale says, “You better be sorry or you’ll be working at Denny’s serving Grand Slams to widowers who can’t afford to tip 20%!” And when the waitress looks to you to see if this is all some cruel joke, you’ll have to say, “I’m sorry, he gets so passionate sometimes!” while reaching for your pepper spray.
26, Spin Cycling Instructor, Scottsdale, AZ
Demar is a 26-year-old spin cycle instructor from Scottsdale, Arizona, who says that his dream job is to be a DJ on the Las Vegas Strip. I’ve always believed that The Bachelorette should have a minimum age of 30 for the men. It’s just not believable that a guy who dreams of being a Las Vegas DJ would also want to get married. At 26, you can say stuff like that and it’s actually a possibility. You can mess up. You can go to Vegas, DJ, get sad, and come back to wherever you came from for rehab. At 30, you dream of a yard and naps and bars with comfortable bar chairs. A guy who’s ready to get married isn’t dreaming of becoming a DJ; he’s dreaming of a bar with a place to sit in front of a TV.
29, Sports Marketing Agent, Newport Beach, CA
Eazy is a former NFL player who is now a sports marketing agent. Eazy’s bio says he has “a smile that lights up a room” and that “nobody hypes up Eazy like Eazy” because OF COURSE! His name is Eazy! Did you think he was going to be quiet and shy? Did you think Eazy’s bio would be about his love of accounting and plain Triscuits?! No. And I love it. I’m not sure if being named Eazy makes you a certain type of person, but it has to help. Like, maybe having the name “Jared” made me predestined to wait by the door where the appetizers come out during the cocktail hour. Maybe it’s the name “Jared’s” fault that I can only eat cheese while being confident that I’m in a comfortable toilet situation. Maybe if my name were Eazy, I wouldn’t flinch when a subway dancer does a move within seven feet of me.
36, Health Care Salesman, Miami, FL
Ed is a 36-year-old health care salesman from Miami, Florida, who needs a girlfriend. He needs one immediately, because look closely at his eyebrows. Those are single man eyebrows if I’ve ever seen them. Ed looks like he shut one eye to pluck each brow while forgetting that he was actually semi-blind. One is thick and the other is half missing. They look like they’re backing away from one another after a fight. They might be drawn on with a magic marker. And sadly, he has no clue. Let’s hope that Ed finds a woman so he can stop wondering why people always look at him just a bit above his eyeline.
34, Professor of Journalism, North Hollywood, CA
Garin is a 34-year-old professor of journalism at the University of Southern California. I’ve gotta say, the producers have made a real effort to diversify the cast this season. And not just racially, but also the ages and especially the jobs. A professor? Usually it’s some vague title like “tech entrepreneur” which actually means “my parents invested in my company that’s an app that already exists, but this buys me time to live at the beach until they make me go to fully-paid law school and become an in-house counsel that makes six figures right away.”
28, Aeronautical Engineer, Dallas, TX
Ivan is a 28-year-old aeronautical engineer from Dallas, Texas, who is very obviously a “catch”. He builds jets for the U.S. Military and he talks with his mom on the phone every day (even though the person who needs therapy most at your brunch would probably be like, “talks to his mom every day?! RED FLAG!”). Ivan’s bio says that he’s “hoping to find someone who is not only beautiful and nurturing, but also smart and ambitious.” I just wish Ivan was a little more honest. Of course you want someone who is beautiful, nurturing, smart, and ambitious. Just once I want someone to be like, “I want a woman who doesn’t like to leave the house too much, will laugh every time I fart, and knows not to touch my stomach after we eat too much Chinese food.”
31, Former Pro Football Lineman, Arlington, VA
Jason is a 31-year-old former pro football lineman from Arlington, Virginia, who has lost 120 pounds since his playing days. Jason is going to have a problem. You see, the men on The Bachelorette aren’t built like normal people. For the most part, they’re all massive. I remember I met Jed from Hannah B’s season. Based on the show, I thought he was built like a miniature horse. Boy, was I wrong. Jedd was a full-sized horse! The point is that the men on the show are so jacked that they can make a strong guy look mini. The same thing happened when I met Josh Murray. I looked like the “before” picture in an ad campaign for a protein shake. Now, what does that mean for a guy who just lost 120 pounds? A roller coaster ride of emotions. He’s going to walk into the house feeling great with his shirt tucked in with a huge belt buckle (the championship belt for any guy who’s lost a lot of weight). Then someone’s going to yell, “POOL TIME!” And Jason will see abs so sculpted and ripped that he’ll probably yell, “Anyone want hotdogs?! I’m grilling!”
29, Fitness Director, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Jay is a 29-year-old fitness director from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, who looks like a boy was being turned into a man and they stopped the process halfway through. Jay says that “nothing annoys him more than being on a date with a woman who is half in the conversation and half scrolling through Instagram.” I think that’s just called a bad date. I don’t think there’s this community of women who are defending their right to scroll Instagram during a date. Like, maybe Jay needs to take some responsibility in this one. Maybe his story about switching from Paleo to Keto wasn’t great. Maybe she pulled out the phone when he said, “I guess this is my cheat meal!” after ordering a burger. I’m just not buying that people act like disinterested executive assistants when you’re killing it on a date.
40, Banker, Washington, DC
Jeremy is a 40-year-old banker from Washington, DC. Remember when we all used that old person filter that made us look 80 while giving all of our facial information to Russia? Well, Jeremy is using that for his headshot. He is the oldest Bachelorette contestant in the history of the show. That’s either really fun or sad based on how you look at it. Like, you might say, “Wow, a banker who made some money, lived some life, and is still taking chances like going on a reality show!” And then you read in Jeremy’s bio that “during quarantine, Jeremy developed a love for painting and taught himself how to rollerblade” and it gets a bit sad. Like, imagine a 40-year-old man rollerblading home from his job at the local Chase Bank to paint in his apartment that has nothing in the fridge.
36, Anesthesiologist, NYC
Joe is a 36-year-old anesthesiologist from New York City. Joe’s bio talks about him working the front lines during the pandemic, and I love and appreciate all of the front line workers, but isn’t it still happening? Didn’t they tape this over the summer? I’m not saying Joe isn’t a good guy, but that must have been a weird exit. Like, “Hey guys, I’m taking a month or two off! Good luck with the global pandemic that still has no vaccine or really any end in sight! I’m going to find a wife on a TV show in Hollywood!”
26, Software Account Executive, NYC
Jordan C. is a 26-year-old software account executive from New York City. He says his older sister has never liked any of the women he’s brought home. Well, I don’t think winning The Bachelorette is going to change that. “Hey sis! Meet my new fiancée! She decided on me after having sex with myself and two other guys like someone trying out flavors at Baskin-Robbins. And, oh yeah, about a week into the show, the original woman I tried to date freaked out and this was her replacement!”
30, Cyber Security Engineer, Santa Monica, CA
Jordan M. is a 30-year-old cyber security engineer who is 6 foot 8 inches tall, likes to hike, writes poetry, and enters into “hacking competitions”. He also says that people his age “don’t have the same priorities” and they all seem to be “looking for the next best thing”. The whole “everyone is looking for the next best thing” is a very 2020 dating complaint that assumes liking someone means it should work out. Well, they have to like you too. And Jordan M., I’m sorry to break it to you, but you’re getting a lot of first dates because you’re over six feet tall. Go look at the millions of “Do I like him or is he just tall?!” memes that exist by people who claim to be funny. I’m assuming the person who goes on the date with any tall guy isn’t pumped to hear your newest poem about a robot you coded into having a heart.
39, Boy Band Manager, Chicago, IL
Kenny is a 39-year-old boy band manager from Chicago, Illinois. If you’re wondering what a boy band manager is and why that job would take place in Chicago, then we are very much alike. Kenny’s bio says he “creates and manages boy band cover groups” and then the bio moves on to how he’s concentrated too much on his career and the type of woman he wants. Ummm, what?! Let’s take a step back to the creation of boy band cover groups. Imagine marrying someone with that job. I wish Kenny nothing but success, but I couldn’t handle the dinner time conversations. You have to hear about auditions and how he “really likes this kid Jason” because he’s got “that great pouty look teenage girls love!” And then you have to stop dinner so that he can take a phone call because the “Blumenfield Bar Mitzvah in Skokie is a mess!” and “JZ says they interrupted their final routine with a goddamn Weiner’s Circle buffet.”
38, Digital Media Advisor, Calgary, Alberta
Mike is a 38-year-old digital media advisor from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Mike has a whole bio about being a nice guy from Canada that lacks any real honesty—he’s looking to find the right girl?! What?! He wants someone who’s trustworthy?! OMG! At one point it says, “After his last relationship, Mike put up serious walls when it came to allowing himself to be vulnerable, but now he’s back and better than ever!” And that’s how you know that Mike is the nice guy who is good at lying. Mental issues don’t just clear up like that. Nobody just wakes up and says, “The walls are gone! Let’s be vulnerable again!” The only way to be 38 and sexually active without too many attachments is to tell women a vague story about an ex who hurt you. Women are so open about this stuff that they respect the troubled past too much and ask no more questions and when their friends ask, “So what’s the deal with Mike?!” You say, “I think someone really messed him up, so we’re taking it slow,” while he’s telling the same story to someone else on another date.
37, Chef, Austin, TX
Page is a 37-year-old chef from Austin, Texas, who was featured in Food and Wine Magazine as one of 2016’s best new chefs. I’ve watched The Bachelorette for a long time and this is the best group of men that I’ve seen. For the most part, they have real jobs and ages that make sense for a guy to get married. Page basically has the character profile of a lead in a rom-com. Hannah B. had to choose a dog food jingle creator who came on the show already having a girlfriend, and Becca had so few options that she ended up with an Alt-Right sympathizer. So it’s not like the bar was too high for the producers. Page could’ve been like, “I’m pretty good at microwaving stuff!” and I probably would’ve felt the same way about this season’s cast.
30, Attorney, Long Island City, NY
Riley is a 30-year-old attorney from Long Island City, New York, whose bio says, “don’t ask him to go to a museum with you, because that’s not going to happen.” I love that. Men have no issues sounding uncultured. Not many women would give as honest an answer. My girlfriend claims to LOVE museums. And yet, not once has she said to me, “Off to the Met! See you in a few hours!” And I promise she’ll read this and say, “But you never want to go with me!”
No. No, I don’t. Because, just like Riley, I don’t like museums. I don’t want culture. I don’t want history. And I don’t want art! I want to sit on my couch and say horrible things about the dresses women choose on Say Yes To The Dress. And you know what? That’s exactly what my girlfriend wants to do, too! But Riley and I are the only ones willing to be honest about it. #Brave
31, Insurance Broker, Tampa, FL
Robby is a 31-year-old insurance broker from Tampa, Florida, who works at his family’s brokerage while splitting time between Tampa and LA. It’s always funny to me when someone is good at lying without lying. Like Robby could have the red pin with “Tampa/LA” as his Instagram bio and it would be “true”. But nobody “splits their time between Tampa and LA” unless they’re a professional athlete or they have a large OnlyFans following. And guess what? Robby doesn’t play for the Tampa Bay Rays, and he doesn’t look good in a Fashion Nova bodysuit. But that’s the beauty of the lie that isn’t a lie. None of us have the energy to look into his bicoastal life, so we all kind of accept that Robby is doing “well” and we’re kind of not. Luckily for you, I’ve sold insurance, and let me break it down: Robby’s dad sold a lot of insurance. Insurance contracts pay residuals to the brokers for the life of the contract. The goal of being an insurance broker is to sign enough contracts so that you can live off of the residuals. Robby’s dad sold so much insurance that he was able to make Robby the servicing broker on his accounts so that they could split those residuals. Now, Robby gets to fly to LA for a weekend a month and tell women at bars he has homes in Tampa and LA while buying drinks for them on a credit card that has his dad’s billing address. See?! That “📍Tampa/LA” can be VERY deceiving.
27, Lawyer, Morgantown, WV
Really tough spot for “Tyler C.”. He didn’t ask to have the same exact name as the most mastubated-to Bachelorette contestant in the show’s history. And here we are, looking at a Tyler C. that is not even close to OUR Tyler C. The one that invented the acronym WAP. The one that’s responsible for the increase in removable showerhead purchases last year. No—this new Tyler C. doesn’t really have a chance. I can’t imagine how this Tyler C. is dealing with the pressure. He should’ve asked them to use his middle initial, too. Just as a subtle nod to his lack of Tyler C-ness. He’d get out of the limo and be like, “Hey, I’m Tyler FC! Like a Football Club!” And Clare would stare back at him a bit confused and he would break down like, “I’M SORRY! I’ll never be him!!” Then he’d look directly into the camera and be like, “I PROMISE TO UPHOLD THE NAME. I WILL MAKE YOU CUM. I WILL MAKE ALL OF YOU CUM IF IT’S THE LAST THING I DO!”
36, Music Manager, Georgetown, TX
Tyler S. is a 36-year-old music manager from Georgetown, Texas, who manages his brother, Granger Smith. I had to look up Granger and he’s a legitimate country rock star. He’s the type of star who would come on The Bachelorette for one of those special concerts, and I’d make fun of the people acting like this was a big deal. Then I’d get, like, 40 DMs from people being like, “THAT’S GRANGER SMITH!” as if I just made fun of someone for getting too excited about Adele. Tyler S. spends a lot of time on the road with his brother and says that “if he can’t show his mama a girl’s Instagram, then he can’t date her.” And I’d love to ask him “What about TikTok!?!” and then watch him laugh for a few minutes before abruptly stoping and getting very stern to say, “No, she better fucking bring it on the Tok. Ain’t no mammas looking at no Toks. That’s for big daddy Tyler.”
30, Medical Device Salesman, Daphne, AL
Yosef is a 30-year-old medical device salesman from Daphne, Alabama, who has a 4-year-old daughter. Yosef is the contestant that your Jewish mother won’t be able to stop asking judgmental questions about. She’ll be like, “Yosef? Is he Jewish? A daughter? Where’s the mother? Doesn’t he work? He’s from where? Alabama? What type of Jew lives in Alabama and goes on a dating show while his daughter lives at home?” Then she’ll tell you to look him up on “The Facebook” because “Ya nevah know!”
36, Addiction Specialist, Haddonfield, NJ
Zac C. is a 36-year-old addiction specialist from Haddonfield, New Jersey, who looks like a mid-forties version of Nick Viall. Last year, we had Peter, who looked like a 13-year-old version of Nick Viall. I feel like we’re going to get a different Nick Viall every season until the end of time. And the only person in the world who will love that is Nick Viall. I’m honestly angry that I’m still talking about him. He’s the Voldemort of The Bachelor universe. We’re going to have to deal with all of his horcruxes until someone finds the Sword of Gryffindor and finally chops his head off.
37, Cleaning Service Owner, St. George, UT
Zach J is a 37-year-old cleaning service owner from St. George, Utah, whose bio says the following: “Zach J. says that he has had a major crush on Clare ever since seeing her tell off Juan Pablo during the finale of his season. And while he is definitely excited for the journey to begin, he wants to make it clear that he is only here because he believes Clare is the perfect woman for him.” That season was more than SIX YEARS AGO. Nobody found that creepy?! A producer heard that answer and was like, “Awww, I hope you make it to the fantasy suite!” Only hot people are allowed to have crushes on someone for over six months without it being creepy. If Zach J. looked like the guy who brought your Seamless order tonight, you’d be calling the police saying that “HE REMINDS ME OF SOME BAD PAD THAI I ATE ONCE.” But Zach J. has a great jawline, so we’re all going to be cool with him having a crush on a very obscure Bachelor contestant who most of us had to look up online before saying, “Oh, the one that yelled at Juan Pablo! Wait, she’s 38? Wow I’m old.” Okay, just making sure I got this straight.
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Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin (32)
I remember it like it was yesterday. Back in March, when life still had meaning and we all still had plans, ABC gave us the first sneak peek of Clare Crawley’s Bachelorette contestants. That day (which happened to be my first day of coronavirus WFH), I roasted these men for their ages, their outfits, and in Matt James’ case, for being Bachelor Nation’s equivalent of a nepotism hire. I eagerly anticipated the start of filming and the spoilers that would inevitably begin rolling in before long.
I don’t think I need to explain what happened to the world after that, but obviously Clare’s season did not start filming in March. But
84 years four months later, even as the universe continues to crumble around us, it’s finally Clare’s time. Filming will commence this month, with the entirety of production happening in a bubble at the La Quinta Resort & Club in Palm Springs. The resort, which is still closed to the public, boasts a confusingly large number of swimming pools (41), so they could literally have every single date by a different pool. Worry not, this season will be fine.
Today, we got our long-awaited first (second?) look at Clare’s actual, final batch of contestants, and so once again, we must unpack. First of all, there are a lot of dudes—42, to be exact. This is obviously way too many (they can’t even all have their own swimming pool!), but production actually cast extra guys for the season in case anyone tests positive for coronavirus before filming starts. Usually, prospective cast members just have to worry about testing positive for STDs. So many fun things to think about in 2020. Also, I imagine at least one of these guys will get cut before night one when his shady past resurfaces.
Some of the guys have stuck around since the first round of casting, which must mean they really like Clare, or they REALLY want more Instagram followers. Either way, I appreciate the dedication. But obviously, a lot has changed in the last four months, and there are many new faces competing for Clare’s heart. Most importantly, it looks like ABC actually tried to fix the age issue. In Clare’s OG group of contestants, more than 70 percent of the men were in their 20s, which seemed like an odd strategy for a 39-year-old Bachelorette. In the new group, only 16 out of 42 guys are in their 20s, which is less than 40 percent. Clare can still go for a younger guy if she wants to, but she won’t have to default to guys she could have babysat growing up.
The age shift means that our previous youngest contestant, 23-year-old finance bro in training James C, is no longer in the mix. Too bad, maybe he can try again in a year (or five). Now, Clare’s youngest option is 25-year-old Noah from Tulsa. While Noah is perhaps a bit young, and his watch is perhaps a bit big, he is VERY cute. I could see him doing well, but it all depends if Clare likes her guys on the younger side.
And on the opposite end of the spectrum, Clare’s oldest contestant is 40-year-old Jeremy. He’s the only contestant in his 40s, which still seems like a weird choice, but whatever. Jeremy is from Virginia Beach, so I’m curious if he’s had any encounters with the infamous Virginia Beach Husband Stealer, Victoria F. If there’s any hope left for 2020, I really need Jeremy to address this on night one. Also, does he sort of look like Arie, or do I need to get outside more?
My favorite thing about this cast announcement is that, likely due to quarantine, the DMV photo vibe is GONE. Instead, we have gorg headshots, most of which were taken outside or in front of actual walls that don’t look like Walmart photo studio backdrops. Sure, some of them should’ve found better lighting (Karl and Chris, looking at you), but overall these pictures are soooo much better.
Still, I have to give an award for Worst Photo, and it’s really not even close. Kenny from Illinois, this one is all you.
Kenny, what is this photo?? It looks like he just got done with an at-home CrossFit class and remembered he had to send the Bachelorette producers a headshot, and then he took that headshot at his local dive bar. The tank top, the shiny face, the wood paneling in the background… nothing about this is good.
My award for Boldest Name goes to none other than… Tyler C.
Yes, that’s really what he’s going with. Like, yes, I know this is his real name, but if I were him, I might have chosen to go with a middle name or something. No matter how hard this poor guy tries, he will always be Tyler C number two in the Bachelor universe. He’s doing himself a disservice!
In terms of my current frontrunner, I have to go with Dale, a holdover from the initial round of contestants. This is SUCH a good photo, if Clare doesn’t want him, I will gladly accept any DMs from him.
Who knows how this season will turn out, but at least it’s actually happening. The season will most likely start airing in September, but I’ll be interested to see if we still get the usual spoilers with production happening in a closed bubble. I hope so, because I desperately need something to get me through the rest of the summer. Best of luck Clare, hope all your dreams come true!
Images: ABC/John Fleenor; The Bachelorette / Facebook
This seems impossible, but somehow, it was only a week ago that the contestants for the upcoming season of The Bachelorette were revealed. That’s right—eight days ago, the most important thing in my life was roasting DMV photos of a bunch of dudes. Of course, the new season will star Clare Crawley, who just happens to be the oldest Bachelorette ever, at 38. That’s why, when we saw the contestants, the first thing that jumped out was the age disparity. The majority of Clare’s guys were in their 20s, with many more than a full decade younger than her. To each their own when it comes to age difference, but this seemed like an odd casting strategy.
Well, a whole f*cking lot has changed in the past week, and Clare’s season is really just along for the ride (as we all are). As you all know, the entire world is basically on pause right now due to the coronavirus pandemic, and unfortunately, The Bachelorette is not immune to a global health crisis. Turns out Mike Fleiss’ deal with the devil doesn’t cover that—sad!
Clare’s season was scheduled to kick off filming last Friday with the limo introductions, but it was called off and postponed until further notice. I’m assuming Clare’s contestants all got plane tickets back to wherever they’re from, and now things are just in a holding pattern. But while Matt James is chilling in Florida with Hannah Brown and Tyler Cameron, it sounds like we might never see some of these guys again.
This week, in an Instagram Live with his girlfriend Lauren Zima, Chris Harrison spoke candidly about the reality of what’s going on with Clare’s season, and the fact that the cast might be changing: “The chances are, for everybody to be able to put their life on hold and come back again is very slim. So yeah, we are still casting, so if you have somebody you think is great for this beautiful woman right here.” Yeah, I guess getting a month of vacation last week was one thing, but once this is all over, you might kind of have to go back to work. Chris continued, saying, “There will be some different guys. Maybe it’ll be completely different guys, maybe it’ll be a mixture. Who knows? We really don’t know, with the way the world is right now, with everybody’s schedule.”
Okay, so obviously Chris isn’t getting into details, and he probably doesn’t even know the details at this point, but let’s be real: ABC better use this opportunity to cast some guys that are actually logical for Clare to date and hopefully marry. Like, sorry Mr. 23-year-old frat star, but there is no way Clare Crawley wants to MARRY YOU. (Clare, sorry if that’s your type, but trust me, you don’t want to spend your forever with this man.) I sincerely hope that, whenever Clare’s season does happen, we see a group of contestants that are older and hotter, because she deserves it. Give us silver foxes, ABC!
Right now, we still have no idea when filming will begin for Clare’s season, but it’s starting to look like the premiere date, set for May 18th, might have to be pushed back too. As much as I hate to admit it, it’s a good thing that Listen To Your Heart was already done filming before this whole nightmare began, because we’re going to need SOMETHING to watch. I said I wouldn’t watch it, but these are desperate times. Damn it ABC, you’ve sucked us in again.
Until then Chris Harrison and Lauren Zima will be doing “Fireside Chats” on IG Live every evening, so you can watch those if you’re realllllly desperate for a Bachelor fix. (Or you could just watch the seasons of The Bachelor that they put on Netflix.) Who knows, Chris might spill some more tea, but honestly, we’ll probably let you know if anything actually important happens.
On Monday morning, Clare Crawley was announced on Good Morning America as the next Bachelorette. While I think we’re all glad that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel for Peter’s garbage season, reactions to Clare’s announcement have varied. Some people love her, some people hate her, but if you’re a more recent convert to Bachelor Nation, your first response was probably a resounding “who??”
But even if you don’t know anything about Clare Crawley, don’t worry. Even though she seems like an out-of-left-field choice, there are a lot of factors that make her an appealing direction for the show. Let’s go through the biggest reasons why Clare Crawley was probably chosen as the next Bachelorette.
At 38 years old, Clare Crawley is easily the oldest lead in Bachelorette history. This is definitely a shift for the show, but after the last few seasons, it really needed to happen. On Peter’s season, anyone over 30 was treated like an expired carton of milk, but no matter how hard ABC tries, I will never believe that a bunch of hot 23-year-olds are really that desperate (or even ready) to get engaged. It just doesn’t make sense!
Clare will be a pretty big swing in the opposite direction, but she and her contestants will (hopefully) be a little more mature about things, and have some of the necessary experience to actually make choices about life. Clare actually joked about this on Twitter a couple weeks ago, saying that she knows what she wants, and she would be the first Bachelorette to eliminate most of her men on the first night.
First season ever to eliminate 20/25 the first night😂 #IKnowWhatILike #gtfo https://t.co/dGbWCiLbRy
— Clare Crawley (@Clare_Crawley) February 18, 2020
This obviously isn’t actually going to happen, but considering that Peter has spent seven weeks convincing himself to finally get rid of Victoria F, it’ll be nice to watch someone who can actually make a decision. We finally have a mature Bachelorette, and thankfully, it looks like ABC is casting accordingly for this season. Reality Steve had initially predicted several contestants in their mid-20s, but now it appears that these younger men are being let go as they skew the season older.
One 25-year-old supposed contestant posted a lengthy message on Facebook, explaining that the show “decided to forgo younger guys” for this season. Honestly, this is one of the most extra Facebook statuses I’ve ever seen, so I’m glad this guy isn’t going on the show, regardless of age. Like, I know people who have literally gotten cast on Broadway and posted statuses less emotional than this, so Jackson really needs to get it together.
Sorry Jackson, but hopefully all that prayer will help you get over losing the TV show that you were never actually on in the first place. Damn, people are crazy. Hopefully ABC gets back out there and finds Clare Crawley some guys who are… not like this.
Her History With The Show
Clare hasn’t been around much in the last couple years, but she’s still one of the more prolific contestants in Bachelor franchise history. Obviously, her first g0-round was back on Juan Pablo’s season in 2014, but since then, she appeared on the first two seasons of Paradise, and most recently, she got engaged on Winter Games in 2018. The engagement didn’t last, but Clare has shown the powers that be on the show that she’s willing to play along and ~trust the process~.
Obviously, the show wants someone that the fans have a connection with, but they also want someone who’s easy to work with and knows what makes for compelling TV. Considering that Clare got engaged on Winter Games after knowing Benoit for like, a week, I think it’s safe to say that she’s game for whatever this show throws at her. This is the reason people like Nick Viall and Chris Bukowski get cast so many times—they’re likable and reliable from a production standpoint. Going all the way back to 2014, Clare’s exit on Juan Pablo’s season was also dramatic AF. Basically, he slut shamed her after sleeping with her (classic trash move), and then she told him that she’d lost respect for him, and that she’d never want her kids to have a father like him. DAMN, she went there. With a history like this, I’m sure production feels confident that they know exactly what they’re going to get from Clare. Hopefully, she’s going to show us that you can have an interesting, dramatic season without everything completely falling apart.
The Lack of Other Options
To put it simply, the women on the current season kind of suck. It’s nothing personal, but an entire season of Hannah Ann pretending to look for love is not something that anyone wants. While the last several Bachelorettes have been fresh off of the most recent season of The Bachelor, I’m glad ABC didn’t feel trapped into this formula. We saw them get creative a couple years ago when they chose Arie, and even though he makes me viscerally uncomfortable, his season of The Bachelor was pretty entertaining. Even though it’s been a minute since we’ve seen Clare Crawley, she’s way less random of a choice than Arie was.
While I don’t have a lot of personal opinions about Clare Crawley, I’m excited for what her casting represents on the show. By not casting another 23-year-old, or whoever came in third on the most recent season, it seems like ABC has actually been listening to the fans. Cheers to a season of people who might actually be there for the right reasons, if only because they’re too old to know how Instagram works. Chris Harrison, do your worst!
Images: ABC; clare_crawley / Twitter; Jackson Canfield / Facebook