I’ve been a loyal member of Bachelor Nation for longer than is psychologically recommended (according to my therapist). In fact, I’m so invested in them that I spend almost seven months out of every year chained to my TV for two hours on Monday nights, just to watch these people find love while simultaneously bringing dishonor to their family name. I then meticulously record this aesthetically-pleasing car crash in a weekly recap so that we can all remember that one time Chris Harrison had to explain to Colton which hole to put it in for posterity purposes. One could even argue that watching The Bachelor has been my longest relationship to date.
And, like any other toxic relationship in my life, I’ve put up with my fair share of bullsh*t. Getting rid of Jorge The Bartender on Bachelor in Paradise in favor of Wells, who is about as much a mixologist as I am a person with good credit? Fine. Letting Chris Harrison negotiate a new contract that allows him to speak seven words or less per episode, despite the fact that he is the glue that holds that insane asylum together? Also fine. Giving Nick Viall not one, not two, not three, but FOUR separate seasons to con the American public into thinking he could ever be a catch? Fine, fine, fine. But what I won’t stand for—what I absolutely refuse to allow—is Bachelor Nation infiltrating the lives of real celebs.
For those of you who haven’t been paying attention, recently there has been a number of former Bachelor contestants vying for the hearts of actual celebrities, like Tyler C and Gigi Hadid, Demi Lovato and Mike Johnson, and as of last week, potentially Nick Viall and Rachel Bilson. And these are just the most recent couplings!
When I first found out about Tyler C hooking up with Gigi Hadid, I was disappointed and a little upset. My friends, on the other hand, were ecstatic. “Good for Tyler!” They’d say. “He deserves only good things!” Look, I’m not going to pretend that watching 30 hours of TV footage of the man makes me an apt judge of his character, but I was inclined to agree. Good things? Sure. But going from dating a girl who names her zits and regularly butchers the English language to dating one of the highest-paid models in the world, who also happens to be an international superstar? Are you f*cking kidding me, Tyler?
Bottom line? I felt lied to. I had just spent weeks this summer watching Tyler profess his love for Hannah B, a girl who is the definition of “hot mess” in Urban Dictionary, only to find out that what he was really searching for in a partner was 108 pounds of hairspray and coconut water. Part of those feelings of betrayal came from the fact that these guys are supposed to be somewhat attainable. These are supposed to be guys who would theoretically be into us, the viewer (assuming we are under a size 4, have at least 10K followers on Instagram, and look professionally airbrushed at all times). AND GIGI F*CKING HADID IS NOT LIKE US, THE VIEWER, IS SHE TYLER C?!
Furthermore, I’ve always considered the stars of Bachelor Nation to be their own sad, demented sorority/fraternity, that real stars—people with certifiable talents and ambition that goes beyond which Instagram sponsorship will pay for their Revolve credit card—would look down upon. Bachelor contestants are willing to debase themselves on national television, wear chicken suits and cry about being seagulls instead of pigeons. Why would a person who has won Emmys for acting or hit the Billboard Hot 100 want to date a person whose bio can be summed up as “social media participant” or “former high school athlete”?
Take Mike Johnson and Demi Lovato, for instance. Do I love them both? Yes. Do I want both of them to be happy? Also, yes. But Demi is a rockstar, a huge advocate for mental health, and has a world-wide fanbase, while Mike… has a really great smile? Calls women “queens”? Seriously, what does this guy do for a living and is he really good enough for MY queen Demi? Their budding relationship feels mismatched and off-kilter. That’s not to say some relationships can’t be mismatched, but this feels like something more than that.
And for the most part, it’s the men of BachelorNation who are sliding into the DMs of A-list stars. You don’t see Bibiana hitting up Michael B. Jordan’s IG comments section with flirty emojis or Kristina Schulman going on dinner dates with Chace Crawford. Which brings me to the real reason I’m so offended by these recent couplings: why is this phenomenon so one-sided?
We’ve talked at length about how The Bachelor men dating A-listers won’t be great for the franchise. It already felt like a real suspension of reality that these conventionally attractive, mildly successful men weren’t able to find love in real life and that’s why they came on the show. Over the years, it’s felt like less of the contestants are actually there to find love with the lead and more of them are there to find fame and careers on Instagram. And now the female leads must contend with the likes of Demi Lovato and Gigi Hadid potentially sliding into the guys’ DMs post-production, apparently.
Aside from Lauren Bushnell’s recent engagement to country music singer Chris Lane, the majority of the ladies in Bachelor Nation are single or are dating in the Bachelor pool of potential suitors, but the men aren’t playing that game anymore. While Nick Viall serenades Summer Roberts on his podcast, Caelynn felt so desperate for a happy ending that she settled for a man who lives in his van.
More and more I watch this show and think, “man, she’s settling” and I’ve realized that’s not the kind of reality TV I want to watch anymore. This used to be a show about real people looking for love. Over time, that’s shifted into cosmetically enhanced, famous-adjacent people looking for love, and I was fine with that too. But I can’t stand for this new turn of events. I don’t watch The Bachelorette or Bachelor in Paradise to find out how a good looking dude from Florida somehow managed to bag a supermodel. I watch this show to root for the women, for them to find themselves and maybe find love too.
Hannah B set a new precedent for Bachelorettes: that we can be funny and messy and say the wrong things and STILL be desirable—still be wife material. But watching her men declare that’s what they want in a wife and then go out and date international superstars in the next breath is enraging and upsetting. If this is what the next generation of Bachelor looks like, then count me out.
Images: ABC; Giphy (2)
Honestly, every single Bachelor alum needs to chill out. This morning, I was in the middle of writing an article about how Mike Johnson is hanging out with Demi Lovato, when someone sent me a brand new story about how Nick Viall and Rachel Bilson might be a thing. It’s a tough time when I have to interrupt thinking about Bachelor Nation’s next power couple to think about Bachelor Nation’s next next power couple. Seriously, it’s too much.
Out of all the Bachelor guys who have been linked to more famous women, Nick might make the most sense. After his appearance on four different Bachelor shows, he’s one of the best-known people in the franchise, and he’s always had kind of a celeb energy. He even dated January Jones, way back when Tyler Cameron was just a twinkle in Gigi Hadid’s eye.
But in the year and a half since Nick and January split up, he’s mostly just been single. Enter: Rachel Bilson. In the past, she famously dated her The OC costar Adam Brody, and she was engaged to Hayden Christensen until approximately two years ago. Since then, she’s kept her personal life low-key, and we don’t really know anything about who she’s been seeing for the last couple of years.
Back in July, Rachel Bilson was a guest on Nick’s podcast The Viall Files, which wasn’t really suspicious. He often has pretty good guests, and their conversation didn’t suggest that they were dating. Rachel said that she was dating, but hadn’t met anyone that she would introduce to her daughter. She said that “It would have to be a very serious relationship,” and that it’s a major red flag for her if a guy doesn’t seem enthusiastic about her daughter.
Her podcast appearance itself didn’t raise a lot of questions, but Nick’s Instagram post about the episode definitely made me raise an eyebrow.
How dare he tease us with a caption about fantasy suites?! This is unacceptable! But while Nick’s caption was funny, Rachel’s comment on the post sent me into a full-blown stress spiral.
Oh. My. God. The thing is, this could purely be two friends joking around, or it could be public foreplay. The flirty comments worked for Mike and Demi! While this happened a couple months ago, these two have still been interacting on Instagram more recently. Nick comments on a lot of her photos, and he commented on her most recent pic this weekend.
Most of Nick’s comments 0n Rachel’s photos are like this. It’s the kind of thing a middle school boy would say to his crush, and then she’s not sure if he hates her or wants to be her boyfriend. Honestly, this checks out for Nick Viall, because I feel like he exudes the emotional maturity of a middle school boy.
While these comments aren’t enough to assume that they’re officially dating or anything, I could definitely see it happening. This stuff would be kind of typical if they were seeing each other, but wanted to keep it low-key. Because of her appearance on his podcast, they don’t have to keep it a secret that they know each other, and now we all have to keep guessing about whether something more is going on.
So yeah, Nick Viall and Rachel Bilson may or may not be dating, and at this point we just don’t know. At this point, I’m already on the look out for the next next next Bachelor/celeb pairing, because it’s only a matter of time. Will Blake date a country music star? Will someone date Scheana from Vanderpump Rules? It’s a new world, and these are just the rules now.
Images: Shutterstock; nickviall (2), rachelbilson / Instagram