If you read anything I’ve ever written about The Bachelorette, or my Twitter account as of 8 p.m. on a Monday night, you know I’m a huge fan of contestant Peter Kraus, his shining gray eyes, and that endearing gap in his teeth. In fact, I wish the season 13 finale was just three hours of Peter making breakfast while shirtless, as he did for only a criminal few seconds in the three-hour season wrap-up. But, we can’t always get what we want. And because Peter didn’t spend the entire finale rocking bed head and whisking the perfect omelette, we were all forced to see his genuinely upsetting breakup with Rachel Lindsay. While both sides of the former couple made good and bad points during their eyelash-murdering, visceral split, Peter left the argument saying one of the cruelest statements of the 2017 cycle, and possibly the entire franchise: "Go find someone to have a mediocre life with."
After watching The Bachelorette producers build Peter up as this season’s fan-favorite, it was especially hard to watch him say something so mean to the woman he's allegedly in love with. First of all, Peter's quote is purposefully hurtful on a fundamental level. But, it's even meaner when it comes to this specific Bachelorette. Although viewers may not agree with Rachel’s almost stifling need to leave her stint on reality TV as an engaged woman, she knows exactly what she wants and expects. This is her choice. The lawyer is 32 years old, and feels she needs to start planning her life as soon as possible, which means setting concrete plans.
Peter obviously knew all of this, so he should have been able to respect both where a very adult woman like Rachel is coming from and the reason she didn’t want to "peer pressure" him into proposing. Instead, the Bachelorette simply wanted Peter to come to the decision himself. When he didn't — especially after going in to The Bachelorette completely aware of how a commercialized fairytale like the series works — she had every right to be frustrated. However, Peter didn't have the right to lash out by essentially dooming the rest of his TV girlfriend’s life in perpetuity.
Peter’s mean comment seems even worse when you realize leaving The Bachelorette with "a mediocre life" basically ended up being Rachel’s biggest fear as she came to the end of her "journey." The lawyer’s anxiety about "saying goodbye" to the wrong person started flaring up in "Week 8," when she sent home the much-beloved Dean Unglert following their emotional hometown visit. Rachel's stress only got worse during the finale, where she decided to eliminate the a newly mature Eric Bigger.
"That’s why Eric is such an amazing and beautiful person," she explained in voiceover as the personal trailer is driven away from the competition. "But it’s also why I’m not completely confident in my decision to say goodbye to him. This is the strongest that I’ve felt that, am I making a mistake?" She also repeatedly used the words "crossroads" and "confusion" throughout the finale to anyone who will listen. Considering the fact these concerns were haunting Rachel throughout her last days of being the Bachelorette, Peter’s declaration was essentially the scariest thing she could hear at that point, and he knew that.
Of course, Peter’s insult might be bafflingly mean, it’s also very expected from him when it comes the idea of Rachel ending up with Bryan Abasolo. Although the entrepreneur avoided bashing his romantic rival to Rachel’s face for most of season 13, the same can’t be said when it came to the moments the Bachelorette wasn’t within earshot. There was the remarkably Gif-able "Week 8" moment he straight up declared, "I’m not the biggest fan of Bryan," during a conversation with Eric. In that same episode, Peter likely served up a very subtle dragging of the facially symmetrical Miami chiropractor, saying in a confessional interview, "In Miami, there’s a lot of fake asses, fake boobs, and fake cheeks." Peter never officially confirmed he was taking shots at Bryan and his noticeably angular bone structure — but why else talk about your reality TV enemy’s hometown?
Despite the fact most of Bachelor Nation is currently #TeamPeter, and deeply suspicious of the overwhelmingly smooth Bryan of former The Player fame, the Florida native actually handled his desire to win this season so much better than Peter. While Peter dismissively told Rachel she would be condemned to a "mediocre life" free of Real Love if she didn’t pick him, Bryan decided to go with an earnest pitch promising his undying love during the pair’s final date. "I’m confident I can make you the happiest. I will spend the rest of my life loving you," he told Rachel with a smile. "To be honest, I think it would be a mistake if you didn’t choose me. I mean I can’t even envision it, but I would be devastated." This allegedly sincere admission couldn’t be further from the prophetic damnation Peter offered during his own last-ditch one-on-one time with the Bachelorette.
At least Peter behaved like an adult and used his appearance on the live portion of the Bachelorette finale to give a meandering apology for throwing such a brutal insult Rachel's way. "That was a mistake made out of emotion, and I apologize for what I said about [that]," he admitted. "Obviously I just saw this for first time. I don't even remember saying it in the heat of the moment. But, saying that not being in a life with me would be settling for a life of mediocrity and I don't believe that ... And I'm so sorry."
While Peter was clearly emotional during the exchange, there's no need to cry for Rachel Lindsay. After her ex-boyfriend offered up his mea culpa, the Bachelorette swore she's actually living "her best life" with Bryan, free and clear of any mediocrity. After watching Rachel stick to her engagement ring guns, and lose a few false eyelashes in the process, I really hope that's true.
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