If there was a single GIF to describe the general audience reaction to The Bachelorette finale, it would be be this one of a young woman scanning through her phone, pointedly ignoring whatever is going on in front of her. Like, say, a reality TV lead choosing the kind of man who once liked memes about school shooting survivor David Hogg being a crisis actor (before he got caught and apologized) over the kind of guy who survived a school shooting and has the emotional intelligence to share his feelings about that traumatizing situation. Bachelorette season 14 winner Garrett Yrigoyen falls into the former category; teary Bachelorette runner-up Blake Horstman shines in the latter.
While Bachelorette star Becca Kufrin spent much of post-finale special After The Final Rose detailing all the reasons she’s over the moon to stick with Garrett — “[My late father] found his faith in the outdoors and that’s exactly how Garrett is too” — Twitter felt differently. The social media site nearly rioted over Blake’s loss, detailing the litany of reasons the Colorado beer sales rep was the true Correct Choice. Although Twitter is right, there’s a major silver lining here: Blake is now perfectly situated to take the Bachelor 2019 mantle.
Not only would Blake be a great Bachelor star, he would be a reminder that emotional men aren’t undateable weirdos. Rather, they’re what everyone interested in pursuing men should be looking for.
Becca and Blake’s finale sit-down was mostly painless and sweet… except for one scene the Twittersphere picked up on. At the very top of their live conversation, Blake asked if there was anything in a prospective future with him that concerned Becca, which caused her to dump him. She said no, but then added, “You got more in your head at times … it made me worry at times of how we would handle certain things down the road if someone were to get sick or something were to happen to a child.”
All of a sudden, it sounded like Blake’s consistent emotional openness, and habit of getting anxious on a show where he was competing for the woman he loved against a procession of hotties while she never said “I love you back,” was a drawback for Becca. But it shouldn’t be.
As many people on Twitter have pointed out, Garrett’s go-to reason for loving Becca — other than his stomach “eagles” and the way the Minnesotan says “bag” — is how he expects her to be a fantastic mom. In fact, he mentions it, at minimum, three times over the course of the finale, if not many more. Hence, the need for the often-mentioned minivan and orange slices. This is clearly the lens Garrett sees Becca through.
On the other hand, Blake saw Becca, as he straight-up tells her, as someone to challenge him forever as his teammate. Yes, he also imagined a family with the Bachelorette, but Becca was more than a mom-to-be for Blake — she was a future partner. That’s why he bursts into body-wracking sobs, covers his face with a towel, and nearly sweats to death after their breakup. For Blake, he had just lost the “independent and strong” woman he was hoping to go 50-50 with for the rest of his life.
While Bachelor(ette) creator Mike Fleiss seemingly expected fans would roast Blake for his emotional display in the Maldives, the opposite happened. Social media was filled with defenses of Blake’s tears and understandable anxiety in a pressure cooker of a dating competition. As one Twitter user pointed out, “Insecurity is normal and we should be encouraging men to express their feelings bc if not we end up [with] toxic masculinity.” It’s important The Bachelor(ette) normalizes how scary putting your heart on the line is on a show like this, even for men.
I’m not anti Garrett but I’m extremely disappointed in how #TheBachelorette painted Blake as mentally unstable and therefore unfit to be in healthy relationship. Insecurity is normal and we should be encouraging men to express their feelings bc if not we end up toxic masculinity— Kath ⚯͛ (@kathrynseely) August 7, 2018
Thankfully, the Bachelorette finale started setting up Blake as a viable Bachelor star as the field — currently led by the likes of Jason Tartick and the very, very good option of Wills Reid — is still wide open. Yes, even though Blake is still stumbling through the throes of heartbreak. Host Chris Harrison repeatedly says Blake “has a lot of fans,” which creates thunderous applause from the audience. Throughout Blake's first meeting with Becca since their painful split, he doesn't show a hint of malice, even though the Bachelorette nearly let him fully propose before nixing the entire thing.
And, most importantly Blake, explains, “If people think this is going to to keep me down, they didn’t watch the season too closely. Because I’ve learned and I’ve grown from a lot in my life, and this will be no different.” It's more than likely the 28-year-old was referring to the fact that he lived through that aforementioned school shooting during high school and his mother having an affair, as revealed during hometown dates. That kind of resiliency led Blake to add, “I’m not going to be scared now to fall in love again. I know my person’s still out there, and I’m never going to apologize for how hard I love.”
That, folks, is what you call a Bachelor narrative.
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