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Is The Bachelor getting a bad rap?

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After last night’s season finale of The Bachelor, media outlets are lining up to bash Juan Pablo over the head for his cringe-worthy final show – and yes, it really was cringe-worthy.

Juan Pablo has made comments throughout the show that have caused many to pull back and make that face – that pinched face like they’ve just smelled something bad. It seems to be his trademark ‘honesty’ that professes often.

Okay, we like honesty, but sometimes too much honesty comes off as critical. But how much of his honesty is actually meant to be quite that honest, and how much of it is a limited second language vocabulary?

I watched the entire season and he sticks to some of the same words over and over again. (It’s okay.) If anyone reading this has ever learned a second language, and then tried to be eloquent in that language when they are not completely fluent, then they know just how frustrating it can be to express oneself. Still, Juan Pablo can’t claim this excuse for every single moment where we all covered our eyes and said “D’oh, I can’t look!” But when the ladies came at him with their comments, we could see he felt like a cornered squirrel—he got very defensive, and no one says the best possible thing in that frame of mind. Despite all that, two women were left standing and fighting for this guy. So let's tackle the opposing viewpoint.

His choices in the finale were Clare and Nikki. Most people were team Nikki because, let’s face it, Clare came off as fake and that was a turnoff for many. Her rivalry with Nikki from early on made for good television, but from a woman’s standpoint, it was painful to watch. Two women cat-fighting over the same man—a man who by contractual agreement—gets to date, kiss, and fool around with several women with impunity, is just hard to watch. But these gals agreed to it even if it chafed against their better judgment.

Juan Pablo fell into instant heat with Clare. She’s a beautiful woman, after all, and he’s a guy; ‘nuff said. In the finale, Clare found herself surprised when JP whispered something in her ear that wasn’t a sweet nothing, wasn’t romantic, but was just down and dirty. At that moment, I wondered why she was so surprised to hear him express his carnal desires.

From the beginning, she has thrown herself at him headlong. Every chance she got, she was rubbing up against him like a cat so of course it makes sense that when she snuck out to invite him for a little moonlight rendezvous in the ocean, he was going to say yes. This isn’t The “Gay’ Bachelor! (And yea, that’s another story what with his ridiculous comment about gays being more perverted). We didn’t need a camera shooting from the distance to understand what happened. It was confirmed with his whispered comment that she wouldn’t repeat out loud, but was lip-synced in a teaser for the After the Final Rose show with a little pixilation over her mouth at just that one word, that course, harsh word that starts with f and ends with k.

By contrast, Nikki didn’t chase after him like Clare did. She was more poised and often pulled back in the same manner that Sharleen did (the opera singer who decided to leave the show earlier on). This kind of behavior seems to always make men curious enough to chase. In the case of Juan Pablo, it proved he likes to be the one pursuing. This is not unusual for most men, but it seems to be true of most Latin males. It stems from their need to be in charge (or perceive they are in charge). Reminds me of that line from My Big Fat Greek Wedding; “the man may be the head, but the woman is the neck!” But hey, in this day and age, we’ve seen that reversed in a lot of cases.

The differences in how both ladies chose to conduct themselves made it an obvious choice for a man with a daughter. Who would he rather have as a role model for Camila? The woman who chooses to throw caution to the wind and have illicit midnight meetings with a man she barely knows or the woman who withholds and acts with more decorum?

Yes, it’s that age-old double standard where men still get away with being man-whores while women who do the same are judged harshly. I agree it’s terrible, but like many inequalities in the world today, it’s still a disparaging reality, and it probably won’t change much in my lifetime despite my protests.

What it boils down to in the world of relationships, however, is quite simple. How you present yourself is how you will be treated no matter if you’re a man or a woman. If you act respectfully and demand respect, you’ll be treated with respect.

My mom, who comes from a much older generation, was actually right about this. Damnit. If a guy can get the milk for free, he won’t bother to buy the cow. I really hate that she’s right. And I was actually sorry to see Clare hurt because in the end, she realized he was using her, and she finally stood up for herself. In that moment, she earned my respect. I was happy to see her stop being a door mat for him to walk all over.

Which brings us to why Nikki was the right choice. She is stronger, emotionally, and won’t let him get away with running roughshod over her (Clare is overly sensitive). She may appear quiet and malleable on the outside, but there’s some fire in that gal. Her father raised her to demand respect, and by God, she will get it. Juan Pablo won’t get away with his boorishness around her, and it looks like he likes that. Will it ultimately lead to the altar? Who knows? Only time will tell.

The Bachelor is one of those television shows that is so difficult to watch because of all the personal, awkward moments, and yet we watch. It also proves that the more the world changes, the more it stays the same—for the sexes, at least.

Michele Gwynn is a freelance journalist and author living in San Antonio, Texas. All articles are under copyright and may not be reposted in part or whole without consent. Articles may only be referenced by title or subject matter with a direct link to original material otherwise. For permission to repost part or all of an article, please contact Ms. Gwynn at megwynn@msn.com.

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