This week, it was a big surprise when Constantine Tzortzis – who seemed really into Ashley and had been getting a positive edit all season – suddenly told Bachelorette Ashley Hebert that he didn’t think he could stay on the show. He excused himself from the Fantasy Suite and left Ben and JP as the last two guys standing. However, Constantine’s explanation of why he was leaving sounded weird and kind of fake – he talked a lot, but he didn’t say very much. There were some references to not being sure and to needing more time, but they seemed to contradict stuff he’d said earlier in the season. However, some online speculation could shine a light into Constantine’s actual motivations – rumors are swirling that Constantine’s strict Greek Orthodox views made it impossible for him to propose to someone not of the same faith.
During the hometown dates last week, we met Constantine’s family, who embodied My Big Fat Greek Wedding cliches to the point where I expected his dad to bust out a container of Windex. According to blogger Reality Steve (who has correctly spoiled many details about the show, including the identities of the final four), Constantine brought up religious differences during his speech about not continuing on the show. Reportedly, Constantine’s family told him off-camera that they really wanted him to marry a Greek Orthodox woman, and he reportedly brought it up on his last date with Ashley, although the footage didn’t make it to air.
If this rumor is true, it’s a shame the religion conversation didn’t come up on the show. Religious differences are a real thing that many couples have to deal with – my own parents are interfaith, and it’s something they talked about before getting married – and it’s a hell of a lot more relatable than yet another conversation about “feelings” and “connection” and “journey.” If we’re supposed to believe that the people who go on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette really will get engaged at the end and have a legitimate, meaningful relationship afterward, we should also get to see them have honest conversations about kids, careers, where to live, and other expectations. Instead, we just get recycled conversations about how amazing everything is, without much substance.
It shouldn’t be surprising that The Bachelor and The Bachelorette steer clear of anything remotely controversial, preferring to present a wholesome, vanilla interpretation of love. After plenty of criticism in the media (including this very site) about the fact that there has never been a Bachelor or Bachelorette of color, the shows’ producer Mike Fleiss all but admitted that he plans to keep the show as white as possible so they don’t have to deal with anyone potentially being offended by an interracial romance. Since Fleiss’ definition of love is toothless, his show will be too. I guess we’ll have to find another place for serious conversations about interfaith relationships.