If you had told me at the beginning of this season of The Bachelorette how much I would come to like and respect its star, Emily Maynard, I would’ve laughed in your face and gone right back to being scornful of The Bachelorette, as I am wont to do. Typically the Bachelor or Bachelorette at the center of the drama is someone I enjoy watching squirm as he or she pretends to be interested in people way past any real emotional connection. Some people are better at faking it than others, but it seems to be something they’re all expected to do, to keep the suspense of the show going. But this season, the producers at ABC accidentally ended up with a woman who is intelligent, genuine, and empathetic as well as beautiful, and she had no interest in stringing people along to increase the show’s ratings. Pretty much every episode, with one or two exceptions, she didn’t even wait for a Rose Ceremony to send someone packing with whom she didn’t have a spark. The moment she realized that she didn’t have or want a future with them, she broke it to them immediately, and mostly for their benefit instead of hers. When Tony was missing his kid and worrying he was doing the wrong thing by leaving him at home to do the show, Emily saw that there was no point in him waiting around, and let him go. She did the same thing for Doug when their relationship wasn’t progressing at the same rate as the other guys’, and as soon as she got red flags from Alessandro and Kalon, she angrily excused them as well. This girl was not interested in playing pretend. She really was there to find a husband for herself and a father for Ricki, and the show was just a vehicle for that.
She went the other way as well, though. She never sent a guy home without giving him the benefit of the doubt. She felt like she was in the ‘friend zone’ with Travis and went on a date with him anyway to be sure, ultimately sending him home when she was sure the spark wasn’t there. She even added another rose at one point so that she didn’t have to decide between Doug and John, because she didn’t have enough information yet to do that, so it didn’t feel fair. The only time she almost didn’t follow her heart was with Ryan, who tried to manipulate her into thinking that she was making the wrong decision. But even there she sent him home, proving the quality of her instincts. I think it it must be because she’s a mother that she’s not willing to gamble on her happiness. She trusts her gut and follows her heart without being reckless, and I think we could all learn a lesson from her, particularly me.
And last night on the finale was no different. She had gone into the episode unsure about which guy she wanted to choose, but after seeing Jef and Ricki interact, it became clear to her that he was the person she wanted to be with. Arie had met her family and everything, and she was even supposed to go on a date with him later that same day, but she called host Chris Harrison to the house and told him she couldn’t go through with it. She didn’t want to put a face on and lie all day to a man she really cared about. As hard as it was, she wanted to tell Arie to his face as soon as possible, as soon as she knew that he wasn’t the one. And as heart-wrenching as it was to hear her make that revelation and then hear Arie in an interview call her the love of his life and talk about getting engaged tomorrow, think of how much harder it would’ve been if she’d waited until he was down on one knee. It wouldn’t have been fair, and I’m so so so impressed with Emily for realizing that. I’ve never seen a Bachelor or Bachelorette who was so self-aware and able to use the show for the right reasons. She had no problem ruining the cliff-hanger of the season to protect the feelings of someone she cared about. I feel like I’m gushing about this girl, but she really deserves it. It’s so incredible that she was able to stay centered even surrounded by video cameras as twenty-five guys competed for her attention. I seriously wish I were have as composed as she is in my daily life.
So yes, bottom line — Jef proposed, and Emily said yes, so they’re engaged and even though I’m cynical, I really do think they’ll get married and stay together. The Emily I’ve grown to know and love wouldn’t have said yes, otherwise. And I’m also predicting that Mr. Sean Lowe is gonna be the next Bachelor, to proudly go forth and park his tongue in other women’s mouths like a lazy eel.