‘The Bachelor’: The Secret Virgin vs. The Fantasy SuiteABC
If you’re reading these words, you’ve made it to Fantasy Suite Week. Are congratulations in order? Let us answer that question with a question: Are you here to pat yourself on the back for your delicious proximity to victory, or to accept that there is still more work to do if you have any hope of ripping that Final Rose from your Bachelor’s grasp, of watching him kneel before you and stumble through an offer that falls somewhere on the relationship continuum between “We should spend the rest of our lives together” and “Let’s see how this plays out once the producers cut off the helicopter access”? If you’re in the former camp, we fear that you lack the perspective to advance much further on your journey to ForeverLove; all you’ve “won” so far is a free night of postcoital spooning at a three-and-a-half-star resort in a tourist destination with favorable exchange rates for a budget-conscious television production, and perhaps that is reward enough for your efforts. Fantastic. It must be nice to live a life of such modest expectations. Every sunrise must feel like a gift. That’s beautiful in its own mundane way.
But if you’re the type who realizes the Fantasy Suites are merely another challenge to dominate on the way to your ultimate goal, we can help you. You’re our people. You know the sun comes up every day, and you’re not going to waste precious time on something that can’t help you win.
Come on in and close the doors behind you. There’s learning to do. Let’s figure out how to get you to the next step.
Let your guard down.
By this point, you’ve spent several weeks — exactly how many is unknowable, as Bachelor Time defies all accounting — getting to know the man who is about to invite you on the most important overnight date of your life. You’ve crisscrossed the globe together to reach this point. You’ve picnicked together multiple times against various stunning vistas, enjoying the finest craft service crudités from a dizzying array of wicker baskets. You’ve been pressed into more agriculture-related nonsense than you care to recall, especially on an invigorating morning stroll through an exotic island village infested with monkeys who will bite your eyes right out of the sockets if you don’t pay their banana extortion. (And even if you pay, they’ll urinate all over your Bachelor’s shirt as a dominance display. He’ll laugh it off; a damp Oxford is a much better outcome than a macaque peeling his eyeball like a ripe grape.) You’re moments away from receiving the envelope containing your Fantasy Suite invitation from his hands, trembling with the expectation of your first camera-free night together.
Now is the time to let your guard down. Leaving it up certainly won’t stop you from enjoying whatever long-repressed desires come trickling through their cracks once you’re alone, but it will be a counterproductive experience without the total vulnerability your Bachelor demands during this round of erotic conquest. This is the game: You hand him your heart, then hope against hope he doesn’t just rub it against his genitals and then hurl it into the ocean. Especially after you’ve already spent a long night testing out the structural integrity of an assortment of hotel-quality rattan furniture. (In a pleasant surprise, it holds up to pretty much anything; you will order some for the sex-patio.) Tear down those walls. Risk the sight of your heart arcing into the surf. You can always return the furniture, they have a surprisingly reasonable refund policy.
Use your words.
He will say, “I am falling in love with you,” a verbal hedge against the cognitive dissonance of thinking he is in love with three women simultaneously. He will say, “I can see myself with you forever,” conjuring an image hazy enough to dispel with a couple of shakes of the head if things don’t quite pan out.
But you must say: “I am in love with you.” “I want to be with you forever.” You must remove the ambiguity. You must be precise in your language. He has three options; you have one: Your Bachelor. He must believe it is him or nothing. That his potential rejection of you is tantamount to immediate banishment to Spinster Nunnery on Sad Aunt Island, where you will tend the cat stables for the rest of your wretched, emotionally desolate days. Put the pressure back on him with your words. “Here is my heart. Please don’t do the thing with the genitals and the ocean. I don’t even like cats.”
Take the first schooner to Bone Harbor.
Our most sincere apologies for the unacceptable maritime pun; we have no idea who snuck that into the curriculum, but rest assured they have already been fired. The lesson, however, is solid: If there’s a boat adventure involved in the run-up to your Fantasy Suite invitation, you know, get onboard. There is no better way to build anticipation for the most exciting night of your life than enjoying one last picnic beneath some wind-swelled sails while a friendly captain watches you and your Bachelor feed each other chocolate-dipped strawberries. That captain’s beaming smile will stay with you. As will the thought that he may try to follow you back to your hotel and see how the date finishes up, from your closet. The sea can be a lonely place.
Drop the virginity bomb.
It’s time. Here you are, holding a handwritten note from Chris Harrison — he knows, he’s always known — inviting you to spend one magical night “as a couple,” free of the camera’s merciless, intrusive eye. There can be no more stalling. You must tell your Bachelor that you are a secret virgin, that you have thrived in the shadows of chastity while others cavorted in the harsh daylight of promiscuity, that you have taken down 26 non-virgins and one misguided sister-virgin who was ostentatious with her virtue. Here you are, sitting before him, one of his final three choices, take you or leave you. You have played it perfectly; you can see it on his stunned face as your Bachelor struggles to process this information, to find the combination of words that expresses his complicated feelings about this unexpected turn of events.
Once he recovers, he will try to say the right things. That, whew, thanks for sharing, that’s so great, he super respects that, congratulations on making that happen for yourself, wow, but what’s important now is seeing if any of this can work. You will both agree that the logical thing is to take this matter to the Fantasy Suite, where all questions are answered, all problems solved, one way or another. Go with him. You have some stuff to figure out. Like that virginity thing, OK, seriously, so, so great you get some time alone to explore the ramifications of that, cool, cool.
Move the goalposts.
So, yes: You’re a virgin. That’s all out in the open. You’re saving yourself for marriage. Or are you? Aren’t you actually saving yourself for love? You’ve never been in love. And now you’re falling in love. You may even be in love, this bellyful of butterflies is what everyone else has always told you is love, even if you’ve never before experienced that queasy fluttering yourself. Isn’t the whole point of this competition to get married, sort of, if we want to return to the original point of the saving-yourself idea? You’re practically married already, and the Fantasy Suite is just a Honeymoon Suite with an even cooler name, right?
And hasn’t he given you, like, a whole bunch of flowers along the way? Isn’t it the equitable thing to finally give him yours?
These questions are complex. You can’t answer any of them in front of a television crew. They can only be dealt with in the privacy of the Fantasy Suite. As a couple. As a humble farmer and his virgin princess, trying to write the proper ending to their fairy tale. Maybe that ending involves the princess walking along the beach the next morning, reflecting on the answers you ultimately came up with behind those closed doors, in that hot tub, on that rose-petal-strewn bed.
Staring out into the ocean.
Hoping your heart doesn’t wind up bobbing in the surf next week.