The Bachelor formula has, for the most part, been set in stone in each season; twenty girls fight it out for boy, boy whittles it down to two; one girl gets her heart broken, left to pick up the pieces of the past weeks, reflecting on affirmations from said boy, that include phrases synonymous with the franchise: "I'm falling in love with you", "I can't imagine my life without you", "Nobody's made me feel like you do."
Bar Nick 'Honey Badger' Cummins, the series of events has remained unchanged. For those years, we've seen the so-called "second pick" walk away in her princess gown without giving much thought. Instead, found hilarity in their post limo car rides, mocking the tears shed and longing looks to the distance, as they proclaim they "just want to go home."
This season though, it became clear that so-called-trope of coming second does not warrant such response. Instead, Bella proved, about time, no, how about the man so many women put their heart on the line for, takes responsibility for the feelings he inflicted on the person now regarded as his throw away.
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By all means, Bella had no right to think she’d be left walking home without Locky. He told her flat out, TWICE, he loved her–words that even in reality TV format, should not be spoken without thought or intention–and even went to the effort to write a poem on his arm, a tribute to their very first meeting on the red carpet.
Sweet! Cute! Love! Is what Bella might have been thinking when presented those intentional actions, because, why wouldn’t she? Again, even in the reality TV realm, there are actions that should not be taken lightly. Saying I love you, among them.
So, on realisation that she was in fact, his second place, Bella became a reflection of many modern women, her simple sentence pulsing through what many of us have thought: "Do not turn this around on me."
As Locky attempted to explain his decision, saying it was somehow her fault as she had not been "clear on the future", her choice words were praised by those who quickly saw themselves in Bella's shoes.
As one Twitter user put it, "Fuck yes, Bella. I love that you're standing up for yourself."
She's also not the only one who's thought that the leading man's actions equaled them getting their hearts broken.
Last year, standing across from Matt Agnew, Abbie Chatfield delivered her own perfect response to not being handed that final rose.
As Matt told her his "heart belongs to someone else", there was a sudden shift. Not taking it without getting the answers she deserved, Abbie asked him flat out why he had chosen Chelsie–an acceptable question when you've been given nothing but reassurance for weeks by the man standing in front of you.
Osher Gunsberg, who has hosted all eight seasons of the franchise, also hasn't stayed quiet on the way a leading man cruely leads some women on during the seasons.
Speaking on his Cocktails And Roses podcast, the host said he respected Sam Wood, who lead the series in 2015, because he refused to string along women he wasn’t interested in.
"If you’re a prospective Bachelor and you’re listening to this show as research – if you’re in the pre-[show] bubble lockdown figuring out what the hell you’re going to do as the Bachelor – Sam Wood it, mate," he said. "If you’re not feeling on the single, in my opinion be a big man, Sam Wood it and say goodnight right there and then.'
Not naming any names *cough Nick Cummins*, but repeatedly telling a woman you're interested - even going so far as to say I love you - when you have no intention of continuing a relationship, is not the solution. And finally, we're starting to see it called out.