Let me ask you this: if you went out on a Tinder date and immediately knew the chemistry wasn’t there, would you pursue that person alongside 20+ others who were vying for their attention? That is abnormal behaviour, which is why seeing musician Jed McIntosh get rejected on The Bachelors premiere last night was necessary.
Brutal, yes, but extremely welcomed after a decade of contestants pretending to like whatever random Channel Ten chose for them to date.
In case you missed it, all three of The Bachelors’ leading and blindingly white men were given 10 roses each for the premiere episode. McIntosh, basketballer Felix Von Hofe and life coach Thomas Malucelli were then sent on a bunch of dates and instructed to give roses to the women they want to see again at the Gold Coast Bachelor mansion.
McIntosh’s first date was with psychology graduate Catelyn and after deciding she was “perfect”, he offered her the first rose. “Um, so, it has been lovely getting to know you,” she responded. “But unfortunately I’m not going to accept this rose.”
She courteously explained: “I feel a definite friendship and a huge level of comfort between us. But I’m not quite sure that it’s romantic. I wish the best for you and I hope that you meet someone. I’d love to stay friends and stay in contact.”
McIntosh threw a tantrum and told the cameras that it was a “bash to the ego”, questioning whether or not he was “hot enough”.
Uh, yeah. Welcome to literally all of our lives? Rejection is a normal thing to happen in the real world regardless of how many tattoos you have and how many musicians you resemble.
Rejection happens to hot people, nice people and people that tick every damn box except the one needed to take a friendship to a relationship.
But what really irked me was this line that somehow made its way out of his mouth and onto our screens: “I thought I was the one making those decisions, but apparently not.”
Does he think no one has a right to turn down The Bachelor? Do women not get a say? Are we lucky just to be chosen?
No, no and hell fucking no. We’re allowed to say no if we’re not into someone. It’s 2023 and it’s about time The Bachelor Australia caught up, even if their dismal attempts at diversity can’t.
The Bachelor has never been more realistic than just now, when a woman rejected a man and he had a tanty over it #TheBachelorsAU
— Que Sera Sarah✨ (@sayssare) January 9, 2023
Sometimes two people just aren’t in sync and it’s no one’s fault, especially if that person was upfront straight away, before real feelings were invested.
Being The Bachelor doesn’t make you automatically exempt from other people’s natural human wants, needs and responses. It doesn’t make you instantly attractive to everyone.
Even Tim Robards — our very first, objectively hot and unfairly fit pick for The Bachelor Australia — wasn’t my cup of tea. I’m sure he wasn’t a whole bunch of other people’s type as well. In fact, I’m positive that some of the women who were actually on Robards’ season weren’t even into him.
I refuse to believe that every contestant has been into every Bachelor (or Bachelorette, to be fair). You can’t just throw someone in front of a bunch of people and expect that they’ll like them from the get-go.
Sure, the likes of Megan Marx (Richie Strahan‘s season) and Carissa Croft (Blurton’s season) have somewhat rejected the lead mid-show, but they cited the competitive concept of the production as the problem. They weren’t rejecting the lead, they were rejecting the format.
Vanessa Sunshine from Nick Cummins‘ season of The Bachelor Australia is another good example. She made it pretty clear that she wasn’t attracted to the Honey Badger yet hung around long enough for her (frankly absurd) name to be remembered. There were even rumours during Cummins’ season that the women were reportedly persuaded by producers to stay with the promise of being considered for Bachelor In Paradise.
None of us should be surprised that some contestants turn a blind eye to their true feelings in order to gain clout. If that’s why they’re going on a show (don’t try and tell me it’s for love), then that’s why they’ll hang around even if they’re not feeling it. Or maybe they’re just hanging around because they haven’t even had the chance to get to know the person and therefore make a judgement call.
NW reported that producers “told the girls not to make any rash decisions — to give him a go, and decide after getting to know him properly,” during Cummins’ season, which is fair considering the fleeting red carpet arrival to gauge a first impression. So while the new The Bachelors format is chaotic and overwhelming, at least it gave the contestants enough of a basis to decide whether or not they even like the person they’re meant to be fighting for.
The amount of kissing going on during these first dates only gives more of an opportunity for contestants to discern between friendship or something more. Kissing during a premiere episode is something I can’t recall seeing on The Bachelor Australia — even though it happens all the time on The Bachelor US — but it also makes total sense to speed along the relationship (and to help figure out if they actually like them). Whether The Bachelor ends up in the friend zone as a result is no one’s fault.
Yet somehow the headlines today are about McIntosh’s “brutal” rejection. Isn’t rejection the better thing to do, rather than torture yourself (and the lead) for the sake of airtime? Cruel to be kind? Common decency? Once you know you don’t like someone — however quickly or long that might take — shouldn’t you tap out?
We all bang on about wanting honesty, transparency and answers in a savage dating circuit, which is exactly what happened on last night’s episode of The Bachelors.
That is normal behaviour. Rejection is normal behaviour.
If we could choose who we are and aren’t attracted to (both physically and mentally), I’m sure we’d jump at it. But unless that somehow magically happens, we need to invite the rejection on both our TV screens and in our personal lives.
Faking it never did any favours for anyone.
Chantelle Schmidt is a freelance writer. You can follow her here.