Take It or Leave It

Can a normal human being actually fall in love with two different people at the same time? This has been the question that has constantly been on my mind since the beginning of the season as I watched Ben on his not so private journey to find a permanent companion. This question as difficult as it is to answer begets more questions and draws a very definitive line in the proverbial sand between the Realists and the Romantics of the Bachelor Nation. As the drama draws to a close it seems to me to be an opportune time to try to separate Heads from Tails as Ben completes his journey.

Our first glimpse of Ben is that of a somewhat split soul in need of advice from trusted sources which materialize in the form of mother and sister. Ben’s mother, Barbara and his sister, Julia arrive in Switzerland and quickly hone in on Ben’s feelings of indecision about the most important decision of his young life. With his family council in place, Ben delves into the intricacies of the final two women left standing in the Thunderdome. Ben describes Lindzi as the type of woman who “lights up the room” upon entrance but remains emotionally guarded during their personal time together. Ben then mentions to mom and sis that his and Lindzi’s relationship has progressed slowly and I think we all know that “slow”, “slow building”, “need more time”, etc. are not positive words or phrases in Bachelor/ Bachelorette-speak. This conversation is topped off with a pure Cherry from Julia who wonders if there was “a girl that was more dramatic or that the other girls didn’t like?” Julia is obviously a sharp cookie who knows women but I didn’t realize she was Sylvia Browne without the talons! Ben tells mom and sis that the other finalist is a woman that he’s had strong feelings for that have been somewhat tempered by reservations that he hopes his family can help to assuage.

Operation Ko Samui

Lindzi is first to meet the Flajnik’s and in nervous anticipation she realizes that this meeting is her only chance to express the love she feels for Ben to his bodyguards. In the presence of Barbara who is a former interrogator with the Central Intelligence Agency, Lindzi does her best Gaylord Focker and literally fumbles her way through dinner as Barbara attempts to extract vital nuggets regarding her true feelings for Ben. Lindzi manages to regain her composure long enough to explain that Ben is the type of person that: “you never want to stop talking to” and that she would be honored if he chose her as his life partner. The shrewd Flajnik Matriarch seeing that her enhanced interrogation has failed to crack Lindzi decides to try another approach and sends in Julia aka, The Clairvoyant. Julia goes “good cop” and successfully lowers Lindzi’s guard by advising her on what types of traits Ben needs to see from any potential mate. With all defenses down, Julia initiates the final “character” test to see if Lindzi will throw the “other girl” under the bus. Miraculously, after hours of intense interrogations under constant threat of more wine and Hors d’oeuvres in the horrible confines of a 5 Star Resort, Lindzi gracefully sidesteps the question and her strength of character is cemented with the Flajnik Cabal and Ben is able to exhale as the first finalist is successfully vetted.

Water Boarding Time!

In the season’s most anticipated meeting since Ben met Courtney’s family, it is now Crockett and Tubb’s turn to size up the “the model”. Julia immediately throws red flags all over the field faster than an NFL head coach eager to see a favorable replay on a Jumbo-Tron. Obviously using Lindzi’s visit as the watermark, Julia is noticeably apprehensive about Courtney and her ability to play nice with other people, much less fit in with her and Barbara. At this juncture, Ben’s future with Courtney lies solely on her ability to be the woman he saw and fell in love with and not the “other girl” we all saw during most of the season. Julia, who is anxious to sort out Courtney’s fact from fiction skips the foreplay and jumps right in asking: “I heard a few things about you not getting along with the other girls and for anyone with an outsider’s prospective that’s always kind of a red flag.” At this point we viewers have heard Courtney’s explanations for her previous actions so it’s no surprise that her response to Julia’s query doesn’t yield any new details as to why we’ve seen two different Courtney’s this season. I do feel that Julia attempted to do her due diligence on her brother’s behalf but I can’t help but think there was much more to this conversation left on the cutting room floor (I know, I know, all editing is digital now but it’s such a great visual). Having seemingly gained the approval of one half of Ben’s council Courtney now sits with the Materfamilias of the Flajnik family. The between Courtney and Barbara starts off as smoothly as jagged glass as Courtney seems to call out Ben’s qualities in a way you would if you were trying to describe an unattractive person to make them seem attractive: “He’s special, and smart and funny…He’s so funny and smart, I love him. He’s the best.” I actually agree with Courtney here as does Barbara because Ben happens to be one funny dude but I would hope that you could come up with some deeper descriptions about someone that you would want to spend the rest of your life with. Then again they’ve only spent a total of about 21.7 hours together? Barbara does her motherly best to calm Courtney and her self-proclaimed vulnerability about feeling so strongly for Ben with another woman still in the picture. Barbara draws comparisons to Ben’s previous journey with Ashley and how seriously he took that decision prior to Tebowing and that he would exhibit the same care and thought this time around especially in light of how the last season ended for him. Courtney agrees with Barbara and is left to rely on the strength of her personal connection with Ben to console her fears until decision-time. Surely, the decision to chill out near the finish line wasn’t easy for someone who struggles with competition pertaining to matters of the heart but Courtney has done all that she could in terms of damage control and the rest is out of her hands. Courtney won the approval of Ben’s family which I’m sure, made his final decision that much easier.

Two Women Enter, One Woman Leave…in a Taxi

Ben, fresh with the knowledge that his immediate family approves of both of his finalists has a final date with each women to decide the future of three people. Both dates are fat on natural beauty but very lean in terms of revealing any more depth about either relationship. It’s clear to me that Ben and Courtney have a more natural connection that is evident in Ben’s goofy humor that I was privileged to be around last year as we chased Ashley across Asia. This is not to say that Lindzi and Ben aren’t compatible because I think that they have a mutual respect and admiration for one another but these qualities aren’t as dynamic as they are between Ben and Courtney. Again I ask question: can anyone fall in love with two people at the same time?

The scene is set for an epic proposal at the base of the Pennine Alps with the magnificent Matterhorn looming in the distance. Ben ascends to the spot where he will have the best and worst conversations of his life only a few minutes apart from each other.

Surely by now those who opted out of ruining the show with spoilers have all but concluded Ben would choose Courtney while still holding out on the slim chance of an upset in Lindzi’s favor. Alas we know the first person out of the helicopter is the first to be sent home single. Lindzi emerges confident, excited and hopeful as she’s escorted with the upmost professionalism by our host Chris Harrison who hands her off to Ben. As the couple stands and reflects on the positives of their journey it is clear that Ben realizes there isn’t an easy way to let go of someone who loves you. Ben releases Lindzi from their relationship, which is actually very anti-climatic due to Lindzi’s confidence and class. She takes the news in stride and sheds nary a tear which is in stark contrast to the previous departures of Kacie and Nicki who were left visibly shocked by Ben’s decision to let them go. I imagine the pain Ben felt when he was on the receiving end of being let go only served to teach him to release those who were actually more emotionally invested earlier knowing that the larger stage would only intensify the hurt. I’m not saying that Lindzi didn’t have true feelings for Ben. Instead I feel she answered the question I posed at the beginning of this blog a little earlier than the other girls before her.

We’ve now come full circle as the man who swore to me prior to leaving for his second attempt at love in the public eye, “I’m not going to be the guy who proposes twice on TV in six months,” now has and I can tell you he is happy. From the beginning Courtney has always been Ben’s vision of beauty even if everyone else around didn’t want to see it. Like any relationship they’ve encountered hardships and most have surfaced too early for a relationship that still is trying to build legs to stand on but that’s the tradeoff for a natural love born out of unnatural circumstances. Many questions have been asked of Ben in regards to him not giving all the women in his company a fair chance at earning his love. The reality of the situation is Ben is not an actor capable of truly masking his feelings or simply creating them for someone when all that exists is superficial or platonic. Imagine those of you who are in love and how deep you feel for your partner, now place yourself in a speed dating tournament where you aren’t allowed to fully express how you really feel. I wonder who of you would fare any better?

I don’t believe you can honestly be in love with two different people at the same time. This is based on my own definition of love in its simplest of terms, for me the love I give would be the love I would expect to receive. Therefore if you truly love the one you are with how can you expect to give anything less than all of your heart? By definition the term giving all means there shouldn’t be any left to share, it’s really that simple. As fans you must come to the realization that Lindzi, Nicki, Kacie, Ben and even myself at times were all just playing our parts in a someone else’s love story.

I want to thank everyone for taking the time to read my views throughout this season. I appreciate the support and even the criticism I’ve received as they simply helped to form the opinions I’ve expressed within my blogs. Above all congratulations Ben, I can’t wait to meet Courtney and have a laugh at just how crazy blessed our lives have been over the past year.

All the Best,

Constantine Tzortzis