MICHAEL STAGLIANO: FINALE

The final episode (really 2 episodes with ATFR) always makes me feel like I watched the romantic equivalent of all 3 Lord of The Rings. Right? Though I winced every time I heard Chris, or Ben, or the girls say the word “journey.” Now that the show is done it really does feel like a long adventure has come to a close.

Especially after watching ATFR, I feel a little sad actually. Maybe it’s a little bit of guilt, or ashamed of disliking Courtney so much. Maybe I am just a sucker for seeing people in tears. Maybe it’s the end of the adventure…

But let’s revisit the episode and pull out some things to laugh/poke fun at.

I loved seeing the interaction between Ben and his Mom and sister when they showed up Switzerland. He gave them multiple hugs and couldn’t say enough about how relieved he was to see them, how good it was to have them around, and how much he missed them. So awesome. I love seeing a close-knit family. It such an important part of life. So special.

Ben briefly describes the women to his mom and sister. As all of us have been feeling all season, Ben’s sister is weary of Courtney’s lack of friendships with the other girls and that she is a Model. And as we know already, Ben describes Lindzi as a “slow burn.”

Lindzi shows up and is clearly nervous, she fuddles around with a fork during lunch (adorable) and she seems anxious talking to Julie and Ben’s mom. Any nerves seem to disappear though once she is able to describe why she loves Ben, and that she IS IN LOVE with him. She wins Julie over immediately, and while they were standing outside on the balcony, I could honestly see them being friends/sister in laws. Again, I saw a glazed over lack of interest for Lindzi, from Ben… though I really did think Ben wanted something more to be there. I think he wanted that for weeks and weeks…it just wasn’t there with Lindzi. I wouldn’t go as far to say that they seemed uncomfortable during their alone time but there was certainly a spark missing between them.

Courtney arrives and I was surprised that I wasn’t that nervous for her. I was imagining that I would be holding my breath the whole time, wondering how the HELL she was going to pull herself out of the massive hole she had built… but she was great. She seemed genuinely happy to meet Ben’s family. She appeared honest in describing her feelings…and more importantly I think when Ben and Courtney were together on that mountain, sledding and barbecuing (would we call that barbecue?) I was certain it was going to be her. Ben looked like he was in love. He couldn’t get enough kisses, and hand holding and physical contact. They were laughing together and giddy, and while it is hard to forget how terrible she was to the other girls the last 9 weeks. Seeing her on the WTA the week before, and hearing her be truly remorseful, and apologize. I will never ask anything more from someone to diffuse my disliking of them. She really did win me over last week… and seeing her so happy with Ben in that moment during their picnic I was actually happy for her, and Ben.

Fast forward to the proposal.

I don’t pretend to know a lot about fashion. But, am I nuts or did the girls’ dresses look beautiful…sure…absolutely. But what in the hell… were those cloak things? Courtney looked Cruella Deville, Linzdi looked an Elf from Lord of the Rings. I can imagine no circumstance and no woman on earth that those two pieces of clothing would seem attractive. Yikes.

Fortunately, Lindzi loses the Harry Potter Cloak of Invisibility before she sees Ben. Unfortunately, she gets dumped. Again, I really can’t say I was surprised here. I would have been SHOCKED if he did pick her. It just wasn’t there. I think Lindzi is incredible and seems to be a wonderful, kind, caring woman on the inside. But honestly I don’t feel like we got to know her that well. Think about how much we got to know and love, Nicki, Emily, Kacie B. I don’t feel like I got to know Lindzi anywhere near as much as I did with those other girls. I am NOT saying I disliked Lindzi. I AM saying I can see why Ben didn’t pick her.

The proposal to Courtney is beautiful. I was a fan actually. She was sincere in her tears, and her happiness. And Ben, not exactly a wordsmith, did manage to spill out a heartfelt honest proposal. It WAS the fairy-tale moment that we all expect in the end. I don’t think it was with the person any of us would have picked.

That being said: The After The Final Rose show. Whew.

Seriously, where to begin.

Life can deal out some interesting lessons. One that I am constantly enamored by is a lesson in forgiveness. It is one of life’s hardest tests. I think it sucks to forgive someone. Ultimately it makes us swallow our pride and admit your “wrongness” doesn’t mean as much as how much I care for you. That is a super VULNERABLE and difficult thing to admit to another human, especially if the “wrong-doing” is something big.

I also think that humans mistake forgiveness as a sign of weakness. It is deemed as kind of “unmanly”. Done too much, and all of a sudden you are being a “doormat”, people are “walking all over you”.

I believe the opposite is true. I think it shows an incredible amount of strength to forgive. I think it shows you have a courageous heart, and a strong mind to be able to show someone that you can love them, and support them despite them hurting you. That’s friggin bad ass.

Point being – I think Ben showed a lot of strength in forgiving Courtney. Maybe he didn’t come right out and say it, but him sitting there with her, putting the ring back on her finger, saying I love you, and I still want to marry you – THAT was strength. THAT is how I think humans should live, and treat one another.

I know I am sapping it up right now, and I don’t want to get even mushier. But I also want to applaud Courtney in her strength as well. She swallowed her pride, sat in front of America (THINK ABOUT HOW HARD THAT WAS FOR HER) and said… “I was wrong… I regret a lot…but I still love this man, and still want to be with him.”

Maybe a lot of people (I think most of America) will disagree. But I think Courtney deserves a fresh look in my book. Yes, I “hated” her during the show. I ragged on her; I called her a demon, hahaha. And you know what, she kind of was. She was rude, inconsiderate, spiteful, harsh and more! A long list of reasons to brush her off as a B*ITCH.

But, she admitted her mistakes; she IS in love with Ben. It was NOT an act. And I am all for it.

At the end of the day (season) I think the show worked. I think two people are in love, and are going to try and get married.

JP and Ashley were a breath of fresh air (as always). I got to hang out with these two ALL DAY last Monday and I literally can’t say enough good things about them. They are so much fun, so likable. They are constantly smiling, playing/flirting with each other. I can’t wait to see the day they get married and if I don’t get invited to the wedding I will be crashing it for sure. Hahaha.

It has been a surprisingly fun addition to my week to blog about this show and read all of your comments.

I do not know what the future holds for me in terms of Bachelor Pad 3 or The Bachelor. I have read in a lot of your comments that you want me to be the next Bachelor and I am humbled by those thoughts and so thankful for your support. If it does happen, then I will have you all to thank. If it doesn’t then I thank you anyway for your kind words and your love.

It feels like I get asked about my love life all the time, what my dating situation is. And while I wouldn’t say that I am lonely, I do have a small amount of sadness that I haven’t found her yet. My twin brother is happily married; my younger sister is happily married. My parents have been happily married for over 25 years.

I am supremely confident that she is out there. I just don’t think it is our time yet. So if you are reading this now I am looking for you. I am almost positive I will know it from the second I see you. So my eyes are open.

Thank you all for reading.

All my Love

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Michael