It takes less than 30 seconds into the first episode of The Bachelor season 19 for my worst fears to be confirmed, and I guarantee the moment prompts quite a few eye rolls. I won’t dwell too much on my belief that Farmer Chris Soules is a less-than-stellar choice, which includes but is not limited to his listing of “accidental diarrhea” as his biggest dating fear on his Bachelorette bio and “reading magazines about farming” as his interests, because I try to keep an open mind headed into any season, know he’s sincere and genuinely nice, and also realize he is a fan favorite.
But so was Juan Pablo.
Still, it must be discussed that the practice of choosing a rejected suitor from the previous season is dated and needs to stop. Because while there are plenty of fish in the sea, when the pickins’ are slim, it’s time to move your rod to a new dating pool.
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A Downward Spiral
Andi Dorfman’s season was a trainwreck, from dudes who don’t wash their hands after they piddle to unrevealed lie-detector test results to a man weakly asking why she had sex with him if she didn’t love him to a centerpiece more concerned with her rising star than her quest for love.
And I, for one, place all the blame on Brooks. Yep, that’s right, that long-haired gentleman who broke Desiree Hartsock’s heart during her own season and sent the franchise on a collision course with loneliness.
After that drawn-out bit of TV drama, Desiree sent eight-pack-ab favorite Drew packing and settled with Chris and his terrible poetry. And while wedding bells still may chime, and another awful rose-based novella of crappy rhyming prose may be penned, the real writing was on the wall.
Next came Juan Pablo, his overuse of “ees okay” and his marked underuse of the word “love” on a reality show meant to find it. Followed by Andi, her cast of jabronis and a fiance who quit baseball but couldn’t stop talking about being a baseball player. And that brings us to Chris…
Prince Farming and the Glass Slipper
It’s important to note that I was on team Nick during Andi’s season, as I thought he was genuine and there for the right reasons. Sure, he was a little arrogant, but everything he did was to get his woman, not to besmirch the other guys. And Chris was one of the hosts of the whine party that ensued. That is one of the four main things that annoyed me about him.
The other three are: fly a “Chris Loves Andi” banner over his hometown (which reminds me of every ballpark proposal), slip her notes from a secret admirer (c’mon, dude, you’re 32) and seriously propose that Andi move to Iowa and become a housewife (I know you’re a wealthy Republican, but at least let her be the one to decide if she doesn’t want to work anymore). It all apparently killed her lady boner (but not America’s!), as he was the one man who didn’t get to enter the fantasy suite.
So what is it about the first 30 seconds of the season that has me cringing? Chris’ first appearance on screen is riding a motorcycle in a leather jacket and a huge helmet that is best described as safety-conscious. It makes me laugh because they are clearly trying to portray him as a bit of a bad boy, when he couldn’t be further from that. If you want to make him look manly, show him riding a tractor or working on one without his shirt on. But really? A badass on a chopper? This is a guy who thinks being a secret admirer is a cute thing to do in your 30’s.
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Won’t You Take Me to … Funky Barn?
I guess that went on a bit longer than I intended, but seeing as we have three hours and a bunch of nicknames to get through, that’s probably enough background material. Remember last season, when Andi’s premiere lasted all of 90 minutes? What the heck was wrong with that? Does Chris need 180 minutes to grow on us? Is he Monsanto-ing us with pesticides? Or simply getting ready to plant his seeds, ba-dum tshhhh.
And let’s be honest, the premiere recap is the longest of the season when it’s only two hours (and also the hardest to write, as I’m constantly backtracking to determine who everyone is), so I’ll spare you a recap of the live show filler hour. If something amazing happens, I’ll mention it. But otherwise, the studio audience is excited about Chris, there’s a really stupid red carpet and former Bachelors/Bachelorettes/contestants have thoughts and feelings. Hooray.
The Soules Man mentions Iowa — aka God’s Country — like 12 times in his intro, but he’s the luckiest man alive because normal (rich, handsome) Joes like him don’t get to be The Bachelor. He drives around on his tractor, not afraid to eat right from his crops and he takes pride in undertaking the noble task of feeding the world for profit. Then he goes fishing with dad. Iowa = town with population in the 400s = slower pace = great quality of life. And he’s looking for that special chick just desperate enough to blend into that mix.
But it turns out there just aren’t enough women in Podunk, Iowatown, and the few who are there are probably all married with like 10 kids. Seriously, Arlington looks like it’d be fun and relaxing for about a week before it drives you to the brink of insanity. So it’s wagons west to begin searching for his farmistress in Hollywood, and he’s been hitting the outdoor gym with the Code-man pretty hard to get ripped for his ladies. After a quick glimpse of the gun show, it’s cross-country Harley time. Let the housewife derby begin!
Every Farmer Needs a Hoe
And just like that, it’s time to meet the women. Or at least the extra special ones who are worthy of their own pre-limo vignettes. We start with Britt, a 27-year-old waitress who is tired of being single in LA. She hasn’t had a man in about three years, but she also doesn’t believe in sex before achieving a more morally-acceptable and un-Bachelor-like form of intimacy. She wears multi-colored plastic bracelets and scribbles in a rose-adorned notebook, is a touchy-feely frequent midriff-bearer who gives out free hugs (I’m sure her frustrated ex got sick of those pretty quickly) and is totally ready to be open to love (in a metaphysical sense, pervert).
Jillian is a 25-year-old news producer from Washington, DC, but she also knows her way around a back handspring. She backflips toward the camera before showing off her skills in the newsroom (“Did you see I added something to the D-2?”). She brings a different meaning to the phrase “strong woman” because this filly hits the gym and she hits it hard. She can certainly dead lift more than me, but will Chris be intimidated by her bulging thighs? She wants love, but she’s in this for the competition as well.
Twenty-four-year-old ballet instructor Amanda has been dancing since she was 3, and she’s got a healthy mix of beauty and crazy eyes. And I wrote that before the producer asks why she’s still single and she responds, “Because I’m f***ing crazy.” Ding ding ding! She still lives at home because she doesn’t cook or clean or like to pay bills, aka the ideal housewife checklist. Her mom has already warned that if Amanda embarrasses her on TV, she’ll need to find a new place to live. PennySaver time, crazy eyes!
Whitney, 29, is ready to have a baby! But that’s because she’s a fertility nurse from Chicago, and she loves nothing more than helping complete families. And now it’s time to complete her own. Cute puppy alert and also the early favorite to be the next Bachelorette.
Mackenzie is a 21-year-old dental assistant who sets off every first-impression alarm life has taught me before she even opens her mouth. She says she already has a special man in her life, and that’s 3-year-old Kale and the adorable new face that he’s making. Chris is the grown-up-type man that she needs.
Twenty-four-year-old flight attendant from New Jersey Alissa wins the head-clutching OMG Award after she tells her plane passengers that there’s no smoking on board, unless you’re smoking hot. “Hey, Chris, wink.” And my home state does me dirty again, as she proceeds to cram more Bachelor puns into her Bachelor-Air pre-flight ritual than should be legally allowed in such a short period of time.
Kelsey, 28, can’t decide if she’s in the state of Texas or a state of limbo. The guidance counselor has been a widow for about 16 months after her husband had a heart attack while walking to work. She was overwhelmed and depressed for a long time, and this is all part of her path to recovery and the search for her next soulmate. It helps that she’s very comfortable in skimpy clothing, but there’s no way she’s ready for this.
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The Ripening of the Crops
After Chris and his GoPro-mounted Harley arrive in LA and maneuver through all the “intimidating” traffic, we get our first shirtless visual during the suit fitting and fashion shoot with corn stalks and bales of hay. It’s not his favorite part, but we should all be so unlucky. Then it’s off to the mansion to prep for the limo arrivals. Unlike in years’ past, Chris will be living right next door to the women, and luckily for us, his new digs are complete with an outdoor shower.
He’s going to be himself, but part of him is questioning who really wants to date a farmer from Arlington? As per the usual, I will rate each of the first impressions in one of five ways: memorable-good, normal, memorable-bad, forgettable and memorable-disaster.
The champagne is flowing as the first limo pulls up, and lonely sexless waitress Britt is the first one out. They clutch each other in an epic hug that might have saved Jack’s life in Titanic, and he nicknames her “Beautiful Britt.” She gives him a slip of paper that reads “Free hug from Britt” and asks that he find her inside so that she can explain it. Not sure what’s to explain, but man, this chick loves her hugs! Grade: Memorable-good.
Baby-making nurse Whitney is next out, and she’s just as giggly as a schoolgirl. “I made it!” she exclaims before giving away a hug preemptively. Gotta whet his whistle with anticipation, Whitney! Like Britt did! Grade: Forgettable, but only because he’s definitely still thinking about Britt. At least she got a “wow” as she walked away.
Widowed Kelsey exits the limo, and she’s just a regular girl like he’s a regular guy. Grade: Regular/Forgettable. Though she also gets a “wow.” I hope that doesn’t turn into the equivalent of Andi’s emotional overuse of “y’all.”
Megan is a 24-year-old make-up artist from Nashville, and he dubs her “Blondie,” which likely won’t stick based on the number of blonds in the house. But we’ll see. They talk about things being crazy, nervous and fun. Grade: Normal.
Freelance journalist Ashley I., 26, has a tough time getting to Chris because her fancy dress is so long, but as far as brunettes go, I’m on board. She seems funny and cool as well. Grade: Memorable-good (for me); Normal (for Chris).
The Fun Continues with Limo No. 2
Trina is a 33-year-old special education teacher from San Clemente who offers a hearty “Hellooooooo Farmer Chris” as she exits the limo. Grade: Normal.
Reegan is a 28-year-old cadaver tissue saleswoman (you’d think that stuff would just sell itself) who approaches with a medical waste cooler. Nothing good happens with a medical waste cooler, unless they’re able to reattach whatever limb or appendage you accidentally severed, but she thinks her job is just super cool. And she wanted to bring something that comes from the heart, so she pretended to bring an actual heart. She’s quick to inform that it’s only a joke, but she never divulges what is actually inside. Grade: Memorable-bad.
Tara is a 26-year-old sport fishing enthusiast, which isn’t an actual job, who traded in the usual evening wear attire for cowboy boots and plaid. She didn’t dress up because “this is her,” but you gotta do better than that. If impressions were based on “reality,” every girl would show up to a first date in sweatpants. The other women stare and judge, calling her “Daisy Duke” and “Cowgirl,” then she nervously kicks things off with a Jameson on the rocks before going into hiding. This should be fun. Grade: Memorable-bad/Pending disaster.
Amber is a 29-year-old bartender from Chi-town who brought along her teddy bear for comfort and Nikki is a 26-year-old former NFL cheerleader from the Big Apple, but I can’t give either of them adequate grades because the focus is all about Tara changing into more formal attire and sneaking back out front for a second first-impression. While Nikki raves about recently returning from a trip to Peru, Tara hops in the limo before emerging in a black number that shows off her classy upper back tattoo. You can take the girl out of the country…
A Note from Limo No. 3
Uncertainty arrives with the third limo in the bunch, as the driver takes a letter from the backseat and presents it to Chris. It instructs him to turn around and close his eyes, and when he complies, lives-with-her-mom ballet instructor with crazy eyes Amanda hops out in her Aladdin-inspired dress. She claims he won America over with his secret admirer act, and she thought he deserved a secret admirer of his own. “Nice almost meeting you,” she says before scurrying inside for a performance of Arabian Nights. I hear they’re like Arabian days. I don’t think I need to note the irony of the self-proclaimed crazy girl honing in on one of the few aspects of last season I already mentioned in a negative light. Grade: Memorable-disaster.
Buff news producer Jillian is next, and it’s a good thing Chris has experience working with calves. She gropes his previously-shown-off gun and asks if he’s been working out. He has, you minx. Grade: Memorable-good, even though I didn’t like it.
Momma Mackenzie greets Chris with a reluctant hug and doesn’t mention her love for Kale. I feel like she is going to have baggage issues. Grade: Forgettable.
Brooklyn hairstylist Ashley S., who is 24 but looks much older yet acts much younger, appears lost as she exits the limo. Her eyes look like they were painted on by Margaret Keane. She found a lucky penny on the way in, and ever since she was little, she puts lucky pennies in her shoe. So she puts this one in Chris’ sole. Perhaps she is high on pixie dust. Grade: Memorable-bad.
Kaitlyn, 29, is a dance instructor from Vancouver, and I’m confused because I thought the show was called America’s Got Bachelor. She says she doesn’t know much about him other than he’s a farmer named Chris, but he can “plow the f*** out of [her] field any day.” She calls it a sense of humor. I call it awkward. And what’s up with the matching back-of-the-elbow dove tats? Grade: Memorable-disaster.
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A Slap and a Twist
Host Chris Harrison joins the other Chris in front of the mansion, and I realize differentiating between them throughout the season is going to be annoying. Soules feels like it’s all a dream and that he needs to be slapped back to reality, and Harrison happily obliges. Then he tells Soules to head inside and get started, even though we’ve only met 15 ladies so far.
The confused gaggle swarms Chris upon entry, and they wonder if anyone else is coming. Like the ABC twist would be 10 fewer women than normal. Riiiight. And Lucky Penny Ashley’s giant eyes grow more terrifying.
Chris bumbles through a brief introduction, joking that the limo dropped the ladies off at the wrong place, until Canadian comedienne Kaitlyn offers to tell a joke, because sometimes people laugh when she shows off that plow-able sense of humor. And he’s like, shut the heck up, this is my show. You can tell your joke when I’m done talking. Then he warmly greets the women, appreciating them for leaving their lives and families and reassuring them love is possible in such a situation. He invites them to be themselves because that’s what he did on his way to a bronze medal.
Oh, and why did the walrus go to the Tupperware party? He wanted to find a tight seal. Blondie Megan does not get it. Might be an appropriate nickname after all.
Alone Time with Hugger Britt
While everyone continues pondering what happened to the other 10 women, sexless hugger Britt pulls Chris away for the first one-on-one time of the season. He remembers her name and that hugging is her game, and she explains that her note was an incentive for him to talk to her.
You see, a wife is a safe haven, and she wants to be the shoulder he cries on. Hugs are symbolic of strength and safety, and Britt has established herself as a likely member of the final four. And the potential recipient of the first-impression rose.
Before they part ways, they stare into each other’s eyes for a period as awkwardly long as that initial hug by the limo, and we are nearly treated to possibly the earliest kiss in show history. This dude is so quiet and socially awkward, he might be ready to scoop her up and carry her back to Iowa right now.
Cadaver tissues saleswoman Reegan went to school for broadcast journalism, but now she sells cadaver tissue, which, again, is a super fun job.
Widowed Kelsey is from a small town in Michigan, and both she and Chris have dimples.
Chris Harrison enters with the first-impression rose, the room goes silent and the mood changes. The camera zooms in and out on the rose like the murder weapon in a horror movie.
Superhot brunette and freelance journalist Ashley I. feels more pressure because there are fewer women.
Baby-making nurse Whitney confesses that she makes babies every day. She asks Chris about inseminating hogs, a task she seems eager to attempt to show how much they have in common. Even though he does not inseminate hogs. But he knows people who do.
Ex-cheerleader Nikki continues to rave about Peru and presents Chris with a heart-shaped rock she found there. A rock and a penny in the same night? Score!
Crazy ballet instructor Amanda, who previously referred to Chris’ smile as a “pantie dropper,” is identified as the secret admirer. They talk about the proximity of their towns to each other when they should be talking about the proximity of her crazy eyes to his.
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The Remaining Women Cometh
Harrison steals Soules to reveal the endgame of his sinister plot twist. We’re three hours and several drinks into the cocktail party, and we’ve gotten to know some of these ladies. so what better time than to bring three additional limos? That’s right, it’s the dirty 30, and the women are not fans of “the others,” as buff news producer Jillian calls them.
First out of limo No. 4 is 27-year-old fashion designer Samantha, who is happy and grateful to be here. Grade: Normal.
Michelle is 25 and decorates wedding cakes, and she and Chris both find each other attractive. Grade: Normal.
Jillian flexes her arm to intimidate the newbies, while Ashley I. pleads for someone to fall getting out of the limo. Classy broads we’ve got here.
Juelia is a 24-year-old esthetician, which is a word that doesn’t go through spell check. Google tells me that makes her a skin care therapist. Or a waxer. None of these ladies are doing anything crazy, and the ones who are already in the house are freaking out. Grade: Normal.
Becca is a 25-year-old chiropractic assistant, though I’d venture her boss wouldn’t recommend her bootie heels. Nice stems and a big hug, and Chris checks her out from head to toe. Grade: Memorable-good.
Tandra is a 30-year-old executive assistant who has no need for a limo. She rides up on her own chopper, which she has probably nicknamed Tandra, and she talks about all the odd looks she got on the freeway in her dress. Grade: Memorable-good.
The Fun Continues with Limo No. 5
Flight attendant and pun aficionado Alissa is the first one out, and she wraps a plane seat belt around his waist in preparation for the bumpy ride to come like she’s teaching him how to shoot a combo. Grade: Memorable-good.
Jordan is a 24-year-old student who gives Chris a big hug and tells him he’s even more beautiful in person. She brings two little bottles of whiskey, and they share a drink. Grade: Memorable-drunk.
Real estate agent Nicole, 31, exits the limo wearing a pig nose because she wanted to “ham it up” for him. Subtle, yet effective. The women gazing outside from the windows make pig noises. It’s amazing how quickly their insecurities have turned them all into horrible people. And I’m down with the gingers. Grade: Memorable-good.
Britney is a 26-year-old WWE diva-in-training, and her outfit is half-dress, half-sheer, half-lingerie. She’s also holding a sign that says “#Soulesmates.” The women do not approve. Grade: Memorable-bad.
Carly, 29, is a cruise ship singer who exits with a handheld karaoke machine and serenades Chris with her introductory information. The women ridicule her for looking like a kid in her little pink dress with her little pink karaoke machine. Grade: Memorable-not great, but not bad.
Because 25 is Never Enough
Whiskey-drinking Jordan does not love that “there’s a million bitches in the house right now,” and the twist continues as the sixth and final limo pulls up. Tracy, a bubbly 29-year-old fourth-grade teacher from Florida, hops out and talks about leaving her students for a shot at love. She reads one of their notes and lets Chris keep it. Grade: Memorable-good.
Twenty-five-year-old Bo is a plus-size model, while 28-year-old Kimberly is a yoga instructor. Grades: Both normal.
Kara is a 25-year-old high school soccer coach from Kentucky, and she thinks they’d have the cutest babies. Grade: Forgettable.
Finally, 28-year-old Jade is the last to exit the limo. She’s a cosmetics developer, but she looks like she could be a Playboy centerfold. Grade: Normal.
I don’t even know how I’m going to keep all these women straight. They could all be forgettable, but this is without question the hottest group of women in Bachelor history.
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The Claws Come Out
The women are self-divided into two groups based on when they arrived, with the first group trying to balance their booze intake with the ability to remain relevant in the face of 15 additional beauties while the newbs try to stand out from 15 women who got a three-hour head start. Meow. Saucer of milk, table two.
Wedding cake decorator Michelle has two kids who were born when she was 18 and 19, with one set to turn 6 whenever tomorrow is/was.
Karaoke Carly looked up weird laws in Iowa, where it is apparently illegal to be an ice cream man. Yet another reason not to live in Iowa.
Canadian comedienne Kaitlyn teaches Chris some terrible break dance moves, which he somehow eats up. The man loves his dove tattoos. Then we play a breakneck round of Steal the Chris, and the girls who haven’t gotten one-on-one time enter full-on panic mode.
Flight attendant and pun aficionado Alissa takes deep breaths and just chills with Chris, and fourth-grade teacher Tracy explains what a cat lady is.
Crazy for You
The paranoid suitorettes are wondering where all the crazy is, so cut to bug-eyed Brooklyn hairstylist Ashley S., who muses aloud that people are like onions because you cut them, then peel them back layer by layer. The way she’s talking leads me to believe she’s wasted, but those eyes are still as big and white as can be.
She interrupts Chris’ conversation with diva-in-training Britney, muttering something about how she feels while offering the lady a posie to make up for stealing her man. She seals her fate by babbling on to Chris about running through sunflower fields and riding horses before getting interrupted herself.
Then she yells at the cameraman to get a shot of the imaginary blooming onion she sees on a tree. But it’s just a pomegranate. Still, she feels powerful.
Single mom and Kale lover Mackenzie paints watercolors with Chris as he talks about his farm. She has never heard of alfalfa, which is ironic considering she named her son Kale.
Cowboy boots and plaid Tara continues her love affair with Mr. Whiskey, throwing back shots and getting very glassy-eyed. Her appearance is exactly like you’d expect, the antithesis of Ashley S.’s sober-looking drunk. She lists her best friends as Johnnie Walker, Jameson and Jack Daniel’s, and it is original because the third member of the Three Wise Men is actually Jim Beam. She also hiccups, burps and curses, identifying herself as a trainwreck before tossing back another.
Playboy cosmetics developer Jade, who actually looks more adorably cute up close, talks about the struggles of adjusting to life in LA after moving from Nebraska. She asks what their karaoke duet would be, and he says something from Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. Bleh.
Chris gives the first-impression rose, which is now wilted and dying from the heat, to sexless hugger Britt. She greets him by saying, “Hey, Smiley,” and if she had called him “Smiley Cyrus,” I might have declared her the winner on day one. The pair share the first make-out of the season by the fireplace, and like I said before, we might as well call the whole thing off right now.
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The First Rose Ceremony of Season 19
With Britt safe and 21 other roses to give out, eight women will be going home. I can guess a few, but only Chris knows which ladies the producers have ordered to stick around longer for dramatic purposes.
The roses go to:
Canadian comedienne and break dance instructor Kaitlyn
Playmate-turned-adorable karaoke duet Jade
First of the normal newbies Samantha
Superhot brunette and freelance journalist Ashley I.
Ex-cheerleader and Peruvian traveler Nikki
Flight attendant and pun aficionado Alissa
Teddy bear bartender Amber
Special Ed Trina
Then Chris suddenly walks out of the room, apparently because drunk Tara is about to pass out. He tells Chris Harrison he was going to keep her, but yeah, that’s not going to happen. He apparently got a good impression, and now he has to decide if she’s deserving of a second chance. Ummmmmm, no.
Rose handouts resume:
Single mom and Kale-loving Mackenzie
Fourth grade teacher Tracy
Drunk Tara, who his producer gut apparently told him to keep
Whiskey-drinking Jordan (not to be confused with whiskey-drinking Tara)
Buff news producer Jillian
Cruise-ship singing Carley
And the final rose goes to (pig-nosed ginger … pig-nosed ginger!):
Brooklyn hairstylist and drunk onion Ashley S.
And I just let out an “AGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH” legitimately loud enough for my neighbors to hear. Are you kidding me? Ugh. Terrible choice. Thanks, producers, for not letting him send home either of the drunkies.
That means it’s the end of the road for:
Pig-nosed ginger Nicole
Yoga instructor Kimberly
Crazy-eyed lives-at-home ballet instructor Amanda
Cadaver tissue saleswoman Reegan
Cake decorating single teen mom Michelle
WWE diva-in-training Britney
Plus-size model Bo
Kentucky soccer coach Kara
I’m okay with all of them but Nicole and Kimberly. They don’t deserve to be grouped with the others, and they definitely deserved spots over the boozers.
Amanda is mortified, and poor Kara just wants to be a housewife and servant, much like the arranged marriage in Coming to America. Kimberly goes back inside to talk to Chris, but apparently we have to wait until next week to hear that discussion.
The Most Dramatic Season Ever
And that’s it for the season 19 premiere, complete with a waste-of-time red carpet. The only things you missed from the live portions were an interview with Juan Pablo-ex Nikki that lasted entirely too long, six women from Idaho who all went to the same hairstylist (nothing says glamour like short and choppy) and Michelle Money divulging that she heard Britt doesn’t shower.
Who are your favorites? Who do you think is a snake or a temptress? And is Chris guilty of an epic fail for keeping the lushes over two girls who you can’t say anything negative about yet? Okay, maybe yoga instructor Kimberly wore an ill-fitting dress, but that Nicole has fashion sense!
And speaking of Britt, it’s going to be sad to watch her crack. Because all first-impression rose winners crack. It doesn’t help that Chris thinks with the wrong brain when a girl sneaks into his tent, nor that my bombshell brunette favorite Ashley I. is apparently both a virgin and a not-ready-for-primetime kissing partner.
It’s all coming up on the epic 19th season of The Bachelor. I can’t wait to watch along with all of you, and many thanks if you actually made it this far!
You can watch The Bachelor every Monday at 8pm on ABC.
(Image courtesy of ABC)