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24
February

The Bachelor: Fantasy Suite Drama & Inside Scoop

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JUAN PABLO GALAVIS What happens in the Fantasy Suite?

This season of The Bachelor has been pretty interesting. (Yes, I know it’s a ridiculous show, but I can’t help myself). This season’s most fascinating contestant was Sharleen, the opera singer who was bright, articulate, well-traveled and discussed things like “the inorganic nature of the show” and that she and Juan Pablo were “missing that cerebral connection” – words NEVER UTTERED BEFORE ON THE BACHELOR. Basically, a woman unlike almost any other participant, and who left the show on her own accord. Cue slow tear. I was hoping she’d turn down Juan Pablo’s proposal and make Bachelor history… just me? But this week is a double-header, two night Bachelor overload with what has been promised as “fantasy suite drama.” My fingers are crossed another woman chooses to exit the show! The ridiculousness of the fantasy suite and what it implies was best summed up by Willa Paskin at Slate,

“They are then invited—or not invited—to spend the night with the bachelor in a “fantasy suite,” an evening in a romantic, usually tropical location where the cameras will finally leave these two people alone to get up to whatever they want to get up to. Having one off-camera sexual encounter with a person who may soon give you a grapefruit-size engagement ring seems like a good idea. But in practice, it means a man has sex with three women, three evenings in a row, and professes his deep and romantic feelings to each one of these women, all of whom are fearful of behaving in a way he might not like. It’s callow, sordid behavior made somehow acceptable by the use of Hallmark Card language and a really fly hotel room.”

As these upcoming episodes seem to show the issues (as much as ABC producers will allow), I thought we’d revisit the information given to us by a former contestant. In case you’ve just tuned in, an old friend of mine was a contestant on a previous season of the show (making it to the finale on her season), and she kindly agreed to submit to my endless questioning (it’s been enough years that confidentiality agreements are null and void). To protect her identity, we’re calling her Rose.

I have to ask you the question everyone keeps telling me to ask (and, let’s face it, I totally would have anyway). On the show, we saw you go into the ‘Fantasy Suite’… did you have sex with the Bachelor? No. The only time you have true privacy is when you take the ‘Fantasy Suite’ or go to the hotel with him.  I know it sounds cheesy, but we mostly just talked. Honestly. It was the only time to really talk without being filmed or watched. But no, I didn’t sleep with him.

Do you think some women sleep with the Bachelor to stay longer or build their connection with him? Yes, probably.

When you made it to the final rose ceremony what was that like? How did you feel when he said it wasn’t you? I felt more misled than anything.  When he walked me to the car, I asked him “How long did you know I wasn’t the one?” and he said he’d known for a few weeks. So I was hurt, not mad. But the producers wanted the image of me pissed. So they edited a look I didn’t even realize I’d made with my face, it’s awful. I don’t even remember making that face, but that’s the close up they used. Once I got home, I was so relieved. I felt that this was right. No regrets or anything about how it ended.

So did it feel like a breakup? No. I was hurt, but we were more friends, I think. When we had the night alone together he asked me about the other three girls. I thought that was shitty of him, but he kept asking me about the other women. All I would say is that one of them is a chameleon, and that’s who he chose.

What happens when you leave the show? You immediately see the show’s psychiatrist. Everyone talks to her for 15 minutes or so when you’re kicked off the show. The psychiatrist told me that she’d actually picked me for the Bachelor. She said from our initial meetings she felt my personality best suited his. She also told me that the woman who the Bachelor chose, the winner I guess, that her personality changed around different people and that the psychiatrist knew she’d go far being that type of woman, ‘She’ll (the winner) be whoever he (the Bachelor) wants her to be,’ is what the psychiatrist told me.

How long was the entire process? About 6 weeks. They keep the final 4 women until the very end to keep leaks getting to the press if they went home. The final four are split up and kept in an apartment. I shared an apartment in Burbank, but there was a lot of traveling going on too.

Why “shared” an apartment? It’s a roommate, but more like a handler. A personal helper that worked for ABC.

Was this so the network could keep an eye on you? Yes, pretty much. Luckily she had a work cell phone and a personal cell. Sometimes she left her personal cell in the apartment and I would call my friends and family – which would have probably gotten her fired if the producers had found out.

How did being on The Bachelor affect your love life afterwards? While the show is airing, you get recognized but mostly by women. Men don’t really watch it. The only men watching the show are probably dating or married to a woman who watches the show. Some men found me – they’d email me from watching the show and ask me out. That was weird. But it really only hindered dating because you are contractually not allowed to date for 3-4 months when you get home. You pretty much can’t date or talk about the show while it airs, so that was the hardest. You sign your life away. So not dating at all, and not talking about it all was the hardest part.

Are you in a relationship now? Yes.

What are your favorite memories from the show? The other women – we’d just be stir crazy and silly. Once you leave the show you become part of the Bachelor family. They have reunions, blood drives, get-togethers, cruises.  I’ve made a ton of friends because it’s like a big fraternity. We share this unique commonality. But I think one of the best things about the show is the women you meet. I’m still friends and talk regularly with several of the women from my season. I travel for work now, and I know so many people across the country that I could call and have dinner with, no problem.

What’s your worst memory from the show? Missing my family and that ugly mad face I made that they showed when he broke it off with me. It was horrible.

What would be your advice to women currently on the Bachelor or considering auditioning for the Bachelor? You have to go in with a mindset that you’ll be dating the same guy as your friends. You shut your heart off for a while, but by the time you get to the final four, it’s really developing into something.

Do you recommend The Bachelor to other women? If you’re looking for ‘the one’, then no. But if you’re open to the possibility of meeting someone who could become the one, then yes.  It’s really more focused on the women but in time you grow to care about this guy.

I’d like to thank Rose for not only being her amazing, intelligent and classy self, but for sharing her story with us.

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