So, ladies (and gentlemen?). It’s over. Bachelorette Emily Maynard made her pick, and walked off into the sunset with the man she most certainly/maybe kind-of will marry and love forever. But did she make the right choice?
In what seemed like a relatively easy decision for our Southern belle protagonist, she dispatched racecar-driver Arie and went with Mormon-raised hipster Jef, who made his first appearance on the show riding in on a skateboard.
According to Emily, Jef is “edgy” -- probably because of the way he spells his first name -- but he’s also "totally ready" to be a father to her 7-year-old daughter Ricki. Jef says all the right, romantic things and often he and Emily seem like they’re having natural fun together. They talk about the future in ways that feel realistic, and he knows how to engage with Ricki (he’s the only contestant Emily allowed to meet her daughter). Plus, he’s really good with puppets, so he has an awesome back-up career in case being a bottled water connoisseur doesn’t work out.
But when Emily and Jef kiss, they most often keep their bodies far apart, puff their lips out in front of their faces, and smooch them together in a totally unromantic peck. The best word to describe their chemistry is “tepid.” If she’d picked Arie, they’d probably be doing it at the moment I write this, and the moment you read it, and every moment in between and beyond. I’m not sure they would have even shown up for the “After The Final Rose” recap or -- if they had -- they may have just tongue-wrestled on the couch the entire time. When Emily and Jef sat next to each other for “After The Final Rose,” Jef appeared uncomfortable, and their first public post-show kiss was remarkably passionless. By going with Jef, Emily made what appears to be the responsible choice, but maybe not the exciting one.
Over the course of the season, Emily had electric chemistry with Arie, but it’s unclear whether their relationship was based on anything else. Emily and Jef made charming plans for the future, but kissed like awkward teenagers playing their first game of Spin-the-Bottle. I don’t know if a “right choice” existed for Emily to make. Both of her final two guys seem almost perfect for her, but not quite.
But maybe that’s all just because of the confines of the show. Perhaps Jef will loosen up when he not forced to make out in front of a bunch of cameras. It’s possible Emily and Arie had lovely conversations that the show’s editors cut out for the sake of streamlining. Arie certainly handled her bumbling rejection like a real adult, refusing to be mean or aggressive, but also declining to comfort Emily when she made herself the victim by bursting into tears.
Ultimately, the only way to know whether or not Emily chose wisely is to wait and see. Soon enough, tabloids will either be trumpeting wedding photos, or asking “WHAT WENT WRONG?”