MY CLARE LADY: A HEAUXS ODE TO BACHELOR NATION'S CLARE
Clare Crawley nestled into my heart unexpectedly, like a 67-degree day in the middle of a Minnesota February. The hairstylist from Sacramento competed on Season 18 of The Bachelor and was initially edited as the villain of the season, but the reasons why have melted from my memory like a snowball under a sunbeam.
That’s because the true villain of Season 18 was The Bachelor himself: Juan Pablo. This horned sperm from the Devil’s nutsack was a manipulative, emotionally abusive narcissist not unlike our current president but with much better hair. He also unintentionally created the true romance of the season: Sisterhood. “The Women Tell All” felt more like a supportive slumber party than the highly edited catfight it usually is, and by the time JP unceremoniously dumped Clare at the tropical altar, I—and the majority of Bachelor Nation—was on my feet cheer-screaming as Clare told him she’d never want her children to have a father like him.
Since then she’s appeared twice on Bachelor In Paradise, neither time finding love and both times transforming nearby animals—crabs, a raccoon—into her confidantes. I found myself wishing I were Clare’s raccoon, consoling her with a bottle of wine and then offering to take turns driving on our cross-country road trip. I would just need a booster seat and lengthened pedals—I had the opposable thumbs covered.
Her most recent foray into Bachelor Nation came courtesy of the inaugural Bachelor Winter Games, an entirely unnecessary and wildly entertaining four-part series. This would be Clare’s time. Love was in the crisp Vermont air. I could feel it. I felt it indeed. Not one, but two gentlemen fell for the flaxen-haired California native. Hailing from the foreign enclaves of Canada and Germany respectively, Benoit and Christian found themselves smitten with the woman renowned for her Hallmarkian monologues about love that were often passionately delivered to woodland creatures and crustaceans.
A kind-of love triangle followed, which included smooches in the kitchen with Benoit, thwarted Jacuzzi plans with Christian, tearful—and startlingly early—confessions of love from Benoit, earnest confessions of hurt over thwarted Jacuzzi plans from Christian, and an eventual untimely departure from Benoit. This was seemingly due to Clare’s reticence to commit so quickly to a bespectacled Canadian who uttered “I love you so much” after knowing her for several days while most likely not knowing her last name, her favorite vacation spot, or her stance on gun control. I rooted for her reticence—listen to those instincts, girl!—but I was sad that she was sad. Language barriers/cultural differences/Jacuzzi protocol doused her brief spark with Christian and it seemed my beloved Clare would be alone once more.
And then came After The Bachelor Games. The contestants/non-athletes gathered on the Bachelor soundstage and recapped their snowy adventures, misadventures, and metaphors for sex. Teasers before each commercial break hinted at Clare finding love after the show, but this show has fooled me before. For instance, I used to think Ben Flacidick was a cool guy. He is not.
Who is a cool guy? Benoit, who left a message for Clare upon her return from Vermont making sure she was ok. The two began corresponding pre-Millennium style: over the telephone. It was a long-distance love strengthened by communication, strong international cell phone tower signals, and possibly a few romps of phone sex. And suddenly there he was sweeping onto the stage, grasping Clare’s hand, professing his love, and…gently revealing a Neil Lane bauble for her ring finger. Alas, Clare found the love she’s been searching for in a sweet, handsome Canuck who’s only slightly clingy (gloved fingers crossed). I, for one, cannot wait for the televised ceremony. I will be watching gleefully from my couch donning a bridesmaid dress that complements Clare’s eyes. I would’ve lobbied for the maid of honor spot but I already know it’s filled. The raccoon will look gorgeous in taffeta.