When Gerry Turner, America’s most eligible bachelor, said goodbye to three women on Thursday night’s episode of The Golden Bachelor, host Jesse Palmer began his ritual consolations, one of the few responsibilities of the largely ceremonial role of host of ABC’s Bachelor franchise.
But the recipient of his “there, there”s and canned “it’s okay”s was not Jeanie, the 65-year-old retired project manager; nor was it 60-year-old Natascha, who, frankly, seemed more upset that she had been required to stand (in heels!) for the entirety of the rose ceremony than with the fact that she had just lost out on a future with the last likable man on network television. Palmer, with his everyman face and agreeable, inoffensive suit, leaned in close to Mr. Golden Bachelor himself: “Gerry, you doin’ okay?”
Despite knowing the three eliminated women for just under two weeks, Gerry was a sputtering, teary-eyed mess. Like a golden retriever whose only fault is the very fact of his mortality, Gerry cried knowing that if these women were at all upset to be leaving the mansion, he was responsible.
And you know what? On Thursday I learned that if Gerry cries, I cry. Bearing witness to a man so at one with his emotions, so clearly capable of vulnerability and sensitivity and also attentiveness and concern, is just too much for me. There simply aren’t enough tissues in the world. I am unwell!
And it’s not just Gerry, this sweet, sweet man in whose future I am catastrophically invested. In episode two, we learned that several of the women are widows, with heartbreaking stories of love and loss of their own, just like our Ger-bear. Theresa, 70, lost her high school sweetheart, whom she married at just 18 years old before he was drafted into the war in Vietnam, nine years ago; Nancy, 60, can’t help but breakdown after putting on a wedding dress (for a “romance novel photoshoot” date—this is still the Bachelor franchise after all), becoming overwhelmed with grief as memories of the “best day of my life” came flooding back. I had only just recovered from learning that Roberta, Ellen’s BFF who was battling cancer when Ellen applied for the show, had passed away. And now this?