Ew, not for her relationship with Chris; in life.
Becca Tilley is the final lady rejected by Chris Soules on the most recent season of ABC’s “The Bachelor”. She is a 26 year old chiropractic assistant in California, raised in Louisiana. She is smart, gorgeous, and nice. Unlike so many of the other girls who wind up on ABC’s reality-drama “looking for love”, she’s “unemotional”. Which is to say she doesn’t break down crying or laugh really loudly or talk a lot. Despite her reserve and her sweet appearance, Becca is tough and I want to see her succeed.
The Internet has been pretty harsh about Becca since the finale aired last week calling her “unemotional” and “unfeeling”. Even the Bachelor himself, Mr. Sensitivity, wrote a misunderstood account of the scene in the barn when he broke up with Becca. He dis-compassionately cited “the lack of emotion she showed in that moment” as being what hurt the most for him. In a “moment” like that, being dumped, some girls might cry, some might throw a tantrum, some girls might get combative, but other girls immediately click into “self-preservation mode”. Whether or not this was the case with Becca Tilley, I certainly don’t know (perhaps she was just in “shock” as she later says in the limo). I can, however, think of several reasons why Becca’s outward expressions are entirely reasonable.
1. Self-preservation. Getting dumped is the worst. Break-ups are hard and emotionally taxing. Some of us, when we’re told by someone we care about that they “don’t want us” have a knee-jerk reaction to “save face”. After Chris tells Becca she’s not the one he’s choosing, she stiffens up, her smile goes away, she keeps nodding as he’s talking, all of which could indicate some major self-preservation kicking in. She doesn’t want to look weak, or foolish, or vulnerable in front of this man whom she has come to trust as he is, essentially, betraying that trust.
2. She saw it coming? The program was down to Becca and Whitney. Becca is no fool, she knew that Chris has strong feelings for Whitney, and more importantly, Whitney’s life-goals line up with Chris’; Whitney also wants to settle down, get married, and start a family right now. Whitney over Becca is the logical choice, assuming all parties are being 100% honest about what they want. It’s entirely possible Becca knew she was saying goodbye to Chris that day because she was aware of her limitations in regards to Chris’s desires. She entered the barn full of smiles, which could mean she was still hopeful, but it’s possible she’d already resigned herself to the fact that she and Chris were saying goodbye.
3. Becca doesn’t wear her heart on her sleeve. Anyone watching the program at all knows that Becca is a bit of a dark horse, which isn’t a bad thing! She doesn’t openly share her emotions, she isn’t loud and mouthy like Ashley I., and she isn’t dramatic like Kelsey, and she isn’t effervescent like Whitney. Becca doesn’t try to be the loudest person in the room, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t feel anything, or notice what’s going on, or have opinions. One out of three people, studies, and common sense, tell us, are Introverts: people who aren’t going to be the loudest person in the room, people who are probably going to keep their opinions to themselves, unless specifically asked. But, since people don’t usually ask, Introverts can be overwhelmed when put on the spot. They can become flustered and say “I don’t know” a lot. Because they probably don’t know. Becca has struck me throughout this cycle as a young woman who thinks before she speaks and if she is unsure about something she isn’t going to say that she is. If she is an Introvert, Becca’s lack of outward emotion in the barn is entirely natural. It’s entirely acceptable even if she isn’t. She was receiving tough news and she probably needed time to process it. Maybe she had an epic break down later off-camera?
4. SHE WAS BEING DUMPED ON NATIONAL TELEVISION. Lest we forget “The Bachelor” is a fucking television show, Becca and the other contestants, I’m sure, never did. They have cameras and microphones, a host, and a director, for fucks sake, hovering around them as they are attempting, presumably, to find their soulmate from a pool of pretty people carefully selected by a team of producers. The stigma surrounding being vulnerable is pretty much bullshit, but something I can understand. I can understand Becca not wanting all of America to see her vulnerability as the man she’s come to care for breaks up with her. Were I in her shoes, I would probably want to keep some of my feelings private too.
To call this young woman “cold” and “unemotional” is downright rude, and only works to promote the incorrect notion that there is one “normal” mode of behavior. The people who want Becca to have a breakdown, or cry, when Chris breaks up with her are naive. It may have been sometimes subtle, but Becca struggled throughout the season. She wants to fall in love, she doesn’t want to hurt Chris, and she doesn’t want to get hurt herself. Part of her really wants to be with Chris, but ABC’s imposed timeline is not Becca’s timeline. The network wants the Reality Couple to make certain declarations after only knowing each other for approximately two months and Becca’s hesitation is entirely rational. As Queen Elsa says, “You can’t marry a man you just met!”.
Were Becca and Chris able to date exclusively for a while without the cameras, giving Becca time to figure out what her life in Iowa would be (kudos to her for not being willing to assimilate to his life foregoing one of her own!) perhaps they could make a go of it. They seemed to genuinely care for one another and, given time, it could blossom into something strong and wonderful. As it is, ABC puts the pressure on the couple to make a decision and make it now. Whitney was ready to make a decision now. Chris was ready to make a decision now. Becca, like any reasonable twenty six year old, was not.
As a spectator of their lives, I like Becca. I like Whitney, too. I like a lot of the girls. I even like Chris. But, in life, I’m rooting for Becca. Chris and Whitney can get married, break up, get back together, never see each other again. But I want to see Becca Tilley achieve great things in this life on her own terms. She isn’t unemotional at all, America (Chris), she just doesn’t share her emotions as readily as most people. Something I view as a strength rather than a weakness. Becca will use whatever she is feeling after this experience and funnel it into whatever she does next. And whatever she does next is going to be brilliant.