Hi! A few days ago, the world got a real treat. On the reality show “The Bachelorette,” a Christian man lost his ever-loving mind when a woman he thought he owned repeatedly refused to comply with his bizarre demands–and then rejected him outright. Today, I want to show you the clip from the show that rocketed all around the social-media world–and annotate it!
A Quick Rundown.
For years, “The Bachelor” ran as the premier dating reality show. But then someone realized that people would also watch a counterpart show. Thus, “The Bachelorette” was born. Instead of many women competing for the love of a single man, many men competed for the love of a single woman.
Overall, both shows work roughly the same way. Each contest lasts a season. The contestants hurdle through various challenges and get to spend increasing amounts of time with the prize man/woman. As the days pass, the prize man/woman weeds out contestants. At the end, only a few contestants remain. The one chosen from among them becomes the prize man/woman’s one true love forever–for now at least.
“It Takes a Church” operated the same, except the prize man/woman never got to spend much time with the contestants. Oh, and as we’ll see, that Christian show left out one very important part of the Bachelor/ette festivities.
Hannah Brown, the 24-year-old Bachelorette this season, recently competed on “The Bachelor.” She didn’t win that time, but apparently people liked her a lot. Now instead of being one of the many competitors, she’s the prize herself. She seems intelligent and lively, and as we’ll see she has pretty firm boundaries.
The guy involved in this story, Luke Parker (or “Luke P,” as the show calls him), is a basic fundagelical white boy. His cast bio page tells us that he had “a religious awakening in college.” Oh, and he just adores Tim Tebow and his “worst fear is having bad gas on a date.” I suppose what I’m saying here is that the real question I have right now is how this galumphing doofus-for-Jesus even made it as far as he did. (Apparently some other contestants have wondered the same thing.)
Hemant found the clip. And hooboy, I found it riveting. I’ve tried to watch reality TV before and found it not-my-cuppa. If it was all like this, I’d be a diehard fan.
Here’s what led up to the clip.
In the final rounds of the show, four men remain. The Bachelorette goes to each man’s hometown to meet his family and hang out and do fun stuff. This trip also functions as a way for the couple to spend some dedicated time together. At the end of the hometown dates, she’s supposed to eliminate a contestant. Then she has a very intimate, private, overnight date with the remaining men. Afterward, she eliminates someone else, which means that soon she must make her final choice.
But Hannah decided not to eliminate anybody after the hometown date, despite what sounds like a disappointing showing from Luke P and one other guy.
That meant she took all four men to Greece for the all-night date. She’s already had dates with all the other men. Luke is the last date. The day begins beautifully. They fly to Santorini to spend the whole day and night together. I gather little drama occurred until their dinner.
So Luke really got far.
Then, over dinner, he tells Hannah, “So let’s talk about sex.”
Luke Has a Big Problem.
Bachelors and Bachelorettes aren’t required to have sex during their overnight dates. The show usually only insinuates it happened, at most. The show’s editors leave out the exact details. However, chances are good that sexing will be happening.
Luke knows that.
And he doesn’t like it.
See, he’s begun thinking of Hannah as his chosen property. He thinks his god told him to marry her. That means she must start behaving the way her soon-and-future master-husband wants her to behave. She’s not allowed to get boy cooties on her once a TRUE CHRISTIAN™ man has earmarked her for his binder collection.
So this date is about him testing just how good a hold he has on her. He needs to know if she’ll be a good source of narcissistic supply for him. In other words, can he turn this living, multifaceted, independent human being into exactly what he wants and needs–a validation and extension of himself, an adoring little helpmeet who’ll help him advance in his religious tribe, an obedient domestic servant who’ll grant him unlimited leisure time at home, and a freaky–and completely privately-owned–sexdoll?
Unfortunately, he’s nowhere near as smooth an operator as he thinks he is, and he hasn’t had near enough time to really mangle Hannah emotionally. He likely moved too quickly out of desperation to lock her down before time ran out on him.
A Narcissist Needs Supply.
Luke starts off the discussion in the worst way possible, though his behavior looks perfectly normal within the confines of complementarian Christianity.
He says he’s been STUDYING HEBREWS y’all. So he KNOWS! Duggar vibes alert!
He does not ask Hannah if she’d mind discussing the topic of sex. Instead, he tells her that they will now be talking about it because King Him has decided that they will. And by “talking about it” he means that he will be doing the talking and lecturing and she will be doing the listening and agreeing.
Plunging forward, he tells her that “the marriage bed should be kept pure,” which translates to You’re not allowed to have sex with other men on this show while I’m a contestant. In fact, if Hannah says she’s had sex with anybody else on the show, he’ll quit the show and return home.
Hannah takes this announcement poorly. Very poorly. She says she’s angry. He’s not her husband, she informs Luke, so he doesn’t get to order her around.
Poopy McJesusPants Doesn’t Like Her TONE.
Big frowny face from the Jesus Whisperer. Though he pretended to want to talk about sex, he really only wanted to lecture Hannah about sex and demand her compliance, not to listen to her talking.
In the wake of her wrath, however, Luke backpedals: mayyyyybe he’d only go home if she had sex with all of the other men on the show. (Maybe he means the other three men? Because only four contestants remain at this point.) It’s just sheerest nonsense. I can’t even imagine what made him suggest something so bees-headed.
However, Hannah takes that even more poorly. She informs him that he doesn’t own her and therefore can’t decide for her what she will or won’t be doing with anybody else. When he interrupts her, which he does constantly to try to regain control of a conversation that’s veered wildly out of his ballpark by now, she just talks over him. You can tell that Luke has no idea in the world how to cope with this situation–a public dressing-down by someone he very clearly views as his property.
I’m right here cheering for TEAM HANNAH!
The Clip, Annotated: A Bad Beginning.
Now that we have all this in mind, let’s turn our attention to the clip itself, which begins right after she’s told him to GTFO their Fantasy Suite.
The clip in question.
0:00: Hannah’s told him to leave. She looks down at her plate, not at him. Eventually, she stands up as if to escort him away.
0:08: Tight-lipped, Luke spits out, “I.. I respect you saying you have clarity, but can I just share a few words with you real quick?”
Remember, she’s told him to leave. She did not offer to stand there and let him lecture her a little more. So she refuses. Softly, she tells him, “Come on. It’s over. Come on.”
0:37: Luke looks enraged. He’s red-faced and scrambling to figure out how to salvage this non-versation that’s gone so hideously wrong. He gives a half-shake of the head. He remains sitting down, biting his lip and working out a recovery. Meanwhile, Hannah, sniffling and close to tears, pleads with him to leave.
(I’m a reality TV newbie. Why did the crew not forcibly remove this schmuck from the set? Is this creepiness normal?)
She OWES Him, Y’all.
0:52: He rubs the side of his face–a strange gesture. Looking up at Hannah with this weirdly angry expression that he squashes quickly, he tells her, “I feel like you owe me at least–”
Hannah interrupts immediately, setting him straight: she owes him nothing at all. But he talks over her: “–a minute to share my heart.”
See, misogynists think that their emotions trump the needs for safety in the women they’ve decided they own. Since he has developed Pants Feelings for Hannah, Luke now considers her his property. She must do what he wants without hesitation. He will not release her from ownership until he has well and truly satisfied himself that such a gesture is necessary.
The fact that the decision is already made and that he has no way to veto or override it has not actually occurred to him. Rather, he thinks he can salvage the situation even past a hard rejection from Hannah. He considers her rejection to be silly and misinformed. She doesn’t know “his heart,” so how can she decide to reject him?
1:01: Hannah, of course, sees the situation quite differently. She’s completely speechless and shocked that he’d dare insinuate that she hasn’t done nearly enough to get to know him before rejecting him. She might be smiling, but she’s absolutely enraged.
1:08: Luke just looks at her like a poleaxed cow. What perplexing mouth-noises this she-human makes! He must study them some day to see if they’re intelligible speech.
1:12: Hannah drops a truth bomb: “I don’t owe you anything at this point,” she informs him, enunciating carefully so the doofus-for-Jesus will be able to understand.
1:30: Luke gets up at last, at her repeated urging to leave, but he says to her, “Will you please just give me one minute here?” And she turns her back on him, saying “No.” She walks him to the car.
Hannah’s Got This Guy’s Number.
I guess all reality shows have this little “aside” scene at points, where the cast reflects afterward about a scene that was filmed.
In this one, Hannah talks about why she rejected Luke: he only wants someone who wants the same thing that he wants and sees the world the same way that he does.
She knows now that whoever she marries, it’ll be someone who accepts her unconditionally.
And she knows now that Luke simply won’t ever be able to do that.
Ironic, considering the Great Command that Christians are under to love unconditionally.
The Backpedaling and One More Control-Grab.
2:00: Meanwhile, in the dinner scene itself, Luke backpedals: oh, see, he wasn’t judging or condemning her after all, even though that’s exactly what it sounded like. No no! See, he was only “bringing up to” Hannah what King Him thinks “would be the perfect scenario.” And I’m sure he’s telling the truth here. Her body language is hilarious: she is 100% closed to him.
2:15: He says he didn’t believe in love at first sight, but he totally does love her and thinks they have a future together. (Note: he doesn’t say that he fell in love with Hannah at first sight. Interesting word choice there.) Yay, another misogynist who thinks his feelings override a woman’s rejection. She already said NO. It’s done, it’s over. And she does not look impressed at all with this last minute protestation.
2:30: He tells her, “I don’t even care what you just said to me about you feeling like that you have clarity on this.” Again, I believe him. Luke didn’t want to hear what she had to say, so he really doesn’t care about it. He continues, “You don’t.” Oh, okay, how nice of him to tell her exactly how she feels! And then he finishes very emotionally: “There is something in me that is refusing me to get into that vehicle right there.”
He thinks he’s just made the ultimate protestation of love. This is his boombox-above-the-head moment, his running-through-the-airport moment, his striding-into-the-factory-to-carry-out-his-woobie moment. He thinks he’s offering a big huge romantic gesture–his refusal to admit defeat–and feels sure it’ll totally change Hannah’s mind.
(I’ve been there. I can guarantee that this nitwit was already framing how he’d tell this story about Mommy’s silly little outburst to their future children.)
However, Hannah reacts with barely-concealed horror. That big protestation had exactly the opposite effect on her that he wanted. It only made her more certain of her decision.
Hannah Drops Tsar Bomba.
2:50: Hannah, smiling broadly through her anger, informs Luke that she’s had sex.
2:55: Luke goes perfectly still, eyebrows knitted in perplexity. Finally he mumbles, “Say what?” (He uses the same expression and tone I’d expect if Hannah had confessed to having committed necrophilia.)
3:00: Hannah affirms that she’s had sex. Twice. In a windmill. (Fans think that means it happened recently.) For good measure, she follows it up with, “And Jesus still loves me.”
Luke tucks in his shirt or something, probably just as a nervous mannerism, but his eyes are bugged out. He’s in shock. I can see why. His property has boy cooties on it now and he is not the source of those cooties. Now certain of triumph, Hannah says, “You probably wanna leave.” In an aside, in reaffirming the twice-in-a-windmill story, she winks at the camera. She’s quite pleased. Whatever happened in that windmill sounds like it was good for her!
3:20: Luke curls and un-curls his fist. Nothing’s more reassuring than a misogynist making a tight, white-knuckled fist after rejection, right?
The Pouty Final Control-Grab.
Luke goes quiet. Rain begins to fall on the two of them as Hannah waits for him to go away already.
3:50: Sounding frustrated and peeved, she finally says, “What?” As in FFS, what is your damage THIS time, you freakin’ man-child?
3:55: Luke looks up at last. He’s lost Hannah as a romantic prospect, and I think he realizes that at last. But he still thinks he can salvage a little control over the situation. He asks Hannah, “Can I pray over you before I leave?”
I laughed out loud. Of course he’d say something like that. Of course! See, Christians like him don’t ask that unless they’re making a power play. It’s usually their last salvo. As the person issuing the prayer, Luke is setting himself up as the superior in this situation. The prayer itself will be a one-sided moral lecture from him that in his culture the victim must shut up and accept without objections. Afterward, he’ll leave–but he’ll leave feeling all Jesus-y and like he at least maintained superiority in that one little area.
3:58: Hannah all but rolls her eyes at him and refuses his last offer. She looks more disgusted with him by the moment.
4:01: Slowly, slowly Luke gets into the limo. The light in the passenger section goes on, illuminating him wearing his usual derpy, perplexed expression. The SUV pulls away, and we get a fun last gesture from Hannah as it does:
And the Creepy Gaslighting Follow-Up.
But the drama wasn’t quite over. King Luke had not decided that it was.
Luke immediately made a Twitter account. (It’s @luke_parker777 — UGH, seriously.) And he appears to have created it to cyberstalk Hannah and spin-doctor the total drubbing he got on the internet. Oh, his own tribe rallied behind him. Christian sites are already wringing their widdle handsies over the whole thing.
We expected all of that.
But most of the internet sounds like people are over Luke’s brand of sexism-for-Jesus.
Consequently, when Luke tried to lecture Hannah via Twitter and push himself into superiority over her, she replied:
And people loved that response. (Luke’s tweets tended to garner 2k-ish likes; hers tended to be up in the six figures.) But King Luke wasn’t done yet.
Looking at his feed, he still doesn’t accept that he’s done a single thing wrong overall. He told Christian Post, “I didn’t totally behave as the man I want to be and I did not represent Christ as I thought I was prepared to and that has broken me.”
But that’s a very far distance from him apologizing to Hannah for being a creepy control-freak.
Igniting a Conversation.
I’m actually glad that this show has begun a conversation about controlling Christian men like Luke Parker. His fellow TRUE CHRISTIANS™, of course, steadfastly refuse to understand exactly what happened in that whole drama. To understand it would mean accepting that their approach to relationships is dead wrong–and that their menfolk are basically the bad guys in this equation. Nobody likes to think they’re the bad guys!
If they won’t catch up, though, then we’ll simply leave them behind. Their time of dominating the conversation about relationships is over. So is their time of dominating the conversation about who will or won’t be considered Christian, as well as their time of deciding what rules will or won’t be followed by other Christians. Evangelicals hate that Hannah considers herself a devoted and dedicated Christian, because nothing’s worse for their nationally-staged power play than competing Christian ideologies. Indeed, they’re trying very hard to deny her that label.
But it’s not up to them to decide if she’s fit to wear their shared label, any more than it was up to Luke to decide if Hannah’s rejection of him would stand or not.
I’m dismayed that apparently the showrunners will be allowing him back for at least another episode, and hope that Hannah maintains her boundaries and stays safe if that happens. The strength of millions of women flows through her. Though I’ve never seen her before this week, I hope she does eventually find love–despite King Luke Parker’s control-grabs.
NEXT UP: LSP on Monday! On Tuesday, a complementarian gets mad at me for not changing my name when I married Mr. Captain. See you soon!
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