Jarrod Woodgate’s stricken face is front-and-centre on many mainstream news websites today.
The Bachelorette‘s runner up suffered what could be described as one of the most heart-wrenching rejections in the franchise’s history.
“With love you’ve got to think with your heart,” Sophie Monk gently told Jarrod on Channel 10 on Thursday night.
“In my head, you’re everything I’ve been looking for. Absolutely everything. In my head, I know you’re everything. But my heart belongs to someone else.”
After letting out a painful whimper-like sound, panic settled into the 32-year-old vineyard worker’s eyes. He thought we was going to walk off set with a new girlfriend; instead he would be returning to his same old life, away from the glitz of reality TV, only now with a wounded heart.
Listen: Zara McDonald and I debrief on The Bachelorette finale on Bach Chat. (Post continues…)
It sounds hyperbolic – like I’m taking this sugary surface show a touch too seriously and need to get a grip – but we know The Bachelorette wasn’t about gaining more Instagram followers or securing a modelling contract for Jarrod. You just had to see the tears streaming down his face to know that.
Jarrod referred to Sophie as the “love of my life” in the finale episode. He was steadfast in his love and adoration for her. He was – is – an emotional guy, and when it didn’t pan out, we saw that emotion overflow into hot, unrelenting tears.
“I didn’t see that coming,” he struggled to squeeze out to producers, dabbing his eyes with a napkin. “You finally find a purpose in life and thinking that you’ve got a future with this girl and everything’s looking up… and… it hurts.”
Seeing tears spring from the eyes of a man in peak time television is not something we’re accustomed to. NRL and AFL Grand Finals aside – where burly men embrace each other and weep with joy of a win or crush of defeat – we don’t see such raw displays of emotion.
Hell, if we look at popular culture, it’s almost as if men are physically incapable of crying.
“I feel so uncomfortable, I can’t watch this,” some women in the Mamamia office said as Jarrod wept. “It feels weird.”
Perhaps in these instances, some of us feel awkward and uncomfortable because the idea of a man opening sobbing – displaying the full range of emotions that a woman might – is foreign. Some of us grimaced and fidgeted as Jarrod sobbed, because somehow, even in 2017, watching a man openly cry still feels like we are witnessing something we shouldn’t be. Like we’re intruders, or that what we’re seeing is something to keep private.