When Tara left The Bachelor last night full of teary eyes and crestfallen smiles, she appeared every bit the heartbroken contestant – picked up by the whirlwind that is reality television only to be dropped as fast as she rose.
Australia collectively sighed, and then swiftly picked up their pitchforks, damning a man that broke the heart of the contestant they loved so much.
Except, well, less than 24 hours later, we all looked like the damn fool. I didn’t have my heart broken, Tara told us from the press circuit. Because of course, a broken heart assumes love. And she was never in love, she says.
First, the 27-year-old told TV Week she “really couldn’t give a s**t about Matty”.
Then, in an interview with Now To Love, she said she was “fine”.
“I was never in love with him, so I was fine as soon as I didn’t get a rose. Actually, he looked more upset than me!”
She went on:
“As soon as I didn’t get a rose, reality clicked in.
“I forgot for a second I was on a show and I realised all the emotions were heightened because of the bubble I was in.”
Listen: Join Michelle Andrews and, well, me for the second last episode of Bach Chat: Matty J edition. SOB.
“I think because I realised everything was super heightened and I wouldn’t have fallen like that for someone in the real world, everything is rushed! So I was totally fine.”
So who can we believe? The Tara who was on the show, who professed she’s never had a better time with anyone than she did with Matty? Or Tara post-show – the one who wants nothing to do with the heartbroken tag we’ve dumped on her?
Post-show Tara, the one who is self-aware enough to reflect on the experience sans the rose-coloured glasses given to contestants upon their arrival, is the one we should be listening to. And it certainly shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that she admitted to never really loving Matty J.
Because in a show that thrives off adrenaline and alcohol and isolation, the bubble isn’t often conducive to igniting real love. And Bachelor love is not real love.
Of course, the show doesn’t have a terrible track record in introducing people that eventually end up dating. But the idea that ten or more women have the ability to fall in love – actually in love – with one guy?
As improbable as it sounds.
And that’s why, when Tara says she didn’t love him, we don’t dismiss her as the jilted ex-girlfriend saying she’s ‘fine’ one time too many to be actually be considered fine.
Instead, we consider her feelings while on the show as a product of the bubble she was trapped in.
A bubble that encourages you to think you’re in love when perhaps you never were.
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