By Mariah Smith
Jun 11, 2018 @ 9:00 am
ABC

Subject: Colton Underwood
Age: 26
Occupation: Former NFL Player, Charity Bro, Former Restaurant Owner

On last week’s episode of The Bachelorette, a constantly-on-the-verge-of-tears Becca Kufrin endured yet another week with the man-children vying for her affection (hello, Lincoln and Connor engaging in a dramatic pissing contest that ended with broken glass). But one man stole the show: Colton Underwood.

Based on what we’ve seen of Colton in just two episodes and the season teaser, the Denver, CO, native wants to be the most talked-about man of the season. Not only is he a dog-loving former NFL player who’s created a cystic fibrosis foundation, but he may still be a virgin ("I'm not waiting for marriage. I'm waiting for the right person," he’s said, though his fellow contestants don’t really believe him) who's dated within the Bachelor universe before Becca’s season. Oh, all that, plus he used to be Olympic gold-medal gymnast Aly Raisman’s boyfriend. Because he loves the spotlight, he asked Aly out in a very public way, via a TV interview video message in 2016 (they broke up amicably last year). Yeah, he’s weird, and homeboy is a low-key stunt queen who’s spent years cultivating the perfect Bachelor persona. Let me take you through it.

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🎬🎙🏆 @alyraisman

A post shared by Colton S. Underwood (@coltonunderwood) on

Colton is a man of layers, and what you see isn’t necessarily what you get. At first, his big heart, hot looks, and hunky body make him the IRL ken doll of many viewers’ dreams; I had high hopes for him since episode one. His first Instagram post was all about his beloved dog, Sniper, simply captioned “my buddy,” and many of his tweets and daily musings are like something out of a Millenial-Gen-Z- cusp fever dream about the ideal man. He loves spending time alone, often tweeting about meeting his “social quota” for the month, he indulges in nutella and peanut butter, and he loves Hallmark holiday movies. He’s also a family man who posts about his love for his mom and helps out at elementary schools as a crossing guard! It makes your heart actively melt, especially when he serves up that swoon with a side of GQ bae in fitted suits that were made for jumping while posing.

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But is that really the real Colton? His anxiety-ridden confession to Becca last week that he once spent a torrid weekend with her pal Tia Booth (who was also a contender for Arie Luyendyk Jr.'s hand in marriage) prior to this season is suspect, showing another, sneakier side of him. “We had a weekend together and we had a good time, but for me the timing wasn’t right to grow what was a spark into a flame,” he told Becca. “If my feelings were strong enough, I wouldn’t have came on [the show].” I thought Colton’s nervous energy leading up to this confrontation with Becca was needlessly dramatic. Why would she be upset that he dated within the Bachelor community before? Everyone does it! But the confession itself, and his explanation, was sort of cringe-worthy.

And then I snooped through Colton’s Twitter. Colton, who’s been a fan of the Bachelor franchise since long before his involvement with the show, tweeted about his heart-eye-emoji feelings for Tia and not Becca during Arie’s season. That’s a strong expression of love for someone who, when live tweeting Paradise as a viewer last summer, told a fan that he would rather find a stray dog on the island than date any of the women currently appearing on the show (even for a man who used his first 280 character tweet ever to promote his love of dogs, that’s quite a statement). Colton has also been accused of DMing Tia earlier this year, and these DMs most likely initiated their short relationship.

The exact chronology of events is unknown, but the general timing seems suspect. Before Becca was announced as the Bachelorette, there were rumors that Tia was vying for the role. It’s likely that Colton’s weekend with Tia occurred right around when ABC was casting for this season. If he thought Tia was going to be the belle of the season, did he just date her to get close to the next Bachelorette and then split with her to join the show? Or maybe he’s still into Tia and was hoping that she’d be the Bachelorette? (Or Colton doesn’t really care who the Bachelorette is because he’s plotting to be your next Bachelor…?) Either way, Becca has some serious reservations. “I’m not going to lie, I don’t know how I feel about it,” Becca told Colton after he confronted her. “It makes me feel a little bit sick.” I’d be pissed, too. Now, Colton does clearly have a thing for brunettes and, drama aside, he seems to have good chemistry with Becca, but still.

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Ball

A post shared by Colton S. Underwood (@coltonunderwood) on

On the surface, Colton may seem like a dream boy Instagram crafted out of witty captions and cheesy one liners, but every post of his is skin deep. Some muscles here, a football there, and a red carpet shot, too.

And that makes sense when you start to realize that Colton’s been low-key campaigning to be on The Bachelorette since 2016. He posted an image of red roses with no caption on Instagram in October 2016 and then another, more direct photo of him holding a single rose while wearing a jacket with a flower lining, in late 2017. And, no shade to Becca, but right before joining the show in February of this year, he admitted on Twitter that he’d be willing to converse with someone who had “the personality of a wall” if free food were a part of the equation. If that’s not what the Bachelor franchise is in a nutshell, then I don’t know what is!

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“Wrong reasons” alert!

Tonight, we’ll see Colton interact with Tia on camera, and the only thing better than that would be if Aly Raisman did a backflip onto ABC and let us know the real tea on this extremely hot and confusing man.