By InStyle
Updated: Dec 10, 2018 @ 5:34 pm
Craig Sjodin/ABC

Like a beautiful white male phoenix, Colton Underwood will rise from the #NotMyBachelor ashes and deliver a gripping performance on The Bachelor season 23. However, many Bachelor Nation fans doubt his ability to live up to the role.

Since he was announced as the franchise’s next Bachelor in September 2018, blogs, Twitter accounts and the hearts and minds of Bachelor Nation have expressed nothing but doubt over Colton’s performance. For one, he was hardly the fans’ first pick. The obvious choice would have been Blake Horstmann, Becca Kufrin’s runner up. Becca settled on Garrett Yrigoyen — you know, the (alleged) bigot. Fans worried that Colton was not only an unpopular contestant, considering he’d dated Becca and prior to filming the show Becca’s Bachelor BFF Tia Booth, he also only came in fourth that season. Then, on Bachelor in Paradise, Colton’s wishy-washy approach to love convinced viewers that he had no interest in finding love right away, and/or wasn’t there for the #RightReasons.

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But, all of that talk was months ago. Now we await the The Bachelor season 23 premiere on Jan.7. Like most, I wasn’t sure if I’d be excited to watch Colton sift through dozens of women to find love, and potentially take his virginity. Yes, Colton, the 26-year-old former NFL player is probably still a virgin. In no way is that a shameful thing, but it still raised some eyebrows since The Bachelor is basically a show all about sex, as the most anticipated moments (aside from the final rose) are the show’s fantasy suites. For those just familiarizing themselves: The fantasy suites are the places where the lead can have a camera-free evening with his final three contestants — basically, it’s code for banging all night long.

So, In the weeks leading up to this event, ABC released a slew of promotion capitalizing on Colton Underwood’s virginity, but also contestant reactions to said virginity — one woman told Colton that she hadn’t dated a virgin since she was 12. More recently, ABC released a parody promotional image of Colton embodying Steve Carell's character from The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Sporting identical poses and nearly identical shirts, Colton’s poster reads “What does he have to lose?”

Many were shocked and slightly annoyed at the endless promo focusing on Colton’s virginity, particularly because Colton has said that he does not want his sex life to be the main focus of the season. Blake Horstman, who was Colton’s competitor on season 14 of The Bachelorette, told Entertainment Tonight that even Colton was getting sick of the virginity talk — and of course, wouldn’t speculate on whether Colton is or isn’t.  Additionally, Horstmann could be The Bachelor insider we didn’t know we needed — he also shared with Entertainment Tonight that Colton’s season ends with “something that's never happened before.” Considering the last few seasons have ended with shocking dismissals (Rachel Lindsay letting Peter Kraus go before the final rose ceremony) and reneged engagements (Arie Luyendyk dumping his fiance and winner of his season, Becca Kufrin for runner up Lauren Burnham), there’s very little we haven’t seen outside of Bachelor Nation norm.

Colton’s hardly the first virgin to darken the doors of the Bachelor Mansion, and he won’t be the last (this season, Heather, 22, has “never been kissed”). And, as of now, this one minor aspect about him is the most out of the ordinary quality about him. He’s just an unassuming, hot guy that doesn’t mind being poked fun at every now and again for the sake of ratings. That’s what Bachelor producers and fans alike are looking for. A willing lead that will harken back to the golden days of Bachelor viewing, where the harsh realities of love and loss aren’t thrown in our faces, rather we see the innocent blooming of love as one man dates and dumps more women that he ever has in his entire life.

RELATED: Every Contestant Vying For Colton Underwood's Heart on Season 23 of The Bachelor

Despite possible hesitations with how his narrative will go down this season, it’s clear from his time on The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise that Colton is willing to play whatever game ABC puts before him. Does he love his virginity being the main topic of conversation? No. Will he play along with it because he knows it’ll get him ratings? Probably, yes.

So, for those of us who had low hopes for Colton’s turn at The Bachelor, fear not! Even if we have to endure more than our fair share of virgin jokes, Colton’s willing to endure whatever it takes to be the best Bachelor he can be. And for that, we salute him — after all, we’re here for as many twists and turns as possible.

 

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