Sure, sure. This season of Bachelor in Paradise was, arguably, “the most dramatic ever” – but really, who needs Chris Harrison? I, for one, do not – I turned my own life into Bachelor in Paradise.
Well, kind of. Sort of. I mean, I didn't journey to the beaches of Puerto Vallarta with a cast of reality television's most notorious personalities. But I did fly to a tropical land (Mallorca, a Spanish island in the Mediterranean Sea), with a near-stranger (we'll call him Logan*) to soak up sunshine, salt water, and a few dozen cocktails in the hopes of building a romantic connection.
So, how did I get there? And how did it all play out? I’m glad you asked…
(PS: This next bit may include spoilers from season five of Bachelor in Paradise! You’ve been warned.)
Around this time last year, I was approached by a PR exec about heading off on a romantic getaway via travel dating site MissTravel. After deep-diving through Google search results to ensure that no, this was not a plot to abduct me à la Taken (my father, bless his heart, is no Liam Neeson), I decided to give it a go. And – minus a few hiccups and moments spent dry-heaving outside of a strip club (another story for another time) – my travel dates were among my favorite memories last summer.
Consequently, when that same PR exec reached out to me a few months ago, I jumped at the chance to jet off on another travel date. In her words, the site had previously been a place for users to plan any kind of travel date together, from tents in Thailand to Kir Royales on the Côte d'Azur. But no longer! Moving forward, MissTravel would be a place for couples to book luxury getaways with one another – nothing but five-star grandeur – and did I want to try out their new and improved offering? Oh, ho, ho, did I ever.
Cue “Almost Paradise” – I was knocking on heaven’s door.
Before I knew it, I was ordering myself a family-sized cheese plate (bless you, room service) and fighting off jet lag with a metaphorical club, waiting for Logan's flight to land. He finally arrived around 11:30 that night, at which time I jumped up, wiped the drool from my face, and excitedly offered him the remaining morsels of cheese, like the vixen I am.
Now, something rarely addressed on Bachelor in Paradise is the bizarre feeling that comes with being thrust into a heavily romantic situation with a semi-stranger. Logan and I had been put up in this incredibly swanky hotel together – complete with a suite, a Juliet-style balcony, a complimentary bottle of Veuve Clicquot – but we were maintained the cool, calm, and collected demeanor of early dating niceties. (In the nature of full disclosure, I had had a chance to meet and chat with Logan in advance, but we were practically perfect strangers.)
Fortunately or unfortunately, I am rarely (if ever) cool, calm, or collected. So, after toasting to our Mallorcan getaway and knocking back a quick glass of bubbly, I licked up the remains of my cheese plate, crawled onto my side of our king-sized bed, and immediately fell asleep.
The next morning, after eating more than any two people should at a breakfast buffet, we brainstormed ways to spend our time in paradise. No one handed us date cards (or babies) upon arrival, so we were free to spend the weekend wandering through the city of Palma, jet-skiing along the Mediterranean, and indulging in the most impossibly lavish meals (thank you again to De Tokio a Lima for wining and dining us like kings – kings, I tell you!). It was… all right, I guess.
Jokes aside, the entire trip vacillated between feeling like a fairytale and a fever dream. Logan was chivalrous and charming, and every article of clothing he’d packed was undoubtedly knit from Boyfriend Material. Sense of humor? Check. Good looks? Check. An appreciation for spending the night in curled up in bed, watching episode after episode of Queer Eye? Check, check, and check. He was totally there for the right reasons. I just knew it.
And, insane as it sounds – I kind of understand how BIP’s contestants fall in love so quickly. It’s hard to see clearly through the lenses of champagne and sunshine. But, maybe that’s not such a bad thing? There’s danger in falling too quickly for someone – Annaliese taught us that – but there’s also magic in diving into a relationship head (er, vacation) first. I certainly didn’t expect to become the heart-eyes emoji personified; but I also don’t hate that that’s exactly what I’d become.
So, how did it all end? Well, Logan didn’t fasten a massive Neil Lane ring to my finger, nor did he break things off in front of a live studio audience. Instead, he scooped me up one last time before we shuffled into separate customs lines (did I mention Logan’s English?!) and returned to real life.
Like most of the show’s couples, it’s hard to say whether or not our relationship will have legs outside of the world of never-ending cocktails and foreign accents… but I can confidently share that I left with a bad hickey, a great story, and newfound understanding for the love-struck ladies of BIP.
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