Things are about to get a little weird.
“The Bachelorette” started off with a group date of some of the 22 remaining men, including Gainesville’s Luke Parker, that got a taste of bachelorette Hannah Brown’s life in the pageant world.
Brown brought out drag queens J. Alexander, Alyssa Edwards and Alaska to offer tips and judge the men on the date as they walked down the runway in Speedos during a “Mr. Right Pageant.”
Then, the men performed whatever talent they had up their sleeve.
One man rode a unicycle, one tried — tried — to play the trumpet, another juggled and another sang while playing guitar. Parker, however, took a bit of a more bold approach. His talent was confessing his love for Brown.
“Hannah, I know that the Mr. Right for you is a man that's going to love you fiercely,” Parker said into the microphone. “And Hannah, I can’t believe I’m saying this right now. This is pretty crazy because it's so soon. But I can’t hide it. Hannah, I’m genuinely starting to fall in love with you.”
Parker ended things by walking toward Brown and giving her a kiss.
That didn’t go over too well with the rest of the men as the camera showed their surprised and somewhat annoyed reactions, but Brown was impressed as she crowned Parker the winner of the pageant.
As the date moved off the stage, Brown had a few questions for Parker. She wanted to make sure he knew what he was saying on stage and was sure of his feelings.
So, for the first time of the night, Parker was forced to defend himself.
“I’ve never felt a connection like this in my whole entire life,” Parker said. “My feelings for you have been growing so fast. I am starting to fall in love with you. I am, and I can’t — I was honestly worried and scared about telling you that tonight, because I didn’t know how you’d handle it, but I can’t hide it.”
His defense seemed to suffice as Brown smiled and said, “I asked for bold and you’re bold.” There was some kissing, and, again, things got a little uncomfortable.
Parker wasn’t so lucky with his second defense of the night, though. As he made his way back to the couch where the rest of the men were, they, too, began to question him.
“The way I feel right now, man, is that you’re a dog,” said Mike, who was sitting next to Parker. “I like Hannah just as much as you do, but I don’t want her emotions to be rattled because of something that may or may not be factual … You’ve had less than two hours with her, and in the history of man, I’ve never heard someone say, ‘I think I’m falling in love with you.’”
Parker defended himself saying he felt like meeting Brown and realizing the connection they have is “almost too good to be true.” Parker said he was so sure of his feelings and was willing to share them with Brown so quickly, because that’s simply his personality.
“If I want something, I'm going to go and get it no matter what it takes,” Parker said. “I’m going to fight for that.”
There was some eye rolling here.
The next time Parker was seen was during the cocktail hour before the rose ceremony. Each man gets time with Brown and Parker made the most of his by exchanging back massages with Brown.
One of the other contestants walked in, and, again, things got a little uncomfortable.
A few minutes of awkwardness later and Parker was back with the rest of the men — fully clothed — continuing the cocktail hour.
Finally, it came to the rose ceremony and Parker received his, meaning he’ll be around for another week.
Usually, after the men who don't receive a rose leave, the night ends after everyone remaining toasts the night with champagne glasses.
Parker had other plans. His night wasn’t over.
Brown was in a separate room, doing one of the typical interviews of how she was feeling and how the night went. Usually those are done alone. But Parker, after saying, “All right, guys, goodnight,” to the other men, slipped off without anyone seeing him and interrupted because he wanted to spend more time with Brown. He had Brown sit on his lap after they couldn’t find another chair.
“Everything has been magical with you,” Parker said. “And I want you to know, honestly, that everything I’m telling you is 100% real. I promise.”
The two talked about their feelings toward each other and again, Brown questioned how he could be so sure that he was falling in love. Parker reassured her and the two ended the episode with more kissing. Again, a little uncomfortable.
“I don’t want you to have any fear in this,” Parker said. “You can trust me.”