brightcove.createExperiences(); After JoJo Fletcher won viewers’ hearts as a fan favorite on Ben Higgins‘ season of The Bachelor, she’s now on her own journey to love on The Bachelorette. She is blogging exclusively about each and every rose ceremony for PEOPLE – check back each week and follow her on Twitter at @Joellefletcher!
Welcome back everyone, what a whirlwind of a week it has been!
I have to start this with a huge thank you to an amazing Bachelor Nation. You guys have been so kind to me. I’ve received so much love from people on social media, my home state of Texas and beyond. I can’t explain the amazing feeling of having so many people shower me with such nice compliments and words of encouragement. Being The Bachelorette isn’t easy and I’m sure sometimes you wont agree with my decisions, but staying true to myself and my heart – while giving these relationships my full attention and effort – is what was really important to me. This has been really humbling to me and I just wanted you guys to know how much your support and love means to me. Thank you!
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On to the first week of dates!
So the first night is fun, but this is where it really begins. It’s just crazy to watch the guys moving into the Bachelor Mansion. It seems like yesterday I was moving in with all the other women on Ben’s season, rushing upstairs to find bedrooms, exploring the house. One thing I was also strangely excited to see was what all these guys looked like out of their suits. It was great seeing them all dressed up (even Santa!) on that first night, but I think someone’s everyday style can tell you a lot about someone and I was excited to see how these guys put themselves together.
I know there were a lot of questions about why I kept some of the guys that really enjoyed themselves that first night, guys like Daniel. But I understood – having gone through it myself – just how overwhelming that first night can be. And while Daniel might have taken advantage of the full bar (and the pool!) a little bit more than others, I think he deserved the benefit of the doubt. So I was looking forward to spending more time with him, and all of the guys this week. The worst thing you can do in that situation is send someone home and then regret it. You don’t want to make a mistake.
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I really wanted to have some fun on the first date, but I also wanted to see these put themselves out there. Hot guys at the fire academy? Come on! And I may have had a little help tailoring my suit. I mean, I had to look half-way decent for the first date! I thought that by starting the date with me rolling in on a fire truck and putting out that fire would be a good way to break the ice. But it was actually really hard; that hose weighed so much! When we got to the fire academy, they put the guys immediately to work. That day was really hot and the gear was not lightweight. And Wells – what an angel – no matter how tired he got he kept pushing and pushing. Wells might not be the biggest and brawniest of the group, but when it comes to a husband, I’m looking for more than just muscles. And there’s something to be said about Wells and his effort that day. It’s actually a great metaphor for a relationship. That kind of desire and drive is something I want in a partner. I want them to keep pushing through how matter hard it gets, and on that date Wells showed me he could do that. But at the end of the day, Grant was able to rescue me from that tower, even though Luke did give him a run for his money!
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It was great to get that extra time with Grant. He’s such a sweet and genuine soul. I was really impressed at his honesty and transparency in that conversation. And Luke. Wow. He is just a big sexy hunk of a man. Have I told you about his hands? He has the biggest hands. When he wraps his hands around me, I feel so safe and protected. Those hands! Okay, no more commenting on that! And I didn’t know the guys down there could see us! Ugh. Sorry, guys! All in all, spending time with all the guys was a great way to end the day, but at the end of it all, I was so impressed by Wells on this date, from start to finish, I just had to give him the rose.
I woke up the next day really believing in this journey more than ever before because I could already feel myself developing genuine connections. It left me looking forward to my one on one date with Derek. And the fact that our date was going to be based solely on choices we made together left me very aware of how we communicate and would make choices as a couple. Plus, I LOVE a good adventure and having someone who can share in my love of adventure and spontaneity is important! Derek was so great at rolling with the punches and I think we definitely made some great choices cumulating in a pretty epic date. And the fact that it landed us in San Francisco, a place I have ALWAYS wanted to go, well, that was icing on the cake.
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At dinner, I saw exactly what I needed to see from Derek as he opened up to me about his past. I understand how challenging it can be to drop those walls and build trust, and the fact that he felt comfortable enough to share his experiences with me made me feel lucky. I was lucky not only to be there with him in that beautiful setting, but that he trusted me. I knew then that everything I had been feeling that day with him was true and real. And I couldn’t see myself not giving him a rose on that date. I was happy to give it to him and equally as relieved he accepted it.
My next group date at SportsNation was so exciting for me. Sports were always a big deal in my house growing up, and I played sports my whole life, so to take part in something as awesome as SportsNation was surreal. Taking over their show and turning it into BachelorNation was a blast! Thank you especially to Max and Marcellus (and to Richelle, the show’s badass producer!), who were so funny both on camera and off. Before the guys arrived, the three of just sat at their big desk and goofed around. I only wish Michelle Beadle could have joined us. Maybe next time?! So I know that most guys love sports, so I figured this would be a good date for a big group of guys. But I also really wanted to see how they brought their own creativity to the date. I loved seeing the guys’ end zone dances! Thank goodness I didn’t have to do one, cause I’m not the best dancer! I have to admit that being called a nag by Chad was definitely a bit surprising. It felt undeserved and hurtful. I was definitely taken aback, especially because I have all kinds of faults, but I don’t think I’m especially “naggy.” And while I was hurt, I do respect someone who is honest and able to speak their mind.
Going into our after party, I was looking forward to hearing from the guys what they thought of the day’s date and more about them. My time with Chad was unexpected. I guess I was expecting him to follow up on his little “nagging” comment. Instead, he was open and vulnerable. And I felt fortunate that he could open up to me about the passing of his mother. I really feel like this night Chad was able to show me sides of him that I don’t think a lot of other people – especially the other guys – often see. After spending the extra time with James T, however, I knew Max and Marcellus’s power ranking was accurate. What a total sweetheart.
Arriving to that cocktail party, I was totally shocked to see Chad standing there. And while we didn’t spend too much time together, I do appreciate a man showing me that he wants to spend time with me. There were some guys that first week who just kind of faded away, as if they really didn’t care about me. Chad didn’t do that.
The night really took off when I spent time with Chase. The time we spent together that night instantly made me know that I needed to spend some quality time with him. Stay tuned for that! Meanwhile, Chad and the guys were really getting after it. I had no idea there was this much tension between Chad and the other guys. I knew there was some tension, of course, but I didn’t know there were threats of violence. I don’t feel great now seeing this. It’s all just so complicated. Chad is a complex guy with complex emotions. And I know he means well. But he really shouldn’t be threatening other guys. That’s not cool. What’s going to happen next with Chad and the guys? Well, I can tell you now that what’s coming up is – to go to the Bachelor lingo – quite possibly “the most dramatic episode in Bachelor history.” Next week? The week after? I can’t tell you. You’ll have to tune in to see how it all goes down.
So get ready Bachelor Nation, it’s about to get crazy.
The Bachelorette airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.