Why Won't Shelli Kiss Clay On 'Big Brother 17'? The Showmance Is Staying Private

Basically from the start of the competition, Clay and Shelli started their Big Brother showmance, and they have never looked back. With a clear attraction, what started as flirting quickly evolved into something more. In terms of the game, they are committed to being the final two houseguests, and there is also plenty of reason to believe their relationship will continue outside the game. But, even with their partnership secured, Shelli has yet to even kiss Clay. Or has she? What's the deal?

Shelli and Clay's status as a power couple in the house means their showmance is worth it, at least for now. Shelli has won two HoH competitions, and the pair's got their hands in nearly all the cookie jars. Everyone in the house seems to love Clay and Shelli, both as individuals and as a duo, so it'll probably be a while before anyone makes a move to evict one of them and break up their alliance.

The intrigue for many is in their relationship outside of the gameplay. There are plenty of people who would want to be Clay Honeycutt's girlfriend, but is that where Shay/Slay/Chelli are headed?

Shelli and Clay agreed early on that they would not have their first kiss on national television for all the world to see. That makes sense, even if it's a little disappointing. Despite cuddling constantly and sleeping in the same bed nearly every night, they've managed to stay true to that so far. Even in the houseguests' game of Truth or Dare, when Meg finally gave James a smacker on the lips, Shelli and Clay refused to take the dare to kiss. (Which totally defeats the purpose of playing Truth or Dare! C'mon guys, really?!)

Now, Shelli seems to be changing her mind about that rule, but it's still not clear where they're at in their showmance. Just this morning, it looked like Clay was kissing Shelli's neck in the HoH room, and while some people freaked out, I'm in the camp of, "So what? Not the same as a kiss on the lips!" He's kissed her back and shoulders before; it's not like they were having a full-on make-out session.

All of this makes me wonder if this is more of a real-life coupling than a showmance used to advance their game. Clay and Shelli remind me a lot of Jeff and Jordan, and they're an absolutely darling BB couple that everyone loves or loves to hate. Up to that point, most showmances were for one houseguest's advancement in the game or just a fun, casual hook-up to spice things up while they were out of touch with the real world. Suddenly, there was an adorable and authentic connection between two strong players, and they seemed as surprised as anyone. Now they're engaged to be married!

Shelli and Clay have talked about everything from dating outside the house to what they'll name their future pets, and that's just not standard showmance talk. In fact, it feels weird referring to their relationship as a showmance when they've decided they both like the name Cheese for their dog.

After all of this, it is possible they're just playing each other. It's possible that one of them sees the value in switching things up and fooling the houseguests and America. If so, things are bound to get more interesting in the weeks to come when people start targeting them to split them up. For now, though, they're keeping their secrets and their kisses away from prying eyes.

For more on this season's best showmances, make sure to check out Bustle’s very own Big Brother podcast: The Diary Room. Listen to the latest episode below, and be sure to check out future episodes on Bustle’s SoundCloud page and iTunes.

Want even more Big Brother? Bustle’s App has you covered. It’s THE go-to place for any BB fan looking for round-the-clock Season 17 updates. BUT FIRST, you need to download the app from iTunes.

Image: Screengrab/CBS