Is there a new romance brewing in Bachelor Nation just in time for Valentine's Day? Fans are certainly wondering after Ben Higgins left a flirty comment on Ashley Iaconetti's photo on Instagram. The photo itself is part of a contest that Ashley I. is partnering with Famous Footwear for in order to give away a gift card. However, it appears that Ashley I.'s Almost Famous podcast co-host Ben, left a comment on the photo that reads, "you should date @higgins.ben." The message is accompanied by four heart-eye emojis. Would Ben be so bold as to drop some straight up flirtation on Ashley I.'s Instagram or is something else going on?
Ben's comment certainly has fans of the duo buzzing on Ashley I.'s Instagram page. Since Ben and Ashley I. co-host a successful Bachelor podcast together and are sometimes even spotted hanging out, Bachelor (senior producer: Lindsay Liles) Nation has been keeping an eye on these two, but they've always insisted they're just friends. Of course, that hasn't stopped certain members of their fanbase from rooting for these friends to become romantic. Given the ecstatic messages that followed Ben's comment, their shippers are hoping this is a sign that the business partners have become a couple — but not so fast.
Ashley I. and Ben are both aware that a certain segment of fans want them to date. In fact, Ashley I.'s comment section on Instagram is full of messages from her followers that are just like the one that Ben left. Once you add in the fact that Ben is an aspiring comedian, it's not much of a stretch to think that he wasn't being flirty, but rather he was simply leaving a jokey comment that would make his podcast co-host smile.
It seems like Ashley I. gets plenty of messages from eager fans who want her to date Ben, and this looks suspiciously like a case of Ben parodying their comments. In fact, Ashley I. may have been with Ben when he left the comment on her photo, as they both appear to have attended the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Golf Tournament over the weekend. Ashley I. mentions in the caption of her photo that she has "no idea" what's going on at the tournament, but she's enjoying watching Chris Harrison. Meanwhile, Ben has posted several photos from the event, including one with The Bachorette's Dean Unglert.
Even if Ben was simply being silly, the response to his comment illustrates just how invested some people are in the idea of these co-hosts dating. One Instagram user commented, "Omg PLEASE tell me that you & Ben are together." Another made this passionate plea, "@higgins.ben this comment gives so many feels. Don’t flex on us."
Ben appears to be way too busy golfing and making dad jokes to address the members of Bachelor Nation who are tagging him in the hopes that he might offer a relationship status update. The caption on his photo of Dean offers a glimpse into Ben's sense humor that supports the idea that his comment on Ashley I.'s photo was just a joke. Ben captioned his photo,
"Why do golfers always carry a spare pair of trousers with them? In case they get a hole in one."
Oh, Ben, why must you toy with the hearts of your fans? Luckily, he and Ashley I. are such lovely friends, it's impossible to be mad at them for teasing their loyal fans. Ben's comment may not be a sign that he and Ashley I. are dating, but it's clear that if they ever do decide to be more than just friends, they'll have plenty of support from Bachelor Nation.