Shows like The Bachelor like to talk a good game about being a place where people can find beautiful, everlasting love, but really, they put people in a lot of sad, twisty situations. See Bachelor In Paradise star Kevin Wendt watching his ex-girlfriend, Ashley Iaconetti, get engaged 50 yards away to Jared Haibon, the man that Ashley reportedly cheated on Kevin with. It couldn't have felt great to have to watch all of that go down as Kevin. But actually, Kevin's reaction to Ashley's Bachelor In Paradise engagement showed that he's a real class act and he's not out to steal anyone's moment, which is a pretty rare feat in Paradise.
As soon as Ashley showed up with Jared, Kevin tensed — the camera loved to look at his face while he had to watch Jared and Ashley tell each other how they couldn't live without each other's "little monkey faces" in the morning or whatever sweet nothings they were sharing with the group. Instead of throwing a temper tantrum or acting out in some other way, as we have seen far too much this season, Kevin was gracious and quiet, even giving Ashley a little congratulatory hug after the proposal on the beach. Back up at the daybeds, totally behind the scenes, he was bummed, though. He even mentioned to Astrid that he felt like he was a "pawn" in Ashley's "little game." That's rough!
Kevin is totally allowed to be awkward and upset here, but he really handled himself well. He didn't make it about him. He just kind of sunk into the back to feel his feelings, which is a totally acceptable, human thing to do.
Frankly, if this had happened to anyone else besides Kevin on Bachelor in Paradise right now, there would have been a temper tantrum and maybe a stuffed puppy thrown into the Pacific Ocean. But Kevin is a kindler, gentler Bachelor in Paradise contestant. He and Astrid speak very openly about their feelings and fears, Kevin even talking about how he frequently attends therapy because it helps keep him balanced. After Ashley got engaged, Kevin got a date with Astrid, and he admitted that he has never felt like "enough" in any of his past relationships, and that's his albatross he carries. He and Astrid had yet another honest conversation about not bringing the past into future relationships, and they exchanged "I love you"s. It was really very sweet.
For all of the machismo and toxic masculinity that courses through the veins of Bachelor in Paradise, Kevin is a wonderful example of a man who isn't afraid to feel his own feelings. Emotions aren't always easy to cope with, but the fact that he didn't start throwing things when his ex-girlfriend got engaged in front of him is a pretty good sign that Kevin is more emotionally evolved than his Bachelor in Paradise cast mates. Is that a low bar to set for someone's behavior? Possibly. But he brings me hope.
He and Astrid are a beautiful example of what shows like Bachelor in Paradise can do when cast the right way — set up like-minded people and give them a chance to meet a lover or partner that they wouldn't normally have met had they stayed in their circles at home. And be entertaining. Both Astrid and Kevin are also vital parts of the crew down on the beach and so interesting to watch. Much more interesting than some of the other "more dramatic" characters that the show gives viewers thinking we enjoy them, when really, those angry, jealous, and mean types are cringe-worthy and make viewers like me wonder why I stick with the show in the first place. We deserve more cast members like Kevin and Astrid.
Kevin, and Astrid, too, deserve each other because they've put the work in. Kevin's cool attitude after Ashley's engagement and vulnerability prove that he's ready to love and be loved, even if it is on Bachelor in Paradise.