• Ciarran broke hearts around Australia when he learned of his Nan's passing. (Channel 10)Source: Channel 10
"Ciarran is exactly the kind of man #BacheloretteAU should be showcasing."
Samuel Leighton-Dore

1 Nov 2019 - 1:08 PM  UPDATED 1 Nov 2019 - 1:43 PM

Hearts broke around Australia last night, when The Bachelorette fan-favourite Ciarran Stott left the show after learning that his grandmother, who raised him, had passed away.

However, it wasn't his departure that left such a mark on viewers, but the open and raw way he expressed his grief to Bachelorette Angie Kent.

Visibly distraught, Ciarran sat with Angie and cried on her shoulder; explaining that while he felt a strong connection with her, he was unable to be the best version of himself without returning home to be with his family. The mutual care and respect between the two was evident - and incredibly refreshing.

As I watched, it dawned on me just how rare it is to see a man be so vulnerable on mainstream TV; to see a lovable boy's-boy reject all expectations of stoicism and share his grief without bravado. Not only that, but for a man expressing his vulnerability to be depicted as desirable is... well, uncommon.

Others agreed.

"Ciarran is exactly the kind of man should be showcasing," one viewer tweeted. "He wear his heart on his sleeve and he’s completely unafraid to be himself."

Another added: "Ciarran fully crying on TV because his nan died is the living opposite of toxic masculinity and I hope he’s doing much better now."

Ciarran's tearful exit wasn't the only example of healthy masculinity on last night's episode, either. When Timm won a single date following the dramatic non-rose-ceremony, he was visibly caught up in feelings of anxiety and self-consciousness.

While he struggled to find the language to express himself, he revealed to camera that he was putting too much pressure on himself to make Angie happy - and was starting to buckle under the stress.

Then, in a heart-warming moment, the textbook Aussie larrikin was seen speaking with a male producer of the reality TV series, who comforted the 27-year-old and reassured him that "you don't always have to be hilarious".

After a good talk and some time out, Timm returned to his date with Angie, eventually describing the night as a "beautiful mess".

"We have a connection that I love," he told her. "I haven't felt like this for ages."

Timm later explained his anxiety to audiences, saying that he was scared of being hurt.

"If I don't end up being the one who is with her in the end, I'll end up being hurt," he said. "I think that's the biggest fear, when it comes down to this whole thing."

While The Bachelor franchise does have a track record of intimidating displays of toxic masculinity, Jamie and Jess from this season being the latest examples, the majority of this season (and last night's episode in particular) has so far been a great antidote to those which preceded it. 

With Angie's understanding and encouragement, we're watching men deliver flawed, inherently human lessons in the value of self-expression, boundaries, and vulnerability.

More like this, please.

Samuel Leighton-Dore is a writer, artist and author of How To Be A Big Strong Man.

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