Ladies, You Know A Luke P.

By Davi Johnson and Kyle Treasure

If you’re one of the millions who tunes into ABC’s The Bachelorette each Monday night, you’ve surely found yourself yelling at the screen these last several months. Luke P. may have started off as a somewhat goofy lion impersonator and a saber-toothed-tiger-from-Ice-Age lookalike, but he’s quickly become a quintessential 5’8” villain.

Throughout this season, Luke P. has bullied his fellow contestants, pulled the wool over Hannah’s eyes, and come out on top. Week after week. Somehow.

But before you point your accent nail in the direction of Hannah B. and her penchant to make the worst possible decisions for herself, try to think about things from her perspective. And maybe look around your own life, because chances are you’ve dated a Luke P. too.

The best way to avoid a Luke P. in the wild is to know the signs of a Luke P. Lucky for you, Marie Claire has put together a pretty good list of the show’s moments that ought to raise red flags for all of us:

  • Initial love and attention. Think: climbing on top of a car to roar his attraction to Hannah. Telling her he was falling for her in episode 2.

  • Constant contact/name-calling/isolation. Luke gets upset and angry when Hannah spends time with other guys. He seeks her out when she's told him to back off. He says that going on certain other dates is a "slap in the face."

  • Intense jealousy/picking fights. Luke P. lied his face off about Luke S.’s motives after Luke S. implored him to tell the truth. He's baited and intimidated other contestants.

  • Gaslighting. He bullied Luke S. into leaving the show—and simultaneously advocating for himself as the victim. He threw Hannah's concerns back at her on their one-on-one and saying that he's the one who's mad and upset.

  • Giving orders/requiring permission. Luke refuses to take no for an answer every time Hannah tells him to back off. He walked right back in after she straight up sends him home.

  • Getting angry in a frightening way/threatening harm. He's talked about the show being a "hunt," and screamed in another contestant's face. And who can forget when he bodyslammed Luke S. during the rugby match?

  • Humiliation/monitoring and controlling behavior. The granddaddy of them all. I quote: “Let’s talk about sex, and how the marriage bed should be kept pure. And let’s say you have had sex with one or multiple of these guys, I’d be wanting to go home.” Luke, ladies and gentlemen.

So, you’ve dated a Luke P. Now what? First, internalize the signs (see above). We wanted to add a note on gaslighting, which is a form of psychological manipulation where a person sows seeds of doubt in another person, making them question their own memory, perception, and, ultimately, sanity. It’s subtle and all too common. In Hannah’s case, Luke P. has led her into distrusting herself and all the other men. If successful, Luke P. would be the only one Hannah B. could ever trust, not even herself.

Second, listen to those who love you. You may not like to hear what others think about your relationships, but if Hannah B. had listened to literally every man in that mansion she would’ve saved herself a whole lot of hurt. This doesn’t mean you need to listen to your mom’s friend’s comment on your Facebook relationship update. But those who know you, love you, and want the best for you often have an important perspective.

Third, learn to not take everything at face value and also to trust your intuition. For many Latter-day Saint women, the tendency is to check potential husbands against a list of religious rites: Got the Priesthood? Check. Served a mission? Check. Has a temple recommend? Check. Does ministering AND Come Follow Me? Check and check. And if they check all those boxes, then at face value, they must be a good match, right?

Not necessarily. It is possible to be all of the things listed above and also be manipulative and abusive. It might be time to widen your checklist, latter-day ladies. Does he have all the above in addition to making you feel valued, sane, and in control of your life? Does he let you be your own person? Does he own up to his mistakes and try to improve? Your gut is probably telling you the answer – listen to it.

Don’t let yourself be manipulated by a Luke P. The bar is low, but there’s still a bar. And if your dating prospects can’t meet it, tell him boy bye.