Dear Barb: I underestimated you. When I watched you on my TV screen, week after week, sobbing the same tired line—"Bring her home to us!"—I thought you a typical Bachelor mom, sincere and tearful and overly invested in her son's romantic life. Now I know, Barb, that you are a force of nature. Not only wildly sex-positive (to the point where it becomes a bit much, this is your son, Barb, but I support you!), Barb is expressive, decisive, and bold—everything her son is not. Barb got a revenge haircut for "After The Finale Rose." Barb knows who she is. Barb, it turns out, is the true heroine of this season. We are all Barb!
At first, I thought that Barb's "Bring her home to us" outburst was an aberration, an overemotional moment brought on by too much wine on an empty stomach (dinners on The Bachelor don't involve eating, after all; we've all been there, Barb!). Now, several hours into the season finale, I know that this is just who Barb is: passionate, spirited, vulnerable, and more certain of her feelings than her son ever was. Peter Weber's season has been marked by flip-flopping, a lot of mumbling, and a half-arsed proposal that followed a half-arsed declaration of love (wearing a hoodie, no less, while Hannah Ann Sluss was ravishing in a cocktail dress). Barb, by comparison, knows exactly where she stands.
Behold, for example, Barb's revenge haircut, which she debuted on "After The Final Rose." Clearly devastated by her son's about-face after his proposal to Sluss (I'm disappointed too, Barb!), she changed up her hair from blonde to a dark, deep brown. Sluss, a woman Barb described as her "daughter," is no longer such, and Barb is not happy.
This, by comparison, was one of the happiest moments of Barb's life (honestly, this is genuinely sad to watch in hindsight)—the moment when Barb greeted Sluss as her daughter. At the time, Barb was a bold, outgoing blonde.
Yes, Barb showed up for "After The Final Rose," but probably only to check in on Sluss. Barb is a woman betrayed, a woman who gained a daughter and promptly lost her, a woman seriously considering disowning her son.
And, honestly? It's refreshing. Sluss does deserve better. Barb's son is deeply disappointing. If I had a son and he proposed to a woman he said he loved days after being dumped by another, and then promptly dumped his wonderful fiancé for reasons that were entirely wishy-washy, I'd be pretty mad, too!
A full hour and a half passed before Barb got her say (although, truly, her face said everything I needed), but when Chris Harrison finally asked for her take, Barb did not hesitate. Barb informed Chris Harrison, Peter, Madison Prewett, and half of the United States that Prewett had been rude, late, and wildly unclear about her feelings towards Peter, and that Peter's family, Peter's friends, and Barb were all sure that it was not going to work out!
Now, I realize Barb is happily married (Peter might have mentioned it once or 12,023 times), so she's unlikely to be part of the Bachelor franchise—even Bachelor: Golden Years, which feels tailor-made for Barb—but I would like to see more of Barb in my life. Can we have a reality show about Barb? It can focus on her new favorite son, Peter's brother, Jack, possibly the only man Barb now considers a son.
This has been an ode to Barb.
For more stories like this, including celebrity news, beauty and fashion advice, savvy political commentary, and fascinating features, sign up for the Marie Claire newsletter.