I spent a very long time constructing my bracket for this season’s Bachelor, and, frankly, it paid off, because I won. I watched and rewatched the first episode, I went through all of the bios, I gave every contestant ratings in multiple categories, I aggregated and categorized my work into different sections of contestants, and I put together and took apart and put back together multiple brackets until I finalized my roster. Something that I realized early on—and texted to the 551 Bach Nation [rose emoji] [race car emoji]—was that I was picking my bracket based on who I would fall in love with, not who Arie would fall in love with.

There was only one woman who I gave a perfect 5-5-5 score to when doing my bracket research and that was Jacqueline Trumbull. It was her bio that really put her over the top as she was the only person who seemed to have real, legitimate interests outside of brunching on weekends (not to disrespect the glory that is brunching, but it’s not a unique phenomenon). She was, in fact, the only person to whom I gave a 5 out of 5 on their bio.

Then, of course, I began following this season’s contestants that I liked on Instagram and, in the midst of stalking Jacqueline’s page, I found out that she lives in NEW YORK. Not only that but she lives SOMEWHERE IN HARLEM. Who would have GUESSED that this woman who has already taken my heart lived just a FEW BLOCKS AWAY!

Now it took me four weeks to even bring up Jacqueline in the recaps, because I thought that you guys would catch onto the fact that she is an angel and a clear frontrunner if I went out of my way to tell you that she was an angel and a clear frontrunner and you would change your brackets accordingly. I ended up confessing the severity of my love to you all around Week 6 when she got her first one-on-one.

But alas, I’ve spent the past four months searching the city for the love of my life Jacqueline Trumbull. I’ve taken her Instagram account to forensic teams (ie. my friends who are better at stalking than I am). I’ve kept my eyes peeled on the subway, in cafes, on sidewalks, everywhere to see if I would run into her.


Last night.

My roommate Tom was having a birthday celebration at the Holiday Cocktail Lounge on St. Marks. Great spot, would recommend. Our whole group sat down at a few tables in the back. Out of the corner of my eye I see a brunette gal seated with a few finance bros in their late-20s-early-30s at the table next to mine. At first I did a double take, because I thought I recognized this person, but because the bar was fairly dark I couldn’t make out who it was. I tried to stealthily catch a few more glimpses of her, but they were not that stealthy as she clearly noticed. The more I looked, the more I realized that it was, in fact, the love of my life, Jacqueline Trumbull. I quietly confirmed with the other Bach fans at the party.

It was at this time when I sent out the following panicking message to 551 Bach Nation: “JACQUELINE IS TO MY ROGHT IN THIS BAR WHAT DO I DO”. My phone had just enough service to send the message out, but then not enough to receive any messages, so my phone only blew up with all of your encouraging words after I had left.

The next half hour consisted of me trying to figure out what I should say to her. I ran a bunch of ideas by the people there and they ran a few ideas by me.

Maybe I should try Jacqueline, I rate every woman on the Bachelor at the beginning of the season in order to make a perfect Bachelor Bracket and you are the only person to whom I gave a perfect score. No, I don’t think telling her that I rate women is a good look. Nor would admitting my obsession with that TV show.

I could maybe go with Jacqueline, you had the best bio of anyone I have ever seen on The Bachelor. WHO puts that the three people that they’d want to have dinner with is David Foster Wallace, Julius Caesar (with a translator), and Thomas Jefferson? That is an incredible answer and I would also desperately want to have dinner with them, you’re so cool, Jacqueline. And also when you were asked what marriage meant to you and you said Creating our own world. Creating our own values and goals. Becoming better people together. Respect, admiration, protection. my heart absolutely gosh darn melted. That is such a good answer. Marriage also means those things to me. I really can’t get over how freaking spectacular you are. But I don’t think I should say that, because I think if she knew I had memorized her bio, she would rightfully be scared off.

One of my friends suggested I just go up to her and say You’re the most beautiful person at this bar. But I don’t think that would give me any legitimate leg up on the older, wealthier, and more attractive finance bros she was with. And that wasn’t really the point of me talking to her anyway.

In the midst of this deliberation, she got up to go to the bathroom and a few people moved around in their seats, so when she came back she sat down NEXT TO ME AND IT WAS AT THIS POINT WHEN I WAS TRULY AT A LOSS OF WHAT TO DO.

Before I knew it, the party was getting up to go to the next bar and, as it happened, Jacqueline and the finance bros were on their way out too. I let everyone in my group get their coats on and start heading towards the door and Jacqueline was still in her seat putting on her coat that was next to my coat and so I made my move.

I think I partially blacked out the next thirty seconds, but I remember sitting down and saying, “Here’s the thing, Jacqueline.” She looked at me, laughed at my introduction, and said, “What’s the thing?” “You are just too smart—you are just too smart for any of that.” That was the last thing I firmly remember saying. I’m pretty sure I also said, “You’re amazing. I’m a huge fan of yours. I knew from the beginning that you were going to do well. You’re awesome and I’m such a fan and you’re going to become a doctor and that’s so cool and you deserve the best,” or something along those lines, it’s incredibly blurry and incoherent. But she was very sweet and said, “Thank you” many times throughout and at the end asked, “Hug?” And I melted into the arms of Jacqueline Trumbull, the love of my life, for the first and last time.

I then ran up to the bar to close my tab and then out to catch up with my group where my dear friend Leah physically caught me and she and her girlfriend Marilyn basically carried me down the street even though I was remarkably sober—drunk off love I suppose. They saw the interaction happen and wanted to know everything, so I relayed to them what I could remember of my encounter and then we made our way to the next bar.

It was a glorious night and one that I will cherish forever.