It was a stunning moment, especially for a television program that prides itself on touting romantic interactions between cast members. On ABC’s “The Bachelor” last night, Selma Alameri, one of the show’s many female dating contestants, refused to kiss her co-star, Sean Lowe.
Typically, bachelors can be seen getting overtly affectionate with their cast-mates, but this was the exact opposite of what Alameri was willing to allow.
“I can’t kiss you,” she told him, citing her mother’s strict “culture” as her main reason for the refusal.
“So, my mom — she’s very strict in her culture,” she told Lowe. “We’re not even allowed to date, basically — not that we’re not allowed to date. Obviously we’re allowed to date…In our culture we sort of keep it secret from everyone.”
The reality show contestant said that, while she wanted to kiss her co-star, she generally keeps her relationships “hush, hush.” Alameri also said that putting any romance on display would be “a big deal” for her mother. For those who didn’t know her background, the situation likely seemed odd. However, “Bachelor” host Chris Harrison recently explained what was at the root of Alameri’s refusal to lock lips with Lowe during an interview with Entertainment Weekly (emphasis added):
Selma is jetted off to Joshua Tree National Park for some rock climbing, and then dines under the stars at what ABC describes as a “hipster-chic trailer park.” But there’s more to this date: “Selma is Iraqi. She was born Muslim. I don’t believe she is now, but her family is, and they’re very strict and very conservative,” Harrison says. “While she doesn’t necessarily have the same beliefs as her family, she definitely respects her family and their wishes. Just being on the show, as you’ll see, is a huge deal for her. To date out loud is not custom, obviously. When you cross the physicality of the show — emotions and kissing and where it goes — they have to deal with that. She has to explain to Sean what’s going on. And Sean, it’s very interesting because he’s a very Christian man and wears his emotions and religion on his sleeve. It’s why I love this show: It’s such a great social study, these two religions coming together and having to deal with this situation. People always say, ‘I wish you guys would do more real-life stuff.’ This is very real life.”
Watch video of Alameri refusing Lowe’s kiss, below:
Despite her coy nature on the television show, critics have pointed to what they see as inconsistencies in Alameri’s reasoning. Examiner’s Mandy Robinson claims that, while Alameri wouldn’t kiss Lowe for fear of offending her family, she has been willing, in the past, to “model half naked.”
“Selma works as a model and there is a video out there of her half naked doing her job,” Robinson wrote, calling the contestant’s willingness to disrobe “a bit shocking” considering her refusal to give a kiss.
Update: The controversial “half-naked” modeling video mentioned in Robinson’s article has now been removed by the YouTube user who initially posted it. Prior to being taken down, we reviewed the clip and it did, indeed, reveal quite a bit of skin.