Tyler Cameron’s fantasy suite date with Hannah Brown didn’t just leave an impression on him and the season 15 Bachelorette — he also had viewers across the country swooning over him. And in his new book, You Deserve Better: What Life Has Taught Me About Love, Relationships, and Becoming Your Best Self, Cameron explores his past romances, including his near engagement to Brown, and why he received so much praise for honoring her wishes on the infamous overnight dates.
“[After The Bachelorette], I was being praised for, honestly, what I think is the bare minimum. … I’m like, all I did was respect a woman,” the 28-year-old author previously told Us Weekly ahead of the book’s July 27 release. “Like no is no, you know? And like, if she wants to go do something, she should go and do it. And so, for me, when I saw all the praise, it was cool, it was great at first. But then I realized, like, there’s something wrong with our culture right now if this is what is being praised. This should be the norm. That’s kind of what really motivated me to write this book and kind of the core of this book.”
Cameron finished as the runner-up on Brown’s 2019 season of The Bachelorette. He told Us last month that the former pageant queen is aware of the context of his new book, noting that “there’s nothing for her to be worried or concerned about.”
The Florida native added, “I have no bad things to say about her, so it’s all good. She taught me a lot. I haven’t seen her in a while, but we’re still friends. We’re still cool.”
Read on for an exclusive first excerpt of You Deserve better, on bookshelves Tuesday, July 27, and available for pre-order now.
As anyone who’s watched the show will know, everything about the fantasy suite (including the name!) holds a connotation of sex. But for a cast member, it’s so much more than that. It’s one of the most important times on the show. The night in the fantasy suite is the only uninterrupted period of time when you’re completely alone and not on camera. Throughout the other weeks, you might get quick breaks here and there, but the fantasy suite is the biggest stretch of time when you can see whether everything really works. (Needless to say, if you fall asleep in the fantasy suite, you’re not meant to be together.)
During that night together, we hooked up and it kept getting steamy, but I kept pumping the brakes. “I just want to talk more,” I said. I told her I had already made a promise to her that we wouldn’t. “No means no,” I said. I wanted to honor that, and I didn’t want her to do something she might regret later. We had the best night— just hanging out, talking and connecting. We really opened up and poured into each other, tackling so many big topics and sharing so much of ourselves. The fact that we could easily talk all night was what made me think, Holy s—t, this could be it for me. I was genuinely upset when I saw the sun coming up, because I knew our time together was almost at an end.
Hannah and I had a meaningful night, without having sex. It was great and, I thought, a perfectly normal thing to do. But again, the response from viewers was so big.
A lot of things came out of my experience on the show, a big one being an inadvertent and unexpected passion for trying to help correct our dating culture. What is consent, and why isn’t it universally understood? What does being a “good guy” really entail? Are things so bad in our culture that what I did on the show was worthy of so much praise?
If what went down with Hannah and me inspired more people to talk about consent, then I’m grateful for that. But in my eyes, the reaction to my part in that conversation was completely unwarranted. All I did was listen to her when she said she didn’t want to have sex — that was it. No is no, and I was just honoring what Hannah told me. I did what was right, but I don’t deserve a prize for doing that. This should be normal. We shouldn’t even bat an eye at it.
All along, I kept thinking, What did I even do that was such a big deal?! All I did was treat someone the way that everyone deserves to be treated. If that’s all it takes to be a “Respectful Woke King,” it’s not just sad—it’s scary.
Here are a few of the headlines and taglines that ran near the end of the show:
“SOMEHOW, THE BACHELORETTE JUST DELIVERED A MASTER CLASS IN CONSENT” — MARIE CLAIRE
“THE BACHELORETTE FINALE WINNER WAS FEMINISM” — NBC NEWS
“IS TYLER C THE MOST FEMINIST CONTESTANT EVER?” — THE LIST
“TYLER CAMERON IS ONE OF THE GOOD ONES” — PAPER
“TYLER CAMERON IS A FEMINIST HERO!” — PRETTY MUCH EVERYONE ELSE
The day we shot the After the Final Rose special, I was standing in the parking lot after we wrapped, saying my goodbyes, when the president of ABC drove by me. She hopped out of her car and said, “You’re the feminist icon this show needed.”
Now, I wasn’t about to argue with her, so I just said, “Thank you,” and took a bunch of pictures with her kids. To be clear, I do think it made for good entertainment. The conflict between me and Luke having such polar opposite views of the same issue — he was old-school and conservative in his ways, while I thought Hannah should have been able to do whatever she wanted to do— you couldn’t have written it better. But being good on TV does not an icon make.
To this day, my boys are like, “You should want to be called a feminist icon!” And I do! Of course I do. It’s great. But my point is that it’s unwarranted. Maybe I’m a feminist because I wanted Hannah to be who she was and defended her when she made her own decisions. But if I’m a feminist icon, then we have a problem. I gave Hannah the space to be herself and listened to what she told me. That should be the norm! Suddenly, just respecting someone’s wishes is a master class on consent? That only shows you how f—ked up our dating culture is. No wonder we’re all out here having such a hard time.
From You Deserve Better by Tyler Cameron, published by Plume, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Copyright (c) 2021 by Tyler Cameron.