In previous seasons of The Bachelorette franchise, the suitor to be gifted the coveted first impression rose has gone very far. Doug Clerget hung in there up until this last Monday's episode when Emily Maynard sent him home to his son.
On the premiere, Doug won over Emily's attention with a heartfelt letter from his 12-year-old son Austin. In the note, the boy endorsed his dad as an honorable man and deserving of a life companion. "I was honored to get the first impression rose. Credit should go all to Austin on that one because he wrote her the note," Doug said humbly.
As a "mature" tween, Doug didn't feel it was necessary to shield his son from the premise of the show. During filming Austin was living with his aunt and uncle and "cognizant" of what was going on. Although he was supportive of his dad's hunt for a wife, "he'd rather watch cartoons. The girls at school would keep him up to date."
Had Doug been offered a hometown date by Emily, he would have gladly introduced Austin to his prospective stepmom. "When he was younger, I was very hesitant of introducing him to everyone at all," he explained. "If I go out on a couple of dates or if Emily would come home, he would have been a huge part of the hometown date." Doug completely understands that Emily's daughter Ricki is at much more tender age to comprehend what's going on and Emily's hesitation in introducing her to the guys.
His "girl radar" may be admittedly broken, but he's confident his potential stepdad instincts are intact. "I definitely think that Sean 100% [is ready]. Arie and Jef are right up there. Watching the last episode left me with some questions about Chris for sure," he said.
That's precisely why he approached Emily when Kalon's "baggage" comment raised a red flag. "I wouldn't want to continue dating someone after making a comment about my son," he said. Although he feels it's a "dead issue at this point," he's open to discussing the situation if Kalon brings it up at The Bachelorette: Men Tell All taping.
Being eliminated from the show helped Doug get in touch with his emotions. His tearful breakdown was long overdue. "I don't think I cried since '83 and I cried the last two weeks on the show," he said. Not discussed in depth on the show, Doug's beloved grandfather who adopted him and his sister passed away soon before filming began. All of the built up emotions from not taking the proper time to grieve came pouring out as he was mourning the loss of his relationship with Emily.
To see Emily visit the hometowns of Arie, Jef, Chris, and Sean, watch The Bachelorette Monday night on ABC.