Every season of Dancing with the Stars produces at least one "are they or aren't they?" couple. On Season 11 it looks like Bristol Palin, 20, and her partner Mark Ballas, 24, are falling under that heading, despite the fact that Mark just danced on the Results Show with rumored real girlfriend, So You Think You Can Dance winner Jeanine Mason.
Then again, what if they are dating? There are some legit reasons why this would not be such a bad idea for both of them. Let us review:
1. He's no Levi Johnston. Levi is the father of Bristol's adorable son Tripp, but other than that he seems like an immature kid on the Palin bandwagon. He puts himself first, whereas Mark is a true partner. He puts Bristol — "my Bristol," as he calls her in his tweets — first. He's a gentleman, and not just to her but to all of his partners. Bristol is a shy, stiff dancer and if she were paired with, say, Derek or Maks, they would probably be frustrated with her by now and have a tense relationship. Mark is just the kind of gentle, patient, perpetually positive guy someone in Bristol's tabloid spotlight needs to have around.
2. He brings out the best in her. No one else could make Bristol feel comfortable enough to wear a monkey suit, play air guitar, cry openly about homesickness or shake her booty in front of her parents. Mark is breaking down her emotional walls and allowing her to just enjoy herself, despite the haters. He is always hugging and kissing her, even if it's just in a friendly way it's getting her used to the idea that there are nice guys out there who just want to support her and don't want anything else. 3. They are bonding through adversity. Judging by Mark's Twitter account, there are a few haters out there. They don't like Bristol and want her and Mark to drop out. Mark defends Bristol and himself, sometimes heatedly. In interviews, he is the one on the defensive side whereas Bristol proves herself a worthy PR candidate by sticking to benign remarks. She is used to being on the end of nastiness and handles it with cool detachment. They are a good tag team.
4. He seems good with her family. Even Sarah Palin loves Mark. She was "star struck" when she met him in Alaska because she's such a big fan. Mark seems good with little Tripp and we can only imagine the rest of the family loves him, too. Why wouldn't they? He's a responsible young man, talented musician, and two-time DWTS champion. And Bristol's a strong young woman trying to help teens more responsible decisions. He'd be good for her.
5. She could be good for him, too. Mark has been doing a lot to help Bristol shine, but what's in it for him? Well, Bristol is a pretty girl and he calls her "hot" pretty often during their routines. He seems to enjoy drawing out her bad girl side. Plus, she's sort of the calm and collected balance to his bubbly energy. But when she lets loose, she does hint to a fun side. He's probably seeing a Bristol we don't know. And being on the good side of the Palins is never a bad thing. A lot of people are voting for Bristol and if they all adopt Mark, too, he could land himself a career boost. It may sound cynical — and we know he'd never go into a relationship with that intention, see #1 — but, hey, it's working for Julianne Hough and Ryan Seacrest...