Zak Waddell, contestant on Season 9 of ‘The Bachelorette’ // follow on Instagram @realZakWaddell
Things are starting to get difficult. At this point, the women that remain have been together for 1 month. That’s 30 days immersed in a Bachelor-steered collective consciousness. The same way your father took the reins on a family road trip, pushing forward tirelessly across empty states. Everyone shared in the excitement of the journey, because everyone knew what they were approaching. During the long stretches of open road, tedium would wrap its serpentine grip around the anxious kids, shoulder-to-shoulder with stacked luggage. Shoes would come off, the comforts of a pillow from home would cushion the cold glass, playlist would become stale. When everyone begins to accept and settle into this uncomfortable, temporary environment, their true colors show.
This week’s episode opens with an adjusted group of women. Instead of being neatly stacked on the couches like week one and two, they pile onto each other like a handful of dominoes tossed into a small box. Stripped from effronteries, it’s as if they have accepted the harsh reality that yes, they are all on the same road trip… but only one will reach the destination.
The Bachelor casting process should certainly be commended for gathering a nice little microcosm of single women in America. 30 Whitneys would be great for the inbox of a Match.com account, but watching such homogony play out on the Bachelor would be boring! We as a viewer like to unpeel the layers of each girl… like an onion (thanks Ashley S.). And that brings me to the other Ashley. I don’t want to sound harsh, but people whose entire identity pivot of one, singular, narrow, simple-minded “view of self” saddens me. Sure, it’s entertaining to watch Ashley I. obsess over the revelation of her virginity. But it saddens me that something held so sacred for so long (25 – (prepubescent years) = ~7-10 years) can be used so shamefully. It is not clear the motivation behind Ashley I.’s choice to maintain her virginity. Is it religious, cultural, or a deep seeded psychological block? That’s not for us to conjecture. I just wish we would have met a 30 year old Ashley I., 4 years matured, less naive, a more realized self.
Camping is the perfect place for extracting the real essence of these women. Kelsey doesn’t play well with others, Kaitlyn is comfortable with her body, and Ashley S. stays true to her randomness by singing tribalistic campfire chants. I have to support team Ashley S. on this one. I was in the same boat on Bachelorette Season 9. We were sitting around the campfire and wanted to join in song, but we couldn’t sing any copyrighted material on TV; Hats off to Ashely for being creative and playing chief this time.
It’s pretty obvious Chris holds the opinion of his family in high esteem. His 3 older sisters seem to hold a lot of weight. Picking Jade was an easy decision for them. She had them at “hello, my name is Jade and I am from Nebraska.” It was almost like watching an Indian prince meeting his arranged wife for the first time, Chris waiting at the bottom of the stairs sees Jade and unfurls with emotion knowing this was the woman his family picked for him. You get the feeling Jade will be around for a while.
Before we close out our tab for the week I want to touch on 2 more things: Jillian’s meltdown and the meltdown Brit forces on Chris. Jillian has been out of her element from day one. It wasn’t a shocker to see Jillian sent home. From day one, she was never able to put forth the level of femininity and exhibit a maternal nature like the others. Instead, she took form as an energetic, competitive, friendly bro. Last week I cooked Branzini packed in rock salt. Once the fish is prepared and stuffed with spices, you entomb it in a mixture of egg white and coarse salt. The tail is the only thing visible, protruding from the mound of salt. Peering in the oven, the white mound begins to glow a toasty brown. Once cooled, with a dull end of a bread knife, I forcefully cracked the hard shell. Inside was a fish so tender, so moist and so complex and delicious. I wish we would have seen this from Jillian.
I have been hard on Brit since week one, mostly because I don’t trust her. At this point, she has become overly confident in her vixen antics. So confident, that she rudely attacks Chris’ integrity. Let’s get something straight here, by accepting the Bachelor role, you play by a different set of rules. In the real world, I agree with Brit, you can’t behave like this. But this is a TV show, asking of its star to pursue meaningful love by giving up control, relinquishing integrity “as we know it” and succumbing to a process built on snap judgments and fleeting emotions. I think at this point Brit is taking a very calculated risk. She knows Chris will not send her home this week. She could literally say anything, bat her eyes and pull him back in. What we don’t see is Brit is trying to coyly lay the framework for her backup plan… becoming The Bachelorette. I could keep going on this until I am blue in the face, but I am out of time… and truthfully, the Chelsea vs Liverpool game starts in 4 minutes.
Until next week..