The Bachelorette’s Lessons on Life & Love: Part 2

Can you believe Kaitlyn’s season of The Bachelorette is already wrapping up? She’s down to just three guys but up to her neck in drama. I haven’t been able to watch the show as scrupulously as I like to, but I do have some overall impressions of the season and guys thus far that I thought y’all might enjoy.

My feelings really confirm my feelings.
My feelings really confirm my feelings.

First off, I’m pretty over Kaitlyn as the Bachelorette. We’ve seen next to no actual conversation between her and the guys. She mostly just makes out with them, and it’s difficult to evaluate the different relationships when make-out sessions are the only point of comparison. I suppose I could start scoring kisses in terms of approach and awkwardness and volume level, but that makes me want to throw up.

Historically, kisses are to Bach contestants what those little gold coins are to Mario. The more you collect, the more staying power you have. So I get it. I understand why the guys go for the kiss early on. But, still, it seems backward to me to kiss someone you barely know in order to have a chance to get to know that person. Call me old-fashioned.

What else do you need, really?
What else do you need, really?

Additionally, I feel as though I’ve been watching one single episode over and over again. The group dates are all the same, and the producers keep ending the eps with cliffhangers instead of the standard rose ceremonies. Group dates have included a boxing match,a sumo-wrestling match, a stand-up comedy competition, a hip-hop battle, a mariachi showdown, and a Broadway audition, among other things. So much competition … and composition. We’ve had cliffhangers involving Kupah’s early exit due to his being a jerk, Clint’s early exit due to his being a jerk, and Ian’s early exit due to his being a jerk. It’s like, who came up with the dates this season … and who vetted the guys? We need a couple of bad apples, of course, but maybe not this many.

Back to our Bach, though. In addition to making out too much, Kaitlyn makes terrible decisions too much. (I’ll explain more in Nick’s sectionbelow.) I keep thinking, Kaitlyn, girl, you need a friend to help you process your options a bit more and/or to smack you upside the head now and again.

It occurred to me while watching her this season that some of the reason the Bachelors and Bachelorettes consistently make bad decisions is that they don’t have anyone around themto talk them out of doing so. They’re rather isolated.In the real world, you have friends and family to provide perspective into your decision-making. In Bachelor-world, you have Chris Harrison, and amping up the drama is literally his job. (“KAITLYN, GENTLEMEN, THIS IS THE FINAL ROSE TONIGHT.”) The Universal Truth of the Week Month is along these same lines.

Universal Truth of the Month: To make wise decisions, we need input from people with different perspectives.

 

Kaitlyn’s decisions look bad to me because I come at her situation from a different perspective. She sees it from the inside; I see it from the outside. She interprets it through one worldview; I interpret it through another. And as anyone who’s ever watched a disputed fumble on instant replay knows, the exact same situation can look completely different depending on where you’re standing and how you’re looking at it. (I just made a SPORTS ANALOGY, guys. Do I win something?)

We need other people's input into our life decisions because we simply don’t have the capability to identify and weigh all factors rightly in every situation. We are not unbiased, we can’t see the future, and we don’t even know our own motives half the time. Other people are able to provide perspective and wisdom that we don’t have.

On that note, I thought I’d provide MY perspective — whether or not it’s wise is for you to decide. Here are my takes on a few of the most memorable guys this season, some of whom are still around and some of whom have already gone home. I'll try to hit the drama high points along the way as well.

Ben H. (Remaining 3)

I think that Ben's face will help the connection.
I think that Ben's face will help the connection.

I'm putting Ben H. first because he is my fave of the remaining dudes. Of all the guys this season, Ben H. is the one I’d most likely go for in real life because he loves Jesus and, less importantly but still of note, he’s got a real Clark Kent vibe going on. (Seriously, get this man some glasses and a byline at the Daily Planet.) His social media accounts do, however, suggest questionable interpretation of Scripture, which is unfortunate considering I like a man’s doctrine like I like his abs: rock solid. (Just kidding about the abs part.)

Basically Ben H. seems like your classic WIPD, which is an acronym I just made up for Well Intentioned but Poorly Discipled. I say this because no Christian dude with good people in his life should be dating Kaitlyn. (Hashtag unequally yoked.) He’s a strong contender to be the next Bachelor, so here’s to hoping he gets some good mentors between now and then.

Jared (Eliminated in episode 9)

Classic Jared, being BETTER THAN ANY OF US DESERVE
Classic Jared, being BETTER THAN ANY OF US DESERVE

Jared is one of those guys who gets way more attractive the more you get to know him. He didn’t do anything skeezy all season, and the only thing I can criticize him for is the cringeworthy poem (there’s one every season!) that he read to Kaitlyn. Okay, also for his unfortunate facial hair. (Unfortunate facial hair/haircuts are another reason people need the input of others in their lives.)

Preach
Preach

Even when Kaitlyn sent Jared home in the most recent episode, he was an absolute gentleman — offering her his coat as they stepped outside to say goodbye. This was the perfect example of another real-life truth I’ve seen played out on The Bach: You’ll remember a guy as much (if not more) for the way you parted ways as for the rest of the relationship. Nothing secures a girl’s ongoing high regard quite like a man’s gallant departure.

One of the Bachelor podcasts I listen to calls Jared “Sharpface,” which is so, so accurate. He’s good-looking in a sharp way. If he weren’t so sharp-looking, he would definitely be the next Bach.

Ben Z. (Eliminated in episode 8)

You can come protect me, Ben Z.
You can come protect me, Ben Z.

Kaitlyn at one point described Ben Z. as a “babe soda,” which is a wonderful term I have recently begun using. If you read my "Bell Curve of Beefy" post, you know that I’m not normally a fan of overly muscled guys, but I will make an exception for Ben Z. because he seems to have a good ego-to-muscle ratio, by which I mean his muscles are big but his ego isn’t.

Kaitlyn and Ben Z. went on a memorable one-on-one date (or as I like to call it, a date) to a place called The Basement. If you’re in L.A., you, too, can visit The Basement, which the website describes as a “live escape room experience.” Basically you pay to pretend you’ve been kidnapped by a cannibalistic serial killer, and then you have to solve riddles to escape his horror-filled basement before time runs out.

Ahem. THIS SOUNDS LIKE THE WORST DATE EVER. It did, however, give me an excellent idea for an actual date in my own basement wherein a suitor comes and kills all the spiders. Any takers?

J.J. (Eliminated in episode 8)

This was right after he stressed to Kaitlyn that he was husband material.
This was right after he stressed to Kaitlyn that he was husband material.

There were a number of objectionable guys this season, but most objectionable, in my opinion, was J.J. I shudder at the name. After deliberately positioning himself as “the most hated man in the house,” J.J. solidified his spot as the villain by publicly betraying his bestie, Clint, in episode 5.

Clint and J.J. had been buddy-buddy until tips from the other guys led Kaitlyn to send Clint home mid-episode. At that point, J.J. immediately pulled a Bronedict Arnold and asked Clint to apologize to everyone for being an emotional energy-suck. This resulted in what Jared called “the most dramatic breakup in Bachelor history.” For once, this was not hyperbole. After Clint left, the producers tried to make J.J. look all normal and sane, as if we could forget the side of him we’d seen earlier.

Ian (Left in episode 7)

Put your money where your mariachi is.
Put your money where your mariachi is.

Ian was my fave early on. He was smart — a Princeton grad — and he was a runner. Plus, he’d gotten hit by a car and learned to run again, which is like Bach-contestant gold. All season I waited for Kaitlyn to get time with him, but she didn’t, and one day HE SNAPPED.

It happened after the mariachi group date. Ian had oversold his singing skills and then, upon singing rather poorly, had left the date with a big ol’ bruise on his ego. Rather than deal with his own insecurities about the fact that he still hadn’t earned Kaitlyn’s attention, Ian decided to tear her down, pulling her aside at that night’s rose ceremony to call her “a surface-level person” and to say he wanted to leave.

Explaining why he should be the next Bach (Anyone who watches this show knows this is the KISS OF DEATH.)
Explaining why he should be the next Bach (Anyone who watches this show knows this is the KISS OF DEATH.)

“I don’t understand why Kaitlyn wouldn’t want a Princeton graduate former model that defied death and has been around the world a couple of times,” is an actual thing he said during an aside before their exchange. “I don’t find Kaitlyn interesting. I don’t think that’s something wrong with me; I think that’s something wrong with her.” It was clear that he was trying to vindicate himself, trying to make sense of her lack of interest, trying to atone for his poor mariachi performance.

All of a sudden, it became clear that the things that had seemed impressive about Ian largely because he himself hadn’t seemed impressed by them — his alma mater, his athleticism, his comeback from injury — were, in fact, the basis upon which he sought to justify his entire existence. (Case in point: He included his prestigious elementary school on his LinkedIn profile.)

As I watched Ian ride away in the limo, listing his own merits, I thought to myself, Ugh, I’ve totally dated that guy — and then, two seconds later — Ugh, I’ve totally been that guy. I'm being that guy right now.

I’ve waved around my resume upon feeling threatened, all while criticizing someone else. It’s a nasty inclination, but like so many others demonstrated on this show, it’s not unique to TV contestants.

Nick (Remaining 3)

Nick was the runner-up from last season’s Bachelorette. He was inches away from being proposed to by — er, from getting to propose to — Andi when she sent him home in favor of Josh, the archetypal bro. I’d loved Nick last season; he was so articulate. (This was all the more attractive because of his juxtaposition with Josh, who knew roughly seven words.) I’d been disappointed that Andi chose Josh, so I was excited when Nick showed up and asked to join Kaitlyn’s season halfway through. The other guys were, obviously, less excited — critical of his motives, critical of her motives in considering him. They were surprisingly jealous for guys who were dating a girl who was already dating a dozen other guys.

Facing the decision of whether to let Nick on the show, Kaitlyn could’ve used some of the aforementioned perspective of others. In a rare Bach turn of events, she did get a bit of this from formercontestant Ashley S., who made a cameo when Kaitlyn went to Ashley’s NYC hair salon for an updo and a heart-to-heart about Nick. If Kaitlyn let Nick stay, she risked hurting all her current boyfriends, but if she let him go, she risked missing out on their undeniable “connection.”

That's not everything. That's two things. No, come to think of it ... that's one thing.
That's not everything. That's two things. No, come to think of it ... that's one thing.

Kaitlyn: “It was like, I’ve never experienced like that kind of chemistry from just looking at someone within two seconds. Like it already feels serious with him.”

Ashley: “But that’s lust.”

Kaitlyn: “Well, so what do you think — that that can easily fade?”

Ashley: “Yeah …. It’s really important to have another connection, like a friendship.”

Rather than considering Ashley’s sage advice, Kaitlyn assured the cameras that she knew the difference between love and lust and, not long after, started making out with Nick — which, as gold kissing coins always do, effectively solidified a spot for him for the remainder of the season.

Your definition of "great" is my definition of "problematic."
Your definition of "great" is my definition of "problematic."

It was somewhat weird to watch Nick act exactly toward Kaitlyn as he had acted toward Andi. The “connection” he and Andi had shared no longer seemed that spectacular. It became apparent that you could put any girl on screen with him and expect a connection. His eyes and his words can hypnotize. He’s so smooth he puts girls in a trance. I don’t think this makes him insincere, and I don’t think it means he has bad motives. (I still quite like him, actually.) I just think it makes him dangerous.

On that note, I must address the bad decision to rule them all: Kaitlyn and Nick went “too far” after their one-on-one date in episode 7. (That’s my attempt to keep this blog PG.) This was the worst episode of the show I’ve ever seen, and even though they’d promoed this twist all season, I still felt as though I’d tuned in for Survivor only to find myself watching the Hunger Games — the actual Hunger Games. What I mean by this is that it’s one thing to put people on an island and watch them scavenge for food and call it entertainment; it’s different to put them on an island and watch them kill each other and call it entertainment. In the same way, it’s one thing to put people in a mansion and watch them date; it’s different to put them in a mansion and watch them — ahem — misbehave. (Not literally watch them, but you know what I mean.) At that point it’s not fun anymore. It’s just sad.

Ever since, however, Kaitlyn has been reaping the consequences. She’s been wracked with guilt, which has colored her relationships with every other guy, making her interactions with them seem strained and disingenuous. This is particularly true in the case of Shawn, the only real front-runner other than Nick.

Shawn B. (Remaining 3)

Question itttt. Question it.
Question itttt. Question it.

If Ryan Gosling gained 30 pounds of muscle, moved in next door to you, and had a jealousy problem, he would actually be Shawn B. For a long time, I was confused about Shawn’s relationship with Kaitlyn. He did get the first impression rose, but he didn’t get a one-on-one — or much screen time at all — until episode 6. Nevertheless, he and Kaitlyn seemed confident about their “connection” in the meantime, and upon the arrival of Nick, Shawn was decidedly the most jealous man in the house (silver medal to Joshua). Shawn wouldn’t even deign to say Nick’s name, thereby relegating him to Voldemort-level bad guy status.

Shawn’s jealousy was somewhat accounted for when we learned that he and Kaitlyn had had off-camera time at some point earlier in season — I’m still confused about the timeline — and that during this time, Kaitlyn had told Shawn he was “the one.” (Kaitlyn is really giving the bird to the producers this season. She’s breaking all dem rules and all dem hearts. Just like professing love before the final episode, off-camera time breaks the Bachelor rules.) On the one hand, Shawn's jealousy seems out of proportion for a guy who knew the premise of the show when he signed up for it. On the other hand, Kaitlyn shouldn't have given him false assurance about his standing. That's like Dating 101.

In the most recent episode, Kaitlyn told Shawn about her transgression with Nick. The whole conversation was positively cringeworthy; it wasn’t exactly an apology because Nick was staying on the show. It was more of a statement and an unspoken question: "Will Shawn stay, too? Also, will he murder Nick in the night?" For reasons I do not understand, Shawn did stay, which brings us up to speed with the show’s current status.

What’s Ahead

We are now smack dab in the middle of the love-hate triangle that is Nick, Shawn, and Kaitlyn. Ben H. is just standing on the sidelines, looking ridiculously handsome.

My hope is that Ben H. will leave of his own accord, go home, and join a better church; that Shawn will realize Kaitlyn's not as into him as he is into her and also leave of his own accord; and that Kaitlyn and Nick will get what they deserve, which is each other, I guess. Honestly, I don’t really care at this point, but that's the only ending that would seem fitting. The next episode starts in 14 minutes, and I still have to add all the pics y’all love so much, which means this blog post will be outdated by the time it’s posted, but I've done my best!