A Bro’s Breakdown Of Michelle’s ‘Bachelorette’ Contestants

Hi, I’m Jared Freid. I’m a 36-year-old comedian who loves The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. I love them so much, I yell at every episode on my Instagram stories. As you can imagine, my parents are very proud. V.

This is my preview for the season. I’ve been doing this preview for both shows since before your favorite TikToker got their first dangly earring. I make massive assumptions about every contestant based on very little information. It’s like sitting with me while wearing sweats and screaming “Yuck” at what people wore on the red carpet. Please enjoy and follow me on Instagram, where I’ll be making fun of these crazies every Monday night (Matt James’ season is in my highlights). And if that’s not enough, I host a Bachelor Post-Game Show called “The Rose Rehash” on my YouTube channel. Let’s have a fun season.

Michelle

Michelle Young is a 28-year-old kindergarten teacher from Minneapolis who is BELOVED by the audience. This is a bit of a change from the last few Bachelorettes. Clare had the “elder Bachelorette” branding that kind of forced the audience to say they loved her, Tayshia didn’t have the run-up to the season because she just appeared after Clare left, and Katie divided the audience into “I like her because she’s bold,” “I don’t buy it,” and “SHE HAD A DILDO AND THE DEVIL WILL OWN HER SOUL FOREVER!!”

But Michelle is loved. Her lack of social media presence, the fact that they taped the show in her hometown to accommodate her teaching duties, and the laid back way she handled being on Matt’s drama-filled season really speaks to them. Bachelor Nation loves a Hallmark movie character playing out in real life. Michelle is that. A former Division 1 basketball player becomes a kindergarten teacher in her hometown that isn’t New York or LA?! That’s basically Hallmark movie porn for Bachelor Nation. It hits all the senses for them. They might collectively slip off their chairs when they introduce her Tuesday night. They don’t even need Katie’s vibrator. I’m excited for Michelle. Let’s see the crazies they’re fixing her up with.

Alec

Alec is a 29-year-old from North Charleston who looks like if “I work in finance” were a face. He says that he learned about commitment after his first marriage ended, which is code word for “someone cheated”. The women reading this will assume it was Alec, the men reading this will assume “Hey, everyone’s got problems” and stay completely out of having an opinion. He says he’s “not here to waste anyone’s time” which is hilarious since he’s going onto a reality show to compete with 29 other men for one woman. The literal meaning of waste of time. That’s like saying “I’m here to lose weight” while eating chicken fingers because, “protein.”

Brandon J

Brandon J is a 26-year-old traveling nurse recruiter from Portland, Oregon who says that he “once hopped on stage during a Lil Wayne and Drake concert.” That’s a cue for my exit. Imagine going to a concert with someone who thinks “hopping on stage” is a normal thing? You’re like, “Where are you going?!” And they’re like “I’m just feeling this song!! Drake and Lil Wayne will totally get it!” I’m not sure what would make me angrier, the fact that they were my ride home or that they did mushrooms without me.

Brandon K

Brandon K is a 29-year-old brand manager from Austin who looks like someone you’d avoid because he’s going to tell you about a great craft beer. Brandon says that he “wants to make a real social impact within his community.” Which is Austin/Tech-town-speak for “I’ve never worked at a charity but I like the idea of charity.” People who work at a soup kitchen are like “WE NEED MORE SOUP AND NAPKINS!! I’M THERE TUESDAYS BY THE BACK DOOR!!” People who work in Silicon Valley or Austin know that they can make money off of sounding good and say stuff like “The social awareness of a millennial is at the heart of our impact of consciousness.” And then you realize you have no idea what they’re saying and you’re tweeting a link that finds them new investors.

Bryan

Bryan is a 31-year-old NFL player from Chicago whose haircut was created by Pixar animation. This show should be all former professional athletes. They have the time. Their life is a constant struggle of figuring out if a woman is there “for the right reasons.” The fact that non-athletes go on the show should tell you everything about the confidence of a man. A guy comes on this show and he meets Bryan with a seven year NFL career and about a million in the bank and he’s staying thinking he’s got a shot. He’s like, “But she hasn’t met me, the personal trainer whose mom says he’s handsome!”

Casey

Casey is a 36-year-old advertising creative director from Miami whose bio says he has “outgrown the local dating scene where women care more about their Instagram stories than making meaningful connections.” What garbage. No easier opinion than blaming the people who are obsessed with social media for you being single. You know what’s NOT the answer to the social media driven dating problems of Miami?! A TV show about dating that happens to get you more of a social media following!!! Casey’s bio also says that he is a closeted hippie but hates living in tents. Casey is a pretty good liar. He knows how to speak and sound a certain way. Everyone wants to say they’re a hippie until they’re sleeping under a hemp blanket. There’s no such thing as a hippie who hates tents. Everyone has a hippie friend who they’d never live with because they’ll be cool with a fridge that’s somehow also the shower and a bed that you two would share.

Chris G

Chris G is a 28-year-old motivational speaker from Nova Scotia who wore a sweatshirt under a sport-coat to show that he’s fun but serious. There isn’t a worse look. What’s his speech?! “How to look like a tech billionaire from the sale rack at Old Navy!” Just because Mark Zuckerberg exists doesn’t make him a fashion icon. This outfit should be called, “My mom likes part of it and doesn’t understand the rest even though she purchased every piece”.

Chris S

Chris S says he “prides himself in falling in love with someone on the inside rather than the outside.” Thats something that sounds good on a bio and not so good when you say it to your girlfriend while tipsy on a double date: “How’d we fall in love?? It was never her looks! No, no, no! It was her mind that I loved! I could’ve had way hotter women!! Trust me. I was on The Bachelorette! But look at her. It was never that face. It was her mind that I fell for!! Right honey?!” Then Chris spends the weekend masturbating on the couch.

Clayton

Clayton has already been cast as the next Bachelor, and is described in his bio as “a Missouri thoroughbred.” This is one of those moments that shows how differently the audience consume the contestants on the show based on their gender. Like, I think it would sound very “icky” if the woman who was already cast as the next Bachelorette were to be described as a “San Diego breed-worthy, purebred with birthing hips.”

Daniel

Daniel is a 26-year-old firefighter from Austin. That’s got to be a weird town to be a firefighter. Like, you thought you’d be in Texas taking care of “Texas problems!” Instead, you show up to a burning house and someone wearing a Carmen San Diego khaki hat is crying and screaming on the front lawn. They tell you that they were burning sage and they tripped over their crystals and the sage flew right into their tapestry and now their pet squirrel named Sunset is trapped inside the house. Now Daniel is risking his life for a squirrel while an influencer is telling him that “this never happened when they lived in LA!”

Edward

Edward looks like the next door neighbor on CW high school drama who made you feel badly about your body because you were 16 and he was a 27-year-old playing a 16-year-old. He’s also described as a “wellness coach”, which continues the Bachelor tradition of taking job titles like “front desk guy at Barry’s Bootcamp” and turning them into something more important.

Garrett

Garrett is a 33-year-old tech CEO from Salt Lake City. This is who I want to see on The Bachelorette! I want tech CEOs and athletes and retirees. The men we need to see on TV are the ones who have had so much financial success that they’ve lost all touch with reality. The ones like Garrett, who looks like he got a blowout for his photo shoot because he met a woman at a hotel bar who worked at Drybar.

Jack

Jack is a 30-year-old former Army officer who looks like a French operative who snuck into the Army. Like, couldn’t you see Jack in a beret with a white and black striped shirt on while holding a bag of groceries that has a baguette popping out of it?! Couldn’t you see Jack passive aggressively judging you for everything you’ve ever said and done? Jack’s bio also says he loves playing kickball, which makes me think he’s an undercover French agent even more. Like, he chose the laziest American thing as his favorite. He’s like “Ya I’m totally American! I like kickball and ummm McDonald’s and ahhh BIG BANG THEORY!! Yes! Totally American!”

Jamie

Jamie is a 32-year-old biotech CEO who once showed up at the airport and let the ticketing agent choose his destination. That’s something that women will say they like until you’re in a relationship with them. They’re all about “adventures” and “exploring” until you’re like, “I got a place! Let’s go!” And an hour later they’re a crying mess on the floor surrounded by every shoe they’ve ever owned.

Joe

Joe is a former Division 1 basketball player from Minnesota who is going on a season of The Bachelorette being led by a former Division 1 basketball player from Minnesota. He’s going to go far. His bio also says that he “loves snacks.” Honestly, that would be enough to last a long time on MY season. If a woman got out of the limo and said “Hi! I love snacks.” I’d be like, “That’s about half my life right there. You can head this way toward my hometowns. Wait, you Jewish? Ya? Do you open a bag of SkinnyPop, say you’ll have a couple handfuls, and then an hour later you’re next to an empty bag and some Reese’s because you gotta have something sweet to finish it off?! Ya?! Ok, head to the fantasy suite because I’m already half hard.”

JoMarri

JoMarri is a personal trainer. His bio says that he eats an entire watermelon every morning. This is how you know JoMarri isn’t a great personal trainer. This is how people eat when they consider food to be “fuel” and they have no understanding that food is emotional for people. They’re like, “You can eat a whole watermelon and it’s less calories than a bag of Doritos.” And you’re like, “Ya, well Doritos make me happy in a way no human has ever achieved and I can’t give that up.” And they’re like, “What about chewing 17 times before your next bite?!” And you’re already eating Doritos somehow.

Leroy

Leroy is a biomedical PhD student. The smart guys like this never last on the show. I think it’s too difficult to live in the mansion with 20 other men who think watching Squid Game is the equivalent to reading a book. Like, I’m sure at some point one of the other guys will be like, “Does anyone know how to spell ‘restaurant?!'” and Leroy will start packing his bags and calling his parents who emigrated from Ghana AND Italy to apologize.

LT

LT looks like someone you’d avoid at a party. He’s a 38-year-old yoga guru from Bellevue, Washington, which means you’d probably be warned about him before a party. Like, I can’t imagine a more insufferable description of a person. Bellevue is the part of Washington with the Lululemon/Sweetgreen/women of a certain age who are always busy but have no job and have never been seen without workout attire on. And LT is their guru! If LT were going to be at a party, I’d be like, “Ok, so LT is a white guy who calls himself a guru. You’re going to want to talk to him for a bit so we can make fun of him after the party but not too long where he’s trying to show you poses and starts talking about chakras. If he mentions a retreat, you’re fucked.”

Martin

Martin is a 29-year-old personal trainer who looks like he dressed up as a villain on The Bachelorette for Halloween. At what point do you shave the line in your eyebrow? Is it before or after you start using the phrase, “issa vibe?” Martin’s bio says he is looking for a mature, health-conscious woman, which is how you know he’s a dick. Who isn’t health conscious?! I’ve never heard a more coded way of saying “No emotional fat chicks.”

Mollique

Mollique is a 36-year-old academic administrator who only wears shirts that match his hair dye. His bio says that he was “raised by women around him” and his favorite author is Nicholas Sparks. Sometimes a guy comes on The Bachelorette and reveals himself to be a liar by going too hard on the “perfect man from a Hallmark movie” verbiage. Raised by women all around him? I don’t even know what that means. Me too. As if I was raised with no women. A whole childhood of professional wrestling, spitting, and farting while eating Slim Jims. The only thing that would’ve made this profile any more of a lie is if it said, “And Mollique believes in paying a woman to go down on her to make up for the gender pay gap!”

Nayte

Nayte spells his name with a Y. I’m not reading his bio. I don’t care. Imagine someone saying, “It’s Nayte with a Y” and the headache you’d get from trying to figure out where the Y goes in the name. It literally just autocorrected to “Maybe” while I was typing this out. That’s his name now. His name is “Maybe.” As in, “maybe Nayte’s threading artist did a little too much on his eyebrows and now I cant stop staring at them.”

Olumide

Olumide is a 27-year-old IT analyst from Newark, New Jersey who played basketball at Rutgers. He seems nice. His bio says his favorite flower is a cherry blossom, which I can’t believe comes up during these interviews. “Hey! Just a few questions! Is there anything we should know about that could become a national headline and destroy the reputation of the show?! And what’s a flower that reminds you life is a cycle of life and death and that we’re all just a speck on this big ole marble called Earth whenever it blooms in the spring?! And lastly, any fetishes?”

Pardeep

Pardeep is a 30-year-old neuroscientist from Brooklyn. This is the first Indian man I’ve seen on the show. I texted my friend and fellow comedian, Nimesh Patel, to congratulate him and his family. Here’s the exchange:

Me: Congratulations!
Nimesh: Huh?
Me: Indian guy on The Bachelorette! Tell your family it was all worth it!
Nimesh: He’s going to get out of the limo, say “Have a nice season!” Then he’ll get back into the limo and drive directly to his parents house where they’ll be waiting with his future wife named Krupti.

Peter

Peter looks like he’s auditioning to play Roger Klotz in the live-action adaptation of the animated series, Doug. Peter is described as a “Pizzapreneur” which is another way of saying he owns a pizza shop. Everyone watched a couple episodes of Shark Tank and now they’re all CEOs. Peter probably talks about synergy and his idea for a pizza app that’s strangely similar to the one Dominos already created. I’m sorry, Peter. You don’t have a “portfolio of pizza-related endeavors.” You stand behind a counter and loudly say “WHAT’LL YOU BE HAVING BUDDY?” to a drunk college kid who just audibly burped.

PJ

PJ looks like he’s about to sing a 90s R&B song that’ll make you remember not getting asked to dance in middle school. No? Just me? Ok. PJ is actually a firefighter. Imagine this guy saving you from a fire. I’d be like, “Did you just come from the hard bodies firefighter calendar photo shoot?! Hold me closer to your dangly earring!”

Rick

Rick looks like he goes from town to town explaining cryptocurrency to unsuspecting women. Rick’s bio says he’s the “type of guy who will send you flowers at work for no reason but to say, ‘I love you.’” Can we at least get an ex to corroborate such a claim? This is one of those things he’s done once in his life and he’s been riding it as a personality point ever since. It’s like when someone tells you they “lived in Florence.” You went on study abroad. It was more than a decade ago. You didn’t even take an Italian class. It’s time for a new memory. Take a week off of work and go on a hike so we can stop hearing about how you “never liked red wine until living in Italy.”

Rodney

Rodney is a 29-year-old sales rep from Rancho Cucamonga, California who says he’s “terrified of being catfished.” This picture literally looks like he could be 5 or 7 feet tall with no in-between. It’s always the people who shouldn’t be judgmental who are the most worried about catfishing. They’ll be like, “Ugh all these ugly people on the apps with their fake heights and pictures from ten years ago! Ok, gotta go! I have my monthly appointment to get the lumps on my shoulders, face, and balls drained!!”

Romeo

Romeo is a Harvard graduate and a mathematician from New York City. So he’s a catch and someone I’d have so many questions for: What does a mathematician do?! Is the Pythagorean theorem a big part of your life?! Should I mute the TV every time you come on the screen because of all the horrible math puns?! Will you combine Romeo and Juliet with math to make some sort of awful super pun that will make me immediately throw up?!

But more importantly, Romeo’s 32 and his bio says that he “wants to go to Burning Man one day.” One day?! Your 32. It’s over man. My dreams include good chairs at bars and finding the right pillow position to get to sleep the fastest. If my 32-year-old significant other said to me, “I’d like to go to Burning Man one day,” I’d say “Cool! Have fun with your future husband!”

Ryan

Ryan is a 30-year-old environmental consultant who weirdly looks like a hamster that made a wish to be human. Ryan’s bio says that his family has a raisin ranch. Sometimes I’ll read something like that and realize how little I know. Raisins come from a ranch?! I thought they were the doodies of grapes. That means there’s a leathery-looking cowboy who talks about long days on THE RAISIN RANCH as if he’s tough. I want to go to the ranch. I want to wrangle a heard of Raisinets. I want to use a rope to hog-tie a raisin that got a little bit too wild. And if Ryan doesn’t say “Welcome to the raisin ranch” when a girl holds his balls, he’s a complete waste.

Spencer

Spencer is a 25-year-old financial crimes analyst from Cleveland who seems nice enough, but the real story here is the commitment the men on The Bachelorette have made to the turtleneck over the last few seasons. I literally only see it on The Bachelorette. Never at a bar. Never out in the daylight. Just this show. All of these men decided one day they were all going to jointly look like the head of a penis. Good for them. I just don’t have the body type. I’m a short torso, wide-shouldered man. I’d look a penis that just went into a cold ocean.

Will

Will is a 28-year-old academic interventionist from Grand Rapids who who looks like a child doodled on his head with markers to make his hair. Will went with multiple chains over his turtleneck as if he’s going to a Halloween party dressed as Mr. T’s penis. Will’s bio says that he describes himself as classy, swaggy, and sharp. I’ve never related to someone less. I refer to myself as gassy, judgy, and hungry.

Images: ABC / Craig Sjodin (32)

Was Greg Gaslighting? What ‘The Bachelorette’ Can Teach Us About Toxic Habits

Okay yes, we’re still talking about this. But this one has been a real journey and honestly, those of us who have committed to 3-hour, back-to-back, Greg Grippo-focused episodes of The Bachelorette have been through a lot, and the least we could do is learn a lesson at the end of all this. In case you need a reminder (you don’t), recently millions of people watched as Greg Grippo, one of three contestants remaining on season 17 of The Bachelorette, had an intense emotional meltdown when the lead, Katie Thurston, was unwilling to communicate her love to him in a way that felt reciprocal. He said, “You fill a hole in my heart.” She said, “Nice face.” I’m paraphrasing—a little. A meltdown ensued, an unexpected and painful (for all of us) breakup followed, and Bachelor Nation took to the streets (social media and podcasts, primarily), to debate: Team Katie? Team Greg? Was Greg gaslighting or having a justified emotional response? Was Katie cold and withholding? The answer, I think, is yes. Both things, all things. Whatever reaction you had to those horribly uncomfortable breakup scenes likely held some truth, because ending relationships is complicated and messy and usually pretty gross. For the record, as a Master’s-level Counselor with professional experience in relational communication, there are some specific examples of gaslighting behaviors in their interactions and I bet if we got to watch back any of our own breakups, we’d see some gaslighting there too. Humans with big emotions, especially about love and intimacy, will do some wild things to get what they want, including using tactics to confuse and manipulate each other.  

Let’s be clear about one thing, though. While we might not all agree on the level of gaslighting Greg Grippo engaged in here, he most definitely wrote us a playbook for Emotional Manipulation 101. He relies on the narrative that being with Katie is the only thing that’s made him happy in the two years since his dad died. His family and friends then come in to reinforce this, telling Katie that he just hasn’t been himself, but now that she’s here, the Greg they know is back. Yikes. 

I believe them. I believe that Greg is finding joy in this process and that he is genuinely feeling lighter and happier. I don’t think he’s acting (ahem, cue the Meryl Streep moment). I think he’s coming out of very regular, grief-induced depression because he’s had time to heal and now he’s on a TV show with a bunch of dudes he likes to hang with and a cute girl he likes to make out with, mostly in the rain. (In the desert. It’s fine.) But to frame his happiness as solely dependent on Katie is setting a fertile ground for a relationship built on emotional responsibility and caretaking. It’s so much to take on. And it’s manipulative. 

And this, my friends, is a lesson we can all learn. If watching Greg and Katie in these final scenes together felt just a little too familiar, then it’s likely you have experienced emotional manipulation. You’ve probably even done it. Honestly, who hasn’t at some point? A little silent treatment here and there can be pretty passively impactful. Or maybe using the old “Well if you don’t know why I’m upset, I’m not going to tell you!” technique when you can’t articulate the reason for your feelings, you just know you’re having them and someone needs to pay attention ASAP! Storming out of the room during an argument without telling your partner you plan to return? We’ve all done it. These are all forms of emotional manipulation we see Greg use. They aren’t healthy modes of relational communication, but we’ve all done them, haven’t we? We’re all human here. If these are your primary methods of communicating during conflict, then maybe the lesson for you here is to practice something new. Maybe begin practicing expressing your emotions directly and clearly. Maybe examine why it might not feel like you can? We could all probably work on this more, and maybe GG was sent here to inspire us. Get to work! 

Or, hear me out, maybe you watched all this go down and had an even stronger reaction. Maybe you were like me and the familiarity was TOO specific. Maybe, like me, you’ve lived it over and over again. Honestly, any moment of the GG drama could have been picked from any of my previous relationships. This is because I have spent a lifetime choosing partners out of a compulsion to be with highly emotional people who depend on me for emotional caretaking. I have been “Caught in the Grip(po)” of this compulsive cycle without ever even knowing why or how until recently.

It turns out, I have a thing called Love Avoidance. It develops through some specific childhood trauma related to family enmeshment and it manifests into issues with intimacy. There is a range for Love Avoidance, but mine happens to be severe. Unlike avoidant attachment, which people seem to be more familiar with, a Love Avoidant craves intimacy. We don’t run from it—we seek it out. But because in childhood we took on some kind of overly mature role protecting or nurturing our families, we think we can only be loved by people if they need us to manage their emotions or they depend on us to take care of their emotional needs. Like, a lot. In fact, we take this role with so much determination that we become absolutely suffocated by it. Intimacy feels like drowning. Maybe even dying. It’s called Engulfment and we engage in all kinds of avoidant behaviors to find relief from it, but because it’s a cycle, we continue the compulsive behavior of choosing people who need emotional caretaking because they will let us. And then we all end up in the cycle again. It’s pretty torturous for everyone involved.  

The good news, for people who experience some level of Love Avoidance, is that you can recover. The first step is the most difficult one because it requires some brutal honesty about our choices and patterns. But it’s just possible that Greg Grippo can help.

Do you constantly choose a partner with high emotional needs? Are you drawn to the Greg Grippo in the room, someone who needs constant reassurance and/or attention? The person whose eyes seem to be masking something intense and mysterious? Do you always pick partners who have an emotional connection or response to every single thing that happens? Do you feel constantly drained in your relationships but still choose people who just need and take so much from you? Do I sound like a 2am infomercial trying to convince you to buy my self-help program DVD box set? Yes. I do. And I’m sorry, but this could be really important if it’s the first time you’re hearing it!

Before my recovery, I would have been obsessed with Greg. It would have become a full-blown TV crush by the end of the season. From night one, I would have chosen him. He would have had his emotional meltdown and shown his propensity for emotional manipulation, and I still would have chosen him. I would have taken care of all of his emotions and he would have let me until we destroyed each other. We don’t get “Caught in the Grip(po)” over and over again because of “fate” or “true love.” We do it out of compulsion. It took a series of devastating losses (and a lot of therapy) for me to recognize these patterns in my own life. Maybe watching Katie Thurston making a different choice this season will be the start for you.  

Image: Craig Sjodin / ABC

What Happened With Greg On ‘The Bachelorette’ & Why Everyone’s Talking About Gaslighting

Despite the varying casts and locations, there are a few constants viewers can count on in The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. The lead delivers emotional, dramatic monologues (occasionally through tears) about making sure each contestant is tHerE fOr The RiGht rEasOns, but spoiler alert: they rarely are. While some contestants are able to be more subtle about their goal to ultimately become FabFitFun partners or start a podcast, others’ fame-chasing aspirations get exposed. Another point that happens season after season without fail? There’s always someone who, mid-filming, seemingly forgets that the entire premise of the show revolves around one person dating multiple suitors. Fueled by confusion and jealousy (and perhaps the desire for more airtime), that contestant has an on-camera breakdown that’s equal parts perplexing and cringey.

This season, Greg Grippo has proven to be both of those contestants, after a confusing exchange with Katie Thurston and rumors about his acting past surfaced. Greg, who ABC described as “the full package” and “handsome, kind, vulnerable and serious about wanting to settle down,” might be less of the full package and more of a wolf in sheep’s clothing, depending on your interpretation of Monday night’s episode. Fans and Katie alike fell for the New Jersey resident on night one; he received the first impression rose and melted our screens with his steel-cut bod and perfect locks. In the second episode and first one-on-one of the season, he shared an honest conversation with Katie where they bonded over the shared trauma of losing a father. 

But, in another spell of predictability, it turns out the frontrunner may have been a secret villain all along. Greg introduced himself on the show as a marketing sales representative, and although he only listed a Bachelor’s in marketing at Saint Michael’s college on his LinkedIn, he also studied at the prestigious William Esper Studio, a NYC acting school. In May 2019, Greg posted a shot standing outside the school, writing in the caption, “What a journey. Forever grateful for these last two years.”

Bachelor Nation, upon learning Greg might be an actor: 

What is real gif from White Lotus

Was Greg for real, or was acting like he was falling for Katie just method acting? His premature, confusing exit from The Bachelorette has lead some fans to wonder if this was just an audition for his next role. It all went downhill during the franchise’s cheesy excuse for hometowns, when Greg tearfully professed his love for Katie. Her immediate response? “I just love looking at you.” Yikes.

Now, anyone remotely familiar with The Bachelor/ette knows the unofficial rule that prohibits saying “I love you” until the end. Moreover, Katie made it clear from the beginning that she didn’t want to tell any of the guys she loved them until the finale. Nonetheless, she admittedly could have responded with something deeper than “I just love looking at you”. Katie, the man is crying.

The gaffe sent Greg into a tailspin, first outside the hometown date, and then later, when he went to visit Katie at her hotel room. Even though Katie did everything except explicitly tell Greg that he would be her final pick (and before their confrontation, she told his mom, “Greg will 100% be at the finale, I have no question”) Greg later told Katie, “It was never about a rose for me this week, and I was never asking you to confess your love to me. All I was asking for was Katie” He maintained that Katie had dismissed his feelings: “When I said I love you, I felt like I was telling it to a stranger,” he said through tears. While, in her hotel room, Katie scrambled to figure out what, exactly, she’d done wrong and repeatedly apologized, Greg insisted, “I feel like you’re giving me a surface level response.” Ultimately, he decided that Katie had “put up a wall” and said her “whole demeanor shifted”. After telling Katie “I’ve never given up on us”, he left the show. As a reminder, before said scene, Greg stared straight into the camera and said, “ no question in my mind that there can be an engagement at the end of this.” 

Some fans were quick to point out that Greg’s behavior looked like gaslighting, and Katie herself shared a thread of posts about gaslighting on her Instagram stories in the wake of the episode. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse “that causes a victim to question their own feelings, instincts, and sanity”. There are a variety of tactics an abuser might use to gaslight their partner, including countering (which the NDVH explains as “questioning the victim’s memory of events”), trivializing (“making the victim’s needs feel unimportant”), and forgetting or denial (pretending to have forgotten things that occurred or denying they did). 

Bachelor Nation had a lot to say about the confrontation. John, one of Katie’s contestants who was eliminated on night two, wrote on his Instagram stories, “Along with many of you, I watched last night’s episode and was shocked by some of the behavior I witnesses , namely the words and body language exhibited by Greg. Watching these actions get defended (and therefore normalized) strikes me as extremely unhealthy and a step in the wrong direction.” He also pointed out, “It should be noted that an individual can be a good friend to some while simultaneously being harmful to others in another relationship; friendship cannot be an excuse to blindly defend someone’s behavior.”

Bekah Martinez, a contestant on Arie Luyendyk’s season, wrote on Instagram, “I know he opened up to her and she said ‘the wrong thing’ but shutting down emotionally being like, ‘wut, nothing’s wrong why would you think that’ and then punishing with silence is emotional manipulation 101.”

Not everyone agreed with the assessment that Greg’s behavior was manipulative, though. Andrew, another fan favorite on Katie’s season, posted to Twitter, “I care for Katie and Greg very much,” adding, “their love was sooo real! Hate to see Katie like that.” Tre, another contestant of Katie’s, tweeted, “Greg/Justin/Blake slander won’t be tolerated on my TL.” The next day, he followed that up with, “Katie slander OBVIOUSLY won’t be tolerated either.”

Others surmised that maybe this was all an act on Greg’s part. Luke Stone, a contestant on Hannah Brown’s season, tweeted, “I’m getting the strong vibe that Greg is sabotaging this on purpose. If you aren’t into her be a man and tell her you want out rather than gas lighting the situation. My theory: Greg got further than he expected/wanted and pushed the eject button real quick.”

While it seems like Greg has left the show for good, we’ll have to wait until Monday to see what this all means for Katie—and co-host Tayshia Adams told Ryan Seacrest that the rumors about Greg’s acting past “will be addressed”. One thing we do know? After the Men Tell All, the Bachelorette told UsWeekly that her ending is “a first, for sure” and “a shocking ending”. However it shakes out, for now, fans can take comfort in knowing that she’s said, “ultimately I’m very happy with how everything turned out.”

Images: Craig Sjodin/ABC; Giphy

Is Katie The Most Relatable Bachelorette Ever?

I’ve been a reluctant member of Bachelor Nation for close to seven years now. And while I have almost always wanted to be friends with the franchise’s female leads, Katie is the first Bachelorette that I could actually see myself getting a drink with. For the first time in recent Bachelorette history, I am not intimidated by its leading lady. And since I am an average-looking, single female in her 30s who sees almost all other single women as a threat to my chances of ever landing a boyfriend, that’s f*cking saying something. 

It’s not that Katie isn’t absolutely gorgeous, because she is. And it’s not just that she’s, as they keep saying over and over again, “sex positive”—or because she uses a vibrator, because literally every woman does (if you think we are having better orgasms with men than with our toys,  you are delusional). It’s that she—and I absolutely mean this in the best way possible—just doesn’t seem like one of those cool girls. Katie Thurston is not the Regina George of the Bachelor franchise (she would probably find the whole concept of The Plastics to be sexist and limiting), and I am absolutely here for it. And while some viewers may have jumped off the Katie train when she got into it with some of her castmates on ATFR last season, her not being friends with the Kits, Chelseas, and Abigails of Matt’s season (who all star in each other’s Instagram stories in NYC now) only made me love her more. Because, same girl, the cool girls wouldn’t like me that much either. 

For years, I’ve watched this “reality” show in the same way I watch Grey’s Anatomy or, more recently, Bridgerton: to see gorgeous, unattainable, unrealistic characters and storylines play out on my TV. The line between celebrity and Bachelor contestant is so blurred that I’d have the same reaction to running into Rachel Lindsay on the street as I would Regé-Jean Page. Okay, well maybe not the exact same…but you get it. And as that line blurred, the pressure on franchise contestants, especially leads, grew. They felt the need to be polished, to give off an “aspirational” vibe that women would see and think, “damn I want to be like her.” But we don’t see that as much with Katie; instead, we see her and think, “damn, I am like her.” And wasn’t that the point of reality TV to begin with?

So, clearly I was primed to love Katie as the Bachelorette from the moment her first season promo came out with her looking truly uncomfortable in a bright purple zip-up skirt. Like, yes please, I would also try to wear that piece of “fashion” and not know how to hold a rose. And the fact that Chris Harrison was going to be nowhere near our television screens had me all the more excited. Katie, quite simply, did not disappoint. She swooned over every attractive man like she was watching a Marvel movie in the comfort of her own home, prepping her vibrator for a post-viewing masturbation sesh starring Chris Evans, Tom Hiddleston, and Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk (yes, I said what I said). She struggled to walk in her heels, couldn’t pretend to not be creeped out by the skin salesman, and had multiple uncomfortably open-mouthed makeout sessions in true awkward “what do I do with my tongue?” fashion. She also fangirled over Kaitlyn and Tayshia because let’s admit it—they are the cool girls, and what not-cool girl doesn’t still secretly (or not so secretly) want the cool girls to like her? 

We also learned a bit more about Katie’s background during the premiere: that her parents got divorced when she was young, she grew up poor, and isn’t sure if she wants children. What a trifecta of relatability, amiright? The show still only represents the top 1% of attractive people, but hats off to ABC for opening up the leading role to someone from a lower tax bracket! And finally, some representation for the women of the world that don’t see their bodies solely as vehicles for the creation of other bodies! Finally, some normalization that first can come love, then comes marriage (if you want, also cool if you don’t), then comes a long happy life of travel, leisure, and never having to worry about passing on generational trauma! 

I know we are talking about a franchise that is rooted in patriarchal norms, has a large conservative fan base, and is still SUPER problematic, but boy does this awkward girl finally see a bit of herself in the Bachelorette. And not only is that refreshing, but it’s also going to be a hell of a lot of fun to watch an outspoken, kinda weird, not conventionally Instagram model-y woman fumble her way around a cocktail party and into the fantasy suites. 

Image: ABC/Craig Sjodin

The Best ‘Bachelorette’ Recap You’ll Ever Read: Be Still, My Cold, Dead Heart

Well, friends, we did the impossible. After 11 weeks, two Bachelorettes, and one global pandemic, we’ve made it to the finale! Tayshia is down to her final two three men. As per usual, Chris Harrison is doing the most in his intro voice-over:

Chris Harrison: Will she get engaged to her soulmate, or will she DIE A LONELY OLD SPINSTER?!

Damn, Chris. I know we’re living in the time of COVID, but there are other men on this planet if she decides she’s not into these guys!

We pick up where we left off, with Tayshia having a sidebar with a producer. She’s being filmed behind some blinds after being blindsided by Ben. You gotta love the producers’ commitment to imagery and metaphors on this show. They had to get them where they could, because lord knows Ivan wasn’t going to liken love to his testicles morphing into icicles on his fantasy suite date. Ben is sitting awkwardly on Tayshia’s couch. He says that by looking at Tayshia’s eyes, he sees there’s more under there. Kind of a strange way to point out under-eye bags, but Ben’s never really had a way with words. I guess it beats the alternative I’m used to getting:

Who can relate?

Ben’s talking a lot about his “love” for Tayshia, but isn’t really saying much. When Tayshia pushes back and asks him if he’s always going to run when things get hard, his response is, “I blew it”. Accurate, but not promising! Instead of sticking with her gut and sending him home for a second time, SHE INVITES HIM TO THE ROSE CEREMONY! They then walk out together, hug, and Tayshia initiates a very passionate kiss. Who knew she was a sucker for a moose knuckle?! While I definitely don’t agree with her decision, I can’t wait to see Zac and Ivan’s reactions when Ben rolls up to the rose ceremony.

The Rose Ceremony

Ivan walks into the rose ceremony with the pre-elimination confidence that has become a hallmark of this show. Feeling the pressure from the producers for not delivering the required love similes on the ice bucket date, he offers the consolation prize of saying it feels awesome to be “open” and “vulnerable” (or “vonurble”, as Tayshia would say). Not for long, buddy. Zac says he’s ready for a proposal. Ben walks in with a goofy grin on his face, as if he expects Ivan and Zac will be happy to see him. I think Bennett gave the book about emotional intelligence to the wrong guy.

Ben:

Ivan & Zac:

Like many people who’ve gotten dumped, Tayshia proceeds to explain Brendan’s absence by saying “it just didn’t work out.” Control that narrative, girl! She’s about to start handing out roses but then stops and asks Ivan if they can go talk. Ivan’s face says he knows what’s coming next. They then have a cryptic talk about religious differences, but give no specifics about said differences. Is Ivan a Scientologist? That’s the only legitimate theory I can come up with for this abrupt dismissal.

All kidding aside, it may be that Ivan is atheist or agnostic. Tayshia has always been open about her devout Christian beliefs, so it’s possible this is the reason she sent Ivan home. It’d be a shame if that were the only reason she eliminated him, but, let’s face it, she’s been favoring Brendan and Zac for weeks. Given the honest conversations Tayshia and Ivan had about race, it seems strange, and frankly frustrating, that ABC isn’t allowing an unfiltered exchange about religion. Then again, this is ABC we’re talking about, so maybe that’s asking for too much. Ivan takes the elimination in stride like the angel he is. Love you, Ivan! See you in Paradise.

Ben Meets The Family

The next day we catch up with Tayshia writing in her burn book journal. She meets up with her family and I remember how much I enjoyed Tayshia’s dad, Desmond, eviscerating Colton when Tayshia was competing on his season. Like most viewers, Desmond doesn’t have time for BS. Tayshia tells her family that they’ll be meeting Ben, whom she had previously sent home. Desmond is understandably skeptical and wants some answers. This is gonna be good.

Ben meets with Tayshia’s mom, Rosario, first and keeps talking about how he’s never felt this way before, and the way Tayshia makes him feel, yet he can’t seem to identify the feeling(s) in question. Everything he says is surface-level and there’s no real substance to any of it. It seems like Ben is in love with the idea of love, more so than Tayshia specifically. It doesn’t go much better with Desmond.

Desmond: What do you see in Tayshia?
Ben:

Ben also tells Desmond about how he and Tayshia talked about “showing up” for Tayshia. Does he think that physically coming back after being sent home is what showing up means? She meant showing up for her emotionally, Ben!

Zac Meets The Family

The tone of Zac’s meeting with the family is completely different. Instead of making his answers all about him and his feelings, he expresses his love for Tayshia by showing love to her family. He even seems to win over Desmond, who says he’s going to be tough on Zac. Instead of saying the things he thinks Desmond wants to hear, Zac is honest about his failed marriage and is able to reflect on his past mistakes, even weaving in a reference to the standards Desmond has set and how Zac wants to live up to them.

I gotta give it to Zac; he is incredibly authentic and eloquent. He talks about marriage with Tayshia like it’s a real thing that’s going to happen, not some abstract idea like Ben does when he broaches the subject. Zac is making my job as snarky recapper very difficult, but he totally won me over — until he started pretending he was an authentic New Yorker with that whole pizza charade. Zac, you’re from South Jersey! Rep some hoagies like the Philly boy you are and cool it with the tired NYC cliches.

No one:
Zac:

The next day Tayshia hears a knock at her door. Fearing that Bennett has gone full American Psycho, she reluctantly answers. It turns out to be her dad, which isn’t a much better sign. He tells her that the family doesn’t want her to make the biggest mistake of her life by rushing into another marriage. Tayshia starts to break down recounting how her dad was there for her in the throes of her divorce. It was raw and one of her realest moments thus far. She’s starting to have doubts.

Zac & Tayshia’s Date

Tayshia and Zac Finale

On their date, Zac reassures Tayshia that he’s ready to take the next step, but Tayshia seems skeptical. Damn, Desmond really got to her! They find out that their date is to learn a wedding dance routine and Tayshia looks about as excited as Brendan did when he met Neil Lane to try on wedding jewelry. Gotta love karma. She keeps getting in her own head and is struggling to relax into the dance moves. Zac is patient with her and they actually pull off a sweet little routine. I’m honestly impressed they learned that in one lesson. It took me and my husband about two months to put together a solid first dance. Respect.

Later that evening they have a casual night in, and Tayshia is honest about her fears that Zac’s feelings will change. He tells her that he is nine years sober today and that his sobriety allows him to not run away and that he’ll love her no matter what she decides to do with her life. Ok, why am I crying in the club right now? And by “in the club” I mean “on my couch”.

Tayshia seems convinced, and frankly, so am I. It’s one of the most authentic exchanges we’ve ever seen on this show and it’s nice to see a couple talk about real-life issues for a change. “I think she believes in me,” Zac says, and I start to tear up. WTF is happening? Is this show…actually making me feel genuine human emotion?

Me watching this season of The Bachelorette:

Ben & Tayshia’s Date Breakup

When Ben meets up with Tayshia “the next day”, she is wearing the same tragic denim number she was wearing when her dad came to talk to her. So she’s either running out of wardrobe options in quarantine or there’s a bit of a continuity issue here and she went to dump Ben after talking to Desmond. She tells Ben that her heart is with Zac and, as usual, Ben looks like a deer in headlights. He takes it pretty well, albeit with way too many “umm”s, and says he’s happy for her. I do feel bad for Ben. He’s a sweet guy and he deserves to find love, but he needs to work through some of his issues with self-worth before jumping into a serious relationship, let alone a marriage. We’re rooting for you, Ben!

The Big Day

It’s engagement day! Tayshia and Zac are getting ready and Neil Lane is back to shill his gaudy rings. Zac looks handsome in his blue suit. Tayshia meets up with Chris Harrison and the exchange is kind of odd. She says she questions if she’s ever been in love until now and then bursts into tears that don’t really look happy. Even Chris seems confused.

Chris: What is going on?
Tayshia:

The proposal set-up is kind of a hot mess. The area rug from the Airstream trailer fantasy suite isn’t helping. Tayshia tells us she feels stressed, overwhelmed, and scared. So basically all of the things one should be feeling right before getting engaged after knowing someone for 30 seconds. She says she doesn’t know if she’s doing the right thing. I’m a little concerned. Is she feeling the pressure of not wanting to disappoint ABC and the fans given the whole Clare debacle?

Things improve when Zac arrives. His engagement speech is really personal and from the heart. It’s undoubtedly the best one I’ve ever heard on this show or The Bachelor. Tayshia starts her speech and after telling Zac that she knows she told him she loved him, takes an extremely long, producer-suggested pause. I admit they got me for a second and I was scared she was bolting. But she continues and tells Zac she wants to jump in fountains all over the world with him and star in endless FabFitFun endorsement deals together. He gets down on one knee and she says yes! Like the true New Yawkah he is, he yells “TAXI!” and the two ride off Flintstone-style into the desert sunset in a cardboard cab the way god and Chris Harrison intended.

And there we have it! Unfortunately (or fortunately, given the endless hours of our lives ABC takes each year) we have no After the Final Rose to catch up with Tayshia and Zac, but it looks like they’re still going strong. This was an excellent season with some of the most mature and authentic men we’ve ever had. Keep it up, ABC! Thanks for joining me this week, guys, and congratulations to the happy couple!

Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin (2); Giphy (6)

The Best ‘Bachelorette’ Recap You’ll Ever Read: Blink Twice If You Need Help, Brendan

Well, everybody, we’ve made it to the final week of The Bachelorette. In keeping with the “unprecedented times”, ABC is breaking protocol and giving us fantasy suites and the finale in the same week. I’d like to think this is a gift to us for having to put up with Clare’s therapy sessions masquerading as dates, but we know better: they have to keep things moving in time for the premiere of Matt’s season. I’ll be filling in for my esteemed colleague Ryanne this week, so please be gentle in the comments. Let’s get to it!

We begin with Tayshia discussing the importance of the fantasy suite dates and her confidence in the final three. We then cut to Ivan, Brendan, and Zac being forced to sit together and allude to their potential future as eskimo brothers. It’s awkward AF and will be a running theme throughout the episode. Meanwhile, Tayshia has a forced Bachelorette synergy “girl chat” with JoJo. They’re really trying to make JoJo happen, huh? Despite Ed’s notes, Chris Harrison continues his practice of barging in on the men without even a courtesy knock. This time he tells them that they better be prepared to get down on one knee and propose.

Chris: If you’re not ready for an engagement, GTFO!
Brendan: 

And so begins Brendan’s mental spiral.

To my surprise, Ivan gets the first fantasy suite date. I personally love Ivan. He’s far and away my favorite of the three men, but he’s too pure for Tayshia and, arguably, this world. However, he tells us he did The Secret and manifested the first date. You go, Glen Coco Ivan! Zac is visibly pissed and Brendan looks like someone told him that it’s now a federal offense to wear turtlenecks. Zac reminds us that regardless of the men’s feelings about the other men, this is about Tayshia. Finally, a man who understands the concept of The Bachelorette!

Ivan’s Date

Tayshia Bachelorette

Just watching the way that Tayshia interacts with Ivan, it’s clear that he’s not the frontrunner in her mind. As if the lukewarm peck she gave him weren’t proof enough, we find out that their date is a f*cking ice bath. Now if that’s not a metaphor for her feelings for Ivan, I don’t know what is. “Are you excited?” she asks, with that pseudo British inflection she adopts when asking questions. Ivan smiles through the pain. This is the most unromantic concept for a date that I can possibly think of, especially one that’s designed to precede sex. The shrinkage alone! Rude, Tayshia. Rude. Even Big Paulie, who according to Chris Harrison is a “Bachelor Nation favorite” (sure, Jan), deems the effects of this date on Ivan’s prospects later on “devastating”. Slapping a potential “world record” on this turd of a date isn’t fooling anyone, Tayshia! You may as well have had an intern spray paint a football field on some cardboard with “Friend Zone” at either end.

Meanwhile, back at the house:

Brendan:

 

Zac seems to be handling things a little better. He gets the second date card and gives us his best Matthew McConaughey.

During the evening portion of Ivan’s date, he tells Tayshia he’s falling in love with her. She says she’s been falling for him too, but I’m just not feeling the sparks between these two. Their conversation doesn’t have much substance and basically consists of them parroting things back to each other. “I cried in front of you!” “I cried in front of you!” Apparently this is enough to take things to the fantasy suite, which in this case is an Airstream trailer that inside looks like it was designed by 2009 me after winning an Urban Outfitters shopping spree. I love a boho-chic moment, but this is not the mood for fantasy suites. This looks like it would be better for a Real Housewives girls’ trip (OC, obv). Apparently it had the desired effect, though, because they stayed up all night talking, according to Ivan. I don’t get the feeling they had sex. Maybe a little over-the-pants action, but nothing more.

Ivan returns to the house and recaps the date. Unsurprisingly, Zac and Brendan look pissed. Brendan, clearly a masochist, asks if they got any sleep. Don’t ask questions you don’t want the answer to, Brendan! Ivan is apparently an emotional cutter as well because a producer told him to ask he asks what Zac’s date card said. Yikes.

Zac’s Date

Tayshia and Zac

The vibe on this date is completely different than the date with Ivan. Tayshia is straight-up giddy. The feeling is mutual for Zac and he tells us no less than 14 times that he can’t wait to EXPLORE Tayshia. Vom. That’s exactly what the guy you go on one Hinge date with tells you right before he never calls you again. Their date is body painting, which may as well be the polar (see what I did there) opposite of Ivan’s date. This date is essentially foreplay with colors. They slap on some paint and proceed to aggressively make out in front of the camera crew. Do they have no shame??

During the evening portion, they get into deeper topics, specifically, Zac’s stance on having kids. Zac says he realizes now that he does want to be a dad and he then proceeds to tell Tayshia that he loves her. The moment was really genuine, so much so that it moves Tayshia to tears and she says she loves him back. I can’t even be snarky, it was a lovely moment. This is what happens when you put age-appropriate men on this show!

They move on to the fantasy suite, and the set-up alone is another personal affront to Ivan. Zac and Tayshia get a whole-ass suite that looks much nicer than the “El Presidente” suite Tayshia’s been living in all season. The unmitigated gall of these producers to do Ivan so dirty!

Ivan watching this back:

The next morning, Tayshia and Zac are jumping on the bed like two toddlers hopped up on pixie sticks. Interestingly, Tayshia says in a confessional that Brendan has had her heart since day one. This should be interesting given Brendan’s sheer terror all episode. Zac returns to the house with a sh*t-eating grin on his face. Ivan remains mostly calm. Brendan looks…constipated.

Brendan’s Date

Brendan tells us that he’s worried about the prospect of getting engaged again so quickly after getting divorced. Brendan clearly didn’t get the memo on not telling producers about your biggest fears, lest they be exploited to the high heavens, and so his fate is sealed. The date is hosted by F*CKING NEIL LANE! Neil, apparently pissed he had to cobble together a ring for Clare with barely 24 hours’ notice, negotiated some more airtime for his tacky wares and so we need to endure this product placement we’re calling a “date”. A date like this would be torture for just about any straight male who’s been dating a woman for a matter of weeks, but for Brendan, it is hell on earth, and it shows.

Neil keeps telling Brendan not to get nervous, then proceeds to talk endlessly about engagements and weddings. As if this wasn’t anxiety-producing enough, they then FORCE BRENDAN TO TRY ON WEDDING BANDS! I swear his hands were shaking. These producers are laying it on thick. They’ve even got Neil Lane waxing poetic about how rings are circular (no sh*t) and that marriage is FOREVER, as if Brendan, who has been married before, doesn’t already know this. Is Robert De Niro going to pop out and tell Brendan he’s been admitted into Tayshia’s circle of trust, too?

This date is messy AF. I guess this is one way to test his appetite for a proposal at the end.

Brendan:

The night portion of the date doesn’t get any better. Unfortunately, Tayshia saved her best dress for this date. Brendan is…wearing a black T-shirt. Not a good sign. Tayshia brings up Brendan’s distance and he admits he’s been struggling with the idea of an engagement. He confesses that he’s still broken. It was raw and honestly heartbreaking. Tayshia doesn’t put up a fight and sends him home. She says he’s the one she pictured herself with at the end. I’m sure whoever she chooses will be thrilled to watch that back.

Tayshia and Rachel

We get a surprise appearance from Rachel, who looks stunning. As happy as I was to see Rachel again, I didn’t really understand why she was there. The conversation was pretty superficial at the beginning, until Rachel asks Tayshia about any regrets she might have. Then it became very clear why she was invited: to create an opening to talk about Ben, who is obviously going to pull a Bennett and come back to ask for another chance. To which I say:

Michael Scott No

The Rose Ceremony Ben’s Mea Culpa

The men are getting ready for the rose ceremony and Ivan’s look here was giving me major Drake vibes. I’m not mad about it. We then see a shot from the waist down of some bulging thighs in capri pants making their way up the path of the La Quinta, and it’s immediately clear that Ben has returned. He tells Chris Harrison that he shuts down when things are tough and he wants to resolve things with Tayshia.

Tayshia, meanwhile, has two roses left, and to symbolize this she has brought the girls out for the night. She looks gorgeous and is feeling good about her final two, so of course Ben has to swoop in and f*ck it all up! He knocks on Tayshia’s door and she looks THRILLED to see him. He confesses his love for her, admits that he blew it in the moment, and tells her he sees a life with her. Tayshia’s immediate response is to freak the f*ck out and run to her producer. Not a great sign, buddy! All I know is if she cuts Ivan for this clown I will have ABC’s head continue to loyally watch this train wreck. See you tomorrow!

Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin; Giphy (3)

The Best ‘Bachelorette’ Recap You’ll Ever Read: Let’s Get Ready To Rumble

Hello and welcome back to your regularly scheduled Bachelorette recap! Last week Tayshia took over as Bachelorette, and so far her reign has had a lot of highs and lows for me. The highs being a grown man whispering, straight-faced at the camera, “I’m hanging on by a piece of floss” and the lows being ABC trying to pass off basic activities any person can do on a hotel’s property as romantic, once-in-a-lifetime dates. But, you know, I ran out of high hopes for Tayshia the minute she described John Paul Jones as “serious” and “emotionally mature.” 

The Grown-Ass Man Group Date

Moving on! This week there is absolutely no preliminary bullsh*t as we dive headfirst into the first group date. I, for one, cannot wait to see how far the producers have strained their creative muscles to contort one menial hotel guest activity into some sort of extravagant date. Perhaps a romantic one-on-one during the hotel’s continental breakfast hour? A fun-filled group date of walking to the ice machine? The world 190,000 sq. feet of property is truly their oyster. 

For this group date the men are going to compete in a Grown-Ass Man competition, because apparently that is the only way to tell if a grown man has actually reached maturity. Ladies, take note. The competition will contain three components: brains, brawn, and chivalry, and will be judged by human tear duct Ashley I and her former Arby’s manager husband, Jared. Yeah, that feels legit. While we’re at it, why not bring the men’s mothers over to judge which one of their special snowflakes is the specialest out of all the snowflakes?

Well you certainly won’t find one here, Tayshia!

Now, that we’ve established the rules of the game, let’s take a moment to fully process where such an esteemed competition is taking place: the basement of this resort. That’s right, in order for Tayshia to find herself the elusive and very rare “grown-ass man”, she needs to be sequestered in a bunker listening to a bunch of dudes try and answer 2nd grade math questions. *looks skyward* You’re right, God, we did deserve 2020. 

Okay, Bennett went to Harvard like Olivia Jade went to USC. Why doesn’t he know basic math and spelling??

The brains portion of the competition will absolutely haunt my nightmares. I know there are a lot of former pro athletes this season but MY GOD how did this many children get left behind in their education? The brawn portion is not much better. Each guy is paired with another guy to face off in some weird feats of strength thing that involves dragging the weaker man’s body over a finish line where… flowers are waiting? Yeah, that doesn’t scream toxic masculinity AT ALL. 

Finally, we arrive at the chivalry portion, where the men are instructed to wine and dine Tayshia with breakfast in bed. I have a feeling most of these guys consider “breakfast in bed” to be providing a woman with water and Advil before sending her off in an Uber, so this should be interesting.  

CHASEN: I am the main course.
ALSO CHASEN: 

I’m glad my bar was set exactly where it was supposed to be!

Ed wins the Man Child award and is forced to carry around a fake baby for the remainder of the date. Tayshia says she’s proud of him for being such a “good sport” and I’m glad that this is where the bar is at in 2020 for men: hoping he won’t cause a scene after losing at something trivial and meaningless. Got it. 

Meanwhile, Bennett, who butchered more of the English language than any of my 7th grade MySpace posts ever did, somehow wins the Grown-Ass Man award. I guess Ashley I confused “intimacy” with willing to breathe the same air as a woman? Well, she did marry Jared, a man who tried and failed to date literally anyone else in Bachelor Nation before marrying her, so that tracks. 

As we move into the cocktail hour the word “grown-ass man” has been thrown around no less than 25 times in the last five minutes. If this were a drinking game I would be in a hospital somewhere getting my stomach pumped.

Mr. Man Child and Mr. Grown-Ass Man are showing real growth and maturity this evening as they sit in a corner and pettily talk sh*t about everyone else on the date. I just think it’s rich that Ed and Bennett are going to talk smack about Chasen not knowing very many adjectives when the below spelling atrocity happened mere hours before:

Tayshia seems to be having a good conversation with Ben. She says that she’s looking for someone to build an empire with her, and I’m worried she doesn’t know the meaning of “empire.” Selling his and hers FabFitFun boxes is not an empire, Tayshia!!

Tensions are HIGH between Ed, Bennett, and Chasen. It’s unclear how the beef started exactly, but Ed wants to bring up his “concerns” with Tayshia. His biggest issue with Chasen? That he’s here for the Instagram followers. Oh my god, SO IS TAYSHIA! She needs that kind of ambition for her empire!! 

CHASEN: I don’t like that you’re getting in the way of my relationship with Tayshia.
ED: Why don’t you and your medium sized shirt sit down. 

WHY DON’T YOU AND YOUR MEDIUM SIZED SHIRT SIT DOWN. I just spit out my wine all over my poor, unassuming dog. I’m dead. 

As Chasen and Ed continue to exchange barbs that would embarrass even a kindergartener, the rest of the men watch from afar with the smuggest of expressions on their faces. Too smug, in my opinion. I hate to break it to you, kids, but you’re not better than those losers. You’re all losers! Ivan, I suppose, is the least loser-y of them all because he wins himself the group date rose. Amazing. 

The Rose Ceremony

Because this is 2020 and nothing makes sense, ABC has decided to immediately transition into a rose ceremony. I would say I have emotional whiplash but that would suggest that 2020 has left me anything else to care about. 

Ed and Chasen’s beef continues into the rose ceremony. Chasen says that, yeah, he did use the word smoke show to describe both Clare and Tayshia, but how else is he supposed to compliment a lady? Take the time to learn about her life and personality in ways that feel genuine and meaningful? Don’t be crazy!! Also, I love how Chasen announced his adjective to them all like he was proud of himself for coming up with one at all. Oh, sweetie. It was a good try!

Okay, Ed needs to stop bringing up his Chasen drama with Tayshia. Doesn’t Carlos’s dad know that the lead never keeps the guy that rats on the other guys? Ed says that Chasen “got physical” with him and that feels like an extreme exaggeration of what actually happened, but fine. And you know what? Chasen actually attempts to apologize! I mean, I’m sure this apology comes from the most sincere places in his heart and has absolutely nothing to do with the sponcon deals he’s worried he’ll lose if he’s branded the villain this season… right?

In typical Man Child fashion, Ed will not accept Chasen’s apology and proceeds to make a scene. Now, I ask you, what kind of example is that to set for Carlos, Eddie? Hmm?

As the fight escalates, Zach C lets us all know that he couldn’t give a flying f*ck about this drama. I believe his exact words were something like: “I couldn’t care less, let’s just party” and then he pulled out some molly. I paraphrase. 

The rest of the rose ceremony goes on uneventfully. In the end Montel, Peter, and Jay get sent home, which tracks because before I wrote those names down I had never heard them before in my life. I’m sure you were great though, boys!

The Wrestling Group Date

Ah, yes, another group date that will take place in the hotel basement. It looks like ABC is really going to embrace the whole “finding love in a hopeless place” thing. For the second group date of the week, the men will be participating in a live wrestling match. I say “live” as if the audience will consist of more than just the hotel cleaning staff and whatever guys production was able to scrounge up who weren’t too sloshed off their hotel mini bars. 

Chris Harrison asks Tayshia if she thinks the men are any good at wrestling, and she answers with the most half-hearted “yeah” that has ever been uttered in history of yeahs. It’s less like a “yeah, we’re going to see some real examples of athletic prowess” and more like a “yeah, does this hotel have a first aid kit?”  

 

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Christ.

I can’t believe they’re oiled up. I feel like we’re watching Old School. Also, are you f*cking kidding me? They put Joe against Eazy in the line up? Joe is going to get destroyed! How are these two in the same weight class?!

What was marketed as a day of friendly competition and wholesome fun has quickly turned into an all-out bloodbath. I love that they encouraged people to fight to the death in this cage match and then are surprised that these people actually bleed. 

Ed must see the bloodlust in Chasen’s eyes, because he quickly comes up with some half-hearted reason for him to get out of their match. He says something about his knees, but I’ve had more concrete excuses to get out of my high school gym class. Maybe next time say “it’s a lady thing” and pair it with an embarrassed shrug? That always worked for me!!

CHRIS HARRISON: What do you mean you can’t fight? You’re built like a brick outhouse. 

Chris, WHERE are you getting these phrases from, bro?

With Ed out of the picture, Chasen has no one to challenge him. This prompts Noah, who wasn’t even on the group date, to volunteer as tribute for the fight. Side note: I didn’t write the recap last week so I didn’t get to give my first impression of Noah when he strolled into this season. I know you’ve all been on the edge of your seats,  so here it is: that boy is FINE. I’m not sure if it’s the porn ‘stache or the entitled way he walks into a room like he’s got his daddy’s lawyers on speed dial, but it is all working for me. 

But back to the fight: Noah decides to whip off his shirt and lube himself up in oil before bouncing over that fence with all the youthful energy of a guy who has literally never been turned down for anything a day in his life. Though he doesn’t actually win the fight, Tayshia lets him finish out the group date with the rest of the guys. She says it’s because Noah was willing to “jump a fence” for her and I would just like to point out that the last man who jumped a fence on this franchise turned out to be a legitimate stalker. So. 

Not only does Noah get to go on this group date, but he monopolizes most of Tayshia’s time. She seems transfixed by his mustache and I’m telling y’all, that thing has power. It’s unexplainable. 

 

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The rest of the men are naturally livid at this turn of events. I think it’s interesting that they think Tayshia couldn’t possibly be interested in Noah because he’s a little younger than her. Honestly, I think Tayshia’s type is blonde idiots. I mean let’s take a look at her dating history: First, she dated Colton whose fence jump was a national punchline, and then she professed her love to John Paul Jones, who is the human equivalent of a golden retriever. The history speaks for itself!

OH MY GOD IS SHE MAKING HIM SHAVE HIS MUSTACHE?! The ‘stache is his entire personality! The whole source of his charm and power! Why is she making him do this?And why is she waving that razor around like this is some weird, erotic form of foreplay?

 

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Just as Tayshia is about to hand out the group date rose, Ben asks to steal some time with her. She shoots him down, and now I’m starting to remember why I hate Tayshia. She kind of sucks. There aren’t strict rules about when the night has to end, so nice try sweetie!! Instead Noah, a man who wasn’t even on the group date, wins the group date rose and a nude from me in his DMs

Before I end this recap I just wanted to give an honorable shout-out to Joe. I know I barely mentioned him here, but don’t you worry, he is definitely on my radar. Joe, if you’re reading this, you are a rare gem and a national treasure. Here’s hoping ABC doesn’t do you dirty. And on that note, I’m outtie. Until next week, hoes!

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Clare And Dale Are House Hunting, And We Have Questions

As we’ve seen in the last month or so on The Bachelorette, Clare Crawley and Dale Moss are not like, the most calm or measured people in the world. After Chris Harrison’s hard-hitting exit interview on this week’s episode, these two soulmates won’t be gracing our television screens anymore (sad!), but did you really think they were just going to stop being extra? Seriously, did you? Of course not! This is Clare and Dale we’re talking about. Just two days ago, we watched Clare exclaim that she’s ready to have “BABIES!” with a man she’s only known for a few months, and these two aren’t just going to fade away now that Mike Fleiss is done with them.

 

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On Wednesday, the happy couple did an exclusive interview with People, where they discussed some of their future plans together. Clare’s quotes about her fiancé are predictably upbeat—she calls him “the yin to my yang,” and says that this is the happiest she’s ever been. Likewise, Dale said that Clare “lights a fire in me that I was missing for so long.” Considering they got engaged after like, two weeks of knowing each other, nothing that surprising. In the article, they also discuss their current living situation, which is where things get interesting. While they haven’t moved in together yet, People says that they’re “house-hunting” in Sacramento, because Clare needs to be able to take care of her mother. Clare adds that “Dale understands and respects” that it’s important for her to be in California, and that “he told me, wherever we are, that’s home.” Great, so that’s settled; Sacramento it is!

But later in the day on Wednesday, The New York Post reported that Dale was spotted late last week “house-hunting” in New York City. Excuse me? Dale, WHAT IS THE TRUTH? According to the report, Dale toured properties with his broker, who just happens to be Ryan Serhant, star of Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing: New York. Hmm. How convenient that one reality star is showing properties to another reality star, and the details just happened to make their way to a tabloid! I hope Dale’s publicist is getting paid extra this week.

The report from the Post even included the details of one of the listings they toured, a Lower East Side apartment that’s priced at a casual $6.5 million. I’m sorry, but how do they have this kind of money? Dale never made it off the training squad in the NFL, and I’m pretty confident that Party City and diaper bag modeling gigs don’t pay seven figures. I’m not trying to be a hater, but I do not understand where this kind of budget is coming from. Serhant even gave a comment to the Post, saying that the apartment’s terrace makes it a good fit for Clare and Dale, because “they both really want outdoor space.” Uhhh, I want outdoor space too, but that doesn’t mean I’m suddenly a millionaire. This really will keep me up tonight.

But going back for a second, what happened to house-hunting in Sacramento? Maybe they’re trying to be bi-coastal, but am I supposed to believe that these two can afford a multimillion-dollar apartment in New York City, and then can also buy a property in California? Sorry, but I refuse. Nobody gets that rich from spending three days on TV. Do they? Actually, hold that thought—I have an application to fill out.

So I guess we’ll have to stay tuned to see where Clare and Dale end up. So far it looks like the choices are Sacramento, NYC, or broken up six months from now, but only time will tell. In the meantime, please join me in fully stanning Tayshia.

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