I remember when I was a kid my Dad would say things like, “in my day, bread cost a dime, gas was 25-cents, and I could take a quarter, hit the candy store, see a double feature at the movie hall, and have change.”  He’d talk about how “kids in his day” wouldn’t watch TV all day and would actually play outside, and children respected their elders. It’s much the same now that I’m watching The Bachelor with my fourteen-year-old daughter (go ahead, question my parenting, I deserve it). I look over at her and say, “in my day, the Bachelors and Bachelorettes were not allowed to say, “I love you.”

Was this an actual ABC rule? Was it an unwritten rule? Should we accept this, now, or demand change? I think it started with bachelorette Kaitlyn and Bachelor Ben, right? And on a show where a guy dates more than twenty women, smashes face with allllll of them, and takes three to the fantasy suite less than a week before he’ll propose marriage to only one of them, are we really so up-in-arms about him saying he “loves” more than one of them?

We love this show because it’s awkward and unnatural. Our Bachelor heads to three hometowns each season and asks three fathers if they would give him their blessing should he pick their daughter in the end? That’s crazy,  don’t you see? Before I got married, I only asked two fathers for their daughter’s hands in marriage …like it’s supposed to be.  Joking.

Call me an old-fashioned romantic, but I have zero doubt he loves more than one of these girls. The Bachelor format is totally unnatural and messes with all their heads. Who doesn’t have an ex’ that he or she sometimes thinks about and wonders what might have been, and sees that ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend on Facebook and scrolls through pictures of her and her cute kids, and then cuts a small face of himself out of a picture on his desk at work and holds that face up and covers his ex-girlfriend’s husband’s face on her Facebook photos and then and imagines himself married to her and vacationing in the tropics somewhere?  I mean, not me. Hi, honey. But there’s this dude at work. He does that. Total psycho.

Where was I. Oh, yes. Arie. He’s grown comfortable with siloing his emotions from date to date and moment to moment and blocking out thoughts of other relationships, and these girls, more than most other seasons, never mention “the other girls” whom they know he’s also smashing face with.

It’s bizarre in every way, and we love it.

He Doesn’t Love Kendall (but I think he actually does)

Kendall is an example of the show format, or Arie thinking he should act a certain way, playing tricks on him. Arie has struggled with how he feels about this girl. He wants Kendall to tell him that she loves him, and that she’s ready for marriage immediately, but she can’t give him that, and he’s struggling with what that would mean when the exotic travel and rose ceremonies end. In real life, well, he’d simply keep dating her, and she would figure out if she could return the feeling. Kendall’s just not ready to get engaged after only 39-days. Sure, we could wonder, why did you come on the show and be all cynical, but not everyone sits at the first cocktail party on the first night and starts saying their first name and his last name out loud to see how it sounds.

With last night included, he’s pulled her aside three times at rose ceremonies to try and get a confession (I don’t know what else to call it). It means Kendall is in his head. He wants her. He can’t put his finger on “why”, but he knows she’s different and fun and someone he’d like to keep dating. I think many people go through this when dating. We think we  should marry someone who shares our religion, or who comes from a similar background as we do. We feel we should find someone who follows the script …high school, college, job, engagement, marriage, kids, house in the suburbs, etc.  So when we meet a girl who rides a Harley, says she won’t ever get married, wants to work only enough to get money to hop on her bike and go camping somewhere, and dreams of riding her motorcycle from Texas all the way to the southern tip of South America, we say, “that sounds fun, and I could do it, but what would everyone say,” We reject that girl and that idea because it’s not “normal” even though, truly, what’s “normal” and why would it be so bad if we really love that girl?

Arie is saying, “no” to that adventurous and different life with Kendall because of outside pressure he’s imagining is there. That’s my strong opinion. For the rest of his life, he’s going to wonder what could’ve been.

Boring Lauren

This transitions nicely to Lauren. On their dates, for weeks, simply making conversation has been a burden. They can’t talk about anything but how they can’t always find something to talk about or about how ready, scared, or nervous they are. In my mind, he can’t believe a girl so gorgeous as Lauren is still with him. Let’s admit it – she’s drop dead gorgeous. For dudes, that’s hard to resist. Arie’s thinking, “she’s hot. She’s into me. She says she loves me. And. Um. She’s hot.”  But ABC has amused us with footage upon footage of the two of them sitting in silence, staring straight ahead, unable to keep a conversation going.

But, again, she says, “I love you” and she doesn’t have any doubts, and she will  get married right after the show, and isn’t that what Arie wants? If he made a check-list before coming on The Bachelor, I’m sure Lauren checks all the boxes but sometimes (most times, actually), what makes two people fall in love with each other can’t be listed on a resume. Go back and read my Kendall analysis.  Kendall has what excites Arie. Lauren has what looks good on paper to Arie.

Kendall is the Indy car racing career Arie wanted and will never be able to forget. Lauren is the sensible real estate job in the suburbs.

I hope they live a long, modestly happy life together.

Becca and The Man

Then there’s Becca. And Becca’s ex-boyfriend. And Ben sipping tea when being confronted by Becca’s ex-boyfriend. This was as bizarre as anything ever seen on this show. I guess Becca is so boring that ABC felt when her ex-boyfriend started calling the network, writing emails, or maybe showing up in Los Angeles, well, they thought they’d assist this potential stalker.

Think about this for a minute? How did ABC determine Becca’s ex-boyfriend wasn’t an unstable lunatic? It isn’t like the season’s agenda is published on-line so we superfans can show up in random cities around the world and see the courtship unfolding, and yet, he found his way to Peru late in the game when Arie was already waaaaay down the road with three girls. This could’ve happened in L.A., right? Oh, and they showed psycho-ex-boyfriend right to Arie’s hotel room for a surprise confrontation before showing him where Becca was staying. I hope just off camera was a bouncer-security guy the size of John Cena making sure this ex-boyfriend didn’t snap.

Reader D.D. texted me yesterday that if the Producers start allowing multiple confessions of “love” that she might not watch, but for me, allowing this creep to intrude late in the season is a worse look for ABC and the show. Becca and this sad-soul dated for seven years. I don’t know the back story, but after seven years, usually, the break-up is final. They’d already, likely, worked through ups and downs. Maybe she realized he was never going to propose, or that he would never grow up, or maybe she turned 25 (she’s 26 currently) and figured the guy she’s been dating since high-school (or college) wasn’t so charming as he was back then when they met at a fraternity-sorority mixer (I could find their actual story, but I like to guess). Or maybe she waited tables and he tended bar, or was a bouncer, and in your early 20s, that’s amazing. Young love makes plans, has dreams, and both think they’re going to open a bar, or a restaurant, and everything they’re doing feels great and cool. But by her mid-twenties, if he’s still thinking his tattoo shop is about to take-off, but mostly he’s borrowing more money from his parents and left college after 2 years, and Becca has her degree and is waiting on him to figure things out, maybe finish his degree, and maybe go work in his Dad’s landscape business, well, she just couldn’t wait any longer, so she applied to be on this show. They broke up. She moved on. He didn’t.

Ex-boyfriend made a bold move. No matter what happens, Arie’s always going to know this heartbroken loser is out there, looking at pictures of he and Becca, never getting over Becca, and that’s going to blur his decision this week.

In the end, Kendall’s lack of commitment to the process and scripted next step was more powerful than Becca’s crazy ex-boyfriend or Lauren’s inability to hold a conversation, and Arie, in a class move, pulled her aside before the rose and explained why she wouldn’t be getting a rose.

I like that. Truly. Arie might not be the best-looking or most charismatic Bachelor, ever, but he seems like a very good guy and he’s doing this to find a wife. That’s kinda cool, actually, that he’s not just going through the motions for the fame and how it can launch his reality TV career. He kinda already had his experience with celebrity and grew up the son of a celebrity, so when the dust settles and the last tears are shed, my money is on Arie and Becca (or Lauren) becoming another Bachelor/Bachelorette success story.

Check back tomorrow for my breakdown of The Women Tell All and next week to wrap up the season and write the final chapter in this love story.

Thanks for reading.

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