Hello, Readers, and welcome back to what continues to be a beating of a Bachelorette season. For the past few weeks I’ve been wallowing in wishful denial that my apathy toward Ashley and her various colors of eye shadow is the result of my new and improved triathlon training regimen or the inevitable abdominal cramping that accompanies a high fiber diet.
Sadly, I’ve cut down on the Lone Stars too; however, I have come to terms with the fact that none of this has anything to do with the fact that Ashley is simply too uninteresting to carry this show. Considering the fact that next to her Brad Womack inspires more hysteria than Lady Gaga at Madison Square Garden, I think that speaks volumes about the choice that ABC made to throw her into the mix. Someone must have been smoking some of the stash Harrison smuggled back from Tahiti last season when that decision was made.
Incidentally, I saw Brad this week at my gym around lunch time. He was clad in his usual baggy shorts, sleeveless tee and ball cap working on (SURPRISE!) his upper body. I nodded knowingly as I passed, but didn’t stop to chat because I didn’t want to interrupt set 100 of 300 in his bench press work out. Besides, the smell of Axe Body Spray was overwhelming.
All kidding aside, it must have been tough for the guy to venture out in public the day after Emily said he was a jerk without saying he was a jerk on national TV. Brad has never been anything but nice to me and my friends who know him well. There’s nothing wrong with choosing to be perpetually single and now that this is over he’s a guy that needs to embrace that. I hope he can move past the whole show (for the second time) and just be happy working on his chest or whatever. Dr. Jamie, my ass.
I also had the pleasure of seeing the wonderfully talented and always charming Lincee Ray of www.ihategreenbeans.com this weekend. She was kind enough to bring a bevy of broads and some other friends to a local Austin honky tonk where one of my close friend’s band was playing. We laughed, we danced, and we took pictures. No, we’re not dating but we’re fast friends and I always enjoy seeing Lincee. If I’m not mistaken, she’ll post a picture or two of that evening on her site. Thanks for the waltz, Lincee. With that said, let’s get to the current season’s goings on.
In case we forgot, we begin with the reminder that this week is hometown week and Ashley will be headed to see the guys’ homes and be mercilessly judged by the families of Constantine, J.P., Ames, and Ben. Ashley recaps her “feelings” for all of the men and tells us that she’s “sooooo” everything as we see her packing her back amongst the wooden floors, granite counter tops, and sage walls of her lonely one bedroom apartment in Philadelphia. I wondered if her landlord was watching and would be making an attempt to collect the unpaid pet deposit on that excuse for a dog she had nipping at her heels like J.P. on a group date.
As she carefully selects family friendly blouses and chromatically consistent eye shadows to match them, Ashley recounts her low budget dates with Constantine, the “unique” (read latently gay) qualities of Ames, her post-Bentley sulk session with J.P., and her “spontaneous” orphanage mural painting with Ben.
Boy, I’m sure those kids over there in the desert have been enjoying that mural amidst the un-airconditioned confines of that orphanage. At any rate, she throws on another Mexican table cloth for a skirt and her favorite travel friendly F-me pumps in order to hail a cab to the airport. Aaaaannnd, we’re off. . .
First stop, Cumming, Georgia. Dude, just as I was about put it into neutral in hopes of making it all go away, we get a Money Shot of the phallic giant white water tower protruding like a morning erection from the center of Constantine’s home town that reads “Cumming.” I felt like Michael Corleone in the third installment of The Godfather: “Just when I thought I was out . . . they pull me back in.” Ashley is “going” to “Cumming?” I found that ironic since next week is actually Fantasy Date week when odds are she’ll actually be . . . oh, nevermind. How in the world should I be expected to ignore that? Touche, ABC. Touche.
Surprised that Constantine’s home town was not Rome, I settled in over another Lone Star in order to watch him and his Rocky Balboa sweatshirt and green t-shirt grope Ashley in the park before taking her to see his family restaurant.
Before I get started, I’d like to pay tribute to our trip through Asia by introducing each home town visit with a Hometown Haiku commemorating each greeting. Yes, I realize they didn’t go to Japan. Cut me some slack. At least I’m not making origami Ashleys. Here we go.
Ash goes to Cumming
Auburn eyeshadow looks bad
Pensive hug. She sucks
After enduring the smell of the filthy duck pond, they stroll meaningfully to Giorgio’s Restaurant, Constantine’s family business. With the trashy girls from the waitstaff that he’s undoubtedly made at least one pass through watching carefully, Constantine gives Ashley the grand tour and takes her to the kitchen in order to cook a pizza and make a salad as she invades the space of the Hispanic kitchen workers whose attempts to unionize have undoubtedly been crushed under the iron fist of Constantine’s family. Alright, I made that last part up, but it sounds cool. Cooking pizza? Making salads? Say it with me: I thought this b*tch was a dentist.
After some more awkward conversation, Ashley heads to Mount Olympus to meet the family. Let’s see, there was Dimitri, Elleni, and Maria, the God-daughter Athena, Zeus, Poseidon, Aphrodite, Hera, Hermes, and, of course Apollo. After all, what’s a party without the God of Music? I believe Dionysos was included on the Evite; however, he had a prior engagement over at Charlie Sheen’s place. Annnnyyyhooo . . .
After some stupid chats with mom and dad, about 1000 other people from Constantine’s immediate family showed up to jump around like Anthony Quinn in Zorba the Greek before some fat guy made it rain like Harrison at the local strip bar in the VIP Lounge. In short, Constantine’s family seemed like very nice, self-made, decent people and they were very welcoming of Ashley. The parents were supportive, protective but not overbearing, and very proud of their son. That’s a good indicator how he’ll treat others around him and even the socially numb Ashley should have been able to see that.
Of the four families, I believe this one is most likely to be the best fit for her. Even Constantine’s sister—who was more attractive than Ashley, by the way—was not as judgey as the other guys’ sisters and certainly not negative like Ashley’s sister (more about her later). It’s too bad I don’t feel that way about Constantine. They just don’t seem compatible. For instance, she’s a morning person and he just doesn’t like her. Ahh, details. After a half-assed goodbye, Ashley heads back to PA to meet the Ames family.
First, the haiku.
We are in Chadd’s Ford
“Unique” is code word for “gay”
Rich or not, he’s done
After a view of the sprawling, blue blooded Ames family estate, we get a shot of an excited plaid wearing Ames and his wind blown, Warren Beatty in Splendor in the Grass hair awaiting Ashley in a glorious meadow. Ashley—who is no Natalie Wood--throws around the word “unique” like she threw around “Bentley” a few weeks ago and it is clear that, while she likes him, she doesn’t like him in that special way that guarantees he’ll throw her around the Fantasy Suite like a dust rag next week.
Realizing this, I hit pause, sighed for the sake of Ames, and retrieved another Lone Star ready to sit back and watch Ashley try and pass off her cheerleader diction on the aristocracy of Chadd’s Ford. Chadd’s Ford? Isn’t that something you’d find in Rob Lowe’s brother’s garage? I’ll be here all week, folks. Back to Ames.
Ashley skips the pre-meet walk and talk with Ames and immediately heads to the veranda to meet Ames’ sister Serena, her mute yet electric blue husband Randy, his mother Jane (who won the Doris Kearns Goodwin look alike contest last week), his older and balding brother Jim, his sister-in-law Tracey, and a host of nieces and nephews who unquestionably love playing dolls and dress up with Uncle Ames.
After some mint juleps to prime the pump, Ames’ big sister gets some alone time as Ashley laments not bringing her white jeans. That would have been a wonderful ice breaker considering the fact that Serena and Mrs. Ames were both wearing theirs. Talbots has such a rich and wonderful early Fall collection.
After an interview by the indoor/outdoor pool and some very interesting insight as to the death of Ames father and step father as well as learning that he went to boarding school, Ashley pretends that she and Ames are intellectually similar and Serena remembers when she used to dress up her younger brother as a girl and have tea parties in the garden with him. She gives Ames a heads up that his relationship with Ashley is a passionless farce aimed at outing him for the sake of ABC ratings.
Frankly, she and the mother were both very perceptive. They showed a great deal of restraint too. Ashley was clearly out of her league in that setting but she tried and Ames, as always, was wonderfully charming. Incidentally, when I say “out of her league” I don’t mean that the Ames’s were better than her. I mean that they’re different from her. They seemed like nice people, but certainly Ames is expected to find someone much more “suitable” for his intellect. Fake dentists who go on reality dating shows two seasons in a row to “find love” are likely not considered “purrr-fact” in Chadd’s Ford, Pennsylvania.
In a “bless his heart” attempt at romance, Ames fires up the family carriage after packing a delightfully refreshing picnic in his basket and spirits Ashley away through the unpaved roads along the riverbank for a lovely repast of wafers, foie gras, and sauvignon blanc in his “favorite garden” below a blooming magnolia tree. Ames drops some Italian Renaissance philosophical talk saying he sees romance and magic in the ordinary things in life. In the absence of any salad, Ashley chews on her lips and face. Frankly, it’s amazing she has any lips and face left after last night. She never stopped chewing on them all night. Her entire affect is annoying.
Let me sum this entire exchange up by saying that Ames truly won me over this season. Is he really gay? Hell, I don’t know. He was a shy kid who lost the two key male figures in his life very early in his development and was then raised by a mother, a sister, and servants. He didn’t appear to be close to his brother and I’m certain that he too was shipped off to boarding school before he and Ames could bond like brothers bond.
I’m sure he spent most of his youth daydreaming about magnolias, his favorite garden, and wearing red pants. The truth is that in what little doses we got of him this season, he is by all counts, a decent, friendly, open, positive, intellectually rounded, passionate person who is loved by the people close to him. It was impossible to hate the guy. That was evidenced by the thinly veiled disdain for this “journey” living right behind his protective sister’s eyes and the genuine concern expressed by his mother during their conversation. Ames is a good person and good things will happen as a result of that. He didn’t belong with Ashley and whether he ends up with a girl named Eve or a guy named Steve, I’m certain he’ll find someone with whom to share his life.
Ben F. makes good wine
Jump Hug means it’s on next week
His sister hates Ash
Ashley high tails it to Sonoma, California to meet up with Ben on an estate equally as worthy as Ames’ house. I didn’t see carriage driving servants, but I’m certain they were somewhere on the property.
After a cool tour through some of the winery and what looked like a miserably cold and rainy picnic on the porch, Ashley continues to look vacantly at Ben as he warns her about his skeptical mother and sister Julia. The word “vapid” came to mind—as did the words “Lone Star.” Between biting her lip and chewing the inside of her face, Ashley responds to Ben’s genuine attempts to explain his family with a series of cursory “wow’s” and “hmm, hmm’s”. She’s such a freaking beating.
Ashley takes flowers provided by the Producers to ward off mom and sis and they approach the deceptively sweet house surrounded by a white picket fence in order to meet Ben’s mom Barbara and his sister Julia. Incidentally, “Julia” begins with “J” and a “U”. Do you know what else begins with a “J” and a “U”? The word “judgmental.”
As dinner progresses it is clear that mom and sister remain skeptical. Ironically, it was Julia who signed her brother up for this garbage and as they talk about their father around the dinner table, I almost forgot that Ashley was sitting next to Ben and that the entire purpose of the visit was to size her up. She’s clearly too tiny to squash grapes with her feet all day and it was clear that breaking the bond between Ben and his sister would be a near impossibility for anyone, much less a fake dentist from Madawaska. I’ll comment more about family acceptance later; however, it appeared that mom and sister held the keys to the winery and I don’t believe that Ashley is going to get to hold them any time soon.
After some picture viewing and some cheerleader chatting, Ashley says a tense goodbye to Judgey Julia and Ben’s mom-who looked like Ben in drag, by the way. She “purr-facts” Ben in the driveway and he goes back inside to get the cabernet stain out of his gray jeans.
Of the remaining three families this one would clearly be a tough fit for Ashley. Ben is the remaining male in an obviously well-to-do family and has an understandably overprotective mother and sister in light of the death of their patriarch. Ashley didn’t seem to cut it over there, but I still think Ben has a fair shot at the final rose considering the fact that he’s already (allegedly) closed to deal on a previous one-on-one date which means he won’t spend as much time warming up in the Fantasy Suite next week.
Long Island J.P.
Fest of Insecurity
Chew on your face more
At this point, I was less interested in Ashley than Bentley was before the dot, dot, dot (yes, I just brought that up). Slogging through the remainder of this show knowing that J.P. is basically a male version of Ashley and her rampant self doubt was enough to make me scream. Luckily, my mouth had a beer bottle in it. I’m certain you were feeling the pain too. It’s like trying to make it the last 10 minutes of post wedding pictures in uncomfortable heels and a wired push up bra: you know relief is in sight but the prospect of enduring the pain is almost incomprehensible.
A well-prepared J.P. makes an allowance for the impending rain in his hometown of Roslyn, New York by planning a private excursion to the local roller skating rink. I suppose that’s a Long Island Construction Contractor’s equivalent of a carriage ride amongst the flora and fauna and a picnic below the magnolia trees. It’s a shame that the Roslyn weather man wasn’t as well prepared as J.P. Despite the lack of rain, they still venture in for some rented skates, some REO Speedwagon, and some tonsil roller hockey in the middle of the floor.
I once was at a friend’s bachelor party in Minneapolis when after literally getting thrown out of a bar we went back to the Marquette Hotel bar where we were staying on one of those fancy executive floors that only people with a certain elevator card can get to. Long story short, REO Speedwagon was staying on that floor and we ended up having a huge floor party with them until the wee hours of the morning.
They drank my entire mini-bar and I ended up sloppy drunk talking the lead singer, Kevin Cronin, in my suite until he was so sick of me he left to go hang out with my brother and my college roommate, Lenny, in their room. To this day, whenever my friends hear REO Speedwagon they call me to remind me that Kevin Cronin hates me. I have a similar story about Chuck Norris, but that’s for another post. Back to J.P.
After some more face chewing and the ABC make up crew failing to powder her whisker irritated chin and cheeks, Ashley puts some athlete’s foot powder in her F-me pumps after wearing the rented skates and she and J.P. go to meet the family.
They meet J.P.’s mom Aileen, father Peter, less attractive brother Ray, and his girlfriend Andrea as they all admire Ashley’s Pajama Jeans. Ashley brings up J.P.’s family’s failure to recognize that despite the wonderful elasticity and comfort of her Pajama Jeans she does not want a second helping of lasagna because it has too many carbs in it.
She’s like 75 pounds and she has the gall to refuse a second helping of homemade lasagna in a New York household? I’ll bet J.P. would have had a second helping of poutin or whatever that disgusting French fry with brown gravy dish that Ashley forced fed Brad in Mada-nowhere last season is called. Hell, Brad is probably still doing sit ups and taking supplements to get rid of those calories. She’s like Eliza Doolittle without the etiquette training for God’s sake. Someone should tell her that there are tons of carbs in her lips and face and perhaps she’d stop chewing on them.
After some meaningless conversation with J.P.’s mother about his ex-girlfriend, everyone makes nice and Ashley hits the road. She’s clearly the most into J.P. and his family seemed to be willing to support their relationship provided she picks him after the Fantasy Date. J.P. is clearly into her and, as we learned, falling in love easily has been his Achilles’ heel in the past. Props to him for rolling the dice again. I think he’ll end up “winning” assuming Ryan’s stunt comeback next week doesn’t work. Whatever.
My comment on all of the hometown dates is this. I believe that family and friends can provide a safe, secure, predictable, unrepentant place to land. In fact, I believe that the entire function of family and true friendships is to unconditionally provide that support and that love. We saw bits of that in all of the hometown family visits.
However, I also believe that families in particular are guilty of trying to possess their members, sometimes to the point where that cocoon becomes a restrictive wet blanket. All of these guys are in their late 20’s or early 30’s and are responsible for their own decisions. Family input is important but should not dictate what decision they (or Ashley for that matter) make concerning the selection of a potential future spouse . . . maybe.
As adults, that’s their prerogative and it’s also their mistake to make. Jealously, guilt, and control are bad things in overabundance and these guys would all do well to take some time alone and think about what they really want rather than what they think their families want for them. Based on next week’s preview, I’d suggest Ashley do the same thing. We shall see.
With family time over . . . Oh, wait. I suppose Harrison deserves a haiku as well.
Greeting Ash. Gray Suit
Seven minutes of air time
Boom! Giant paycheck
After a brief recap Ashley is left alone in the Lair of Seclusion and we all know that Ames his going to be sent packing in his beige suit. Ben, J.P., and Constantine pick up their roses and Ames graciously yet regretfully accepts defeat with his characteristic smile. Showing his character and his penchant for positive thinking he sums up the entire situation saying that it was “beautiful, full of the unexpected, and more poetic than he could imagine.” Well put, Ames. Let’s hope that Ben, J.P. and Constantine can say the same about the Fantasy Suite dates next week.
I rarely, if ever, mention the previews. However, I’d like to remind everyone how I described Ashley’s sister during Brad’s hometown visit to Mada-whatever last year. I said,
“Chrystie, her loud mouthed, attention seeking, tattoo covered sister—we know SHE didn’t go to dental school—immediately uses her loud mouth to seek attention. I’ve made no secret of my affinity for small town girls with tattoos; however, no amount of tattoos can cover up annoying. I popped another Lone Star in an attempt to dull the pain. After all, life is about coping mechanisms, isn’t it?”
We’ll see how right I am next week.
Well, there it is. With the Journey count at an oddly low 18 and the Amazing count at a resurrected 80 we head to Fiji for the What’s Ashley Like in Bed Dates. Have a wonderful week and until next time, if you need me I’ll be chewing on my face. DP