Welcome back to The Bachelor, the only family-friendly show that condones a physical relationship between a woman who lies about her age so she can rent a car and a man who lies about his age so he can get the senior citizen discount at his local movie theater.
This episode begins innocently enough — with a date to a wrestling ring so that Arie can watch his suitors, if you will, attack each other to earn his love, much like a Roman king would watch his gladiators. He has hired two women from the original 1980s reality show GLOW to teach his future wife and her enemies how to pretend to beat the shit out of each other.
Nobody, including Arie, knows anything about wrestling except Bekah, who cannot stop talking about the 10 seconds she watched of the WWE in 2009. She is featured prominently in the confessionals, giving America her manic take on everything going on around her. Listening to Bekah speak is like being inflicted by a mental Cruciatus curse — you aren't sure what's going on but you would do anything to make it stop.
Unfortunately, the lady wrestler who goes by the name "Little Egypt," asks Bibiana if "your mother knew how to spell when she gave you that name," which is another way of saying "as a racist, it's difficult for me to accept that some people give their children names that didn't originate in Western Europe."
That puts a momentary damper on the fun but the ladies dust themselves off, put on their costumes as sexy animals or sexy low-paid jobs, and go at it in the ring for their man. There's no real winner — all of the fights are staged in advance — but it feels like, in the end, feminism might be the real loser here.
It feels like, in the end, feminism might be the real loser here.
That night, Bekah, who is a mix between "the opposite of Kristen Stewart" and Jolly Jane, an outwardly friendly nurse who killed 33 people in the late 19th century, tells Arie about the time she got over a three year relationship in one week. This is a woman who has never experienced an emotion that wasn't "maxin', relaxin', all cool" and Arie is into it. She receives the date rose. That's all I'll say about that.
Lauren S, who you've never heard of before, gets the sole one-on-one of the evening. The poor thing, who sounds like she is in the end stages of tuberculosis, is kicked to the curb after a day spent drinking wine in a vineyard. This is exciting because it means there is only one Lauren left, and she no longer has to be known by her last initial.
The women who were not lucky enough to make the acquaintance of "Little Egypt" are invited by Arie to go on a puppy date. Annalise, the woman whose traumatic bumper car experience colored last week's date, is afraid of dogs. It would appear that she is a virtual Grab Bag of traumatic childhood experiences. She is deeply unlikable in a very classic way (as opposed to Bekah, who is deeply unlikable in an "end of times" way).
I have no idea, really, what happened on this date because I was eating ice cream and watching the puppies on screen and thinking about why so many women on this show sound like they’re smoking cigarettes and drinking milk at the same time. Presumably, someone was given the date rose. I think it was the other Becca, although I would probably bet no more than one dollar on it.
At the cocktail party preceding the rose ceremony, Bibiana sets up a beautiful outdoor futon so she and Arie can sit and look at the stars together so he can get to know pivotal things about her, like her last name and, for all I know, her first name. Unfortunately, the plan blows up in her face as Arie uses the set-up to hang out with literally every single woman except for her.
At some point, Annalise, who's the kind of woman you hope has friends even as you have no personal desire to befriend her, attempts to get to the bottom of whether or not she and Arie have physical chemistry. It's a sad investigation that ends with a very uncomfortable Arie telling a very uncomfortable Annalise that, not only does he not want to spend his life with her, he doesn't even want to kiss her.
Imagine being physically rejected by the sluttiest man at your liberal arts school. Now times that by 10. That's what I imagine this moment is like for Annalise.
After saying goodbye to Annalise, Arie dry humps Bekah on Bibiana’s outdoor futon. At one point, Bekah pulls away to tell him that "I'm unsafe because you know I don't need you."
Please take this moment to enter a private space and scream until you have no voice and your soul has been healed.
Bekah, who literally drove here straight from her college graduation, is slowly stripping me of any hope I have ever had for the next generation of women. Her attempt to perform a woman who doesn't give a shit belies a deep resentment of having been born a woman, of having to contend with the prejudice and the dismissals and the contempt for honestly caring. In eschewing every stereotypically female trait that doesn't directly earn her the affirmation of men — no to vulnerability, yes to sexiness — she reinforces the steel of her prison bars.
Bekah dances like she is in a field when she is, in fact, in a cage.
Anyway, just some thoughts. Join me next week to see how the last Lauren standing uses — or abuses — her newfound independence.