A Break in Normal Programming

I am suffering from election-induced anxiety.  For the past few weeks, I can’t seem to disconnect from all the sources giving me breaking updates on the latest scandal.  But the past week in particular has been intense.  As I have watched more and more women come forward to speak about their experiences with the man who is a candidate for president, I can’t help but think about how these are shared stories.

When I was 17, a male friend came over to my house to watch a movie.  He spent the entire time groping me, trying to get in my pants.  I had just been dumped by one of his friends and was not at all interested.  He didn’t even try to kiss me.

When I was 18, I was drugged by my older prom date, who was at best an acquaintance.    He just wanted to “see what would happen.”  Luckily, due to the kindness of near-strangers, nothing happened.

When I was 19, another male friend tried to have sex with me when I was trying to go to sleep.  He later apologized.

When I was a 20-year-old intern, an older male employee tried to pick a stray hair from my breast at work.  He repeatedly tried to change my work schedule so I would stay late with just him at the office.  A female supervisor intervened.

I literally can’t tell you the number of times I have been touched by men in public.  I have had my ass grabbed more times than I can count.  Just last month at a bachelorette party in Charleston, a man I had never spoken to before came up behind me and rubbed his crotch up the leg of my shorts at a bar.  I was dancing with the girls.  I’m married.  We all laughed about it afterwards.

Here’s the deal.  I think of myself as lucky.  And the sickening part is that it’s true.  I AM lucky.  I’ve never been raped.  I’ve never been physically abused.  Almost every woman I know has experienced at least some of what I’ve experienced, but many have experienced far worse.  I have friends who have gone through that sometimes murky line of consent, with their partner pushing just a little too far.  I also have friends who have been victims of a total trampling of that line.

As an avid consumer of election-cycle media, I have seen more and more women telling similar stories.  This is something that women in America, likely the world, experience collectively.  This is what rape culture looks like.

I’m adding my stories to validate those experiences and the experiences of the women coming forward publicly.  I’m tired of the narrative that men push and take and women fight against it and give in.  It’s not right, and we should not be partaking in and modeling that behavior for others.

Rush Limbaugh (I told you, I’ve fallen in deep) tried to mock the concept of sexual consent, but I’ll leave you with his words:

“If there is consent on both or all three or all four, however many are involved in the sex act, it’s perfectly fine, whatever it is. But if the left ever senses and smells that there’s no consent in part of the equation then here come the rape police. But consent is the magic key to the left.”

You are absolutely correct, sir.  Consent is the magic word.



Picking the Wrong Partner

Last night’s Luke exit just about broke my heart.  Not because I think Luke is far superior to the other guys, but because JoJo’s decisions and state of mind mirror what I see in so many people.  Despite everything she has said about how Ben taught her what she is worth and how she is looking for someone who will treat her better than EX-CHAD, JoJo is still picking guys who have the potential to hurt her instead of going for the guy who is steady and mature.  And I would never encourage someone to go with a “safe bet” if the feelings weren’t there, but it looks like JoJo and Luke had some serious chemistry.


JoJo brings up her exes a lot.  She has said that her relationship with the other Chad was a lot of high highs and low lows, and has alluded to infidelity.  She has stated that she’s looking for something different this time around.  She has said that Ben taught her what she is worth (query the issue with finding self-worth from a guy, but let’s go with it for now).  Now JoJo is in the position of power, and has control over who she keeps and who she says goodbye to.  Yet despite the fact that it’s totally up to her, she still picks the guys who have the potential to hurt her.

Let’s look at Jordan.  JoJo clearly cares the most about him, and their conversations are fraught with anxiety on the part of our leading lady.  JoJo is concerned about Jordan’s ex-girlfriend.  JoJo is concerned that Jordan isn’t being real with her.  Jordan has gotten into a few issues in the house – nothing major, but potential red flags – and JoJo is unbothered by it.  We don’t know the full situation of why Jordan’s family is estranged from Aaron, but it likely has something to do with Jordan’s relationship with his ex-girlfriend (Olivia Munn, Aaron’s gf, is friends with Jordan’s ex).  RED. FLAG.


Listen.  I get that feelings are feelings, and JoJo clearly is falling for Jordan more than any of the other guys there.  So I can understand giving him the benefit of the doubt on some of this stuff.  However, I do not see it at ALL with Robby.

Notwithstanding the fact that Robby refuses to wear socks and feels the need to only button the lower button on his shirt, JoJo continues to keep him around.  Robby said that he loves her first.  JoJo explains that at first she was surprised, but then she felt comfortable opening up to him because she knew where he was at.  You CANNOT tell me that in JoJo’s mind, it’s enough to just hear the words “I love you” from a guy who says it as casually as he’d ask whether she wants cream in her coffee.

jojo and robby

I do not get this

I don’t see the chemistry with Robby, which makes it even harder to excuse the potential problems with him.  He broke up with his girlfriend of 4 years right before coming onto the show.  It seems like that was a bad relationship, but it’s hard to imagine he’s fully ready for marriage right now.  The fact that it was such a bad relationship also screams “ISSUES” to me.  Robby has said that his ex-girlfriend hit him, physically.  The families are involved.  Social media, media outlets, roommates, all involved.  This is not a drama-free dude.  So why is JoJo so into it?  Just because he said “I love you” first?

As an aside, maybe you don’t think that Robby has been too bad on the show, but he has been running a publicity campaign ever since the show ended.  Robby has reached out to former contestants (namely, Jade and Tanner) for instagram followers.

See also this tweet from JJ:

I have a feeling this is not the end of this story.

And Chase-bot.  Chase seems to have a fair amount of emotional baggage stemming from his parents’ divorce.  He comes from a family that doesn’t show emotions, and where crying is not something they normally do (along with saying I love you).  I knew Chase could be a dark horse, but I would expect by now that we would have gotten to know him better by now.


I feel like I’m still waiting for the answer to this question

But of course, because Chase was the least offensive guy remaining, JoJo had to ax him too.  I see this a lot, luckily less so as I’ve gotten older, but it’s still there.  Women, and men, continue to pick the wrong person.  They pick emotionally unavailable partners, or partners who aren’t ready to commit, or people who just aren’t that into to them.  I’ve talked to a few women who have gone down that path to see what the reasoning is.  I’ve heard that the chase is enjoyable, or that it feels good to be the one to land the bad boy.  I believe these women when they tell me that.

I also think, however, that part of it centers on what we are projecting into the universe.  You pick what you think you deserve.  If you are used to drama, tears, and feelings of insecurity, or are insecure yourself, you are comfortable with those aspects of a relationship, and seek them out.  If it feels like JoJo is setting herself up for heartbreak, maybe she is, and maybe she can’t help it right now.

I think a lot of this comes down to having 24 and 25-year-olds try and and find a spouse in a condensed time period, with the only outside influence being producers.  Maybe Luke was not JoJo’s unicorn, and she’s on to bigger and better things.  I think it is more likely, however, that JoJo is not in a place to receive the type of love that Luke was ready to give.  JoJo doesn’t seem ready to settle down in a small town in Texas.  She seems attracted to the dark and twisty nature of the men she has left, and potentially the allure of a life with someone who runs in the same circles, like Jordan.  I wish her the best of luck, but I don’t think Jordan OR Robby is really the guy for her.

LUKE FOR BACHELOR.  Enough with the 25-year-old leads!

Ok fiine #nationalselfieday in my #sideboob shirt #freethenipple #thebachelorette @texashumor @dpayth 👀

A photo posted by LUKE PELL (@luke__pell) on Jun 21, 2016 at 9:08am PDT



  1. Jordan.  Not even close.  I even wonder if JoJo subconsciously got rid of the guy she cared the most about (Luke) so her final decision would be easier.
  2. Robby.  De facto second.  See ya.

The Final Four

Mea culpa, dear readers.  This season has been a little lackluster for me, and my urge to blog reflects that feeling.  But the show must go on, and before it does so TONIGHT, here are my thoughts on last week (and a little on the week before).

Over the past two weeks, JoJo has gotten rid of some gems and also finally relieved us of watching Alex and his Napoleon complex.  She has since narrowed it down to almost exact clones (and, thanks to Vinny, they’re now all sporting the same haircut):


The FOUR musketeers

I think JoJo has a type.  But before we move on to the remaining four, let’s pay homage to the men who have since left.

Goodbye to Wells, who, only on this weird microcosm of a reality show, would be thought of as effeminate and undesirable.  I think he was too normal for JoJo.  And he didn’t suffer from roid rage, which normally would be a good thing, but not this season.  Goodbye Wells, we will miss your normalcy!


He has a beanie AND a puppy

Goodbye to Derek, the only voice of reason in the face of Chad.  I really admired Derek up until his very last episode.  He seemed to get a little cocky, which I assume was producer-driven.  But all that build up leading to disappointment brought us the most epic breakdown yet:


Poor Derek

However, Derek did not go silently.  He’s been killing it on Twitter lately.  This exchange is my favorite so far (which only makes me like Derek more – totally underrated this season).


And GOODBYE TO LITTLE ALEX!  It seemed that once Chad left, there was a douche vacuum that only Alex could fill.  He became aggressive, whiny, and overcompensating.  And he was rewarded with maybe the worst date I’ve ever seen on this show.  They basically took a travel day, threw Alex in the back of the car, and called it a date.  Alex seriously has borne the brunt of awful producer manipulation this season.  Case in point:

alex small

Seriously, WHY give him this large chair??

For example, this past episode, Jordan got to go on a private jet, spend a day alone with JoJo wine tasting, and have a delicious dinner (that nobody ate).  Alex, on the other hand, had to ride in the back of a car with a tired JoJo, eat snacks from a gas station, and dress as a gaucho:

alex dancing

This outfit is not ok

Alex and JoJo did not even get to cuddle with the weirdly subdued horse in private.  They were chaperoned by an actual gaucho.


Earning his paycheck

So it was not surprising to me when JoJo sent Alex packing.  It was actually a truly touching moment, seeing someone open up and share a piece of themselves while watching JoJo realize her feelings were on camera.  We literally get to see the emotions go through her face as she comes to the realization that Alex is not her prince charming.

Also, bye to James Taylor.  I know he was a fan favorite, but I found his whole shtick to be vaguely manipulative.  He acts as this guy who never gets the girl, but in the process of doing so he’s (trying) to get the girl.  Can we forget the infamous poker card shade James threw at Jordan, in which he called Jordan entitled, then immediately followed it up with a request for a kiss?

can i kiss you

Is the plan here to make her feel sorry for him, and then keep him around out of pity?  Does he want to confuse her into kissing him?  Does he just want as many kisses as possible?  And what was up with him throwing Robby under the bus last week (I still can’t figure out if Robby was actually checking out Argentinian women or not and I also don’t care if he was).

So although some may be sad, I’m not sad to see James T. go.  Maybe we’ll see him in Paradise.

So we’re down to the final four.  Jordan, Luke, Robby, and Chase.  I have been suspicious of Jordan from the beginning, but really appreciated him fronting the issues with his family before the hometown date.  Guys, I’m such a Luke fan.  He’s just been steady, calm, and you can really see the sparks.  I can take or leave Robby and Chase.  Robby is a little weird about not wearing socks and his footwear choices in general:

slipper 1

Hotel slippers, bold move

slipper 2

Put. On. Your. Shoes.

Chase is also a dark horse in this competition.  He also has a very inexpressive face, which makes me laugh when he says things like how he’s angry, or shocked, or sad.  To me, he looks the same.

happy chase

Happy Chase

sad chase

Sad Chase

Which brings us to Hometowns.  We’re at the part of the season where things start to become “real” for the contestants, and it’s always fascinating watching this part of the journey.  As always, my rankings:

  1. Jordan – I think he’s still number one for JoJo
  2. Luke – I wish he was number one for JoJo
  3. Robby – Meh
  4. Chase – Meh


History Repeats Itself

It’s clear that JoJo and Jordan have chemistry.  Unless something disrupts their love story (ahem, like a cheating allegation), these two seem to be on the path to the final rose ceremony.  I’m worried about JoJo, though.  Despite allegedly learning so much from her time with Ben Higgins, the former Bachelor who showed her what she was worth, she seems to be picking men just like Chad.  Chad the ex-boyfriend, not Chad the ex-contestant.

Let’s dig a little into what JoJo has said about ex-Chad.  During the last season, JoJo told Ben that there was another person in her ex’s life, alluding to cheating.  On her date with Jordan, JoJo explained that with ex-Chad, there were “high highs” and “low lows,” and that her insecurity was “insane.”  You don’t have to extrapolate too far to understand that JoJo had some trust issues with ex-Chad, likely involving cheating.

And here’s where Jordan comes in.  Jordan has seemed fine so far.  Even with his prestigious family connections, he hasn’t come across as too cocky and he hasn’t come across as someone who’s in it for fame.  Except for the hair.

jordan hair.png

But that’s not what other people saying.  On the show, we’re treated to some commentary from the men.  When Jordan got the 1-on-1 date card, it was silent.  Wells said that he was upset it wasn’t him, and that Jordan is “playing the game to get a stamp on his passport.”  I’ve never heard that one before, but I can imagine what Wells is getting at.  Derek says he’s not going to stereotype football players, but if there’s one person on the show he would question, it would be Jordan.  A bunch of voiceovers follow, saying that people don’t trust Jordan and that he’s not there for the right reasons.

But even if you put what Jordan’s competitors say about him aside, JoJo herself questions Jordan.  She tells Jordan that she met one of Jordan’s “on-again, off-again” girlfriends, who told her that Jordan was not “the best boyfriend.”

jordan sip

Jordan taking a sip to stall the conversation, classic move.

Once confronted with this, Jordan stalled, said he didn’t know what to say, and then blamed it on sports.  He said that he was going through a lot trying to be the best at sports, and that he took it out on people.  This girlfriend was “along for the rollercoaster” when Jordan was “at his best and worst.”  Notice how he mirrors what JoJo had previously told him about her relationship with ex-Chad, with highs and lows.  Interestingly enough, Jordan says there was no physical cheating.  That’s not what his ex-girlfriend says:


EDIT – The Pitch Perfect reference was about his cameo in the movie, NOT cheating.  He cheated with someone else.  Thanks Laura for the correction!

Listen.  I like Jordan, mostly.  I think he adds something to the show beyond Villain-Lite.  But regardless of whether these allegations are true or not, Jordan’s reaction the next plot point – the tabloid fiasco – was extremely manipulative.

Somewhere in Uruguay (perhaps in a producer’s bag??), Vinny got his hands on a “gossip rag” that had an interview with ex-Chad.  Chad said that he and JoJo rekindled their romance when JoJo was home after Ben’s season.  Whatever, no big deal, except the producers obviously gave this magazine to the contestants, and then confronted JoJo about it, and made her go talk to the guys.


My thoughts exactly, JoJo.

JoJo goes to see the guys, who, by the way, are not at all surprised to see her, which just shows more producer involvement, and explains her case to them.  Through her tears, she tells them that the allegations were untrue, and explains more about her relationship with ex-Chad, which sounds like a nightmare.

Jordan’s first reaction to JoJo’s story was to conflate the conversation they had during their 1-on-1 with JoJo’s situation.  In Jordan’s mind, being accused of cheating is the same as having a vindictive ex take you down in a magazine for a bit of money.  Jordan actually says that the two of them had just gone through a similar conversation about an ex spreading lies that aren’t true.  No, Jordan, they are not the same.  JoJo is the victim, and you are the alleged perpetrator, and your ex told JoJo in private, and honestly, it rings true.

I hope for JoJo’s sake it’s not, but by aligning himself with JoJo against the exes who want to take them down, Jordan has placed himself in a position to easily deflect anything anyone says about him, and has already shown his ability to manipulate facts to make it seem like he and JoJo are both dealing with the same thing.  This will make it even harder for JoJo to piece the truth together, even when faced with facts.

I’m sure this story isn’t over.

On a lighter note, this week we lost a true character – Damn Daniel.  In honor of Daniel, here are a few of my favorites:

daniel eating

Daniel eating during one of the Chad altercations.


When Daniel was the most Canadian.


When Daniel got down on himself after he didn’t get a rose.

Maybe we’ll see you in Paradise?


As always, my frontrunners:

  1. Jordan.  Enough said.
  2. Luke.  They’re cute together.
  3. Robby.  Maybe I see it?
  4. Chase.  Yet again he managed to get cute alone time with props, clearly given to him by producers.  He’s not going anywhere yet.

What Makes a Winner

I have a theory about what makes a Bachelor or Bachelorette winner.

For women, I think the strongest contestants have the following characteristics:  long hair, petite, professional but non-threatening job, 26-28, and in terms of geography, from the coasts (but not New York), or from a larger midwest city.

I’ve been operating under these assumptions for years, and it has been purely anecdotal, so I decided to put these theories to the test and do a review of past Bachelor winners (Bachelorette winners to follow in a separate post).  I limited it to 2010 forward, because this show has been on forever and no one has time for that.

Bachelor 14 – Jake Pavelka

I hate to start with Jake Pavelka because he might be my least favorite bachelor of all time, but I made the rules so here we go.  At the time of his season, Jake was a 32-year old pilot from Dallas, Texas.  He picked the villain of his season, Vienna Girardi.


When I searched for Vienna’s job, her “nose job” was the top hit

 Vienna was from Sanford, FL, was only 24 when she won, and had no discernible job or career.  She was an ex-Hooters waitress.  Vienna does not fit into my theory, besides the fact that she had long hair and was petite.  Because it’s my theory and I want to be right, I’m going to go to the runner-up for this season, Tenley Molzhan.  Everyone wanted Jake to pick Tenley, and it’s easy to see why:

tenley_molzahnTenley, aka Disney Princess

Tenley was a more respectable 26, from California, and worked as a dancer.  But not a dancer for Hooters, a dancer for Disney.  She also moonlighted as a literal Disney Princess at Disneyland.  Basically, Jake picked wrong, but spared Tenley from having to put up with him, so win for Tenley!

Bachelor 15 – Brad Womack (second time)

Brad Womack is next on the list.  He is the only bachelor who has had the opportunity to do it twice, after picking no one in his first season.  Brad was 38 at the time of filming, and was a bar owner from Austin, Texas.  Brad picked the adorable Emily Maynard:


Doesn’t she look the part?

Emily was a single mother with a tragic backstory.  She was 25, lived in Charleston, South Carolina, and worked as a Children’s Hospital Event Planner.  She is also tiny, and has long hair.  Check, check, check.

Bachelor 16 – Ben Flajnik

Ben came next.  He hailed from San Francisco and was a 28-year old winemaker.  He picked his season’s villain as well – Courtney Robertson.


Courtney, our first brunette!

Courtney basically fit the part.  She was the right age, right look, was a model, and lived in Santa Monica, California.  She was a bit taller than my theory would allow for, but she was also a model, so I call that even.  Check.

Bachelor 17 – Sean Lowe

Sean was a 28-year old insurance salesman, ALSO from Texas.  Lots of Texas guys.  He picked that season’s dark horse, Catherine Giudici.  Catherine came from Seattle, Washington (coast), was a graphic designer (professional job but no grad school required), had lovely long hair, and was also quite petite.  But, plot twist, she is half Filipino!


Long hair don’t care

Fun fact: Catherine and Sean are also the only successful couple that will be featured today.

Bachelor 18 – Juan Pablo Galavis

Ugh, Juan Pablo.  My second least favorite bachelor.  Juan Pablo was a 32-year old former professional soccer player from Miami, Florida.  He was basically the worst.  He picked Nikki Ferrell, a 26-year old (check), pediatric nurse (check), from Kansas City, Missouri (check).


Long hair, check.

Theory still in tact, even though that relationship crashed and burned.

Bachelor 19 – Chris Soules

I also did not love this season.  This was a bad stretch.  Chris was a 33-year old farmer from Arlington, Iowa.  He picked Whitney Bischoff, a 29-year old fertility nurse from Chicago, Illinois.


Look at those barrel curls

She’s a year older than my theory would allow, but she fills the rest of the criteria.  These ladies are starting to look the same to me.

Bachelor 20 – Ben Higgins

Ben was a 26-year old software salesman from Denver, Colorado.  He was a great bachelor.  Thank you, Ben, for saving us.

Ben picked 25-year old Lauren Bushnell, a flight attendant from Los Angeles, California (originally from Portland, OR).

lauren bushnell

Another blonde!

I think my theory is mostly in tact.  Once you put these women next to each other, you can start to see the trends.  So many petite, blonde women!  So much mermaid hair!

It’s interesting to put this information together and see what it means for what makes the quintessential wife.  These women all have jobs that are professional (besides Vienna), but not threatening.  Many of them work in supportive types of jobs, like nursing, charity, or part of other aspects of the service industry.  However, there aren’t any teachers on this list.  There aren’t many southern women, and there are no women from small southern towns.  On the other side of the spectrum, there are no winners from New York.  Or Boston, or Washington D.C.

What does this say about what makes the perfect partner, at least for this show?  It may be too small of a sample size, but I’ll put my money on the petite blonde contestant with long hair, who works in an industry that is professional but does not require graduate school, and is flexible in terms of geography (not a lawyer, for example).  I also always pick the contestants who come from the following cities: Seattle, Portland, Chicago, Atlanta – and also Los Angeles after I weed out the ones in the entertainment industry.

Breakdown of the men to follow – let’s see if my theories hold true there!


Evolution of Evan

This season so far has been a petri dish for masculinity and all the forms it can take.  I have never seen a season so focused on what it means to be a man, what strength is, and how a man should interact with a woman.  Or a girl, as Chad loves to say.

Evan, the erectile dysfunction expert, is an interesting case study in what happens when someone is exposed to a house full of men, with no distractions.

Evan starts like this:

evan squatting

But views his housemates doing this:

chad and daniel

Nice form, Daniel.

At the beginning of this episode, Chad refuses to even engage with Evan.  When the group date card comes and Chad makes comments about how he does not want to go on a date with 12 other guys,  Evan speaks up and is immediately shot down.  Juxtapose Chad’s reaction to Evan with his confrontation of Jordan.  Chad views Jordan as a threat, or at least a worthy opponent, but Evan does not even register to Chad.

Evan decides to make a stand and call Chad out during the group date, leading to altercation #1.  Watch Evan slide past Chad:

shirt pull

I think Chad might have a point here.  Evan does seem to elbow Chad.  Does that justify Chad’s subsequent actions?  Absolutely not.  But it’s important to this plot point.  Evan succeeds in getting on Chad’s radar after his public accusation that Chad takes steroids, leading to altercation #2:


Let’s skip to the after party.  As part of Evan’s evolution, he tells JoJo that “a big part of this process for me is realizing I haven’t been as strong as I should be,” leading him to give JoJo an ultimatum – it’s either Evan or Chad.  Evan returns to the group and tells them that he has been “stronger tonight than I’ve ever been.”  In Evan’s mind, his lesson is that he has not been strong enough and that he needs to take a stand with JoJo in order to have that strength.

In this battle, Evan gets the rose, and Chad gets embarrassed.  Evan wins, but it’s unfortunate that he feels he should even be playing the same game as Chad.

daddy gif

As a gender studies major, I took a class called “The Masculine Mystique.”  It was one of my favorite classes – not just for the alliterative title, but because it was one of the few gender studies classes with a healthy number of male students.  Masculinity studies is one of the potentially lesser known strands of gender studies, and it is easy to dismiss the idea by falling into rhetoric about privilege.  But it is impossible to unpack societal norms about gender without discussing how those issues affect men.

I don’t know Chad, and I don’t know his background.  It seems like he’s going through a lot, and I don’t doubt that some of his actions are producer-driven.  For example, in the previews for next week, Chad reappears at the house after he’s been kicked off the show.  This has never happened before, and could not have happened without producer assistance.  But notwithstanding those external factors, it is clear that Chad has internalized certain ideals about men that are damaging.  He is unable to engage in conflict without resorting to violence.  When faced with a conflict, his response is: “If I can’t lift weights I’m going to murder someone.”  He cannot comprehend that someone “like JoJo” would want someone like Evan, who is the ice cream to Chad’s steak.  Chad doesn’t know anything about JoJo besides what she looks like, and from that he has determined what she wants and needs, which is a huge issue.  It turns out that Chad isn’t even Chad’s real name.  His name is Brian.  Brian has morphed into Chad, who is a case study in how strict constructs of masculinity can have a damaging effect on our boys and men.  And it’s catching, and it caught Evan.

Small shout out to Derek here.  Derek was the only man in the house who was able to have a clear, firm conversation with Chad without resorting to posturing, threats, and similar forms of peacocking.

And with that, we say goodbye to Chad.

Behind the drama, we see a few relationships developing.  My list for the week:

  1. Jordan.  Although Jordan and JoJo have not yet had a one-on-one, they already act like they are in a relationship.  There’s an ease, and a corresponding insecurity on the part of JoJo about Jordan’s feelings, that make me think he will go far, if not all the way.
  2. Luke.  I loved their date.  My notes for Luke just say “gentleman.”  He’s relaxed, he seems secure in himself, and he seems sweet.  JoJo is in to him.
  3. Chase.  They had a weird date, but made the best of it.  I don’t see this relationship on the same level as Jordan and Luke at this point, but there’s potential.

Why Smart Women Like The Bachelor

Otherwise known as, My Manifesto.  Or maybe, “My Justification.”

My relationship with this show has been an evolution.  It started as a show I would watch with friends.  It was our time every Monday, and it made me feel like the weekend wasn’t over.  We would paint our nails, we would make fun of the contestants, and we would bond over white wine.

What started as irony eventually shifted into a genuine enjoyment of the show.  It was one thing to watch with a group every week, but I had a harder time defending my Monday night habit when I was watching alone.  I’ve been watching this show for almost a decade at this point, and I’ve come to terms with the fact that I unabashedly love it.  Which begs the question – why?

There are a lot of reasons to hate this show.  Although it is “reality” television, it’s manipulated by producers.  It plays into the arguably regressive ideals that one true love exists (if you’re heterosexual) and the ideal ending results in engagement, and then marriage.  And although I’m sure the contestants discuss topics like religion, politics, and where they want to live after the “journey” ends, the viewers see none of that.

There are also a lot of reasons to love the show.  It still is a treat on Mondays when the weekend is over and you’re facing down another work week.  It’s escapism at its finest, with a built in community on Twitter, Snapchat, and the multitude of blogs (ahem). But so are a lot of reality television shows, and those don’t have the same crazy following in the form of #BachelorNation.  And I can’t imagine that we are all fooled by the show and just want to see true love unfold before our eyes.  That might be a part of it, but I refuse to believe that’s all of it.

I have spent some time thinking about this.  Why does this show appeal to doctors, lawyers, consultants, and other professional, well-educated women, who “know better?”  Why do I continue to ask my coworkers, in a quiet voice that will not carry, whether they too watch the Bachelor – to see if we’re all part of the club?

I propose that this show operates as a meeting ground for viewers across the country, even the world, to enter into a microcosm of so many issues facing society and be able to discuss those issues without making it personal.  This show allows us to address racism, sexism, and heteronormativity in a safe space.  For example, instead of me approaching a conversation about microaggressions between individuals of the same race, I can ask my peers to weigh in on Amber and Jamie’s attempted take down of Jubilee last season, and what that means for the three women of color in the house at the time.  Instead of providing general commentary on toxic masculinity, I can find common ground in Chad’s bold statements that he knows what JoJo needs in a lifelong partner while having only known her for a week.

The show provides a nonthreatening starting point, and the viewers can make it into whatever they want.  You want escapism on a Monday?  Done.  You want an excuse to drink wine and tweet about the ridiculous escapades of the contestants?  Go for it.  But if you’re looking for it, this show can provide something more.  Even viewers who aren’t seeking out discourse on that week’s entertainment can jump into the fray.  You don’t need a PhD to know that some of the things that happen on the show are messed up.

There is a growing community of individuals who are using the show as a basis for engaging in broader discussions about the issues within the show.  Every week I have the pleasure of reading Sharleen Joynt’s recaps on her blog, All The Pretty Pandas, and listening to Emma Gray and Claire Fallon dissect the show in their Huffington Post podcast, “Here to Make Friends.”  These women are taking the show to the next level, and that’s what I hope to do with this blog.

So that’s why I keep coming back to this show, even when they refuse to pick someone of color to lead the show.  Even when they turn the arguably feminist Bachelorette on its head by having two Bachelorettes last season, with the men having the power to choose.  Even when they objectify men and women alike.  Because I think it’s a great opportunity to take this discourse to another level.

…Or maybe I’m just in it for the wine.

See you on Monday.



Nagging vs. Negging

Anyone else tired of the Chad show?  Unfortunately, ABC isn’t giving us much else to work with, so we’ll do what we can with the Chad material.  Luckily for this post,Chad is not just a meathead.  He is also a perfect case study of someone displaying classic manipulation moves designed to place him in a position of control.  I’m talking about tactics used by pickup artists, also known as the seduction or pickup community.  Chad is attempting to place himself firmly as the alpha male with respect to his co-contestants, and exhibits overt pickup artist tactics, such as “negging,” to Jojo.

First, a bit of background about pickup artists and the seduction community.  I initially learned of this concept when stumbling upon a now canceled VH1 show called The Pick Up Artist, where a pickup artist named “Mystery” counseled hapless men on dating.


I can see why they need private lessons.

Mystery’s theories are also outlined in this pivotal book:


Designed, on purpose, to look like the Bible.

Basically, the community is based on the belief that conventional dating advice for men is flawed.  Instead of trying to woo women, men need to work on their game with respect to women, and to become the one in control of those interactions.  Pickup artists look down on men who they view as weak, or in Chad’s terms, “suck-ups,” and try to either be the alpha male, or take down the alpha male.

Chad exhibits these behaviors as soon as the episode begins.  Before the contestants even receive the first date card of the season, Chad leads the men in a toast like none other we have seen on this show:  “To a beautiful girl, a beautiful life, f*ck you guys, I’m going to make her my wife.”  The men are taken by surprise and forced to drink to Chad’s promise of conquest, cementing, in Chad’s mind, his dominance.  Not to mention objectifying Jojo straight off the bat as a prize to win and take from the other men.

To further demonstrate his manly status, Chad chooses to strap a suitcase on to a weight belt and do pullups right in front of the men.


We see you, Chad.

We’ve had a lot of fitness freaks on this show before.  I’m pretty sure at least half the contestants on Kaitlyn’s season were personal trainers.  I’ve never seen any of them attempt this work out before, and I don’t think Chad is in it just for the muscle gain.

Chad attempts to ridicule the other men throughout the episode, calling them them dishonest for playing along with the purpose of the group date, and really the whole show, which is to impress Jojo.  Before the cocktail party, Chad waits outside of the mansion to meet Jojo.  In Jojo’s eyes, it might look like he’s going out of his way to stand out or to get more time with her.  But at least part of his motivation likely stems from the entrance he gets to make with the girl on his side while the rest of the guys have no clue where he’s been or what he’s been doing with Jojo.

The pickup artist community focuses not just on a man’s interaction with his peers in his quest for control, but also on his interactions with women.  In the pickup world, “women are all the same: submissive, choosier than men when picking sexual partners, [and] entranced by shiny objects.”*  To a pickup artist, “[w]omen want limits to be set, they want to be played with, they want manliness – and it’s best to establish the dynamic right from the start.”**

Chad says, throughout the entire episode, that Jojo needs a “real man.”  He doesn’t think any of the other guys have dated someone of Jojo’s “caliber,” and questions if they’ve ever talked to a pretty girl before.  In Chad’s mind, someone like Jojo, someone who likely receives her fair share of male attention, needs to be brought down rather than raised up.  Chad expresses dislike, and even distrust, of men who operate as “nice guys.”


I’m not sure why Chad feels this way.  Perhaps everything is a game to him, so the nice guys are even worse than he is, because they’re just pretending?  Perhaps he’s been burned in the past?  Either way, it doesn’t really matter, because whatever Chad has experienced, it has led him here, and he refuses to build Jojo up.

During the group date when the task was to propose to Jojo, Chad makes fun of all the other guys who say something specific about Jojo, and instead gets down on one knee and asks, “will you marry me?”  Jojo tells him that he needs to say something more.  His response?


This is a prime example of negging, which is the practice of either insulting a woman or giving her a backhanded compliment to weaken her confidence, thereby rendering her more vulnerable to the pickup artist.  By taking the opposite approach of the other guys, Chad hopes to stand out and to put Jojo in “her place,” which will make Chad become a more interesting person in Jojo’s eyes.  Chad can then proceed with the conversation on his turf, which he couches in “honesty,” versus what the other men were doing, which is lying.

Jojo seems to be somewhat into it, in the sense that she did not kick him off the show immediately.  However, I think she has the sense to understand what’s going on, and the fact that she gave him a rose means Chad lives to see another day, but does not mean he won the war.  I will be very interested to see how Jojo deals with him in the future, especially as his tactics appear to escalate, based on previews.

But enough about Chad.  There were a few other standouts this round, so let’s end this post on a brighter note.  Wells was a breath of fresh air (for the viewer, not for Wells – he looked like breathing was a bit of a problem for awhile there).  With all these manly men, it was heartening to see someone much smaller get some much needed time with the Bachelorette.  I’m a Wells fan.

I also enjoyed her time with Luke, and you can tell that Jojo is into him.  Not only did Luke get a lot of screentime during the firefighter date, which at this point in the season signifies someone who will go far, but he also got some one-on-one time with Jojo away from the other men.  If you pay attention, it looks like Jojo had a bench where she brought most of the guys for their breakout sessions.  For Luke, however, Jojo decided to bring him to a separate room with a private balcony.  The lead only does that with the contestants he or she really likes.

The same reasoning applies to Chase.  Chase did not get a date the first week.  I think I read in Emily Maynard’s book that the lead has input on dates for the first week, and she left someone home because she already knew she had a connection with that person.  Chase got some special treatment during the cocktail party.  He did not just come up with snow on his own – I’m sure he had a lot of producer help with that one.  Although Chase did not get a lot of screentime, I also think he will go far.

My Top Picks:

  1. Luke:  He got a lot of screen time and Jojo couldn’t stop talking about him in her People blog today.  Good signs.
  2. Jordan: He did not get as much screen time, but first impression rose + first kiss is still a lot in my book.
  3. Chase:  I think he’s a sleeper but will go far.
  4. Wells: He was a breath of fresh air and I want him to stick around, even if it’s just as an antidote to Chad.


*See Katie J.M. Baker, “Cockblocked by Redistribution: A Pick-up Artist in Denmark,” Dissent Magazine (Fall 2013) (available at

** See S.G. Belknap, “Love in the Age of the Pickup Artist,” The Point Magazine (2010) (available at


JoJo is my Jam

Last night’s premiere was exactly the same as all premieres of this show.  Some guys swung it out of the park (Jordan, Luke), others crashed and burned (drunk Daniel), and we didn’t get to see enough of the rest of the guys to form any real judgments.  Except for their entrances, which were just as cheesy as always.  I liked Jordan’s for his honesty and ease, and Robby for the joke about JoJo’s mom chugging wine out of a bottle.

jojo's mom

Classic hometown moment.

But recaps are kind of boring.  This show is already two hours long and I’m not sure the world needs more content on what happened during a two hour show, every week.  Even if I wouldn’t mind ripping Jake Pavelka a new one.  Anyone remember this interview?

Jake Pavelka is the stuff of nightmares.

So instead of breaking it down one guy at a time, let’s focus on the woman of the hour – JoJo!  JoJo is seriously made for this job.  She’s gorgeous, confident, has a good sense of humor, and, based on last night, can roll with the punches.  Also, she gives us gems like this:

 I agree.  True friendship.

JoJo is actually so good that she seems to be making the men extra nervous.  Remember last year when Kaitlyn was so nervous she said she thought she might vomit?  JoJo, on the contrary, is cool as a cucumber and is making butt observations off the bat.  That confidence, coupled with her looks, seems to be pushing these men over the edge.  JoJo feels like she deserves this role, and it’s putting these guys off their game.

Remember poor, sweet Peter?  He didn’t even have a chance to get his heart broken.  By the snippet of airtime he received last night, he barely managed to get a sentence out!

peter and jojo

We’ll miss you, Peter!

Others seem to be overcompensating.  Take Chad.

chad gif

Whatever you have to tell yourself.

And of course, some just got blackout drunk.

drunk daniel

At least that gives Daniel an excuse for this:

daniel gif flex

Daniel needs to look for a dayjob.

Listen, night one is always filled with antics, but when faced with a confident beautiful woman, these men basically imploded.  Let’s compare this with last year’s premiere.  For those who don’t remember, ABC decided to pit Kaitlyn against Britt and let the men pick who they wanted as bachelorette.  Not surprisingly, the men entered the evening feeling empowered and pretty much forgetting that they were the ones on the chopping block until Britt got sent home.

One of the upshots of The Bachelorette as opposed to The Bachelor is that we get to “switch” the gender roles and put a woman in the place of “power.”*  But it’s been awhile since we’ve seen a bachelorette who unabashedly embraces this power.  Kaitlyn had to be picked by the guys before she could continue on her journey.  Andi had the confidence, but was a bit too self-aware for the role.  Desiree did not command the screen, and was almost left heartbroken by a guy who left right before the finale.  Emily was a boss, but was portrayed as the sweet, Southern mom.  And Ashley spent the first half of her season battling the insecurity that all the guys wished the bachelorette had been Emily instead.

JoJo suffers from none of these drawbacks.  She’s young, she’s hot, and she is used to getting the attention she commands.  I look forward to a season of her handling all these crazy men with grace and wit.  You go JoJo!

*Deconstruction of this show and the ways it plays into heteronormativity despite this switch forthcoming, promise.


Anatomy of a Draft

Well it’s that time of the year again.  JoJo’s path to love begins tomorrow, and we all get to watch as she either finds love, or gets her heart broken on national television, again.  But perhaps even more importantly, it’s the time of the year for groups around the country to place their bets on the lucky men who will be competing for JoJo’s attention!


And with that comes the time-honored fantasy draft.  I am part of a fantasy league for both The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, and one of my favorite parts of the season is before the show starts airing and we get to judge 25 men or women based on one picture and a few answers to a questionnaire.

I spend some time thinking about this draft, and the show generally – probably too much time – and have decided to share my draft notes and thoughts, along with my final team.  So without further ado, I present to you an annotated list of JoJo’s men.

alexMeet Alex.  Alex is a 25-year old (strike 1) U.S. Marine (potential strike 2), who is 5’7 (major strike 3).  Although JoJo is on the younger end of the Bachelorette spectrum, I see her going for an older man.  More importantly, however, I see her going for someone tall.  Height is a factor that cannot be underestimated.

aliAli is a little more exciting.  He’s a 27-year-old bartender who is an inch taller than Alex.  Probably not making it to final four, but he has that dark and handsome thing going for him, and he kind of looks like JoJo’s brother, which, given their “closeness” as evidenced in last season, might work in his favor.


Oh Brandon.  Poor sweet Brandon.  What are you doing on this show?  Brandon is someone maybe Britt would like, but he is no match for JoJo.  Despite his very tall stature of 6’4 and his appropriate age of 28, his occupation is “Hipster.”  He also has no tattoos, so I’m not sure I believe that he’s a real hipster, but we’ll let that slide.  Brandon, I hope you make it past night 1.


Here is Chad.  Chad looks like he could be someone JoJo might be into, and he happens to share the same name as her pesky ex CHAD from last season.  He’s 28, 6’2, and he’s in real estate, just like JoJo, so all signs point to yes.  Note that up until now I still have not bothered with any of the answers to the dumb questionnaire.  Those answers factor maybe 5% into my choices for who will win, and usually only serve to work against people.  Case in point, Chad.  When asked who he admires most in the world, he answered himself in 10 years.  When asked who he would be if he could be someone else for a day, he answered himself in 10 years.  When asked who he would have lunch with he answered HIMSELF IN 10 YEARS.  He was witty enough to add in an “alright, alright, alright” after each statement.  Listen Chad, we get the callout to Dazed and Confused, but I’m still not buying what you’re selling.  However, I think he will be around for a least a little bit.  Not hometown-worthy though.


Alright Chase, now we’re talking.  Chase is nice and tall at 6’3, is a solid 27, has a normal job (medical sales) and doesn’t look like he bathes in muscle milk.  Honestly, that alone puts him towards the top of the pack for me.  No need to read the rest, Chase, you’re going far.


We have our first minority contestant, Christian!  Christian checks the boxes for age and job, but might be a tad short for JoJo.  Christian’s profile is just fine, although I do question his number 1 thing on his bucket list, which is to “build a relationship with Mark Cuban and earn his respect.”  Christian listed that over taking a trip to space.  I think Christian needs to dream a little bigger.  Christian will probably make it through the first few weeks, but ultimately JoJo won’t feel the romantic connection, sparking another round of discussions about the role of race in this process.  Can’t wait.


Here is Coley.  I hate Coley’s hair, and according to ABC, Coley’s real name is Colin.  Why would you make a nickname that is not at all shorter, and is magnitudes weirder than your normal name?  Pass on Coley/Colin.


Daniel is a male model.  I did not notice the redundancy there until we were drafting for fantasy, but astute observers questioned the need to specify “male.”  That’s how this show works, Daniel (for now.. fingers crossed for a gay Bachelor one day).  Daniel is also 31, which makes me wonder what his backup plan is once his modeling days are over.  I could probably write an entire post on the reasons I think Daniel’s questionnaire answers are problematic, but in a snapshot, he refers to himself, and his body, as a “lambo.”  Twice.  Not going far.  I hope he gets in a fight with Chad.


Finally, a breath of fresh air!  This is Derek, and I’m a huge fan.  I’m not alone, he was one of the first guys to go in our draft.  Must be those baby blues.  He’s a commercial banker who’s 29 and he’s the perfect height for JoJo at 6’3.  Unfortunately he’s from Ft. Lauderdale, which I think will cut against him longterm (more on that later), but I’d pick Derek for hometowns.


Evan here decided to go the route of joke profession as an “erectile dysfunction specialist.”  He may actually do that work, but what’s wrong with saying medical specialist?  These types of stunts work very rarely, and only if you’re attractive enough.  I don’t have a good feeling about this one.


Alright team.  Grant is a 28 year-old firefighter from San Francisco.  Check, check, and check.  He’s also 6’2.  Grant intrigues me.  On paper, I would say this is a GO for JOJO.  We’ll see how it works out.  Yes to Grant.


Not feeling Jake here.  I extremely dislike his short sleeve button up with the dark v-neck underneath.  He’s a landscape architect, which seems fine.  His answer to where he saw himself in five years was married to the Bachelorette (note, he did not say JoJo because he likely did not even know who the bachelorette was when he filled out this questionnaire) and with their first child.  Meh.


James is 34, which is like a decade older than JoJo.  Nope.

james s

At first glance, James S. seems just fine.  However, things quickly take a turn for the worse.  His occupation is listed as “Bachelor Superfan.”  He sounds like a virgin (his words, not mine) and hates eating fish.  Oh, and he also includes this gem: he loves it when his date “doesn’t attempt to pay for the bill.  Two things women shouldn’t touch on a date: the door and the bill.”  Admirable sentiment but delivery is off – why are you telling women what they can’t do when you’re trying to be chivalrous.  Hard pass.

James Taylor

James Taylor is the THIRD James, and perhaps the most interesting.  He is a musician.  Who is named James Taylor.  He also sounds like he might be an interesting novelty.  He has two tattoos – an American flag and an eagle.  I predict James Taylor will be taking advantage of the free alcohol and pool time.


Hi Jonathan!  We finally get to see an Asian man compete.  I can’t remember the last time we’ve seen an Asian man – we’ve had a few Asian women in the past – but I’m excited to see the show diversifying, even if it’s just a bit.  Unfortunately, I hate Jonathan’s shirt.  He is Canadian, which has worked well in the past for women, but he also has his grandma tattooed on his inner arm.  I am interested to know more about this.  Like, her face?  Her name?  Her birthday?  I hope it’s her face.  Jonathan, welcome to the party.


This is Jordan.  Jordan Rodgers.  The brother of Aaron Rodgers, and a former pro football player.  This guy is going far.  He also is the right height, age, and has a hair swoop that cuts against him being a total meathead.  I think JoJo will like him, and he’s at least guaranteed hometowns, in the offchance Aaron shows up.


Luke has me all confused.  He looks the part, but he’s 31, which is a bit old.  He’s a war veteran, which is cool (and I assume not his current occupation), but he’s from Burnet, TX.  I’m not sure how a Dallas girl will deal with that, it could go either way (same state, yes!  small town, no!).  He also wants to have lunch with Mark Cuban.  What is the deal with this group?  Anyway, I’m putting him in the middle.  Too soon to tell.

Nick B.

Nick B. is just fine.  His whole profile also seems like a joke, except for his favorite movies, which are likely the most cited male movies of all time – Braveheart, Gladiator, and Saving Private Ryan.  This guy couldn’t get more “guy” if he tried.  He plays rugby, which is cool, but his favorite magazine is Ducks Unlimited and now I’m confused.  Can’t make a call, which is usually not a good sign.

nick sThis is Nick S. but it honestly doesn’t matter because full stop, that is either a necklace or a bandanna but that was a CHOICE Nick S. made and I cannot forgive him.  Goodbye Nick S.


Peter, sweet sweet Peter.  I’m oddly a fan of this young man, even though he is only 26 and only 5’11.  His mustache makes me think he’s a pledge and is being hazed.  He is from Chicago though, and he looks so sweet.  However, I think he’s a bit young in the face for JoJo.  I hope you don’t get your heart broken Peter!


Such a fan of Robby here!  He’s a former competitor swimmer who is 27 and 6’1.  He seems really genuine in a non-lame way in his questionnaire, which is a hard balance to strike.  He kind of reminds me of Marcus from Andi’s season – eager to please.  I think JoJo will like that.  Calling Robby for hometowns.


At first look, Sal seems like a good pick.  However, his questionnaire is so incredibly boring that I hope he was kidding.  For example, if he could have one superpower, he would choose to fly.  But he wouldn’t fly, say, across the ocean, or to a vacation destination, or to hover outside of  tall apartment buildings to totally freak people out.  Sal would fly so he could “beat traffic.”  The most outrageous thing he has ever done in his whole life was egg someone’s house.  If stranded on a desert island, Sal would bring a cell phone and an air conditioner.  He would also bring a gun.  All in all, pretty weird answers Sal.


Vinny is a barber, which is fine.  Vinny has a terrible haircut, which is kind of not fine.  But the fact that Vinny is a barber AND has a terrible haircut is inexcusable.


Wells is cute.  He’s 31 and a radio DJ.  All seems fine with Wells, and I even like his name, but I do NOT like that he is wearing a jean jacket with buttons and an iron on patch.  I dislike this jacket so much that I am not even going to read his profile.  Actually I did, but closed it when he spelled because as “cuz.”  Maybe he has Peter Pan syndrome, but I’m not into it.


Last but not least we have Will, a 26-year old civil engineer.  I was a big fan of Will until I read his three worst attributes – that he’s competitive, argumentative, and stubborn.  Listen, kudos to Will for letting it all hang out on the first day, but those are three red flags off the bat.  I have a feeling he’s not going to deal well with this process.

JoJo has her hands full this season, lots of characters.  My ideal draft team is Jordan, Chase, Robby, and Derek.  But we can’t always get what we want, so my actual team is Jordan, Robby, Luke, Grant, and Ali.  We’ll see how it goes.

Cheers to the new season and looking forward to sharing it with you, on this JOURNEY.