The Bachelor Recap: Swimsuit Issues

Does anything say “romance” quite like a Valentine’s Day edition of The Bachelor? I mean, seriously, you’ve got one man, six ladies, gallons of booze, discarded bikini tops, mind games, tears, indiscriminate open-mouthed kissing, and horizontal shenanigans in the back of a limousine. Wait, what’s that? Doesn’t sound like your definition of a fun, sexy time? Then you probably just haven’t studied The 10 Simple Rules for Dating ‘Bachelor’ Brad Womack. Just like the man in question, I bet you’re “so excited” to get started. So without further ado…

1. Ignore your maternal instincts and jeopardize the emotional well-being of your child. | Most of Brad and Emily’s one-on-one date this week was stupefyingly dull. (A sample of their witty repartee: “Really cool view.” “Yeah, really pretty.”) But my jaw dropped watching Brad beg, threaten, and cajole the human Barbie doll into letting him meet her little girl, Ricki, whose own father died in a plane crash before she was even born. Emily’s initial stance — “I’m overprotective, and I’ve really never introduced her to anybody I’ve dated” — seemed reasonable to me, but then Brad started sighing and prodding and mentioning things like “I’ve got five other women back at the villa.” And while, yes, Emily had a point when she concluded she couldn’t expect a proposal from Brad if she wouldn’t let him meet her daughter on her hometown visit, I really wish she would’ve countered and said something like, “Listen, buddy, let’s revisit this topic when you’re not simultaneously juggling a half-dozen potential mates.”

2. Your favorite activities/conversations/moments should always focus on your man. | Raise your hand if you gagged a little when Emily said her favorite part of her big day was Brad telling her how he felt. Seriously, what kind of terrible meals are The Bachelor producers serving up to these lovebirds that nobody ever says something like, “Hands down, that pork tenderloin was the highlight of my week”?

3. Never set down your alcohol. | I loved how Shawntel and Brad were both clutching huge goblets of red wine as they strolled through a paddock of goats in scenic Anguilla. These people have their priorities in order.

4. Concert tickets are just another excuse for a public display of affection. | I actually really dig Shawntel, who exhibits far more human-like qualities than the other ladies this season, but can you imagine if you were one of the folks who’d shown up for that Bankie Banx concert and had to work around those smooching tourists and their camera crew? Oh Bankie, I hope they paid you well, sir.

5. When your man says “Jump,” you say “How far in order to avoid smashing my face into a wall of jagged rock?” | You kind of knew Britt was on her last legs when even she admitted to being “pretty far behind the other girls” before her one-on-one date. (At that exact moment, I got a sudden vision of a Dancing With the Stars-style leaderboard showing Britt with the week’s lowest scores.) But I just don’t understand how she and Brad both equated her willingness to fling herself off the side of a cliff — something that clearly made her uncomfortable, unhappy, and possibly nauseous — with “putting herself out there.” Just once, I’d like to see one of these bachelorettes get confronted by a cave full of bats or a 500-foot rappel line, look at Brad and say, “Dude, this isn’t my idea of fun. How about we go to an art museum?”

6. “Watch your step.” | I love how Brad decided it would be disrespectful to Britt to string her along until the rose ceremony, but that it was somehow okay to hurl her overboard after their dinner on a yacht. Their interplay through the whole event was truly amazing: Like a chicken still experiencing spasms after getting its head lopped off, Britt clung fast to the idea that time would bring them closer together. “I wanna keep going out with you,” she said hopefully. But Brad already had the bird cleaned and plucked and ready for the deep-fryer. “Uh, please watch your step,” he kept saying as he walked Britt toward the plank the speedboat that would send her to shore. That image of Britt in her orange nightgown, floating on a lonely ocean, was almost as poetic as the “intertwined dolphins” statue positioned behind Brad during his confessional. (If you missed that work of art, check out the screengrab below!)

7. Accept the fact that every woman’s fantasy begins with a 2 a.m. wakeup call and ends with being photographed in a skimpy bikini for the pleasure of millions of men and boys. | “I look atrocious and feel disgusting,” hissed Michelle, in a rare moment of clarity, after being roused from her web and dragged to a Sports Illustrated swimsuit shoot. I understand the corporate synergy at play here — SI’s annual swimsuit issue hits stands today, after all — but that doesn’t make the whole ridiculous setup any more of a date than, say, hooking the ladies up to a plow and asking them to till a field.

8. The one who takes off her top first wins! | Yeah, there was a whole bunch of talk, a whole lotta tears, and heaping portions of awkward during Brad’s group date with Chantal, Michelle, and The Dentist. But note that while Crazy Town treated Brad’s face like a deer treats a salt lick, and while Chantal provocatively dripped wet sand down her bazooms and abdomen, it was Teeth McGee who first bared her conch shells for the cameras, and ultimately ended up with the rose. Yeah, sometimes it’s that easy.

9. Desperation pheromones are a major turn-on. | It’s heartwarming how The Dentist doesn’t let her education or career trick her into having any feelings of self-worth. You can almost imagine her morning mantra: “If you’re single and childless, you’re nothing. If you’re single and childless, you’re nothing.” How else to explain her runaway insecurity during the group pool party. “You’re scaring me!” “I don’t want to go home from here!” “Don’t send me home!” Oh, honey, not this week. But soon enough, I suspect, your worst fears will be realized for our entertainment.

10. Aggressive women are major turn-ons, too, but eventually they have to pay for their crimes against the natural order of things. | Look, I’m not saying Michelle wasn’t fulfilling her role as Full Plate of Crazy since the moment she got on camera this season, but Brad hit new lows in dealing with his feelings for what he described as the “strong, almost volatile” hairdresser. He sure didn’t seem to mind when Michelle straddled him, pinned him to the sand, and made out with him during the photo shoot, and yet later, he huffed that she’d gotten “a little aggressive.” The nerve of her! You’d almost think The Bachelor was some kind of competition series. “I’d like to think of myself as a pretty decent guy,” drawled Brad. Okay, dude, you keep thinking that. Oh, and happy Valentine’s Day, too!

What did you think of this week’s Bachelor? Was Chantal justified in her tearful outrage after The Dentist got the rose? Did you enjoy Michelle’s classic bitchface when Brad asked her for a smile at the end of the pool party? Was it a true sign of respect when Brad cancelled the cocktail party, or was it just his way of telling Michelle he had no doubts about wanting her off the island?

And what about Michelle’s silent exit, refusing to indulge Brad for one last chat, and then laying down in the back of the limo and not speaking a word to the camera? Personally, I thought it was kind of great; it wasn’t like she owed a thing to Brad or to the show’s producers. But then again, maybe Michelle has a future with this franchise. “Seems like a waste of a one-on-one if you ask me,” she said of Brad’s date with Britt, adding that not only did she not see a love connection for the duo, “I don’t know if I even see them being friends on Facebook.” Hey now, I’m not suggesting Michelle as the next Bachelorette, but she could certainly provide some deliciously bitchy color commentary, no? Sound off in the comments below, and for all my Reality TV recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV.

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