Bachelor Brad: “Trust Me, I Really Mean It”
You might think that this is sort of a funny question for me to be asking at this point. It’s, like, week whatever of this season’s The Bachelor with Brad Womack as the focal point, the center of attention, the one upon whom love will most assuredly be bestowed* in the form of one of the three remaining women on the roster after weeks of cuts: Emily, Chantal or Ashley. But, as he jets toward South Africa for one on one dates in the African wilderness and says stupid shit like, “I’m freaking out right now because I have no idea what I’m doing,” and “I hope that coming to South Africa with these three women will give me the clarity I need,” I need to ask, have you ever really stopped to consider Brad?
Everybody else has been dissected, put under the microsope, judged according to some half-baked analysis of their general suitability for marriage to Brad, but hey – just what the hell makes Brad suitable for marriage to anyone? We know he brings an endearing deer-caught-in-headlights expression to just about any given situation, which lends a certain truth to his claims that he has no idea what he’s doing. His stock repertoire of phrases will come in extremely handy in many marriage-related situations. He works “I’m happy to be here,” and its derivation, “I’m really happy you’re here,” to good effect; also, he’s quite adept with beginning many of his statements with, “I can’t believe that…,” and letting it go from there. But his best work is to be found in the “Trust me,” and “I really mean it,” departments, highly valued as they are among married couples for their utility in allaying fears and convincing others that one is serious about whatever it is they have just said.
And if it’s Chantal that Brad winds up with, I’ve gotta say, based on her own appropriation of his phrases – “I just have to trust him,” for example – and her ability to take his more general example and riff on it – “He is amazing. He is an amazing, amazing man,” I like their chances. Also, it helps, when the Chris “Pimp” Harrison’s card arrives, featuring an invitation to partake of a night together in the Fantasy Suite**, that she pretty well throws down her fork and napkin and starts hunting for it.
That’s not something Emily, a proper Southern lady, is about to do. When she gets the invitation, she reminds him right off that she’s a mother with an example to set. But things have gone well so far on the date; Emily has ridden an elephant and asked Brad if he realized and was prepared to deal with the fact that, if they wind up together, he would be playing the role of a father figure to a five-year old girl, and Brad kept his wits about him well enough to give a passably affirmative answer***. So she says she’ll spend the night in the Fantasy Suite with him, but they’re just going to talk, so as to get better acquainted. Once they’re in there, she tells him in a roundabout, unconvincing way that she’s falling in love with him. Brad, on a bit of a roll by now with the reflecting words back to their source, comes through on this occasion, offering that he, too, is falling in love with her, and they consummate these revelations with a tentative hug. Ahhh, romance!
But then comes the Ashley date. I almost wanted to say that never has a helicopter gone so wrong, but this was not the helicopter’s fault. This was all Brad and his shortcomings as a potential spouse. First of all, that stock repertoire of phrases that works so well for him when everyone else is following the script? Doesn’t work as well when nobody else is following the script. Brad is not by a long shot the only person in the world who finds himself ill-equipped to deal with the emotional demands of others**** when the others persist with their emotional demands, and Ashley is persistent with her emotional demands. It’s important to say, though, that the point at which this date truly becomes unsalvageable is when Brad is the one who gets needy and Ashley turns one of his best lines against him. All Brad wants is a little reassurance that she would sacrifice most of her life to be with him, and she answers, “I know what I want and I just hope you can have faith.” You can’t come back from that, man.
Not that Brad didn’t try. They still wound up in the Fantasy Suite***** , but their quest for love was clearly over. When it came time for Brad to watch video messages from all the ladies the next day in advance of the rose ceremony, Ashley’s should have said, “I’m already on a plane back to the States. Nice knowing you.” It didn’t. Then, Brad should have pulled her out of the rose ceremony to discreetly and gentlemanly cut her loose, which he almost did, until he started arguing with her some more. Weird. He’s gotta cut somebody loose anyway, is he saying he’d rather send one of the other two home? Because if he is, THEN FUCKING DO IT AND GIVE HER THE ROSE, BUDDY, OR LET HER GET IN THE FUCKING CAR ALREADY! I must say, the fact that he’s so willing to start stalking someone he hasn’t even sent away yet doesn’t bode well for the inevitable breakup with the one he eventually chooses, does it?
And speaking of the one he eventually chooses, there are now only two for him to choose from, and there they are, Chantal and Emily, out on the patio, patiently waiting for Brad to return from walking Ashley out…and waiting…and waiting… ”Soooo…uh…you think he’s coming back?”
“I dunno, but hey, I’ve still got my key…wanna hit the Fantasy Suite?”
*Might not go that way. We cross our fingers until they ache.
**Seriously, why do they need an invitation from that guy?
***Therapy really has worked wonders.
*****Those things got TVs?