The Bachelorette: You Can Call Her Cupcake, Just Don’t Call Emily

The Bachelorette began on Monday night, and what better way to kick off the premiere episode than with a montage reminding me of all the reasons that I never liked Ashley Herbert? Just in case y’all need a refresher, since most of you who read this don’t actually suffer through the actual episode, here goes: She’s whiney, insecure, has low self-esteem, uses the word “retraction” too much, and after having one good first date with Brad Womack last season went on to have a series of increasingly annoying, paranoid, anxiety-filled dates with him. (I hope she doesn’t read this blog – and of course, she doesn’t – because it would do nothing for her self-esteem problem.)

You may have thought “Oh, you’re being too hard on Ashley. Surely she won’t display a crippling lack of self-esteem and constantly second-guess herself this season, where she’s in the driver’s seat. She was only like that because she was dating a man with several other girlfriends, all of whom were better looking than her.” Nope! She is still second-guessing everything. Because deep down inside, Ashley thinks that everyone wanted the new bachelorette to be Emily (who was actually chosen by Brad, but that relationship crumbled quicker than a stale cookie) and that all the guys will be disappointed to step out of the limo and see her. But she’s wrong! I think everyone wanted to see Chantal. She was way more fun.

But enough of making fun of Ashley. This is a career woman after all! She’s a dentist dental student! Aaaaaand, part-time dance instructor. When did this happen? When did she become Tenley, dancing the dance that is in her heart in an empty auditorium? In her intro video last season, she said she liked to dance around her apartment in tube socks and underwear. That is a far cry from getting your Britney circa ’01 on in a sports bra and bootie shorts after a long day of filling cavities.

OK, now I’ll stop making fun of Ashley. (Who am I kidding? That’s all I’ll be doing all season. Considering yourselves warned.) She had a bunch of winners to meet – seriously, what a bunch! – and needed a serious therapy session with unlicensed psychoanalyst Chris Harrison before she could greet them. They talked about how Ashley’s paranoid, anxiety-ridden behaviour had caused the demise of her relationship with Brad. They talked about how fragile “real love” is, but they forgot to add the “-ity TV show” in between those two words. Ashley talked about how she’d leave this experience with no regrets, which is a very good attitude to have…considering most of the men she was about to meet would be regretfully awful.

Parade of Fools
Now, let’s discuss this group of circus freaks assembled to woo Miss Ashley Herbert. There was Ames, a super-educated Wall Street dude who I’m pretty sure is a robot. There was a guy named Bentley – yes, Bentley – with a daughter named Cozy – yes, Cozy – who Ashley had been pre-warned about. Someone she knew from her season of The Bachelor knew his ex-wife and he was there for – let’s say it all together, y’all! – ALL THE WRONG REASONS. Then we had West, who’s true love had died a few years earlier – I can’t believe it took the show’s producers this long to realize they should have a tragic story every season. (Though, the story may be more twisted and less tragic, depending on whether you believe this story.) Then there was a guy who was wearing a mask (!) and a guy who got ridiculously drunk, fell asleep, and had to be sent home before the roses were even handed out. Based on her other selections, I am shocked she didn’t choose him. And in case you were wondering if Ashley has a type other than bat**** crazy, there were at least three dudes there who looked like Josh Groban, and she gave them all roses.

The initial meetings were chock-full of ridiculous, stupid moves. The only one that came even close to cute was the guy who tied pink dental floss around her finger so she’d remember him. The worst was a guy who said “I have to do something on behalf of all the men in America” and then went in for a kiss. Not only was he shut down because that’s, like, way presumptuous, but he was doing it on the wrong girl. Maaaaybe that would have been funny if the bachelorette was Chantal, who had slapped Brad on behalf of women in America. Maybe. But guess what, buddy? Chantal said no, you’re stuck with Ashley, and that means scrappy the terrible meet-cute idea you came up with. There was also a “small-time butcher from New Jersey” who appeared to be auditioning for a movie the entire time, a Canadian with an accent that is a terrible misrepresentation of my home country, and a guy who snapped a few pictures and appeared to be more interested in meeting Chris Harrison than Ashley herself.

The rest of the guys? A bunch of faceless, nameless huggers. Yes, almost every damn one of them said something along the lines of “I’m a hugger” to which Ashley responded “Oh good, me too.” Let’s make this reasons #1, 873 that I could never, EVER be on this show. I am not a hugger, people. I literally flinch when strangers touch me. I don’t even like most people I know to touch me. If I am meeting you for the first time, I will shake your hand and that’s it. And if I shook the hands of 25 men, there’d better be a vat of hand sanitizer ready.

Losers and Boozers

Everyone gathered for a cocktail party, where the awkward encounters continued. There were lots of desperate grabs for attention, interspersed with a few normal guys. There was Ryan, a solar energy entrepreneur who received the first impression rose. There was a guy who had Ashley talk to his mom on the phone. There was a guy who told Ashley a story about how he was nicknamed “Cupcake” by his construction crew, to which Ashley replied that she’d always imagined her husband would nickname her “Cupcake”. What? Who pre-selects their own nickname? You can do that? Now that I know this, whoever I marry is going to have to refer to me as “Your Majesty”. It’ll be in the pre-nup.

You snooze, you lose!

Two people really stood out at the party, though. First of all, there was Jeff. Jeff was wearing a mask. Apparently he was doing this so he could be genuine and real, which is ironic considering it, you know, masks you. This particularly irked Tim, a liquor distributor from New York. Tim had had one (or six) too many and slurred a few harsh words in the direction of Jeff and his mask. When Jeff sat down next to Tim on a sofa, Tim blocked him with a pillow. Can you blame him? He was probably worried about catching pink eye. Why else would someone be wearing that mask? Unfortunately Tim the liquor distributor couldn’t hold his liquor – hasn’t he ever seen The Wire? Don’t use the product! – and after an incredibly awkward, drunken conversation with Ashley he fell asleep on a lounge chair, curled up under a fur blanket. Klassy! The other guys loaded him into a car, and he likely puked on his way back to the hotel.

He’s so genuine…a genuine weirdo.

Cutting Tim early was the only display of sound judgment we saw from Ashley all night, though. Her interaction with Jeff the Masked One was pitifully optimistic – honestly, her openness to the idea of someone going through life masked actually made me wish that Michelle had been the new bachelorette, because at least she would have mocked this guy. Who reacts to a man in a mask by saying you hope he’ll eventually be comfortable enough to remove it? Puh-lease. If that guy came up to Ashley on the street and asked her out for coffee, she’d run the other way. I hope. (By the way, nice touch with the menacing Phantom of the Opera music and creepy balcony shots, Bachelorette producers.)

When Ashley had her one-on-one time with Bentley, she was just as forgiving. She was straight-up told that this guy wasn’t around for her, just to promote his business. And yet she wanted to give him a chance? Why?! There were 24 – sorry, 23, I forgot about Tanked Tim – other guys there! And this one was dumb enough to name a child “Cozy”! Why risk it?

Before handing out the roses, Ashley reminded us all one more time of what her insecurity for this season will be – “I’m hoping that you’re happy it’s me.” Wow, could they make it any clearer that Chantal said no, and that if Brad and Emily had broken up a little sooner it would have been her? And with that, Ashley began to select her suitors.

First up? Jeff, the mask guy! Wow, strong judgment right out of the gate. Awesome. Then we had Constantine (Josh Groban Lookalike #1), Ben F. (Josh Groban Lookalike #2), Lucas, Steven (Josh Groban Lookalike #3), Matt, Nick, Chris D., Ryan M., Blake, Mickey, Ben C. (Or as I’ll be calling him, Frenchie), West (The tragic/scandalous one), William, JP (Baldy), Ames (Robot), and, of course, Bentley (AKA Regret).

Among those who didn’t make it were the small-time New Jersey butcher who was auditioning for his own show on TLC, the Canadian, and one guy who apparently “thought Ashley was the one” and exited with an embarrassing red-nosed fit of crying.

Judging by the super-suspenseful (if by suspense, I mean spoiler-ey) previews for the season, Ashley will take Bentley quite far, realize that he couldn’t give a damn about her and was really hoping the bachelorette had been Emily, and will crawl into bed to sob “Why?” When this happens, I’ll be right there to type “Because you were warned about him and have him a rose anyway.” Or, “Because you’re an idiot.” We’ll also get to see several exotic locales, a trip to the hospital, and a shot of Jeff sitting on the toilet wearing his mask – a sign, surely, that reality TV has officially gone too far. Anyway, let’s hope at the very least that these guys won’t spend the season referring to her as “Assley”, like Brad Womack did. I can’t wait to see all the drama, and hope you’ll come along for the ride!




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