This week’s episode was a big deal for two reasons: one, because Ashley got to meet her boyfriends’ families, and two, because it made me cry. Like, several times.
We were down to the final four – Harvard-boy Ames, irresistible sexpot JP and the Neanderthal Twins (Constantine and Ben) – and the first hometown date was with the large and generally uninteresting Constantard. Traditionally, Constantine has been a giant, empty space for me, a bulky, unattractive, awkward space-waster, but for some reason, in the context of his hometown he was kind of compelling, and he and Ash were almost sort of cute. Sure, he’s still a big, boring lump, but he’s real and kind of goofy. His family, one Big Fat Greek Stereotype, was tremendously endearing. Oh, and he had one of those stupid white puffball dogs that wandered around ignored by everyone despite its magical ability to make everyone impossible to take seriously simply by standing vaguely in their vicinity. Final Score: B-, extra points for his one-liners but points redacted for his stupid little rat-dog.
The second date was with Ames, who was looking uncharacteristically attractive (though he immediately ruined the effect by trotting over to Ash when she showed up; as it turns out, he runs like a girl). Ames is from an extremely old-money New-Englander sort of family, complete with horses and a freaking indoor pool, and his family was very dignified, but in a likeable way. While interacting with Ash, he was confident, smarmy, optimistic and adorable. I was even able to (briefly) take him seriously when his mother explained to Ashley that his father died when he was 10 and that his stepfather had been a genuine father figure before dying only years after stepping in (author cry count: one). Final Score: C+, because he spent about 10 minutes talking about “sprezzatura” (an old Castiglione term for feigned nonchalance) and pretending that it meant spontaneity and romance. Come on, Ames, you might be able to fool your dim little dentist, but I’m an English major. You can do better.
Third date was with Ben, who – get ready for awesome – called her “Ash” when he saw her! That’s my thing! I’ve been doing that since day one, you guys, and now it’s catching on – and I was the one who started it. High point of the date: they were getting hot and heavy on top of a case of wine, and Ash broke away to say, “I wish my mother was here, she would love this.” Again, a dead relative was unveiled. Ben actually showed emotions and shed real tears when talking to the camera about having stepped up as head of the family when his father passed away; the show is really fond of dead relatives (author cry count: two). Final score: B, because Ash was clearly into it, even though he is utterly lifeless in my eyes.
On a side note, it was at this point in the show that I realized Ashley is 23 years old (that’s me in three years) and wants to get married this desperately. My theory is that she’s tired of being so thin and hot and wants to get fat, but needs to lock a guy down first. Regardless of whether or not she ends up getting fat in the next few years, I will still believe in this theory.
Moving on: for the last date, the producers finally gave the audience what they wanted, and let us gaze upon JP. God, that man is attractive; every time he’s onscreen, every single girl that I watch this show with screams and squeals. We’re all going to marry him.
For his date, JP reserved a roller rink and the two of them skated around with a disco ball and goofy ‘80s tunes playing in the background; it’s like a middle school dance but with a whole lot more sex appeal. The guy knows the absolute most romantic thing to say to everything – it’s sensational. He’s the perfect man – strong and sexy yet willing to show vulnerability. The worst part is I don’t think Ashley’s going to choose him, because she seems more excited about stupid, boring, Homo erectus Ben. JP spent some time telling the camera that he’s afraid she’ll break his heart but that he’s still going to make himself vulnerable, because if he didn’t try, he’d never forgive himself, and the potential tragedy of the moment is more than I can handle (author cry count: three). I don’t think I’m emotionally mature enough to watch “The Bachelorette.” Final Score: A++++++.
At the end of the day, she sent home Ames, and nobody was surprised, but everyone was sad. The poor guy looked like a puppy that’s been kicked: not mad, not even sad, just…puzzled: it’ll take a minute to set in, he won’t even attribute the pain to his owner but he knows that something just happened and that it was terrible. When he left, he told her that he was lucky to have met her and smiled even as his eyes reddened. There were tears in my eyes as I said “Shut up, Ames” to the unresponsive TV screen for the last time in my life (author cry count: four). I’m going to miss him.