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TV Recap: Ash tries the boys on for size

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This week, Ashley took her three boyfriends out on the long-awaited overnight dates, a.k.a. the sex dates. She celebrated this momentous occasion by showing sensational amounts of skin and informing her audience that — yes, again — she had been misinformed all the previous times and that Fiji is the “ultimate place for falling in love.” I’m really glad she cleared that up for us.

Her first date was with Ben, and the two of them were kind of cute together: their banter was endearing, if not altogether intelligent. I don’t love Ben, but it’s very apparent that she digs him, and I can respect that, though I spent the majority of the date throwing popcorn at the TV screen and shouting “you gonna make out?” In my defense, they were practically having sex in front of us: Ash spent an inordinate amount of time straddling him while slathering his chest with sunscreen, and then I had to watch with increasing discomfort as Ben rubbed sunscreen all over her barely covered chest. At the end of it, she told him, “Thanks for all your…hard work” — I’m 90 percent certain that she was making a joke about him having a boner. Ben also kept up his tradition of using creepily outdated slang, referring to the two of them as, and I swear I’m not making this up, “a pair of giddy little schoolchildren.” Honestly, I don’t know why I even bother to make fun of this show; it does such a good job parodying itself.

At their dinner together, Ben was dressed as some kind of awkward Elizabethan man, decked out in a weird, stupid, poofy-as-hell pirate shirt that was tucked into khakis (really, Ben?). At the end of the date, she decided to let him spend the night in her bed, which I thought was actually pretty cool of her — I’ve never watched a season of “The Bachelorette” in which the girl slept with her suitors before the proposal; I’d always assumed that the show must subscribe to the outdated and misogynistic assumption that if a girl isn’t chaste, she’s somehow less valuable, and I appreciated the fact that apparently this was not the case. I mean, feminism aside, I still can’t stand the girl, but I was happy for her and her ability to get laid.

The date with Constantine was fairly boring, though my respect for him really has been growing in the past few weeks. He’s become funny and likeable, though he’s still vaguely uninteresting. I always thought he was fundamentally a nice guy, and my respect for him peaked today: he told her that he respected Ben and JP, that he didn’t think he was as head-over-heels for her as they were and that he was essentially pulling out of the running to maintain good relationships with his friends. In the end, it turned out that big, goofy Constantard is a pretty rad guy after all.

This episode also featured a big surprise: goofy optimist Ryan, who’d been sent home two episodes ago and who never had any sort of chemistry with our dear little dentist, returned with the hope of a second chance. Ryan’s whole tearful “I just want somebody to love!” bit was cute the first time, and it was even sad the second time, but honestly, guy, it’s been like four times now. Quit your crying and move on with your life; you went on like one date with this girl. Ash dealt with things fairly maturely: she gave him a hug, told him how much she respected him and then sent him home.

As per usual, the producers ensured that their viewers would stick around for the whole show by saving JP for last. Honestly, that boy is perfection; he’s this exquisite combination of feral feline sexuality and stable, reliable maturity. He also looks like he’s a really good kisser, which is so important and (in my experience) really, really rare. Conclusion: Ashley doesn’t deserve him. If she doesn’t choose him in the end, so help me, I am going to cut someone. Their date is uneventful but perfect, and at the end of it, (thank god) she sexes him up, and I’d bet big money that he was better in bed than Ben.

At the end of the day, I think she really is technically more compatible with Ben, but she’d be an idiot if she passed up the chance of living out her life with Perfect Man JP. I have no idea how this is going to end; it could very plausibly go either way, and to be honest, I’m a little bit scared.

Tune in next week, when It All Ends.

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