- RED FLAG: When your family warns a girl on the meet-the-parents date about your flaws, those are some serious flaws.
I'm going to call out all the red flags through this week's episode of The Bachelor because all indications are that the girls aren't picking them up themselves. Shall we help them?
- RED FLAG: When people who have none of the distractions of "feelings" all see Your Devoted the same way, and you're the only one who doesn't, that's a red flag. And when those "people" are "the entire American public" including "the dude's family," yeah, that's trouble.
Witness, at the opening of the show, Chris asking the live audience seated in the Bachelor Beatdown Bowl whether Juan Pablo is here to find love and whether they think he'll marry one of these girls. A still shot, of course, doesn't catch it, but the sentient creature on the back row, marked with the arrow, started shaking her head before he was done speaking.
Tonight Juan Pablo introduced his final two candidates for what, I don't know, to his family, spent a little more time telling them each how cute and pretty they were, and then was tasked with picking one. Just one. Just pick one, for heaven's sake. We don't care which. He wrestled with this choice, on television, trying to comfort the lucky rejectee at the end by telling her how late he made his decision. Footage which the Chosen One is sure to see.
- RED FLAG: If Your Devoted has a really terrible time deciding whether he wants you or somebody else, you're probably not going to get all you hoped and dreamed out of that relationship. And if he thinks this is perfectly fine thing for people to know, that counts as double flags spelling "RUN" in semaphore.
JP's mom: He can be very rude.Clare's response? To declare herself "happy and comforted" to learn she WASN'T THE ONLY ONE. Oh, she said. So he's self-centered and insensitive with everyone? What a relief! Those loud voices in my head weren't telling me something untrue! They're RIGHT ON! So LET'S GO!!!
Clare (nodding): He made me cry.
Mom: Me too.
Clare: But I understand he's being honest.
Mom: Yeah, and that can be really rude.
- RED FLAG: When people are looking at you like that, try to restate your reasoning in other words and see if it still makes sense.
- RED FLAG: Oh, good grief. Do I even need to say it?
Nikki attended the next day's Red Flag Fiesta, and Dad laid the whole stack of them out on the table right at the beginning. (After JP dazzled Nikki with his parenting skills by telling Camilla that she was "so pretty.") "Juan Pablo is not an easy guy," he says. The details? He always thinks he knows the truth. Everything is all about what he wants. He's stubborn. "Yup!" Nikki chirpped with a cheery nod. He told me he was stubborn at the beginning! I'm right on track!
- RED FLAG: When your inner voice is telling you bad things about a person that end up being true, get the toxic person out of your life BEFORE you get all busy congratulating the inner voice.
Mom: Juan Pablo will watch TV on the weekends, by himself, with Camilla, with the family. Is this the kind of guy you want?
Nikki: Oh, yes.
Mom: Are you sure?
Mom: Do you love him?
Nikki: I do.
Mom (this face):
Then some silence. Then this face:
Nikki: Do you think he's ready?
Mom: I'm pretty sure.
- RED FLAG: Oh, for heaven's sake. LOOK when you're talking to somebody.
Oh, and in case that wasn't enough, we have Brother Dearest, who is still waving his same flag madly, hoping somebody will notice:
Brother: How much fighting can you take? There's a lot of that in relationships. When things get rough, he walks. Can you deal with that?
Nikki: If there's no fighting, there's no passion.
- RED FLAG: Oooh, TV has a lot to answer for. To those misled by the movies, let's clarify: Disagreeing is healthy; fighting is not. Anger is not a trademark of healthy relationships. Yelling, punishing silences, walking away. These are symptoms of poor coping skills and/or bad family habits, not passion. Being "passionate" does not give you a pass on hurting or frightening the people you love. Disagree? Go check with your neighborhood therapist. Nuff said.
And Juan Pablo--bless his avaricious, licentious heart--wrapped it all up with a bow, asking the universe "Can I just keep them both?"
- RED FLAG: Haven't we done this one already? And hasn't it been waving through the whole season while he iy-yiy-yiys to all the women about how hot they are, as a group, and announces in front of the keepers how hard it was to decide on them? If you want just one man, make sure he wants just you. Sheesh.
- RED FLAG: If he's not treating you like you're beloved, you're not.
- RED FLAG: Perhaps a good exercise at this point in the relationship would be to look back and say, "If this whole thing goes down in flames, what will I look back on and tell myself I shouldn't have whitewashed over?" Yeah, that stuff. And right about now would've been a good time.
|Figure 1: Nikki, all in.|
|Figure 2: Juan Pablo, sauntering along with one hand in his pocket.|
No, you are not the kind of man I would want to be the father of my children. Another cheer. He might've rejected her, but she DUMPED him, baby. Her speech was terrific, and I have a sneaking suspicion she might've rehearsed it some during her day on ice. You know, just in case. Either way, it was perfect. Not that he got it--his comment about "Glad I didn't pick that one" as she walked away got the biggest gasp of the night. But as his dad already said, he thinks he's always right, right?
I want to elevate my opinion of Clare. Yes, she's got those Tierra habits, but she's fixable. Get her some counseling. Teach her how to take herself seriously and demand what she wants rather than plead and wheedle and flirt for it and she'll end up with a good life. Taking ownership of that breakup, then standing firm by her awareness that she was satisfied with how she handled herself is a solid beginning. I'm proud of her. Go far, doll. You've got the stuff you need.
Nikki, then, got...nothing? The understanding that he wasn't ready to dump her yet? Clearly, she wasn't happy with that, but she wasn't going to throw it back, either. Juan Pablo was going to permit her to hang around, and she was satisfied with that. So they've been, talking, I guess, over the last four months. Nikki had ownership body language all over the snuggling they were doing on the after-couch, but I didn't see the relaxation, the peaceful joy you see in a solid relationship.
- RED FLAG: If you're unequal in your feelings for each other, the clock is ticking. Don't quit your job and move out of your apartment just yet.
- RED FLAG: Oh, and another thing. "Honest" is not an excuse for being "a jerk."
Juan Pablo, for his part, continued to believe he was on some seriously high ground in his handling of the relationship and management of the public face he put on things. I got annoyed with Chris Harrison pushing so hard to get JP to say "love" (Chris, he's not saying he loves her because he DOESN'T LOVE HER), but did cheer for him after JP expressed frustration with the lack of privacy in the relationship and he said "You do know you're on television, right?" Ditto to Catherine, who said "Don't bite the hand that feeds you." I'll look forward to all of you telling me when you see the first "They've broken up" headlines in the tabloids over there. I have to confess that I'm not going to follow either of them on Instagram for updates. I'm with Chris in his closing comment as well: "Well, let's shower that one off. Another season of The Bachelor has come to an end. Not gonna lie. I'm okay moving on."
I found myself whistling an Ingrid Michaelson tune through the afternoon:
Oh, what a day is today.I'll call it the Clare Victory Anthem. Or the We're All Free of Juan Pablo Anthem. And what's the Something Good that's coming? That's right, baby. Bachelorette Andi. Just when I was ready to call the whole thing off, here she comes. A Bachelorette to get behind. Well, then. Turns out my summer is spoken for.
Nothing can stand in my way.
Now that you've shipped out from under my skin
I think I'm ready to win.
Oh, what a night is tonight.
I think I'm ready to fight.
Now that my broken bones all have been healed
I think I'm starting to feel
Something good, something good
Now that you're gone, well I can roll on to
P.S. Okay, just a few production notes. #1: Who is this woman? On the left. I saw her (and screen captured her) in the Women Tell All episode and decided not to make a catty comment about the collagen. And now she's back. This audience makeup puzzles and disturbs me. Every time.