Here’s a salient question: At what point do we change this show’s name from Bachelor Canada to Bachelor Costa Rica? I do not mean to cast aspersions on this tropical paradise. Its beaches look divine, and it is obviously a very culturally vibrant country. I would love to go there myself someday; however, it is surprising that the Canadian version of this franchise has now spent three whole episodes there when only one was spent in Canada proper.
Anyway, this week’s action started off with a group date featuring Brittany M. and her arch nemesis, Jessie. It would seem Jessie still hasn’t forgiven Brit for baking with sugar. The pool party itself involved women in bikinis vying for Chris’ attention, so it was very on brand for The Bachelor.
At said pool party, we received more insight into Chris’ psyche. He claimed to want a girl who is “edgy.” What exactly does this mean for Chris? Well, he told the cameras, “If I push you in the pool and you get upset, I don’t think it’s going to work out between us.” So apparently Chris dislikes women with free will? I guess he wants to be in control of when and how his partner gets wet (pun sorta intended).
At the pool party, Brittany strategically pulled Chris aside for some one-on-one time that ended in making out, because obvi. This is The Bachelor, after all. She marked her territory by covering him in her bright red lipstick, which is definitely a good strategy if you want to mindf-ck the other girls. Other evidence of Brittany’s villainy included earnestly relaying to the cameras that she “likes feeling like a woman – a goddess.” I found that pretty empowering, but it didn’t stop the producers from playing scary music when Brit appeared on screen. And of course, the girls kept calling her “fake,” which is basically the ultimate insult in Bachelor world. You know, because it’s important to be genuine while dating a man you barely know on national TV, attempting to win his heart by competing in mechanical bull-riding competitions.
To add even more pathos to the pool party, Brittany’s enemy Jessie took home the group date rose. This served to cement their rivalry. At this point, Brittany and Jessie are to Bachelor Canada what Borg and McEnroe were to tennis.
The second group date was just as intense as the first, but in a different way. The ladies were divided into teams of two and challenged to compose Costa Rican poems called “bombas.” Next, they performed these poems for a group of children at a Catholic school. Surprisingly, not everyone kept their poems G-rated, despite all the youngsters in attendance. Lisa and Lara used their bomba as an opportunity to refer to the other women as “hoes.” This hilariously led Meghan to ask the cameras, “What kind of hoe says hoe in a Catholic school?” Can Meghan PLEASE get her own reality show? It could be like the Newfoundland and Labrador version of The Hills. I totally volunteer to produce it!
Meghan and Mikaela eventually emerged victorious from the bomba competition. This led to a runoff, where the ladies were forced to rap battle each other like something out of 8 Mile. The prize? Extra alone time with Chris. Poor Meghan lost by a mile. She claimed to have difficulty rhyming on the spot. I feel you, girl – I much prefer spontaneous alliteration!
For their alone time, Mikaela and Chris played mini golf. During her interview, Mikaela admitted to feigning ignorance about how to play this game so Chris could teach her. Unfortunately for feminism, feigning ineptitude turned out to be a good strategy; when it came time for Chris’ one-on-one date with Catie, we learned that he is easily intimidated by competent women.
For their solo day out, Chris took Catie to a yoga class. Now, Catie is an expert yogi. Yoga and meditation are this lawyer’s jam. (As an aside, my preferred jam is raspberry, spread on whole wheat toast and served with tea). Chris is an accomplished athlete who played major league baseball, so I’m not sure why he was threatened by the fact that Catie had mastered her preferred area of physical activity too. And yet, her superior yoga skills proved problematic indeed.
Chris and Catie’s “sensual, intimate” yoga session included a particularly memorable position called “eye-gazing” (in which Catie was required to straddle Chris and look into his eyes for a prolonged period of time). It resembled a scene from Nine and a Half Weeks, but like, if Mickey Rourke were more awkward.
After their super sensual yoga session, Chris told the cameras, “Catie is so good at self-reflection that it makes me feel inadequate.” Apparently, being around a strong, capable, professional woman makes Chris “judge himself.” The only thing I can say in response is #fragilemasculinity.
Once their yoga session concluded, Catie and Chris indulged in some relaxing pool time. At this juncture, Chris appeared more intimidated by Catie than ever, which is saying a lot. He asked her, “Are you good at everything?” Catie insisted she wasn’t and explained she too suffered from Imposter Syndrome when she was first called to the bar, but Chris still looked threatened. Of course, his being intimidated by Catie didn’t prevent him from making out with her under a waterfall. She’s still hot, after all.
While watching the episode, I began to contemplate and compare Mikaela and Catie’s contrasting attitudes toward dating. Mikaela is a beautiful, successful twenty-seven-year-old PR professional. And yet, when alone with Chris, she downplays her intelligence and capabilities. She allows him to mansplain things she already knows (like how to play mini golf), and even embraces such moments. As a result, Chris is visibly more relaxed around her than he is with Catie.
Catie does not feign ignorance when she’s out with Chris. She does not pretend to be less talented than she is in an attempt to appease his insecurities. She does not hide her strength to protect his fragile masculinity. She allows herself to shine and refuses to perform weakness. Catie’s feminist attitude toward dating is one I greatly respect, and yet, I do not wish to judge Mikaela either. I feel for Mikaela. Frankly, I have been Mikaela before.
In the world of heterosexual courtship, women are socialized to downplay their achievements in an attempt to be more attractive to men. Every straight woman I know has a story about a guy who didn’t call her back after he learned she made more money that he did, or pouted when she beat him at tennis. Obviously not every man out there is insecure and immature. I know plenty of highly evolved dudes who are down with dating accomplished ladies; however, there is a large contingent of straight men who feel entitled to be higher achieving than the women they date.
By pretending to be less capable, Mikaela is simply using the strategies so many successful straight women employ. I don’t judge her; I feel for her. I even relate to her. When it comes to the Catie/Mikaela Dating Dichotomy, I have often played the role of meek and fragile flatterer, ready to appear incompetent to appease my date’s ego. No, I don’t judge women like Mikaela; I judge the patriarchy. And I applaud Catie for her bravery in resisting the patriarchal politics that make dating so oppressive. Catie is a freaking feminist hero!
Now that I have meditated on the politics of heterosexual romance, it’s time to return to our regularly schedule recap. Anyway, prior to The Rose Ceremony, Dee pulled Chris aside for an intimate chat about his intentions. Dee won the prized First Impression Rose, but since then, she and Chris haven’t really vibed. That was problematic because Dee had a daughter from whom she’d rather not be separated, unless she has a real shot with Chris.
After talking to Dee, Chris let it be known their connection was not compelling enough to justify Dee travelling the world with him when she could be with her little girl. He sensitively dismissed her prior to The Rose Ceremony so she could leave with dignity. The other lady to get the boot this week was Lara, who failed to get a rose, but left without a fuss. Lara punctuated her departure by assuring Chris that one of the remaining ladies was The One for him.
Well, that’s it for this week. I’m off to write a bomba and register for a super sensual yoga class!