Sadly, there were no morgue visits, bird eulogies or taxidermy-filled basements during the hometown dates on this season of "The Bachelor." But we did get some baton twirling and even a faux wedding ceremony.
Yep, that’s right. The end of Ben’s season may not be for a few more weeks, but he’s already getting his vow-reciting on. On his visit to Scottsdale, Ariz., to meet Courtney’s parents, the model decided to cement her lead by setting up mock nuptials. Because she’d been somewhat emotionally withholding over the course of the season, she planned to drop the L-bomb for the first time in dramatic fashion.
She took Ben to the field where she first posed for modeling shots at age 17. Super romantic. She repeatedly told him she found the setting -- a park with a few trees lining some manicured grass -- “rustic.” And then she asked Ben to participate in a pretend wedding, with fake rings, an aisle, a pastor -- the whole shebang.
Coming from any other woman, this would have obviously appeared crazy. But not from the pretty, popular girl -- oh, no. The second that Courtney proposed the idea, Ben’s eyes widened, seemingly shocked that he might actually have a shot with the hot chick. Instead of being freaked out by her over-the-top antics, he took his vow-writing seriously, indicating he had far stronger feelings for Courtney than any of the other remaining women.
“From the moment I saw you, you took my breath away,” he told her earnestly. “I thought, ‘Is this too good to be true?’”
Yes, Ben. Yes, it is. Because the woman you proclaimed your almost-love to reciprocated by jacking a line from a “Sex & the City” episode to use in her vows. Remember when Carrie broke up with The Russian, telling him she was “looking for love. Real love. Ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can't-live-without-each-other love?”
Well, Courtney told Ben she was looking for a quite similar kind of love. “Real love. Passionate, consuming, can’t-live-without-each-other love.”
Of course, those were the most intimate words Courtney shared with Ben, as she had trouble mustering any genuine emotion during the supposed romantic moment.
Even if I could forgive Courtney for not having an original thought in her brain, I’d still find it difficult to look past her seemingly obvious lack of meaningful feelings for Ben. During Monday night’s episode, she frequently said she liked Ben because he’s the kind of “nice guy” who appreciates her -- one who makes her feel special and won’t betray her trust. A.k.a.: a guy who is more into her than she is into him. And the converse, of course, is exactly why Ben wants Courtney. Because she didn’t give up too easily. Well, emotionally, anyway. Listen up, ladies: If you want to score a guy, be sexually forward, but never talk about your actual feelings!
After watching so many seasons of this show, I’m still shocked to watch each Bachelor or Bachelorette fall into the same trap. They go with that gut feeling -- the one all about lust, convincing themselves there is more to the relationship than just attraction. And then cut to an inevitable breakup within mere months.
Why, for instance, can’t Ben just choose Nicki? Here’s a beautiful woman with her head on her shoulders who has been through a divorce but seems to have actually learned from it. Plus, her family is fantastic. Usually it annoys me when the contestants' parents are all: “This guy is great! Yes, honey, go get married after five weeks!” You know my dad would be like, “Uh, do you really expect me to buy this? And how much do you make a year with this so-called wine business?”
Still, Nicki’s dad was on the Ben train, and he was totally endearing.
He apologized if he hadn’t protected his daughter enough from her ex, and admitted that it was still “hard lettting [her] fly.” Ben was obviously a fan of this guy as well, tweeting “nicki’s dad = legit.” Legit indeed, Bachelor dude.
I totally want Nicki to win, but she’s not going to. I do think she has the most solid shot at beating the vapid Courtney, though, since Ben acknowledged that during his time in Texas with Nicki he looked over at her numerous times and thought “I love this girl.”
Lindzi also scored points on her date. But I don’t even want to write about her. Seriously, the girl is nice enough, but man, is she boring. And her highlights and make-up are distractingly bad. And she thought the lyrics to “To Grandmother’s House We Go” were “through the woods and over the water,” instead of “over the river and through the woods.” And all she can talk about is horses.
But Lindzi’s family and their affinity for the equine species didn’t scare Ben off. His trip down to meet Kacie’s rents in the Bible Belt of Tennessee did not go as smoothly. Things got off to a poor start when Kacie met Ben in the middle of a football field, frizzy-haired and literally twirling a baton.
“She’s going for it,” Ben said later in an interview, clearly trying to be nice. “I like that she exudes … confidence.”
Kacie explained that she’d chosen to take Ben to the field because it was named after her late grandfather, who used to play AAA baseball. The Babe Ruth of the South, apparently.
Anyway, Ben wasn’t feeling her story, nodding politely while staring at her fly-aways. Things only got worse when she was asked to describe her father: a federal probation officer who doesn’t drink.
“Well, that’s great,” Ben recalled thinking. “I’m a winemaker, and my business is booze.”
Also, her father doesn’t take risks and thinks “The Bachelor” is a sham. In other words: He’s a totally rational dad.
Well, not entirely. Once Ben arrived at Kacie’s house, her parents quickly laid down the law, telling him that if he and Kacie were to get engaged, they shouldn’t live together before getting married. There goes that rational thought.
More discouraging was the fact that Kacie’s father didn’t seem to believe his daughter had a viable shot at landing Ben. He told the Bach that if Kacie wasn’t “the one,” he’d appreciate it if Ben would let her down soon. And then when dad told Kacie he wasn’t down with her moving in with Ben pre-marriage, he prefaced it with, “I’m not saying he’s going to ask you to marry him.” Real nice.
Sadly, Ben was not to ask Kacie to marry him, as he sent her packing this week. This was the first time I thought he actually let one of the woman depart respectfully, not offering fake excuses in an effort to comfort her.
“Why am I not good enough?” Kacie sobbed as the limo drove away.
Don’t worry, girl. Courtney and Ben are never going to last, anyway.
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-- Amy Kaufman
Photo: Ben and Courtney walk off to depart on their faux honeymoon. Credit: ABC