Well, that was awkward.
Oh, there have certainly been plenty of cringe-worthy moments throughout the history of this franchise -- um, Kasey serenading Ali, anyone? But Jamie’s kissing tutorial on Monday’s episode of “The Bach” was all kinds of uncomfortable.
She started with a good ol’ straddle. No matter that she and Ben had yet to have a one-on-one date yet -- or even lock lips once -- Jamie decided she was going to go all in while she had the chance.
“Do I have a surprise for you!” she teased, as she led him away from the cocktail party in a last ditch effort to avoid being sent home. (It failed, obviously.)
“I want to turn Ben on, and I want him to be attracted to me,” she had said in an earlier interview.
Her idea of how to best make that happen? Force herself onto Ben’s lap, kiss him, determine her kiss was sub-par and then talk about how she was totally a better kisser than that.
“When your mouth is open, my mouth is closed, and vice versa,” she instructed Ben.
She spouted off a handful of horrible, stereotypical lines that seemed like they came out of a Cosmo article about how to be sexy, such as: “When I go to sleep, I think about the things I would like to do with you” and “I feel like I haven’t shown you how much I like you.”
But hey, who can really blame Jamie for making a complete fool of herself trying to appear sexy when it’s the bikini model who seems to have Ben wrapped around her little finger?
Yes, that’s right, Ben remained under Courtney’s spell this week. On the group date to a native village outside Panama City, the ladies were asked to don traditional tribal wear -- a.k.a. skimpy beaded bra tops and sarongs. Everyone opted to keep their bikinis on underneath the outfits, except, of course, for Courtney.
“We’re one with nature, it’s raining, go bikini-less!” she told the other girls.
It was a move, predictably, that was duly noted by Ben, who no doubt was still dreaming about his skinny-dipping rendez vous with the model back in Puerto Rico.
But one near breast-flash was not enough for Courtney this episode. Later, when poor Jamie finally mustered up enough courage to go over and nervously talk Ben’s ear off, Courtney decided to go for a convieniently-timed solo dip in the pool in her barely-there bathing suit.
“I feel like the girls here are not putting a lot into Ben,” Courtney sighed, her nose scrunching up hideously. “They’re not sexual.”
That’s true. None of the other girls have gotten nakey with Ben after spending a few hours alone with him. What prudes.
Well, I take that back. Blakeley wasn’t exactly acting demure on the dreaded two-on-one date with Rachel -- or as my friends and I call her -- Julie Taylor from “Friday Night Lights.” Ben took the two ladies salsa dancing, and once Blakeley got her beautiful pink bedazzled dress on -- hoo-boy, that V.I.P. cocktail waitress went to town.
“Dancing salsa is very sexual and sensual, and that’s who I am,” she explained.
Indeed. She proceeded to throw her leg around Ben as they danced, flaunt her cleavage in his face and shimmied her hips. Like Rachel, I was worried Ben wouldn't “see through Blakeley’s sexuality.”
But then she gave him a collage, and she was pretty much done for. It had cut outs of words like “San Francisco” and “Southern Comfort” on it. It was bad, folks.
In true Ben fashion, he let her go kind of harshly, while expressing little emotion. He repeated his favorite excuse of the season: “Ultimately, I know I have relationships with other women that are so far past ours.” Seriously, dude, are you trying to make her feel worse?
Still, there wasn’t nearly enough drama going down. So enter Chris Harrison, deliverer of ugly-cry inducing news. He pulled aside Casey S. -- you know, the pretty blond who hasn’t shared two words with Ben all season? -- and awkwardly brought her into the courtyard of their hotel. It had come to the host’s attention from three -- count 'em, three -- people that Casey had a boyfriend back home. Oh no! A Wrestler repeat?!?!
Except ... not. Because Casey didn’t actually have a boyfriend back home. She had a guy she was still jonesing for who couldn’t commit to marriage, so she came on “The Bach” to try to get over him. OK, maybe not the smartest move. But how many girls date people when they’re not entirely over an ex?
Still, Chris suggested Casey tell Ben about her conflicting feelings, and Ben wasn’t pleased. He told her he didn’t appreciate that she entered into the show unwilling to open herself up emotionally, and suggested she go home.
Cue Chris awkwardly comforting Casey -- her face mangled from sobbing -- in the hallway. Really, Harrison? I’m glad you take your hosting responsibilities so seriously, but I kind of wish you had intervened with Bentley and Ashley over this nonsense.
The other emotional moment this week came when Kacie B. confessed to Ben that she’d once battled an eating disorder. He said he was appreciative that she decided to share the difficult secret, but he remained stoic as he took the news. While I like that Ben has a laid-back attitude, I wish he’d stop trying to play it so cool and give in to his emotions. Then again, maybe he’s just a relatively sane guy who doesn’t make over-the-top pronouncements about being in love after three weeks and two dates. Go figure.
-- Amy Kaufman
Photo: Casey S. cries after telling Ben she's in love with an ex-boyfriend back home. Credit: ABC