WHY SHOULD WE CARE?

I’ll bet you came here thinking we were going to talk about the fact that well after two months, much of Kanawha Valley in West Virginia (think Charleston, the capital) still doesn’t have potable water…..or that the Handicapped Olympics are getting no air time at all, when these people are more of an inspiration than our able athletes….or the war in the Ukraine….or immigration reform…..or the Affordable Care Act…..that damned Malaysian plane….

Nope, none of these. We’re here because of the very worst season of The Bachelor EVER and the worst Bachelor ….heck….perhaps the worst example of a man in the history of time. 

Juan Pablo was a douche from the very first night…..paraphrased, his comment to Chris Harrison at the end of the Parade of the Desperate that first night was something like, “I’m bound to find somebody here.”

It’s always amazes me that rejected women walk out of the first rose ceremony in tears wailing, “Why me?” “Wasn’t I good enough for him?” Holy freaking cow. These are smart, funny, educated, socially adept (an assumption) professional (for the most part) women who freak out because someone who was in the same room with them for a couple of hours and may have spent five minutes talking to them didn’t ask them to stay. Shouldn’t their attitude be, “Good thing I dodged that bullet.”

From the beginning he started manipulating these women. It was all about Juan Pablo and nothing about the women. When they tried to talk about themselves or ask him serious questions, he always got back to his narcissistic self. 

A friend asked me why I watched this train wreck. I think it was because Juan Pablo was a card-carrying poster child for a potential abuser.  These women were so blinded by his abs and accent they didn’t pick up on the obvious signs. Or did they want to? How many times did we hear, “I’m tired of being alone.” “I want to find my true love.” “I’m ready to start a family.” “I want more than my career.” They came to the show wanting Juan Pablo, even though they knew nothing about him.

If a woman started to tear up, his instant response was to smooth her hair back and repeatedly say (while staring into their eyes),” Don’t cry….don’t cry….don’t cry,” until they stopped. Real men understand that sometimes a girl may have to cry…especially in a super-charged-highly-emotional-constant scrutiny-situation such as one where the cameras are rolling twenty four hours a day for a couple of months. It didn’t matter why they were crying, he didn’t care. He didn’t want to put up with emotions. Or them paying attention to their own needs.

When Claire showed up unannounced the night of their first one-on-one date and they ended up having sex in the ocean (what was she thinking) he was a more-than-willing participant. But he was back the next day to tell her how inappropriate her actions were and what a bad example she was for his daughter. Really? Did his dick just fall into her vagina? What kind of real man blames his actions on the woman? 

And here’s where the manipulation really began. If she was such a bad example for his daughter, why did he give her the next rose? Why did he continue to give her roses until the final rose ceremony? The final insult was when she asked him why he was such a willing participant. His answer brought one of the first gasps of many gasps this season. “I thought you wanted to thank me for having a good time on our date.” Really? Gratitude Sex? 

Another danger sign was that his family lived with him during the first part of the show. Not just his daughter, his mother, brothers, sisters, cousins, and a few of his favorite friends. He was obviously not his daughter’s caregiver. She was there for window dressing. Yes, he loves her. Yes, she loves him. But at his age, should he need to bounce everything off a family member? And did he ever talk to these people about there own lives? Where was her mother? And does he have to live with momma in his 30’s? Does he have a real job? He made it sound like he worked for the Miami soccer team, but there was no explanation about what he did. Man, talk about red flags…..yet none of these women noticed.

My next gasp came after he talked to his brother about Sharleen (opera singer). “She’s so cosmopolitan. And smart. And talented. She’s seen the world. She may be the one.”  But when Sharlene left the show, it was his first “whatever” moment. “Oh, well, I’ve got more women.”

From the beginning, Sharlene wasn’t like the others. She was the smart one. She went into the adventure with an open mind…but she didn’t check her brain at the limousine door. She questioned from the start whether he was a good decision for her. She wanted this to be the right decision for her. Sharlene almost walked away a couple of times because she wasn’t interested. But because she wasn’t interested, Juan Pablo was more interested in her. He wanted what he couldn’t have. So he poured on the charm. And the one-on-one dates. And the personal time. And finally won her over. But she still had that niggling feeling that things weren’t right…in spite of the fact that there was a major-league physical attraction….and ultimately that feeling (known as common sense) won and she knew it was time to leave. Even at the After-The-Rose show months later, it was obvious she still had affection for him. Made the comment she’d spent more than a few sleepless nights since leaving. But it was the right decision. No doubt. She put herself and what was best for her above what was fun and exciting for the moment. In the end, she was/is too cosmopolitan and smart for Juan Pablo. I wish she’d been the next Bachelorette. It would have made for an interesting season.

Andi was the next smart one (and gave me another ‘gasp’ moment). After the fantasy suite and extended private time without cameras, she realized he had no interests but himself. Her night-long attempts to have intelligent conversations about her own life, what he envisioned for the future, or anything more serious than, “So, enough about you, what do you think about me?” she walked. But not before trying to have yet another talk with him on her way out. His response to, “you weren’t at all interested in talking about my life or having a serious conversation,” garnered his retort of “why didn’t you say something?” (Duh, what do you think she was trying to do all night? Oh, wait. You weren’t listening.) 

By this point in the soap opera of the year I expected that kind of superficial attitude. What brought the newest gasp was him telling her, “You barely made it here.” In other words, she was lucky he invited her to stay long enough to have sex with him. Damn. Does this guy get chapped lips from kissing the mirror in the morning?

Here’s another case of a woman who was used to thinking for herself. Who opened her eyes and recognized danger signals. And ran like the wind. As she walked away, he muttered into the camera something like, “What was I thinking? Why would I want to argue with an attorney?” All Juan Pablo all the time.

The biggest wake-up call for the last women should have been the visit to Juan Pablo’s family. “Is he ready to settle down?” one of them asked JP’s mother. To which she tentatively responded, “Maybe.” Multiple family members commented to both Claire & Nikki that JP tended to had a temper. I got the feeling they meant “uncontrollable” temper or it wouldn’t have been important enough to mention. One asked Nikki what she would do when (not if)  he got cold feet and walked away. Giggling girls both answered these warnings that these were the kind of things couples must be work out. Really?

Let’s see, what do we have so far? Women can’t show emotion. Nothing is ever his fault — it’s theirs. His opinion counts; hers doesn’t. He treats all women the same — shows the same affection — uses the same lines and lies on ech of them. He saw himself as lucky when anyone who spoke up to him or voiced her own opinion left. His family felt it was necessary to warn women about his lack of interest in committing and that he possesses an out-of-ordinary temper. Hmmmmm.

Then the Rose Ceremony. Normally, the Bachelor begins the conversation. He talks about each woman’s journey with him, why he was attracted to her, and why he ultimately made the decision to end the relationship or stay with her. But not this one. The Stockholm Syndrome participants were the only ones to speak…..”I can’t imagine my life without you.” “You’re everything I’ve ever wanted.” To which, Douche Bag of the Year responded to Claire’s heart-felt dialogue with, “Sorry, I’m sending you home.”  After spending the night with her. Obviously having had sex with her (again) and spending the day, evening, and night before telling her how much he looked forward to their life together. Not this guy. He told her he wasn’t interested in her with absolutely NO emotion. Thank goodness she, again for the first time in Bachelor history, gave him hell on the way out the door. 

Juan Pablo’s predictable response, “Wow, I’m glad I didn’t pick her.”

When Nikki showed up, just like Claire, she went into a speech about how much she loved him and couldn’t wait to spend her life with him. And, as with Claire, he watched her as she spilled her heart without showing any interest. I mean, it wasn’t his turn to talk, was it. Even after him telling Nikki, “I have a ring in my pocket, but I’m not going to use it.  But I really, really like you. So. Want to go on a date?” She took a moment to think about it, but accepted. I would so have been out the door.

And here’s a side-bar question. If he knew he wasn’t going to propose to either woman, why did he meet with Neil Lane and pick out a ring that cost probably $500o – $10,000 (because you’ve never seen a small ring on a Bachelor program’s chosen woman, have you). I’ll tell you. Because it was free. And now, it’s his. If he ever does decide to give a woman a ring, he won’t have to buy one. 

Jump forward to the Women Tell All program. The women had received an epiphany. They’d seen the show. All of it. They’d seen his manipulation. How he was really treating each of them, and that he was treating them all the same. It was only a game to him. He wasn’t looking for a wife or life partner. He was looking for someone to date. Someone he could continue to control. And repeatedly we heard, “He wasn’t who we thought he was.” Translation: “He wasn’t who I wanted him to be.” Because they all saw what they wanted to see.

Then, the After the Rose ceremony. During the interview with Nikki & JP, Chis asked Nikki if Juan Pablo loved her. She didn’t know. It didn’t matter. He was paying attention to her. He was taking her out. He was showing affection in public. She wasn’t alone anymore. Kind of.

When Chris asked what their plans were, it was JP, not Nikki answered that they were “working things out.” Working things out, I’m betting, means Nikki quitting her job as a pediatric nurse and moving to Miami to conveniently fit into his life. But if you listened, except for the “I don’t know,” response, Nikki seldom spoke. Again, it was All Juan Pablo, All The Time. Caressing her arms, sliding his hand down her side (almost inappropriately), giving her obvious signs of affection meant for the camera more than her. Staring into her eyes. 

So why did I watch? Because I live with college girls. I see them be manipulated by good looking, smart, charming, charismatic, sometimes wealthy men every day. They fall for the charm, and will turn on their friends or their own goals and dreams for them. They’re just being used. And it breaks my heart. Since June of ’06, I’ve been through numerous abusive boyfriends, roommates’ abusive boyfriends (or fathers), mean-drunk dates who send girls home with bruises, a suicide watch because a pre-med student’s boyfriend had broken up with her, and a suicide attempt. Smart, independent young college women who pitch all common sense when it comes to a guy. 

With any luck at all, 26 of 27 women who were on the show now recognize the signs and will be smarter in their next relationships. With even better luck, the young women who are hooked on this program will use better judgment in their own dating relationships. With extraordinary luck, maybe even one man watched The Bachelor and recognized that he, too, is a douche and wakes up to treat women with more respect.

The reality is that most women on this show, especially those who were sent away the first night, ascribe to my mother’s school of dating philosophy, “Having any man is better than no man.”  My mother was lucky. The handsome, charming man she found, my dad, was hard-working, adored her, wanted the best for her, and was a good father to their children. What will most women with this philosophy, regardless of how educated/professional/smart/socially-adept they are end up with? Unfortunately, with this attitude, they’ll get the “any man” my mother talked about. “Any Man.”

Without meaning to, The Bachelor provided a great community service this season. They spotlighted what a total douche looks and acts like. Now there can be a dialogue. Now, someone can turn to her friend and compare that friend’s current boyfriend’s action to Juan Pablo — something she’ll understand. I hope it makes a difference.

 

*As an added benefit, my personal opinion is that along with looking for someone (or multiple women) to date, Juan Pablo was hoping to pick up some celebrity endorsement contracts because of his soccer and Bachelor connections. I’m betting that doesn’t happen.