If, like me, you’ve been having déja vu while watching Bachelor In Paradise but can’t quite place why it seems familiar, I think I’ve deduced why: dating dynamics on Paradise are not dissimilar to being in the sixth grade. Think about it! It’s clique-y, with newcomers having to penetrate an established social circle, both in terms of romance and friendship. There’s a lot of speaking in code and not reading between the lines (pretending to be okay with one’s mate going on a date with someone else but not registering the fact that he wants to go on that date as a red flag). The dialogue, a slightly more nuanced version of…
—“I hear you’re dating so-and-so.”
—“No, I’m not dating her.”
—”Oh, can I date you then?”
—“Yeah, you can date me.”
… wouldn’t sound out of place in a junior high cafeteria. Finally, if you step on the toes of the queen bee, or the popular girl of the bunch, you’ll get teased and bullied mercilessly. Paradisiacal.
I’ve always enjoyed Jasmine, her combination of bold confidence and self-deprecation, her no-holds-barred commentary. I especially appreciated how she was one of the few people brave enough to speak out during the Corinne–DeMario debacle and still feel what she did was important. But it was difficult to watch her crumble in last night’s episode, particularly over a romance that—even without Christen in the mix—has obviously been one-sided for awhile now. In her eyes Christen was Public Enemy No. 1, but Christen’s only flub was not preemptively telling Jasmine she was going to ask Matt on her date. I’m sure it was a terrifying task to consider, but it would have gone a long way in preventing Jasmine from finding her behaviour sneaky. And if Jasmine and Matt were rock solid, if Matt had never sat Christen down and expressed interest, and if Matt had not said yes to Christen’s date, perhaps it would’ve been a little sneaky. But the fact that Matt accepted the date renders Jasmine’s accusations about Christen moot and means the problem lies a lot closer to home than Christen. As Raven aptly said when soothing a crying Christen: “It’s not personal. If it were anyone she’d be like this.” Unfortunately, though, Jasmine made it personal, taking something irrelevant Christen had done off-camera (the damn scallops) and using it to mock her on-camera. I really, really wish Jasmine hadn’t done that and instead focused on what Matt was telling her with his actions. And for what it’s worth, I’m certain there’s loads of dirt on me, too, if I’m to be judged by the things I’ve drunkenly ate—and how exactly I ate them—while heading to or from a club.
I was awed by Twitter taking issue with Taylor’s strong reaction to being told “f-ck you”, even if sarcastically, by Derek. As @bachbrack said, “Let’s try to spend more time commending Derek for respecting Taylor’s feelings than shit talking her for having them.” Preach! Every romantic relationship has its own language, easily ranging from cute to weird to offensive, but it’s up to us to lay down the law, especially early, as to what we will and will not respond to from a partner. I’m reminded of Rachel’s self-description on her season: “I’m chill until I’m not.” Fine-tuning that relationship language is an essential part of learning each other, and when we saw Derek sincerely process what happened and apologize for it, we got to watch the two of them make a massive leap forward. So, as much of a nail-biter as Taylor and Derek’s fight was (can you imagine how soulless this season would feel without them?), I’m glad it happened because its resolution was by far the most mature thing to happen in two hours last night.
Watch Bachelor in Paradise Mondays AND Tuesdays at 8:00 p.m. EST on City. Then, head on over to FLARE.com/themorningafter every Tuesday and Wednesday for recaps from Sharleen Joynt, GIF recaps and more!