“Girlfriend Needs to Get Off That Beach:” Sharleen Joynt on Episode 9 of Bachelor in Paradise

Former ‘Bachelor’ contestant Sharleen Joynt shares her insider POV on the ninth episode of ‘Bachelor in Paradise’

Whoops, my bad predicting that last night’s episode would be the season finale. So amateur of me, thinking a finale could come with so little fanfare and no promises of a TWO NIGHT EVENT complete with a LIVE TELL-ALL. Serious case of wishful thinking on my part!

I think I’ve figured out what my issue with Paradise is. As opposed to leaving me wanting more, it leaves me feeling suffocated. It could be my favourite show on the planet but even that couldn’t negate the fact that there is simply too much Paradise crammed into too little time. Even some of the finest, most eventful, thought-provoking television couldn’t get away with airing four (or five!!!) hours in two days. (Well, maybe Game Of Thrones could pull it off.) For the sake of this analogy, I’ll be Shushanna and Paradise will be whatever guy is available (or, uh, not remotely available, because since when has that stopped her?). Because Paradise comes on too strong, too long, and far too frequently, I am repelled by it. It’s a weekly overdose. It is Kiwi Jordan before he took Cassandra on that date; far too available. If the show aired in another country or I somehow wasn’t allowed to watch, perhaps I’d be all Shu-like and set up dessert by a roaring fire and implore Paradise to come sit next to me.

So about Shushanna…. girlfriend needs to get off that beach, STAT. Some soul searching, maybe some therapy, and at least a general desire for self improvement are majorly in order. The worst part is, beyond the strange stares, meltdowns, and flip-flopping, she herself zeroed right in on (one of) her problem(s): “I don’t like it easy.” Sure, she’s not the first man or woman on the planet to like a chase, but this is not something to recognize about yourself with a blasé shrug before you resume obsessing over the ATTACHED object of your affections. Liking the chase isn’t a cute preference; it is, in my opinion, a serious issue that needs fixing if you ever want contentment and partnership in your romantic relationships. Incredibly, directly after admitting this about herself, Shushanna had the gall to moan, “I just want a good guy for me!” Her soulmate could be right in front of her, but—even IF they were to get together harmoniously despite his availableness and mutual interest in her—in what world could she maintain interest in him? How can true partnership thrive if it’s required of one party to always leave the other feeling not good enough or like they need to win you over? Moreover, who the hell wants to be in that relationship? The issue isn’t Shushanna not having a good guy for her in Paradise, it’s that she needs to dig deep, figure out why she wants what she can’t have, and at least attempt to fix that shit.

Shushanna’s unhealthy obsession with the unattainable aside, let’s analyze her platonic behaviour towards others. She cried when Eric left, stating, “He was so nice to me from day one.” The thing is, everyone there is pretty damn nice; they’re all getting along swimmingly despite having had plenty more time to grate on one another. It’s hard to fathom anyone there treating her with a fraction of the rudeness she’s shown for others. I get the impression Shushanna is one of those people who feels entitled to politeness and kindness (not to mention a reciprocation of romantic feels) yet doesn’t treat others as though they’re entitled to the very same. I imagine she only treats others with that respect when she’s been given it already, in abundance. Case in point, her friendship with Olivia appears to consist of her being comforted, given pep talks, told she’s doing nothing wrong, and that she deserves great things. I know plenty of clips end up on the editing room floor, but it says something that I can’t even picture Shushanna taking a moment to ask Olivia how she’s doing, how things with John are going, if she’s looking forward to her date with Diggy, or how her date with Diggy went. Socially, in Paradise (though I’m getting strong vibes that her behaviour isn’t limited to these few days of filming), Shushanna is a taker who acts like her courtesy is worth more than that of others.

I have a big problem with women (or anyone, really) who know what their faults are but who make zero effort to improve themselves. During one of her six crying sessions last night (with an insanely patient but overly enabling Olivia), Shushanna said, “Call me a bitch but don’t call me a witch,” suggesting she is aware her behaviour could warrant her being called a bitch and that she’d be alright with that. (Certainly it’s not so hard to imagine it having happened before, given her insistence on referring to Annaliese—who very much has a name—as “the blonde girl,” and answering “Do we have to?” when Annaliese politely asked to speak with her.) This is NOT something to be OK with. The witch thing may be a bit out of line and farfetched, but Shushanna’s behaviour has been exceptionally strange. Perhaps there is some cultural difference at play here, but, in my humble opinion and having lived in a different culture, it’s not an excuse. (Kamil seems to be doing just fine, after all.) You can’t act both aggressively and strangely with near strangers and not expect them to scrutinize and try to make light of it.

My personal rule-of-thumb questions for when you’re suspiciously at the centre of social disharmony…

1/ Would I be offended by how I am behaving or the things I’ve said?
Would Shushanna be offended by another woman entering and repeatedly advancing on her “boyfriend”? Uh, yes. Would she be offended by someone refusing to use her name, insisting on minimizing her to “the Russian girl” or “the ombré girl”? Hell yes.)

2/ Would I enjoy my own company? and Would want to be my own friend?

These questions are both variations of “do unto others.” Shushanna, in her mix of aggression and abrasiveness, would likely answer yes to the latter, but I think she’d be wrong.

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