I believe this is the third week in a row where we’ve had to watch Colton arbitrate some battle between two women. First Hannah B and Caelynn in episode 3, then Courtney and Demi in episode 4, and now Onyeka and Nicole. The Onyeka versus Nicole fight in particular shines a light on something I remember well during filming: how little trust there is among the women and how quickly something—no matter how innocent—can spread like wildfire. Yes, we know by now that friendships made on this show are alive and well, but so are the cliques, and one poorly-worded sentence can very quickly become all too willingly misconstrued if it falls on ears belonging to the wrong clique. Your right to be there only exists within the confines of a very specific lane of emotions toward the lead, within a very specific lane of language you’d best be using. Key words like “boyfriend” or “ex-boyfriend,” confessing to not feeling the “right” feelings, and even discussing something as benign and ambiguous as “seizing opportunities” can all be twisted in this game of Wrong Reasons Telephone.
I still remember when, on Night One of my season, a fellow contestant asked me how my time with Juan Pablo went. I replied that it was fine but the conversation was a bit dry, given all the build-up. This was truly how I felt and I answered honestly, both to her and in my ITMs. But, as awful as it sounds, if I could go back in time, I’d probably just lie and tell her it went great. That one sentence would haunt me for the rest of my time there. I’d hear from a close friend that so-and-so had told so-and-so, who’d told so-and-so, who’d told this friend of mine that I “hated” Juan Pablo (this actually happened, by the way, and the word “hate” was indeed used). The conclusion, of course, being that I must have been there for some sort of insincere reason. The irony is the woman I’d first spoken to—the first leg of this telephone journey—had long been eliminated. I couldn’t even attempt to set the record straight. The fire had been lit and spread.
Last night really brought back my PTSD in that department. Onyeka told Colton that Elyse told Onyeka that Nicole told Elyse that Nicole saw this show as her way of getting out of Miami. (Seriously, I don’t think you could squeeze more names into a sentence!) On the surface, it seems like a pretty drastic move on Onyeka’s behalf to make it her business to potentially ruin (or even end) someone else’s entire Bachelor experience, especially having not fact-checked things first. But as the episode wore on, the real problem became clear: Onyeka just doesn’t LIKE Nicole. She made several remarks about Nicole’s crying and generally spoke about her with a derogatory tone. While I’m not denying how grating some housemates can become (remember, the circumstances are designed for maximum annoyance), it’s pretty aggressive to get involved in a plight that isn’t yours, based on a conversation you weren’t present for, and without any sort of confirmation of accuracy. In that sense, Onyeka really showed her “worth” to producers with this. It’s been clear for awhile that there’s no real relationship potential between her and Colton—their time together has a distinctly platonic feel—but hey, she’s earned her keep all the way to Week 5, and at least Week 6, with that cliffhanger. Being the type of contestant who isn’t afraid to throw the proverbial shit directly into an unsuspecting fan can—and often does—pay off.
All this exhausting drama is starting to seem… juvenile. Having one woman after another run to Colton to air their nemeses’ dirty laundry reminded me of a bunch of children tattling on one other to their dad—but in this scenario, Colton is the dad figure; the one who can make that thorn in their side disappear and give them the sweet revenge they crave. All they have to do is mould another contestant’s annoying traits into something that resembles a Wrong Reason or that paints them as a bad match for Colton. Never mind that they just took up all of their weekly allotment of time with him (all 20 or so minutes)—time that’s supposedly meant to advance their relationship—dragging someone’s name.
I hate to say it, because for the most part he’s doing everything right, but Colton’s very much to blame here as well. It does suck that he has a crop of women who are so quick to do this (or who are so quick to succumb to a producer’s suggestion to do this). But nonetheless, he puts way too much stock into all of these tattles than he should. I get that he’s on the receiving end of a lot of ass-kissing and ladies telling him what he wants to hear, and thus it’s got to pique his interest to hear something that conflicts so drastically with impressions he’s established. But I swear, if Colton pulls a woman aside ONE MORE TIME and begins the conversation with, “I just spoke with so-and-so and she says you’re XYZ,” he’s just as bad as they are. He’s adding fuel to the fire rather than snuffing it, when frankly, having lived on the other side on Becca’s season, he should know better. Say what you want about Juan Pablo, but I honestly believe if a woman had told him that she heard I “hated” him, he would have scoffed at it. He’d have trusted his gut and the time he had actually spent with me, rather than believing—and investing energy in—the first thing he heard from someone other than the actual source. Colton sure spends a lot of time fearing being taken advantage of or having his affections unrequited, but he should spend more of that time trusting his own instincts and recognizing this house strife for what it is: nothing more than clashing personalities.
Sharleen Joynt’s Top 4 Following The Bachelor: Episode 5
1. Cassie Randolph, 23: “It’s pretty hard to imagine someone outlasting her”
No surprise here. Her 1-on-1 with Colton had serious chemistry—it was so steamy that it bordered on uncomfortable to watch! Their day of making out aside, what I love about these two is the evident level of equality. With too many women, it feels like they are on their best behaviour with Colton, like they are hoping to impress him and have things in common with him, and forcing chemistry and kisses with him that might not otherwise exist. With Cassie it feels very much like Colton’s trying to impress her as much as she is trying to impress him. They poke fun at each other, which is entirely natural in a romantic relationship, and it really shows that they observe and recognize each other. Colton described Cassie as easy to be with (evidently), and told her (while they cuddled in bed!) that he was crazy about her. It’s honestly pretty hard to picture someone outlasting Cassie after that date.
2. Caelynn Miller-Keyes, 23: “She’s not going anywhere”
There was next to no development shown between Caelynn and Colton this week, but she was the star of last week’s episode and is certainly one of the season’s biggest contenders. She’s not going anywhere.
3. Tayshia Adams, 28: “She could be Hometown material”
Tayshia’s constant air time has given her a significant bump after not previously showing up on this list. Yes, they had a nice 1-on-1 last week, but it’s the fact that she hasn’t laid too low (in terms of airtime) this week that has me thinking she could be Hometown material. I still don’t see her competing with either Cassie or Caelynn for that top spot, but I’m starting to see Tayshia as this season’s dark horse.
4. Hannah Godwin, 23: “Any day now…”
Hannah G usually gets at least a bit of 1-on-1 time shown with Colton, so the fact that she had none this week keeps her firmly in the last spot. We all know she’s got to be getting a date of her own soon, but First Impression Rose recipients usually don’t have to wait until Week 6 (!) for theirs. Any day now…