Bachelor Nation

Sharleen Joynt on Episode 6 of The Bachelorette

The former Bach contestant, podcast host and FLARE columnist shares her insider's POV on the sixth episode of what is now Tayshia's season

Presented by SkipTheDishes

We all knew cracks would eventually show in the veneer of camaraderie among these men, but I have to admit things got far stickier far sooner than I expected! Here I was thinking newcomer Spencer would still be enemy number one, but not unlike a blindside on Survivor where an alliance turns on itself before doing away with an outsider, it would seem the men couldn’t stand one more minute of coexistence with Chasen.

The issue Ed and Bennett (and it would seem also Kenny?) had with Chasen, and their subsequent mockery of him, almost feels like an evolution for this show. Remember, there was a time not so long ago where an entire house might be made up of Chasens. No man would be expected or feel pressure to come up with a variety of adjectives to display his interest in the Bachelorette—describing an “amazing connection” would have sufficed. Not to mention, without two Bachelorettes to begin with, differentiating one’s descriptions of them would never become an issue. In short, to display one’s Right Reasons-ness, it would seem it’s no longer enough to just not have a girlfriend back home.

This immediately brings to mind the difference in stigma surrounding this show. With the help of social media and how what was once a mere 15 minutes of fame can now equate to overnight celeb status lasting YEARS (not to mention opportunities resulting in a complete career overhaul), a higher calibre of contestant has naturally become attracted to this show. And over time, that “higher calibre” no longer just means beauty queens and successful models. It can also mean Ivy League grads (as the show loves to remind us, Bennett—and who could forget Yale grad Seinne?), candidates with perfect SAT scores (Ed…we’ll take Bennett’s word for it), as well as doctors (easily the episode’s MVP, Joe) and lawyers (Riley). And with that shifting tide comes different expectations of how one might communicate and express themselves, what traits command respect among one’s peers, and from there, a potentially uncomfortable conversation on cognition and intelligence.

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I say this because, while I agree with Ed’s overall beef that fakeness in a housemate is the worst crime of all, I have to wonder if Chasen’s “fakeness” is indeed simply a lack of authenticity. Or, is it something else? Is it a lack of self-awareness, a lesser vocabulary, a difference in reliance on words and specificity? Could that be borne from a different emphasis on words to begin with, borne from a different family background? Just because you can “talk circles around” a person (again, taking Bennett’s word for it), does it really mean you should? Or, maybe Ed’s right and Chasen really is calculatedly saying the right thing at the right time. But in the latter scenario, he’s got to be pretty bad at it for it to become a point of contention among his housemates and for anyone to hop aboard the train in ridiculing him. A glaring detail that cannot go ignored: None of the men appear to be on Team Chasen other than Chasen himself.

It’s not lost on me that Ed’s examples of Chasen saying the same things to describe Clare and Tayshia were pretty specific. (His beef wasn’t a vague and overriding, “Take my word for it: Chasen’s fake.”) It also didn’t endear me to Chasen when, in retaliating against Ed, he childishly chose to insult Ed’s “chicken legs” instead of concretely defending himself. Further, what really gave me pause with Chasen was when he, in his desire to prove Ed wrong (and with plenty of time to think about it), triumphantly called Tayshia a “smoke show.” Oy.

Now I have no issue with women being referred to as “smoke shows”, nor is it a crime to provide a noun when an adjective is expected. The issue is that Chasen, with “smoke show,” had simply found another way to call Tayshia hot, when it should have gone without saying that, in differentiating between two women, the lacking word(s) in question should have described her as a person, not her looks. It’s beyond me how he could have thought the criticisms he was receiving were for not gushing enough over Tayshia’s physical attractiveness. It was clearly about the specificity those words represented, not the number or type of words he used. This missed the mark in such a deep and dumbfounding way that it made me wonder if this is more of a discernment thing than a disingenuity thing.

Nevertheless, you guys know how I feel about tattlers. The second Ed chose to cast that first stone by using his time with Tayshia to talk shit about Chasen, he surrendered his right to higher ground by entering the proverbial (if not literal) ring with him. Watching Ed poke at Chasen is like watching a kid tease his younger sibling: pushing his buttons to get a reaction (in this case, Chasen becoming heated and threatening), then running to their parents (in this case, Tayshia) to tattle about said reaction, conveniently omitting the provocation that caused it. My moment of being done with Ed was when Chasen did attempt to apologize and smooth things over, and Ed only goaded more conflict. Ed might feel superior, but he can’t be that much better if (and when) Chasen, whether directly or indirectly, becomes the cause of his eventual (again, not literal) downfall.

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My episode 6 frontrunners are…

Brendan, 30

My only complaint about Brendan is that there wasn’t enough of him in this episode. We did witness some of his 1-on-1 time from the Group Date, and it would appear his chemistry and rapport with Tayshia haven’t gone anywhere. At least until some other 1-on-1 date cards get doled out, Brendan continues to be the one to beat.

Zac C, 36

It’s hard to believe Zac C and Ed are the same age. Zac C seems to float above the drama, but never in a holier-than-thou way, but rather an I-can’t-be-bothered way. (I cheered when he sternly told both Chasen and Ed to “bury it.”) Zac C seems to have a calming, grounding effect on Tayshia, and I love what she sees in and appreciates in him: “I like that he carries himself differently, I like that he’s older, I like that he’s willing to give advice about the boys in the house, he has a really good view on life. There’s a lot to Zac and I think it’s really cool.” Zac C definitely has a 1-on-1 in his near future.

Ivan, 28

You know what’s validating? When the contestant you deemed early on a “dark horse” gets CALLED a “dark horse” by the Bachelorette herself! FINALLY, Ivan got his time to shine this week. You really get the sense that these two speak the same language and understand each other. I love how Tayshia sees him despite the fact that he’s obviously not as outwardly bold or attention-seeking as others. She awarded him with a Group Date rose and my heart almost burst watching how quietly elated he was. I cannot wait to see more of these two.

Ben, 30

I’m torn on Ben. On one end, I see insanely good chemistry between him and Tayshia. On the other, I’m not sure I see much more than chemistry. I have yet to see legitimate conversation (other than him showering her with compliments) that has me convinced of a unique emotional bond. It would seem Tayshia agrees with me, as she gave Ivan the episode’s first Group Date rose over Ben. Nonetheless, the attraction is palpable and I think we all know a 1-on-1 date card with Ben’s name on it is coming any week now.