Oh, Bachelor in Paradise, how positively… paradisal you seem; where the days are sweaty, the hair frizzy, the eyes teary, and the folks nasty.
Seriously, though: When did vitriol become a language? From Joe speaking to a producer about Juelia (“She’s not very smart, is she?”), to Mikey (“You wanna date a girl eight years older than you? That’s your prerogative.”), to Ashley I. (“She’s 34! Her eggs are almost dead!”). Did these people learn nothing from watching last season, when a hidden camera captured AshLee Frazier’s unbelievably nasty words about Clare? I realize full well that being around people 24/7 is not easy and personalities are sure to clash, but you know what you’re signing up for here. There’s an army of camera people, hidden cameras, and most importantly, YOU’RE MIC’ED. There’s literally a mic pack clipped onto your bikini strap or swim trunks! (Perhaps because I was never able to forget about my mic packs, I have a hard time understanding how others could forget about theirs.) But seriously, everything put on television nowadays is captured for all eternity. Watch your damn mouths and think before you speak. Hearing some of the things people were saying about each other this week made me queasy. Now imagine if they were about you and coming from someone you know personally? I know the old adage goes, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all,” but for our increasingly unkind, unremorseful society, it should be updated to something more accessible, such as: “If you can’t say something to someone’s face, don’t say it at all.”
A polar opposite of the above examples, and deserving of special mention, is Tenley. She impressed me this week with how she dealt with lovelorn Mikey. The two seem to have a sweet, platonic friendship, and when Dan heard from Carly and Ashley I. that Clare didn’t actually care for Mikey all that much and thus told Mikey such (are you still with me?), Mikey sought out Tenley’s thoughts. This is where she truly shone as a beacon of hope in an episode filled with misguided possessiveness. She said, carefully, “I don’t know enough that I could say [how Clare feels]” but continued with “I know she’s curious about Jared,” adding kindly,“I’m being honest with you.” And when Mikey expressed a desire to try harder, Tenley gently put her hand on his arm, looked him square in the eye and said, “Maybe not try anymore.” THIS. This is friendship. This is telling something they don’t necessarily want to hear—not taking the path of least resistance—but doing it for their friend’s good. This is excellent advice without patronization. This is kindness.
Speaking of Clare and Mikey, I was frustrated watching their drama play out. Did Clare not adequately express her desire to explore her options? Last week, I dedicated an entire paragraph to how well she fielded Mikey’s insta-attachment, so I would say she did. His extreme anger at Clare made no sense considering she’d done nothing wrong, and combined with what Dan told him, it really just made Mikey seem like an unperceptive blockhead. I get that his reaction came from a place of rejection and hurt, but there’s no point in being “pissed off.” As I’ve said before, being told the object of your desires is not on the same page as you is a gift in the form of information. Use that information and subsequently make informed decisions.
Bachelor in Paradise airs Sundays and Mondays on City.
For more from Sharleen Joynt, visit her blog, All the Pretty Pandas.
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