Sharleen Joynt on Bachelor in Paradise: Episode 5

Sharleen Joynt—fellow Canuck, FLARE columnist and former Bachelor contestant—shares her take on last night’s episode of Bachelor in Paradise

(Photo: ABC)

Ashley I is back, but will she come between Jared and Caila? (Photo: ABC)

I watched this episode in Ottawa (where I am currently) with my sister, Andrea, who is your classic spotty Bachelor viewer. She watched my season, obviously, and a few leading up to it, but she doesn’t tune in regularly. Even she, not knowing what exactly was going on or even who Caila was, said, “This Ashley girl crying all the time is tired. We’ve seen this storyline before.”

One of my favourite moments of this episode is when Ashley I was sat at the bar, bemoaning her situation to Jorge the bartender, and he responded with a simple, “Were you expecting something different?” Ahh, bartender wisdom. First off, OF COURSE Jared would be with someone. It’s Episode 5 and two rose ceremonies in; Just to even still be standing Jared would have had to become romantically attached enough to have lasted this long.

However, say what you want about Ashley I (although I was pretty amazed celebrity superfan James Gunn had the chutzpah to call her a “psycho” while she was waiting in the After Paradise wings), the girl is no dummy. I’ve met her several times now and she’s sharp as a tack, super sweet, and one of those refreshingly frank, honest to the point of self-deprecating people. The virgin thing has gotten a bit out of control and become kind of inappropriate, but it’s hard to critique why she’s waited this long: “I don’t want to do anything with someone I don’t love and not in a committed relationship with. And I’ve never had that.” Some of us had someone who fit that bill in high school or college, but if you’d never had that, would you just rip off the V-card Band-Aid? I have a girlfriend who lost her virginity as a teenager on a trip to Cancun. It wasn’t love—not even close—but it was good drunken fun, not wrought with pressure or expectation, and in her words, exactly how she wanted to lose her virginity. I’m sure most of us (myself included) fall somewhere in between the two ends of that spectrum.

Back to Ashley I, my point about bringing up her intelligence is that, while she is certainly inexperienced when it comes to men, she wouldn’t be this far gone over Jared without a) some sort of encouragement from him (and yes, making it to second base serves as encouragement!), and b) producer flame-fanning. In terms of a), on After Paradise James Gunn was on the money. It’s safe to say it would be an ego boost to have someone so openly infatuated with you—someone beautiful, no less. I fully understand the difficulty and reluctance to completely axe that kind of adoration cold turkey without someone else you’re serious about (in this case, Caila) on the table. But while Jared is totally that quintessential “nice” guy, the one who’s too nice to shut down his dear friend, the truly nice thing to do would be just that. Sure, you’d cause a lot of (short term!) pain and lose that ego safety net, but you’d save your friend months (years!) of confusion and allow them to just move the hell on. And as for b), Ashley I’s producer is hardly letting an ounce of her torment go to waste. (… at every turn. Remember the Janner wedding?) It’s hard to imagine they’d give her the #truth Nick gave her: “This isn’t love, it’s infatuation, it’s an obsession… You’re not going to be with him. I’m sorry. You will never be with Jared.” (I was totally having a rah-rah moment during this conversation, by the way.) And additionally, love/infatuation/obsession aside, if Ashley I were more relationship-experienced, she’d recognize the truth in Nick’s words by observing Jared’s expressions and body language towards her.

Bottom line: this has nothing to do with Caila. If it weren’t Caila, it’d be some other woman down the road, after more of Ashley I’s precious time was wasted pining for someone unrequitedly. If anything, the abruptness caused by Caila’s unexpected arrival is a gift of sorts to Ashley I; it hurts a lot, yes, but it’s quick and efficient. Let the moving on process begin!

For more from Sharleen Joynt, visit her blog, alltheprettypandas.com.

Bachelor in Paradise airs Mondays and Tuesdays on City.