The Men Are Baring it All

Photo: ABC

Okay. I’ve spent a long time thinking on it, and after many hours of reflection and meditation on the subject, I feel comfortable sharing my conclusion: Being in a quarantine bubble at the La Quinta Resort & Spa has only strengthened this season of The Bachelorette. Without their trips to exciting, far-off locales like Costa Rica or Cleveland, the show has been forced to generate all of its drama and forward momentum from inside the luxurious Palm Springs getaway. This means a lot more dates where the guys are practically naked (physically and emotionally, but especially physically). It also means more emotional conversations, and more nonsense fights elevated to major plot lines.

Last night’s episode had a good balance of both. There was Tayshia’s one-on-one date with Zac, where they took wedding photos. The shoot was art directed by someone named Franco, who wore a lot of eyeliner and some of the smallest shorts I have seen in my life. Tayshia said taking the pictures was really emotional for her because she’d already been married and taken wedding photos before, but the sentimentality seemed to have passed by the time they started jumping on a trampoline in a bedazzled dress and suit. That night, Zac opened up to Tayshia about, well, a lot. He had been married before, too, he said. He got married shortly after having a brain tumor removed when he was in his early twenties. He struggled with drug and alcohol abuse, got divorced, and eventually went to rehab and got sober, and he now serves on the board of the same rehab facility that helped him get clean. It was a moving, raw story, for which Tayshia showed her appreciation by making out with Zac on a ferris wheel.

Later, on the group date, Tayshia and a bunch of the guys did art to express their feelings. They sketched, painted, and molded clay; for their final challenge, each man was supposed to create a self-portrait and present it to Tayshia. One guy’s self-portrait was an empty picture frame, and he said something about wanting Tayshia to be in the frame with him, which, sure. Harvard guy Bennett’s was a needlepoint of a heart. And Ben, the Army vet, said he didn’t feel comfortable talking about his emotions, so he got fully nude in front of Tayshia instead. “I feel like this is what happens when you start dating real men,” Tayshia said tearfully. All the guys were declared the winners of the date.

Like how Eazy got kicked out after he and Tayshia’s spooky one-on-one date. The two went ghost hunting around La Quinta, which is surely haunted by the troubled spectres of corporate retreats past, and then Eazy said he was falling in love with her, but Tayshia said she wasn’t feeling it so she sent him home. And then, there was the Bennett and Noah drama, which has been building in recent eps, because Noah keeps making comments about Bennett being pompous (“Bennett, how do you spell ‘privilege?’” he asked on the group date), and Bennett keeps belittling him. Tayshia said she couldn’t deal with the tension between the two of them anymore, so she invited them to talk before the cocktail party that night. Before she got there, Bennett offered Noah a gift to smooth things over. The gift was a bandana, socks with mustaches on them (to commemorate Noah’s lost facial hair), and a book about emotional intelligence. “There are four components of emotional intelligence,” Bennett says. “I believe you are deficient in three of those four.” He doesn’t understand why Noah is offended by this gift.

Next week, Tayshia will kick off either Noah or Bennett, and do lie-detector tests on the guys. In the meantime, maybe we can all reflect on the most insulting gift we’ve ever received. I think mine was the maternity dress my mom got me when I was 12, because she said she thought it would look “really flattering” on me. Whisper yours into the wind or to your therapist!

The Men Are Baring it All