The Bachelorette isn’t on Netflix. Which is why I hadn’t seen an episode since the first season a decade or more ago. And then a year ago, when Chris Soules became the man, I didn’t love being left out of the post rose office talk. So I borrowed a friend’s Hulu login and joined the party. And now I just can’t help myself.
Each season is gifted/plagued with a handful of seemingly genuine fellas, a few that seem to be misplaced and, of course, the requisite asshat. JoJo may have been the most adorable and authentic bachelorette I’ve ever seen. She had the usual misfits, some adorable ex athletes, and Chad. Look, I’m a total sucker for beards and biceps but even I have no use for a tool of that variety. Thankfully, with a little help from the other fellas, JoJo called him out and sent him home with all his protein. Get him, girl.
Post send off, we gathered in our usual gossip spot to rehash the rose ceremony at work the next day. Understandably, one of my female associates pointed out that Chad had just sealed his single fate. No sane woman would ever accept a date from a man with such a steroid inflated ego. One who was so obviously insecure that he was poised to pounce on an entire household of men in front of America. After he cockily pleaded his case to be the next Bachelor during the After the Rose episode, where would ABC find two dozen ladies that were willing to vie for the hand of this season’s villain? Where you ask? Oh, just every city in America. And basically a slew of beautiful, intelligent, and mostly lovely women would step up to submit they’re video application to be the chosen recipients of Chad’s adoration. Except I’m certain he would be searching to find the female most willing to supply *him* with the adoration. And also deli meat.
Because here is what I know about women: we are stupid. Actually, that couldn’t be further from the truth. But we are ignorantly hopeful and saintly or so sanguine about our nurturing nature that we think we can charm the ugly right out of any man.
But we are ignorantly hopeful and saintly or so sanguine about our nurturing nature that we think we can charm the ugly right out of any man.
But back to Chad. Of course I got sucked into the Bachelor in Paradise, a trashy collection of cast offs participating in all manner of scandalous behaviors. I watch mostly because I want to feel better about my life’s choices. So we all know that Chad is going to show up. And everyone is talking about it excitedly. Some even think he’s perfectly suited to be their pal in paradise. Seriously bleh. *Spoiler alert* – “The Chad” shows up and trumps any of the douchey debauchery we previously knew him for. Being schooled in the ways of serially crappy dudes, there were no surprises there for me. And while I’m all about forgiveness and second chances and learning a great lesson from a horribly flawed choice, I’m highly attune to repetitive, shitty behaviors as well. Because there’s a difference between the guy that gets all nervous about being one of 26 lads chasing one woman so he knocks back a bit of whiskey and acts a fool and the guy who regularly threatens to punch, maim, and track down his roommates. Homeboy has issues bigger than a night of embarrassing shenanigans. Cause let’s be honest, who hasn’t done *that*?
When I met #2, I knew that he had a past with opiates. I knew that, once upon a time, he had a wife and kids and a decent job. And then drugs happened. But when I met him, he had a few years of sobriety under his belt, was building a business that was promising success, and he was a regular participant in drug rehabilitation programs. His first wife (technically, she was his 1st and 2nd), was overzealous in her attempts to enlighten me to all of the ways in which he destroyed her life. We’ll call her Umbridge…for no particular reason. However, her straight crazy behavior had me believing that even *I* would snort a line of oxy. So I was unconcerned with his past transgressions feeling certain that my non-crazy and his hard won recovery was the lesson and love that he needed to move forward with conviction, stability, and prosperity. Fast forward a few years to my discovery of #2’s full on prescription med relapse. Of all the emotions that I felt, I’m embarrassed to say that I felt shame in realizing that *she* had been right. That although he managed to keep clean for a few years, he ultimately relapsed; bankrupting his business, our personal lives, and losing the hard fought custodial visitation we had with his children.
When I started dating #3, I knew that he had also married and divorced the same woman twice. Both #3 and his family would speak at length about how crazy she was; forever checking his phone and email and calling numbers on his statement that she didn’t recognize. This go around I wasn’t naïve enough to think that every ex-wife was just naturally nutty. I questioned the reasons that my predecessor might have felt moved to painstakingly comb through phone records and bank statements. Why had she involved his father and bishop in an argument over the contents of his inbox which he claimed were nothing more than solicitous spam? In true narcissist fashion, #3 charmingly convinced me that the poor dear’s crazy stemmed from having an adulterous father and watching her mother suffer through that. He humbly admitted that he may have regrettably contributed to her trust issues when he slept with another woman during one of their many separations. And although he desperately sought to restore her trust, she just could never move past his single act of discretion. Bull-effing-shit.
His 1st wife (technically, 1st and 2nd) attempted to reach out to me while we were dating. However, having experienced the interference of an ex-wife before, I was happy that their lack of children meant I didn’t have to have her in my life. So I never heard her story, but it wouldn’t have mattered. I had other women reach out to me anonymously to inform me of solicitous bits of intel that they had on #3 and his supposed previous behaviors. I wrongfully assumed that they were put up to this by the spiteful former wife. Unrelated to his womanizing ways, I had two different men provide reports of his heated temper set off by minor events. I assured myself that his adult onset temper tantrums were the result of competitive basketball games and a demure damsel such as myself would never be the target of his fury.
During my first marriage, immaturity and arrogance led me to find myself in a really stupid situation making poor choices that played a role in the dissolution of my marriage. I was (and am) so disturbed by our decision to end our marriage so thoughtlessly, that I sincerely identified the issues that I personally contributed to bringing about divorce and worked to resolve them. Because I had done this, I was unperturbed by the reported past incidents of both #2 and #3, thinking that surely they had done the same. Both suitors were so genuinely loving and kind and humbled by what happened that I moved forward with total faith in their commitment to being really kick ass husbands.
Back to “The Chad”. He didn’t just get obliterated on the first night of The Bachelorette, throw around some insults, moon the camera, and then give America and his house mates a humble apology. He consistently threatened, bullied, and disrespected everyone else on the show. And when he landed a spot in Paradise, boyfriend was all disrespect and stereotypical roid rage.
Recently, a dear friend of about 15 years now, excitedly informed me that she discovered that she knew #3’s new girlfriend’s sister and had extended a lengthy word of caution. She thought it was delightful that karma would bite him on the ass and that she would save this new, beautiful, single mother from my same fate. “Actually, you didn’t”, I informed her. Because she likely won’t care, won’t believe it, or his humble admission of “messing up” combined with her unique sorcery is enough to insure that theirs will be a happily ever after. And I hope it is. And it’s not entirely out of the question.
Because sometimes a mistake is just that, a mistake. It results from being uninformed, careless, or momentarily losing your footing (and also your mind) along your selected path. Which I totally get. My life is a series of rubbish disguised as well intended choices. The Girl is quick to apologize for her misdoings, but The Boy is always overheard giving her a serious talk about what it means to say sorry. “When you say you’re sorry, you are telling that person that you won’t keep doing the thing you’re sorry for”. And that’s a pretty terrific point. #3 was really sorry each time a new girlfriend surfaced. He was super sorry each time it happened in his previous marriages as well, it was just unfortunate that *she* couldn’t get over it. I guess #3 needs The Boy in his life to instruct him how to properly be sorry.
Chris Harrison and JoJo, you both gave Chad a second chance, which is really lovely of you and also super for us viewers hoping to catch a little more of the shit show. And Chad, well he reminded us of who he was. While I hope to be a person that can extend grace, and love, and forgiveness to both myself and others, I *really* want to exclude the Chad’s and the Chad-like behaviors from my life. So my goal going forward is to experience these disasters from my big ol’ kind size bed, while logged in to a borrowed Hulu account and snacking on Diet Coke and Popcorn. But also to trust myself and my instincts, to observe others while they show me who they really are, and somehow take into account a person’s past while not allowing it to define their future…except maybe when it’s totally an indicator of future behavior. And also, yeah ok, I am for sure showing a bit of crazy ex-wife, but just maybe there’s something to my story. And maybe Chad and #3 aren’t just acting out because of external instigators and the loss of loved ones. Maybe they just are doing what they do and that repetitive behavior they keep showing, well that’s on them not their roommates or wives.