Oh god….I’m going to end up on Tinder again, aren’t I?

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A funny thing happens when you approach 30. You’re kind of forced to take stock of your life. However, I’m not someone who worries about goalposts. I don’t really believe in marriage, although I’m a big fan of weddings (people are forced to give you presents and tell you that you’re pretty? HELLO). I’m a very happy aunty who’s never wanted kids. I’ll buy a house either when I’m partnered up or I can afford one on a deeply average income… while somehow still affording rent because hell knows I’m not moving back to the South Coast of NSW to live with my parents.

So I don’t believe in goalposts, but I do have hopes. And as we’ve previously established, I am a romantic. I may not want tradition, but I do want a companion to go through this dumb thing called life with – and not just so I can afford a house. I found myself approaching 30, living in a small coastal town, surrounded by my friends, who are the greatest people on planet earth, but also apart from my friends in some ways. Because every person in my group was in a committed relationship, and I realised I was beginning to live their settled lives, when I myself did not have any desire to settle in to the life I had. I was living in an area I had almost no chance of meeting someone I had things in common with. So, I had a choice. I could move to Sydney, where I’d worked for 8 years, and which I hated, or I could just call time and move to Melbourne, which I loved, and where a beautiful nephew was himself about to be born. It was a tough choice (see aforementioned greatest people on planet earth), but one where I saw a lot of opportunity. I’d connected with so many people in Melbourne before in my life. This is where it’s going to happen to for me, I thought.

So, what’s happened since then? Well, I was on Tinder for a while last year. Both half-seriously, and then continuing my Tinder Trends series while I was unemployed. Then I got a job and got exhausted by Tinder. Ugggggh it’s so awful on there guys. The trends are never good. I dipped my toe in Bumble and mostly found more of the same. But here’s the thing: I have met a whole bunch of awesome – generally straight – women in Melbourne. Outside of work, I have met no men who are not boyfriends of said women. I’m not a big believer in office romances, partly because I’ve seen things go wrong and also because my mother met both her husbands at work (yep) and both of those were hellllla ill-advised. Also I am a big weirdo at work and pull a lot of faces at my desk while swearing at my computer. I don’t think it’s charming. ANYWAY. What I’m saying is I am not organically meeting people who I would date here in Melbourne, the land of opportunity.

Last night as I was standing in the shower, where I do my best thinking, I was pondering that clearly I am going to need to download Tinder in a couple of months when I go to Europe (goodbye, probably about a fifth of a non-existent housing deposit for the mortgage I could never service and would never get). Not because I am planning to casually fuck my way across the Continent, but because of my natural human curiosity about the people I will in no way be talking to in public spaces, because I actually care about my safety. I just…want to know what my options would be, if I were local.

But then, of course, you know where this is going. Because in the next breath, I realised I wasn’t even finding out what my options are now. Where I live. Nothing makes me wildly keen on the idea of dating (shaving my legs? Trying not to swear as much as I actually do? Praying I don’t get murdered?), and I really don’t mind waiting, but at some point I’m probably going to have to realise that the right person for me is not going to appear in my lounge room while I’m watching Younger.

If Silicon Valley could get on with *that* app, though…

An Incomplete Guide To Terrible Netflix Christmas Romances Pt 2

I’ve only watched three additional Terrible Netflix Christmas Romances, in part because did some extracurricular viewing of A Princess For Christmas (awful, awful, but Jamie Fraser is a strong drawcard) and A Royal Winter (actually…not too bad, as far as these things go?). I strongly recommend checking out Part 1 if you want to know how this will go.

Christmas Inheritance
Eliza Taylor and I go way back. No, not just to Neighbours (although Janae Timmins, princess of Colac, was a gift to Australian television). No, not even her struggle to say the word pineapple with a British accent in The Sleepover Club.We go right back to Pirate Islands. Which I watched predominantly because of a severe crush on Oliver Ackland who played Mars. So yeah, Eliza Taylor and I are going strong for 14 years at this point, I knew her way before her turn as the, in turn, blazingly kick-arse and heartbreaking Clarke in The 100, and I feel confident in saying this:
Christmas Inheritance may be Eliza Taylor’s breakthrough role.
You probably didn’t think you’d be reading that about the latest Netflix original Christmas movie, did you? Since I wrote my last post, A Christmas Prince has been subject to waves and waves of internet mockery. Even Netflix itself got in on the act:Screen Shot 2017-12-15 at 11.32.24 pm

So here’s my surprise for you all: Christmas Inheritance is actually good (….on the terrible Christmas romance scale), and Eliza Taylor is even better. And we get to see her in a way we never really have before.
We’re not even meant to like her character, Ellen, that much at the start. She’s pulling dumb stunts….for charity. She also pretty much feels bad about it immediately when it gets bad press, and sets about making amends.
These amends involve her going off to Small Town Somewhere to deliver an annual Christmas letter to the co-founder of her father’s company, before her father will decide on appointing her as the next CEO.
….Oh, and she can’t tell people who she is, and she has to do it on $100.
So we’re meant to judge her for not understanding the bus, and not knowing she’s sitting next to Canadian royalty Mag Ruffman, but when she tells her seatmate she’s never been on a bus, you don’t really feel like you’re watching The Simple Life. Because Eliza Taylor is so fucking charming that it’s really, really hard not to like Ellen from the start.

So that’s the thing about this movie. It’s inherently silly. The important tradition is that swapping the letters forces Ellen’s father Jim, and his co-founder Zeke (current position in the business…hazy), to see each other each year, as they physically exchange the letters going back decades, as well as the new one catching up on the goings-on. And yeah, it’s a responsibility, but sending Ellen essentially negates the whole point of the task, which is for Jim and Zeke to see each other. Ellie ends up working at Zeke’s B&B to earn her keep, and attempts to vacuum in skyscraper heels. Her fiance is a cartoon fucko.

But no matter how unlikely all the things around her are, there’s Eliza Taylor, being warm and delightful and learning that maybe giving money to the homeless is actually a good thing and also how to separate eggs. And it lifts the whole damn thing.

Also helpful is some genuine damn chemistry with Jake Lacey. He plays Jake (big stretch), who once had his heart broken by a city girl and now hangs out in Snow Falls and seemingly just keeps the entire tourism industry afloat, particularly when it comes to taxi-driving and B&B managing. Most of the men in these movies, except for the Christian Grey wannabe hot ghost in The Spirt of Christmas, are just sort of blandly nice dudes who mostly exist to fall in love with our heroine, and preferably propose to her at the end. The writers here aren’t afraid to let it run a little awkward and real, for our hero and heroine to have dumb in-jokes and to have misunderstandings about real things, like hold on, why are we about to pash when I have a fiance.
Y’know, that sort of thing.
But chemistry is really important for a romance, funnily enough. You don’t necessarily realise how nice it is to see, until you try to watch two extremely attractive people like Sam Heughan and Katie McGrath barely be able to muster a tiny spark to pass between them. So I like the chemistry, and I really enjoy watching Ellen. She’s sassy and successful but also stares at the newborn baby she’s holding like she’s Rosalie in Twilight, that creep. Jake may or may not get an instant boner at this. Shades of Matty J there.

Look, even the presence of movie-ruining Andie McDowell couldn’t ruin this dumb movie for me. Go watch it with my blessing. Netflix might subtweet you for watching it, but I won’t.

8/10
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Easter egg: there’s a shot of Eliza in her Erinsborough High uniform from Neighbours in the movie, see if you can spot it!

A Wish For Christmas

So it turns out that Hallmark is almost entirely responsible for making sure fetch continues to happen for Lacey Chabert’s career, and the girl is in no less than seven holiday romances. This has led to my new headcanon revolving around her character from A Wish For Christmas trying to find a new family for Christmas each year, because she didn’t try very hard to spend time with her own in this movie. Despite one of parents being deceased.

Unfortunately, this is not, as it should be, about Lacey’s character Sara walking out on her job because the place is full of unmitigated arseholes – even her ‘friend’ at work is a complete and utter cockknuckle to her. And her boss has declared Christmas cancelled in his own life, and is having people work over Christmas.

Did I mention they work at some sort of design agency? Even if office shutdowns aren’t as common in the US as they are in Australia, their work could not be more non-essential. Having fucking Christmas Day off can be factored in to deadlines when they make their pitches! Oh goddddd there’s no just no reason for it, apart from him to see the error of his ways and for one particularly dim-witted colleague to shout ‘WOW BOSS’ when he turns up with food and graciously allows them to go home. If they have families. Fuck the single people, they can keep working until they die.

Uhhh so anyway there’s a mystical wish-granting Santa in this one, not my favourite trope, and he grants her wish to finally have some fucking balls for once in her life. There’s some satisfying chats but still. She should take this opportunity to quit her job. Toxic environments don’t stop being toxic because one person starts asserting themselves. Someone else just becomes the victim instead.

Her boss gets a competence boner for her but I just can’t get invested in this love story about how awful corporate America is and that a boss might need to be taught how to be reasonable human being by a woman who is obsessed with Christmas to the point of deep, deep, delusion. He’s gonna be heartbroken when she goes off to find a new family next year.

2/10

Merry Kissmas

A Nutcracker toy is a key plot point and the elevator is sentient.

Please just watch the trailer to cop low-rent Robert Downey Jr.’s terrible, terrible fake British accent. Eliza Taylor did better than that when she was 14 years old. Anyway, that’s Carlton, famous choreographer and Kayla’s terrible boss and fiance. We know Carlton is terrible because he doesn’t eat carbs. (I should mention that Ellen’s terrible fiance Gray in Christmas Inheritance doesn’t do sugar. What an arsehole).

Meanwhile, Kayla is an idiot with no self-esteem who emotionally unloads, several times, to an unsuspecting Santa on the street, and goes around pashing strangers in elevators. Dustin is quite used to this, as he’s regularly sexually assaulted in said elevator by Ray Barone’s mother. I don’t want to victim blame but maybe Dustin should consider taking the stairs every now and then.

Dustin runs some sort of catering business with his cousin Kim, which we know because he refers to her, when only she is present, as ‘my trusty assistant and favourite cousin’ (the exposition in this film is just so smooth it hurts) and Kayla ingratiates herself with them by baking cookies with them. Actual dialogue when they’re done:
Kayla: ‘Look at these cookies, they look so happy!’
Dustin: ‘They were made with happy!’
Kim:  ‘The real happy’s coming up…’
Apparently Kim is not talking about these simpletons getting their bone on, but about Kim and her friend from the animal shelter bullying Dustin in to adopting a dog, even though he says his lifestyle does not suit pet ownership (given all their food preparation seems to happen in the middle of his apartment, I’m tempted to agree). But anyway. Who am I to complain about a cute guy and a cute dog?

Kayla eventually half-heartedly breaks up with her fiance, so she and Dustin can have their relationship develop in a montage that seems to represent two months but is in fact two days, then she goes back to her godforsaken fiance because she has no spine, and cannot bring herself to break up with him until he is completely flagrant about the fact that he has been cheating on her the whole damn time. I’m not here for this. Everyone except Eliza, quit your job.

Anyway this movie is bad. Not just because at the end of the movie, they use the same costumes and setting from the montage in a scene that’s meant to be one year later. It’s also because of the atrocious music that seems to have been written just for the movie. The opening music talks about being ‘elevated by this Christmas kind of love’. When they pash it’s a song about being ‘under the mistletoe with you’ having ‘our first Christmas kiss’. This music, and this movie, made me consider never celebrating Christmas again.

2/10

I’ll call the series to a close there, as the only terrible Christmas romance I plan to watch from here on out is an off-Netflix movie starring the Hot Ghost. I think you know why.
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Merry Christmas. Fall in love with a stranger. Dump your fiance.

Quit your job.

 

 

Bumbling along with Bumble: The Tinder Trends Sequel

….that no-one asked for.

You’ve heard of Bumble, right? It’s kinda like Feminist Tinder, in that ladies have to make the first move to make contact when they get a match, or that match damn well disappears. The whole thing kinda freaks me out, because I already spend 100% of the time thinking I come off as too thirsty, but nevermind, I wasn’t there to make matches! I was there to collect some of that sweet sweet data.

This post is intended as a sequel to my Tinder Trends series, but particularly the epilogue where I examined age-related data. Unlike The Big Study, I only collected data on 100 profiles (as I was hoping to have it done around PAX, but then I came down with an almighty case of PAX pox and did not want to think about men or romance or having a body). I set the parameters the same as The Big Study, however, searching for men between ages 25-40 within a 50km radius. I  also collected a few extra data points that were of interest to me.

First things first! Bumble did not want me to be a cougar. Well, not so much…

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This is good, because I have spent enough time with men in their twenties to last two lifetimes! More than 50% of the men Tinder showed me were in the 25-29 age bracket, whereas 41% is a much more manageable number of men I almost certainly wouldn’t date unless I started to have some sort of emotional crisis. Thanks, Bumble. There is always the chance that Bumble’s user base just skews a little older, or that the men on there set their age preferences a little closer to their own actual age.

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What ho, 30-35 year old men. Why is is that you’re 12% more likely to mention your height (my old bugbear), than, say, what you’re looking for? Once again, the older cohort were WAY better at expressing this than the young dudes. One of the biggest changes is the drop in the youngest age groups even having a bio at all. On Tinder, over 70% of guys in the 25-29 age group had something – anything – in their bio. Even if it was rubbish. Even if it was a bunch of emojis (seriously, some of these dudes really need to reconsider the picture-is-worth-a-thousand-words thing). But in this set it was only 59%. And I gotta say – 41% not having anything to say? It’s not good enough.  In the current environment where women are having to think about sexual harassment and assault literally every day, men should consider themselves lucky that a woman might even consider going on a date with them without a full police check. If they’re not going to offer any information about themselves, then they shouldn’t be surprised when the inevitable future comes about:

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In this dataset I also picked out what is actually a photo feature, but it it got thrown in there because it’s a Y/N rather than a numbers thing. If you put another person in your first photo….
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Don’t make it a magical mystery tour to find out which one you are! I came across a guy and ALL of his photos were group photos. No-one is matching with a dude just because he has a wide variety of friends who drink in a vast array of foreign locations.

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Across the board, Bumble men actually slipped in to my cliches more firmly than Tinder men. There was a higher average number of travel pictures, of animal photos, SO many more gym selfies (HELLO older dudes who want to show off those gainz), and and a heck of a lot more bar photos. But additional cliches emerged quickly too, cliches that only emerged about halfway through my Tinder research so I didn’t have an opportunity to factor them in to my data. I live in Melbourne, so no great surprises that apart from weddings, there’s a lot of photo ops when you suit up to get wasted at the races.
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Don’t put that photo on your dating profile you idiots

Guys also really want you to know they ride a motorbike. I don’t know. Judging by the age data it doesn’t seem to be linked with mid-life crises, motorbike dudes in my unfortunately vast experience just really. want you. to know. about their motorbike.

My new bugbear is the small child accessory! This is frequently accompanied by a vehement disclaimer that it’s not their child, but a niece or nephew. I’ve got a new idea! If you’re a parent, just disclose it. You don’t need a photo. It’ll make some nice content for your sparse bio. If you’re not a parent, don’t put a child in your online dating profile, unless you can also provide proof that their parents permit you using their kid in the pursuit of sex. And even then, probably don’t do it?

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However, it’s not too prevalent. About ten per cent of profiles pulled out the small child accessory. About the same percentage of profiles that did not feature a single photo of the subject’s face in full.
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So what are the overall takeaways from this Bumble vs. Tinder exploration? Well, just putting the power in women’s hands to initiate communication might be a slight improvement on Tinder, stemming the onslaught of dicks that can be experienced on such a platform (I mean, I presume that happens. My experience on Tinder is generally of matches that never go anywhere, but when I was on there I also explicitly stated I didn’t want to see anyone’s penis in my bio). But it doesn’t follow that the pickings are all that much better. The data actually tracked very closely with Tinder, when it came to how many people had something to say for themselves, how many were annoying cliches, and how there was a lot of content that didn’t quite fit in to easy categorisation. Is it nice to know that this app was showing me people a little closer to my age? Yes, but that can be controlled with preferences.

Want to know what the main difference is? You can switch off horndog mode (which I did when PAX rolled around) and switch to Bumble BFF. It’s just intended for making friends. As someone who’s still finding her feet in a new city, and has travelled solo, this idea appeals to me way more than talking to strange men on the internet. But unless you think it’s okay to choose friends on appearance alone…

You need to have a goddamn bio.

The Bachelorette Australia 2017 Week 1: Toxic Masculinity Ruins The Party Again

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Okay, to be fair, that was just a Murderino reference, and I don’t think anything’s truly ruining this party. I think Sophie Monk is having the goddamn time of her life and she will sass anyone who tries to bring her down and/or bring a man bun to the party.

But oy.

There are a few corkers in this bunch. I’m not wasting my time talking about Blake – just go back and read anything I said about Jen or Leah on The Bachelor if you want a rant on cartoon villains. No, this is about men who I think have actually revealed something of themselves (creative editing nothwithstanding). Some of them started strong in episode one and then quickly devolved in episode two. But first let’s start with the guy who was a clear d-bag from the start – Ryan.

This guy is just aggressive. Every woman I spoke to after this episode agreed that this man has some form. A prematurely greying Kiwi 26 year old construction foreman, he doesn’t seem to have a lot of respect for women, particularly Sophie. He tells us: ‘My ideal woman, she’s gotta look after herself. She’s gotta be respectful, she’s gotta have a great smile, good laugh, funny, and charismatic, and have that sponatuity [sic] that I’m looking for in a woman’. I’ll note two things here:
1) He certainly didn’t mention familiarity with the English language
2) How many of those things do you think he ticks off himself?
The first thing he asks her upon meeting her is why her past relationships have failed. He negs her on various things including her taste in pop music, creepily licking his lips as he supposes allowed that he might be able to change her taste (Sophie: ‘Yeah, right’). She seems to see right through him, sending him away from the red carpet pretty quickly, but he’s not quite done for the night. As Sophie prepares to kick off the cocktail party with a speech, he drags her off as soon as she opens her mouth to check that she is ‘there for the right reasons’. Ryan. You’re the one that needs to answer that question, not her. It’s a blessing that he gets minimal screen time in episode 2, as I feel some pretty violent urges towards this guy.
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Jarrod made a minor impression in episode one, another Gimmick Guy inviting Sophie to squash grapes with him, as he runs a vineyard. This whole vineyard thing is a bit odd. He says to Sophie at the first cocktail party that he finds women act differently towards him – aka keener – when he mentions the vineyard, but he makes the damn thing about 50% of his personality on the show and mentions it constantly. Anyway, Jarrod makes a damn good impression on the first single date with Sophie. For some unknown reason they’re walking on a highwire – given Sophie hates heights, I think we can pretty much put the nix on the idea that the Bachies organise or even have any input in to their own dates. Jarrod’s not much of a fan of heights himself, but when Sophie damn near shits herself, this former army man goes in to cool, calm, and collected mode, and gets her through it. He had the entirety of Twitter eating out of his hand, even though he pulled out the ‘treat a woman like a Queen’ line and appears to be a terrible kisser who made me recoil from my television (it’s possible Sophie is also a terrible kisser, but time will certainly tell on that one).

So how did this guy stuff it up? By going….intensively possessive and weird. Firstly he returns to the house to give a monologue instructing the other men on How To Date Sophie Monk, and I kind of wish it was all terrible instructions so I could pretend it was sabotage. At the cocktail party he argues with the other men on his determination to pull Sophie aside to thank her for their date. I get both sides on this one – he already has a rose, so he needs that time the least. On the other hand, all’s fair, etc, etc. But firstly, he yells a classic version of the old ‘not here to make friends’ chestnut, by telling the boys that he doesn’t want to marry any of them (do you want to marry Sophie? You’ve gone on one date! And the name of the game is that she’s also dating the rest of them…). And next he gives her a pair of uggboots, causing some minor drama after Blake had already given her a pair on the first night. I mean, points to all these boys for knowing the way to the heart of a bogan,  but Jarrod…

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Sam came in strong with an intro utilising three adorable nephews boasting about how Sam sometimes takes them to Target to try on bras (??? can I blame Safe Schools on this?). During the initial cocktail party, somehow we travelled back 16 years to when the walk-off in Zoolander was a fun, current reference. Sam made an appropriate spectacle of himself and gamely took part in a concessional undie run in the freezing cold. Sophie handed him the ‘double delight rose’, a new, fuzzily-defined thing entitling him to two single dates.

Within 5 minutes of episode two starting, he is champing at the bit. The first date of the episode is announced and he’s ready to stand, hoping Sophie will ‘stop playing around with him’. I’m gonna give him the benefit of the doubt and say he’s probably not thinking too tactically (why are you in a rush, dude? Surely not having one of your dates blown straight away is a good thing?), he’s just keen for a change of scenery. No-one’s on this show to hang around with blokes all day. When another date comes up, he’s still keen as a bean, basically yelling to the camera ‘I want my date! I want my date!’. But no, he doesn’t want to be on a group date. Too bad, you’re on it. And…it’s gross. Around episode two on the Bachies is time for a photo shoot, and this time it’s ‘famous couples of [fictional] history’. He’s playing Robin Hood to Sophie’s Maid Marian, and he cannot stop himself from looking down Sophie’s dress and commenting on her breasts, loudly announcing ‘I just looked at Sophie’s cans, sorry!’. Is it possible his mental age is lower than those infamous nephews? Who told you to openly ogle a woman, Sam? It makes Sophie so clearly uncomfortable, pulling a face and saying ‘You’re not meant to tell me’ and ‘Can you please not say that’ (and laughing, because that’s what women have to do diffuse tension) when he makes a second comment. She’s trying so hard to be professional on this shoot while this guy is acting like a lech. It’s a good thing that James is also in their scene, and he’s able to rebuke Sam a little bit while making Sophie laugh. Based on her comments – particularly noting his negative, jealous comments about James – I think Sophie has seen right through Sam, and probably walked out of that shoot to get some very specific feedback from the producers on the particulars of that double delight rose.
Sam, I was rooting for you. I figured at some point during the show, they’d get rid of your ridiculous man bun combover, and you’d be a generally reasonable human being. Who would have known, that the guy who was noted with surprise that there wasn’t ‘at least one douche’ on the first night, actually turned out to be the greatest douche of all? Turns out we were dealing with a ‘he who smelt it, dealt it’ situation.
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Also if you don’t think Apollo whose real name may or may not be Jake is a beautiful perfect angel then I don’t want to talk to you.

As should be clear from this post, no, I am not recapping this season! I just have a lot of feelings and wasn’t able to livetweet this week. Want to catch up on the events of the week? Check out Smart Bachie Person Jodi McAlister’s caps at BookThingo. Or if you’re just in it for the lols, Sinead Stubbins is back in the Power Rankings game over at Junkee, and I cannot freakin’ believe I didn’t know about the hilarious Punkee video recaps before a few weeks ago.

The Bachelor Australia 2017: Episode 16 (The Finale)

Did you notice the Baby Creeper aspect has been pushed in to the background over the last few episodes?

Well, that was your first clue about what was going to happen tonight.

(Well, no, it was about your 78th clue as I picked her for the final two as of the first episode)

You may recall – if you don’t, I have a handy dandy recap for you – that in episode seven, Laura told Matty she didn’t see herself being ready to have kids for another ‘five or six years’. Given she’s probably about to be spending plenty of time with a toddler and a newborn baby, I reckon you can guarantee she’s off to get a fresh Implanon installed, too.
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Anyway, it’s pretty significant that they stepped well away from that narrative once Laura became the clear frontrunner.

Look, we all knew what was happening here. The Daily Mail made sure of that, and while the show already did a pretty crappy job of telling the story of Matty and his second-place, it would have been an outright failure if there’d barely introduced his winner until the same episode her Dad appeared. Just sayin’. Let’s have a look at how they framed this inevitability.

At the final two, it’s important to contrast the two ladies left. After all, heaven forfend Australia notice that he’d probably be happy with any generically nice, white girl with hair in some shade of bronde. So Elise gets the ‘down-to-earth’ edit, where she is all warmth and smiles the girl who will fit nicely in to his life even though she lives in South Australia and Laura lives around the corner. Laura, by the way, seems perfectly down-to-earth too, but instead she gets the confident career lady edit, even though she cracks under the slightest pressure.

It’s used in two ways – to make us think Elise will win, and to make sure we know Elise will be okay. Firstly, she gets along with Matty’s Mum and brothers (there is no Tyrant Kate to be seen because he eggo is preggo again, although apparently she’s messaged them this morning, presumably saying ‘GRILL ‘EM TOMMY’) like a house on fire (Matty says ‘It’s almost too perfect’ hint hint). Boy does Matty’s brother have some questions for her, though. They edit it to look like he basically opens up his line of questioning with ‘Have you had many lovers in the past?’ and Elise chooses to answer talking about her two ex-boyfriends, rather than response I personally would have chosen:
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Seriously though Tommy, what’s up your dick with that question?  Umm anyway the rest of his line of questioning allows her to once again reiterate for the umpteenth time this episode how compatible they are because of how much they like not being inside and how much they enjoy physical exertion. And this is double edged sword for Elise, or at least the show wants us to believe that . She would fit nicely in to his life. His family likes her (his Mum fucking loves her). They can teach their tanned kids hockey and pick leeches off each other on hikes in the deepest wilderness. But also: what’s that exciting about someone who’s exactly like you? There’s no challenge. That’s a reason not to pick her, yes, but they could have just focused on the fact that these two have zero chemistry and just come off as good friends who pash sometimes.

In their solo day, taking place on a superyacht and a private island (so now we know where the budget for the rest of the series went) they want us to know Elise will be okay. Even though he wrings a few more declarations of love out of her, she also reiterates that she knows ‘it might get taken away from me, but I’m glad I’ve done it, because I’m really happy’. In her post-dumping to-camera and this heartbreaking interview after the finale, it’s pretty clear she quickly changed her mind on that, and it was just the confidence and high of love talking.

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Laura pretty much screws the pooch with the in-laws. And I think at this point I realise this why it is that I like Laura – we are not dissimilar. Because damn is she a nervous talker. One question down and they know her entire LinkedIn profile and then some.

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And then she straight up cries at Matty’s Mum because she gets a bit worked up. I’ve been there before. It feels like total garbage. It’s not just emotion – it’s nerves and anxiety and a million other things and you feel the need to apologise because you’re not usually like this, dammit. So even though she’s talking about something quite nice – her love for Matty – sometimes you’ve just been keeping your cool for too long and need to let it out.
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Lukily Matty’s Mum recognises this as a sign of the strength of her genuine feelings and not that she’s an overly-emotional weirdo.

I continue to lack any appreciation for Tommy after he basically tells Laura that Elise is better suited because she fucking likes camping or whatever, Laura then needs to jump to her own defence, talking about how she’s done heaps of backpacking, she’s ‘no-fuss, not precious, not a drama queen’ and of course someone in this fucking family thinks that’s ‘awesome’. This obsession with women being ‘low maintenance’, when Matty is the most fucking manicured, bleach-teeth, perfectly-abbed guy on television, is hypocritical and exhausting.
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Their solo date is full of loving sick on each other – in a lake, on a gondola in the rain – while the service industry employees of Thailand and an elephant look on.

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Weird that they invited Akoulina back.

Like I just want to get on with this because it’s nearly midnight so basically their date is full of a lot of laughter and Matty’s patented Fuck Eye.

Suddenly it’s doomsday. Everyone’s melting in their suits, Laura gets frocked up in a white top and skirt – all the better to show off her abs – and Elise looks stunning in gold (for the second episode running – I’m glad to costume department liked her, at least). Matty positions himself between two golden elephant statues that are surrounded by pink petals.
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Old mate’s brought a ring along, too. Over the last few days there’s been a story going around that he proposed and the girl turned him down, which was a good way to create any dramatic tension here.

They’re transporting the girls via boat and I start dreading the indignity of stumbling off a boat in heels while you’re off to get your heartbroken, but a strapping gentleman is kind enough to carry them off the boats, which is a bit fabulous, actually.

The first girl to arrive is always the dumpee, and no-one’s particularly surprised when it’s Elise. But oh, she’s so excited and hopeful. It’s awful to watch. It’s mostly treated in the kindest way possible – no fakeout like Georgia gave him, the gut-punch that started us on this whole sorry journey. Although he does tell her ‘I’ve realised that we’re so similar in so many ways, and I love that about you’, which is a great way of really saying you’re a bit up yourself. She does an amazing job at saving face in front of him, wishing him the best, but she only gets to walk away as far away as necessary before she starts crying.
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Matty relocates himself to a colourful rug at the end of a rose-strewn path to greet Laura. Laura has told Osher ‘I’m ready to find out where I stand, whether it’s good or bad’ and it turns out she was deadset convinced it was bad. Matty greets her with a broad grin and sighs, to which she replies ‘it’s okay’. She looks like she’s going to vomit or cry or both, interrupting his speech with ‘It’s okay, whatever it is, it’s okay’ and just generally acts like she’s lost until he finally spits out that he loves her. So it’s actually pretty nice to be able to see these kids finally express their feelings for one another. Also he pops the ring on her right hand (god, it’s a risky move giving jewellery to a jewellery designer) so presumably she’s got a bit of time before she needs to start worrying about getting knocked up.

Put out your hockeysticks for Elise, folks.
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The Bachelor Australia 2017: Episode 15

Oh god, where to start? The anger, it’s too fresh.
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And it’s not just that I was wrong with my predictions. It was so sad to see wonderful Bogan Queen Tara heartbroken tonight. Not really because she’s not going to be with Matty – personally I’d prefer no-one ended up with Matty – but because he’d led her to believe she’d finally found someone who doesn’t think she’s Too Much. So mostly I hate that this precious cinnamon roll may think she ever needs to make herself lesser to be desirable to a nation of milquetoast boys.

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My main hope at this stage is that Celebrity Bogan Queen Sophie Monk will pave the way for a Bachelorette as charming, lively, and unfiltered as Tara.

Let’s go back to the start. This week’s first date goes to Laura. The folks at Destination Wollongong are stoked that this date takes place in the Northern Illawarra. Heck knows the timeline for this date. They start out driving over the Sea Cliff Bridge, and this is my home area so I’m wondering how the hell they got that sucker empty. Either this is the legit crack of dawn, or they somehow managed to close the bridge for filming. Seems a bit over-the-top. Anyway. They make their way to the elegantly named Bald Hill. Only one thing happens at Bald Hill, and that’s skydiving. Laura’s generally got the more tame dates, so apart from the previous group date where they jumped out of a plane, I’m not really sure she has a leg to stand on when she says ‘I’m starting to get a little concerned that he wants to throw me off and out of things’.
Anyway she’s really excited! She loves things that push her out of her comfort zone. It’s an attitude that she has to carry with her to winey cheese time, for which they must have returned to the mansion because there’s some serious Daytime! Nighttime! action. One nice thing that happens this episode, is that Matty commissioned a production assistant totally drew himself a new portrait of Laura to replace the First Date Monstrosity. Laura is delighted. Does it look a bit like Georgia Love? Maybe. But it’s not enough to deter her from forcefully ripping herself from her comfort zone, against the better judgement that has served her perfectly well all season long. Ah well, I said she’d need to go balls deep, and here it goes. This took her about 40 minutes to get out and nonetheless my typing probably missed some stuff:

‘You’re very unexpected… I came in to this with no expectations…I’ve been taken for six in this….*long pause*…yeah well, this is incredibly difficult, because I’ve never ever been in a situation where I’ll need to put everything out there and not get that back, and I know there is a very good chance that I will get very hurt in this… but I would prefer to get hurt and for you to know everything…I am utterly falling in love with you, I genuinely am. It is truly the best feeling in the world’

Look I’m gonna take a wild stab in the dark and say for the finale they’ll just choose the last two lines.

Prior to this, Matty had told us that despite his many repeated misgivings about her reticence, he was just gonna let her stay at the level of expression she was comfortable with tonight (and presumably dump her if she was not effusive enough). So we know it was on his mind. His response to her outpouring? ‘I didn’t expect you to say that’. Mate what the fuck were you expecting after your interrogation at hometowns?

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Anyway they do some pashing and bantz to relieve the tension and apparently she still likes the first portrait, so I guess she really loves him (and, in fact, they make the new portrait face away as they’re kissing so I guess it’s haunted).
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I don’t know what to say about his date with Elise. There’s a steam train, it unfortunately doesn’t run anyone down. Did you know he and Elise had a ‘slow burn’? And she likes sports and the outdoors? That her family is ‘one he wants to be part of’ (because of Phil, obvs). There’s no new information here. He takes her camping so you know I think we can definitely vote for this as Worst Date Ever.

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There’s another very eloquent confession, from Elise:
‘I don’t fall for people often, but I know when I do. Everything kinda makes sense. I kinda feel like yeah, since hometowns, it has changed…and I can see a future with us, and yeah, I am falling in love with you’

And he just nods in response and says ‘I didn’t know that’.call

Like he makes all the right noises after that, but Smart Bachie Person Jodi McAlister did raise the theory that possibly he sent Tara rather than Elise home at this point not because he likes Elise so much, but rather to spare Tara the hurt of being let down later in the game.

Let’s move on to Tara’s date though, because there was one fundamental difference to the other girls. And not just that she was orally ecstatic about every element. When she turns up to some docks to see Matty waiting, she exclaims: ‘Oh sick! Matty and a seaplane, my two favourite things’. She’s apparently never been in a seaplane before but given Matty lied about having been in a helicopter in episode 12 I think we’re all chill. They take the seaplane to a yacht because okay. He proves Troy right, he is a liar, because he says Tara’s family were nice at hometowns. He also repeatedly reminds us that he laughs all time with Tara, that he forgets the rest of the world exists, that he thinks their future would be so fun. Why you dump her then bro? Well, here’s a thought. As the serious part of winey cheesy time happens (Tara, who cannot resist commenting on anything including peacefulness, shrieks ‘ohhhh this is so pretty’ like a) Matty set it up himself and b) it doesn’t look the same as the hundreds of other couches and cheeseboards we’ve seen over the season), Tara first stresses about being too full-on for other people. Which, yes, I, an introvert, could only handle her in small doses, but she is still a perfect angel. She then tells him ‘I really really like you, and I can see myself falling in love with you, so soon’.

So soon.

So look, I like the ‘she was sent home to protect her beautiful heart before they jet off overseas’ theory. But Matty is a garbage person, so I truly believe he went down his list of L-bombs and realised there was one missing.
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So, back at the mansion of awkwardness and sobriety, Matty tells us he feels terrible – he has feelings for and sees a future with all of them – and Osher turns up to provide some highly unnecessary Rose Maths. Matty picks Laura first, and then Elise.
Matty, I’ve got two things to say to you:
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wrong

RIP Bogan Queen.

The Bachelor Australia 2017: Episode 14

As warned in my last recap, my overwhelmingly active social life (aka I actually did things for once because my best friend was visiting) prevented me from putting up this recap in a timely fashion. However, knowing I’m going to miss recapping Sophie’s Bachelorette season (devastating – I want to see if she’ll be on Gogglebox talking about her own dates) because of my work commitments, I wanted to do hometowns out of a desire for completeness.

The first person to lure Matty to her hometown is Tara, from the Gold Coast. She wants to take Matty to her ‘special place’

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Turns out her special place is Movie World, and it must be approximately 6am because they have the place to themselves. Tara + rides is a great chance for another long session of Tara shrieking excitedly. I genuinely believe her finale montage could just be her eating phallic food and screaming. As they walk around the park he feels like he’s getting a preview of what life with Tara would be like. As she grabs his arse.

Boy receives fair warning about her brother Troy, but nonetheless it’s a bit of a surprise when they’ve only seemingly been there about 30 seconds and have met a series of charming small children when he drags Matty out for a chat around the barbecue – which seems like a dangerous place for an interrogation.

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It’s not really too drastic. Although Troy cuts an intimidating figure in his backwards cap, he wants to know the same thing all the families want to know – will he pick Tara? None of these people are apparently familiar with the rules or the format of the show because of course the Bachie is strictly verboten from talking about love or who he’ll pick.

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Anyway when Matty says he doesn’t know yet who he’ll pick, Troy responds with a deadpan ‘Liar’, and all the producers high-five themselves for getting their dramatic promo shot. Apart from that, everyone’s nice. In conversation with Tara’s sister, Matty calls Tara an ‘all-rounder’, which sounds the kind of thing my teachers would put on my report cards because I wasn’t particularly good at anything.

(I was just waiting for my time to shine…writing The Bachelor recaps for literally dozens of people)

When she tells him ‘I could really see myself falling in love with you’ as he leaves, Tara starts a fascinating trend of  the girls not telling The Bachie that they’re falling in love with him at hometowns. This is absolutely standard practice in series gone by, but I have a sneaking suspicion all of the ladies spent some time studying Nikki’s journey in Richie’s series. If you’re not familiar with her, she fell for that dropkick hard, and Australia was left heartbroken after he chose Stage Five Clinger Alex Nation. At hometowns, Nikki actually went one step beyond Alex – admitting to him ‘I’m totally in love with you’ versus Alex’s ‘I think I’m falling in love with you’. And while Tara probably holds emotions deeper than she reveals to him (she starts crying after he leaves, with her voiceover telling us ‘I’m not scared to fall in love. I’m scared of getting my heart broken, I worry that he won’t fall in love with me back’), it’s an interesting change in the usual formula of the show.

Matty’s off to Florence’s ‘hometown’ of Melbourne next, where he will be mildly offended that Florence’s entire family did not fly over from Holland. As a substitute, they ride some bikes for fifty metres for a ‘Dutch picnic’, which as I was disappointed to find out, is not a sexual innuendo but just a bunch of cheese. Florence assures as that ‘friends are the family you choose’ so today she will be introducing Matty to two of her close friends. She chooses one of her most ‘direct’ friends, presumably because she realises she looks exactly the same as Tara and, like Highlander…

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Seriously, I feel like the Twittersphere have been completely ignoring this while they repeatedly assert that Georgia and Laura look exactly the same because they have brown hair…

Anyway, if you know you’re going to be making way for your doppelganger that’s likely to actually stick in the country, you might as well throw a few parting shots the Bachie’s way through your intimidating friend. She even goes out of her way to make him nervous on the way in the door. In addition, she makes him stop holding her hand during the conversation (‘Let go of my hand…it’s okay’). Honestly, Florence’s complete and utter Fuck It I’m Hanging Out With My Friends attitude during this hometown might actually be my favourite thing.  At the end she tells him ‘I feel like I’m on my way to falling in love with you’ and he just responds with blank look and straight on kiss. It’s so awkward that they probably should have just high-fived.
Actual footage:
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Now it’s off to rainy South Australia to see Elise’s Family Elise, Totally Elise. They walk around getting wet but not in that way for a bit before Matty is finally allowed to see his beloved Phil, who he refers to as ‘Captain Phil’. He is thisclose to giving Phil the flowers he brought, inclined as he is to give blooms to people he’s in love with. Matty soon realises that he has a crush on Elise’s whole beautiful, white-teethed family. Even Elise’s Mum, who sneaks off to drink wine in the kitchen and drag Matty for his potato-mashing abilities. Elise smiles her face off the entire time – she’s so happy to have Matty together with her family. I mean, I know some families like this. When Matty says Elise’s family is something he’d ‘like to recreate’, it’s a bit odd, but I get it. Elise’s sister doesn’t seem like a nightmare tyrant, unlike Matty’s sister. But now I’m just sad that this entire lovely family is going to be heartbroken when Matty dumps them.

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How dare you Matty?

Now we come to the best part of the episode, for it is time to meet the Best Dog In Sydney.
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Buster is Laura’s three-legged rescue dog and an actual angel on earth, running around on the beach. This is where Matty meets them, and I quietly note with some sniggers that Buster doesn’t come when Matty calls, but when Laura says to go. Good instincts, Buster (of course, being a sook, Buster immediately starts pumping Matty for belly rubs).

Never forget, by the way, how Matty’s sister panicked at the idea of Free Babysitting Service Matty J leaving the state. It’s incredibly convenient that Laura lives in Sydney. Matty even mentions this: ‘It’s nice to be in your hometown…which is also my hometown’

They turn up some relos place/rented property and I’m personally devastated to see that this masterpiece isn’t framed somewhere:Screen Shot 2017-09-11 at 9.24.43 pm

Buster isn’t there either so the rest of it all is pretty dull. Nana drags Laura a bit for bringing a few guys home over the years (Laura tells him at the end that she hasn’t brought a guy home in years). Her sister gives Matty a light grilling, not too bad but it’s still beautiful to see his face fall over the course of the episode every time it doesn’t fly when he tries to give a charming smile instead of an actual answer. When Laura has  solo chat with her sister, she’s stressed out – does she put herself out on a limb letting him know how she feels, and potentially get hurt, or does she let him read between the lines? Oh yes, she definitely watched Richie’s season. Her sister urges her to go balls deep on this thing, but evidently she chooses the latter. As he leaves, they have a pash and a slightly awkward conversation:
Matty: Are you 100% certain?
Laura: Are you 100 certain? …You can’t answer. You know I want this.
Matty: But are you 100% certain?
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She responds in the way most people would to a man who can give them no guarantees and who also has three other girlfriends: ‘Don’t do that, not if you can’t say the same thing back’. As much as I find it entirely understandable, at some point in finale week, Laura’s gonna have to go balls deep on this thing, because we know Tara will.

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Apparently you’re not allowed to compare notes on hometowns because the pre-rose-ceremony scene is just a montage of the girls drinking wine on their own in different parts of the mansion.

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The girls line up and there is the stink of excessive sobriety in the air. Tara stands there with her hands clasped – she appears to be praying. Oh honey. He’s just not worth it. He picks Elise, then Tara. Laura appears to roll her eyes, a little butthurt that she’s been put in the bottom two (BALLS. DEEP). Florence looks vaguely sick because she presumably knows what’s coming. Osher gives Matty a little man-pat as he farewells Florence, meanwhile Tara shouts ‘we’ll see you soon!’ because maybe Bachie is less about the dripping man-candles and more about the friends we make along the way.

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