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…

Bachelor in Paradise Australia: Episode 7

I want to start this recap with a little statement.

Mostly, that the people I write about in this recap are essentially characters, brought to life by producers and editors. I try to use people’s own words as much as possible, lest it all becomes my own interpretation, but I know that their narratives are created by those making the show. It means my perception is limited by what they choose to screen. I know I can get super-judgey, but it is intended against the ‘characters’ and the story the show is telling about them, and not the people. ‘The Edited Version of X Which We Are Being Shown’ is just a lot longer to type than ‘x’.

I say this, mostly because on Twitter I was judging Laurina’s behaviour at the end of this episode as ‘bratty’. The context that both the people on the show and to some extent production, certainly at the time and possibly right up until after the show last night, that was missing was that Laurina’s brother died a month before production. It casts her behaviour in a different light.

In addition, whilst I’m going to have a rant about Keira in any case, a conversation between Jarrod and Grant, and a subsequent conversation between Keira and Grant, seems to have been so heavily edited in such a way that it again robs people of vital context – including exactly what it was that Grant apparently quoted Keira as saying, e.g that Keira thinks Jarrod is a terrible kisser (a theory that I actually think is quite likely). Apart from ignoring actual relationships in favour of drama, the editing is not bringing any clarity of circumstance to viewers.

With all that said, this is the story of Paradise we were told last night…

Eden is celebrating the current post-ceremony cruisy vibes, and tells us that the good news is, ‘the men have the power’. This has never been good news in the entirety of human civilisation, Eden.

The show starts telling the story of The Magical Disappearing Laurina, aka She’s Having A Nice Holiday And We Are Not Happy About It. I think to some extent the show is trying to draw parallels with Brett, who was very much here to have a chill in Fiji with his girlfriend. Once again, context, she was grieving and needed time out and a gentle reminder that dealing with Blake would be an excellent cause to go off men permanently. Jared would like to get to know but can’t seem to actually find her. She’s probably not interested then, mate.

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There is so much more Jarrod and Keira nonsense in this episode than anyone could ever want or need. And I think I deeply just need to accept the editing shenanigans here, but the long story as short as possible seems to be that she gave him a rose not because she wants him for herself, but that she wants him to find love. She has told him this, and he feels ready to ‘mingle’ on that account. But every time he makes an effort to actually mingle, Keira gets annoyed and jealous. There is some serious wanting her cake and eating it too vibes. It’s annoying and hypocritical and I just want them to sort themselves the fuck out, preferably with at least one of them going home.

The girls are having a chat and Tara asks Leah if she’s been making good choices. No she has not…’Have you pashed and someone’s dashed again?’. Oh dear, Leah really is a little bit unlucky. Not that I think she’s a particularly kind and lovely person, but apparently she tried to pash Michael after a few wines post rose ceremony and he wasn’t having it. And indeed, Michael is here to tell us he feels no romantic connection to anybody and he’s just waiting for his girl to walk in.

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Which brings us to Elora! I wasn’t really a fan of Elora on Matty’s season, but I am kind of excited on Megan’s account. Elora is currently our only option for saving her from the clutches of Jake….according to the promos, at least. Elora comes in with a date card and Tara tells her she has to ‘go on chatty-chats with the boys’, determined that they not tell her off the bat who’s in relationships….mostly to give Sam the chance to decline her. Elora first approaches Luke (who tells her he’s solid with Lisa), and Jake, who lets her know he’s close to Megan and wishes her luck on her future dating endeavours. Elora then approaches Megan and the entire island flips shit at the idea that Elora might be asking her out
Keira: ‘Taking a girl on a date???’
Elora: ‘Maybe….’

Jarrod: ‘I hope that’s what I think it is’.
Settle down, perve.
All the fuss was enough for me to know she wasn’t going to. Megan is a bit further behind, getting her hopes up, but Elora is just getting permission to approach Jake again. Elora made fun of his ‘sexy squint’, so I’m not sure why she’s pursuing this one so hard. Laurina tells Jake: ‘Megan’s face doesn’t look impressed, but that’s just her usual face…’ Well if people would stop being so deeply unimpressive…

So Elora pulls Jake aside, and tells him to really only go for it if he’s open to meeting new people, but yep she would really like to take him on this date. He is flattered and thinks it would be fun, but ultimately lets her down. When he returns, Megan is pleased. She thinking it’s a big turning point in their relationship, and hopefully it’s the turning point where she dumps him because a better option is there. Hey, one can hope.

Elora sets off the flames on the side of Leah’s face by eventually approaching Michael, who she will go on the date with. Leah thinks Michael can’t even see what’s standing in front of him! Okay, Leah, he has seen you. He’s not in to it. I thought he wasn’t rugged enough for you, anyway?

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Elora and Michael are off to do some glass blowing! I thought Michael was just being a ridiculous person when he referred to is as kinky and sensual, and then I heard the instructor telling him ‘Blow blow blow, go for it, harder ….and stop’ and I maybe changed my mind. The show plays some very subtle saxophone music over this entire scene.

Leah is ‘exhausted from chasing Michael around….next, moving on’ and Nina points out that she is pretty low on options, at this point. Guess who’s completely unloved by the Aussie girls, though? Thunderbirds are go! Leah wants us to know that she finds him ‘genuine and lovely’, which arguably means he is a terrible match for Leah.

Oh god, it’s back to Jarrod and Keira. Jarrod is creepily noting Keira’s nude-coloured top when in walks Simone. Simone got caught up in the Great Matty-J Slut-Shaming Scandal with Leah, a fucking low point for this entire series. She’s blonde, if you recall, which means she has Jarrod’s immediate attention, describing her as ‘a blonde bombshell in a  little red number’. He mentions to Keira that Simone reminds him of his ex-girlfriend, and yeah…you could probably say the guy has a type, right?

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It’s like a peroxide-heavy game of spot-the-difference.

Keira is happy to rant about how it would be ‘downgrading’, but she clearly feels threatened knowing the guys have the roses this week

Leah has a chat with Simone and starts selling Jarrod: ‘He’s so, so funny’ (is he???). Simone had presumed he was with Keira, which Leah shoots down. This chat has lasted approximately five seconds when Jarrod The Keen Bean screams across the courtyard: ‘Leah, are you going to share Simone around or are you going to keep her all day?’. Settle down petal. Funnily enough, this buys him some time with Simone, which she mostly spends laughing nervously and experiencing genuine confusion about the term ‘vineyard’. Jarrod’s feeling like a prince what with his vast knowledge of that place wot where grapes are grown. He tries to explain the thing with Keira, which Simone describes summarily: an absolute mess.

Just to really rub this in, Keira is off questioning how genuine Jarrod’s feelings were in the first place, because he’s off talking to Simone. This is what you wanted him to do.

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Michael and Elora sit down to have a very dull conversation that mostly serves to remind me how pretentious she is. ‘I do much more things than other people’ she says, and she’s really easygoing. She boasts about her wanderlust some more. I just find it so hard to believe that someone who’s so self-consciously easygoing actually is easygoing. Accurately, Michael isn’t really feeling the chemistry, because there is none, but he would like to hang out some more. When he returns, he greets Ali, Grant, Luke and Lisa with a ‘What’s up, couples retreat’ and lets them know that she’s a ‘top bird’ but not for him.

Leah aggressively does not care because she’s over here talking to Jared, thanks. She tells him that he seems to be there find love and he says ‘he’s here for the experience and to hopefully form a connection’, which I think we can all agree is a very different thing
Leah: ‘I think you and I connect’
Jared: ‘Yeah….yeah’
Leah: ‘You’re cool, this could be fun’
Tell Ali to call off the search, I’ve found her sparks.

There’s a bit more negging of Laurina’s solo time here that I don’t care to recap, although it does feature an amazing dance routine from Tara, Keira and Laurina.

Now it’s time for the ridiculously heavily-edited conversation between Grant, Ali, and Jarrod (with Jared hanging off the side, presumably to escape his overwhelming chemistry with Leah)
Grants asks who Jarrod will give his rose to, and Jarrod feels like Keira is already jumping down his throat for talking to Simone. Grant decides to give it to him ‘straight’: ‘as sweet as she is, she’s wishy-washy. She doesn’t know what she wants…don’t string someone along just because you wanna stay here, you know?’, the most gentle straight-talking I’ve ever seen. Jarrod seems blinded by his honesty, and has maybe finally acknowledged he is being taken advantage of, which he probably is.

Keira is watching this happening and getting antsy. She says she is in Grant’s ‘bad books’ which is why she wants to know what is happening. If you check the link near the start Keira has essentially said that after the last rose ceremony, Grant cornered her and abused her for sending Daniel home, which is a very bad look for Grant, because Grant was a fucking sex pest (and it turns out the girls basically agreed to send him home on account of sex-pestiness). In addition, apparently he passed on a comment that Keira thinks Jarrod is a bad kisser. So while she’s being paranoid, perhaps there’s reason for it. She pulls Jarrod aside, and he won’t tell her what they were discussing. Keira is determined to get to the bottom of it, and wheedles him. He quite reasonably says he’ll discuss it when he’s ready to talk about it, and he wants to sleep on it. She is very drunk, and tells him she doesn’t need to know what was said, just what it was about. Yeah, alright.
In any case, she decides:
‘I need to go talk to someone’
Jarrod: ‘Don’t talk to them about it’
Keira: ‘I will’
Cue the deepest sigh ever.

She very obnoxiously grabs Ali and Grant, and their whole conversation is a mess, much as she is. We’re never actually allowed to know for sure what it is that Grant said he was essentially quoting Keira on (we now have her word for it), but her main point of offense seems to be less about Grant warning Jarrod off Keira, than Grant assuming he can speak for her and her thoughts. Then again, ‘You think he’s a safe bet. And you feel like he’s Mr Right, but I don’t know if you want Mr Right. You might be in between Mr Right and Mr Right Now’ does not seem particularly flattering.

Keira goes on a drunken rampage, screaming at him and threatening to throw her drink at him. That one’s not editing, love. She tells us ‘When I feel slightened or hurt, it just doesn’t sit well with me. I’m very reactive’. She’s very good at mangling the English language, our Keira.

Probably the worst part is Jarrod’s weird, patronising reaction where he accuses her of ‘chucking a tanty’ but finding this cute and adorable rather than a sign of someone whose drinks should probably be watered down. Anyway. He’s still hanging on that thread, it seems.

We’re now on Laurina chilling out with her under-eye mask when Megan runs in with a date card. I should emphasise it is dark and at the very least, Keira is drunk so it’s probably not very early. Megan screams that Laurina has the date card, and has ten minutes to get ready. ‘Nah, I’m not going’. Look, you can see here that without the knowledge of what’s going on with her, forcing her to spend some time with someone is not a bad idea from production because it looks suspiciously like she’s using the show for a holiday, but it is the date equivalent of a ‘u up’ text at 1am when you’re in your jammies. Sam’s reaction that this ‘is a dating show, not a sleeping show’ seemed okay in context, and he really didn’t know, but an apology probably wouldn’t go astray now (nor would it go astray to comparing her to a 300-year-old demon, either). No-one comes off particularly well from the ensuing scenes – production seems insensitive, the others seems a little mean, and Laurina comes off as a bit disingenuous with her excuses – when the context is added in.

In the end, Laurina gets weepy and accuses production of being disrespectful, before deciding to leave. I think everyone can agree it’s for the best. Apparently she’s in love now, and I bet he doesn’t even where stupid braids in his hair.

 

 

 

Bachelor in Paradise Australia: Episodes 3 and 4

Well, it’s tough times for those of us who tuned in to this show to watch people fall in love, given it’s not something Channel Ten is the least bit interested in doing. What have Eden and Nina or Luke and Lisa bonded over? Are they talking about futures outside the show? Who would know. It’s only a good time for lovers of…

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Most of the drama is focused on love triangles. Of course, the show is set up entirely to create them. A bunch of hot, drunk people on an island, with a perpetual gender imbalance? Yeah.

We exorcised ourselves of the Jake/Flo/Davey triangle last week, only for poor old Flo to find herself dumped in another one this week. And then there was the love quadrilateral that emerged later in the week, but we’ll get to that…

Episode Three

First up, Keira has a date card. Sam obnoxiously announces that ‘She’s not taking me, I already know! We had a chat’ and yeah Sam, we know no-one wants to take you and your bizarre birdsnest hair for a date. Keira has the hots for Michael, and she’s taking him. No-one in the world has been more pointedly and vehemently not butthurt than Tara: ‘I haven’t even kissed him’.

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She then does something that mortifies me. She starts hanging out with Sam. They are jokingly ‘distraught’ but agree to be one another’s rebounds. There’s nothing explicitly romantic, but I don’t want my wonderful queen being sucked in to his vortex.

Keira is mega socially-awkward on their date, and not just because they have to wear stackhats covered in leaves to ride horses on their beach. She keeps making weird comments about how romantic the situation is etc even when Michael seems to spend half their date talking about how beautiful Tara is. In fact, her complete inability to read his signals means she could be the perfect match for….Jarrod!

He turns up while Michael and Keira are still on their date, and the entire island flips their whole shit. Like so:

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Not necessarily a glowing endorsement, perhaps summarised by Florence’s to-camera ‘Is that….Pot Plant Jarrod? Fuck me’. Her hopes of someone to come and sweep her off her feet are dashed (Florence ended up giving Jarrod some brutal honesty on After Paradise, and tells him she thought he was creepy!). Blake, of course, picks up a pot plant to greet him with, hopefully un-pissed-in, while Leah calls ‘Did you bring us some wine?’, surely something Jarrod hears wherever he goes. Sam and Tara flirt (about his balls????) and I cover my face in revulsion.

Promptly following Jarrod is Season One Ali, someone who established herself as a bit of a keen bean by trying to pash Tim on the first night. She is happy to be the stage-five clinger of the series, but she’ll have some bloody stiff competition from Jarrod, who forms an instantaneous and overwhelming crush on her. So much for taking it easy and mingling, mate. Flo is not exactly kind when Ali turns up and Jake gives her the eye, saying of course he likes her because ‘she looks like someone from the Gold Coast’ and accuses her of looking like a Malibu Barbie: ‘her face doesn’t move’. None of this is kind, but it is also quite true. A tanned blonde with bolt-ons, big pouty lips and saucer eyes? It’s enough to make any gal a bit insecure.  And indeed Flo seems a bit intimidated in other aspects, namely that Ali is gunning for a husband and kids, while Flo seems to be quite happy having fun (and not husband-hunting in the worst environment possible!). Somehow Jarrod has heard Ali has ‘the most beautiful soul…inside’, and I’m not sure where else she would keep it (nor…who has been saying that?).

ALSO  joining, with a very purposeful stride which I admire, is Megan from Richie’s season. Megan’s a little infamous with the Daily Mails of the world as after she left (refusing a proffered rose), she went on to conduct a very Instagram-friendly relationship with fellow contestant Tiffany. Megan’s pretty clearly not a big fan of labels (which is something I empathise with) but is clear that she’s interested in both guys and girls, and is open to getting to know anyone on the show – in particular Jake, who she’s met before, and Elora, who she just presumably thinks is hot (spoiler alert for this episode AND next – we already know Megan and Elora get to know each other from the salacious promos). The next part is a bit vague but basically Megan gets a date straight away before she enters the resort – but doesn’t explicitly get to choose. Instead she chooses from a ‘menu’ of personality traits, and then the person who ostensibly best matches them is picked. I don’t actually believe this…at all, because Jake is whisked away for the date, and he doesn’t actually have any good personality traits.

Ali is being swept up in a sea of thirst. Unluckily for Jarrod, the 5-10 minutes of Sophie’s season that she watched were the ones where he got dumped, but they bond over their families being in the wine biz. Old mate Mack jumps in for the cockblock, inspiring some jealous noises from Leah about Ali’s husband-hunting. Mack and Leah both need to sort themselves the fuck out to be honest, but that’s a story for later. Mack is overwhelmed by the simple fact that Ali is asking him questions about himself (not exactly a glowing endorsement of Leah, who he’s usually shown speaking to) and asks one of the most annoying questions on earth: ‘Why the hell are you single?’

(I’m pretty sure the only way to answer that question is to take a leaf out of Bridget Jones’s Diary and reply that underneath your clothes, your entire body is covered in scales)

The Keenest Bean Who Ever Lived is pounced on by Keira when she returns from her date (Tara hissing: ‘Jarrod’s here, Jarrod’s) – they’ve had some interactions on Instagram (ah, modern romance). She is very blatantly checking him out, and starts complimenting him as soon as he starts talking about Ali.

Because this show will never release us, there’s more:

Michael returns eager to talk to Tara, not really picking up on the vibe well at all. When Ali asks Michael what he looks for in a woman, he openly gestures to Tara. Finally he takes her aside. While she initially just seems standoffish, making a point of what a great time she had with Sam, as she sits there in his ridiculous horseriding stackhat it is clear that she is incredibly drunk, and this could not be a worse time to have a meaningful conversation. Michael feels like he’s come back to a different woman – and he kinda has. He’s comes back to Very Drunk, Very Annoyed Tara. She is definitely passive aggressive, but he certainly should have picked up the hint earlier and left it to the next day. Ah well. Tara and Michael are looking cancelled….leaving her wide open for Sam.

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Megan and Jake’s date closes out the episode. She’s appropriately cynical about him – presuming he’s already got himself in the drama – but the mutual attraction is obvious. Having met when she was in a relationship, they’ve stayed in contact. By which I mean talked on the phone. WHO DOES THAT? Before entering the resort, they have a proper damn pash. Uh-oh.

Episode 4

Oh mate. Flo is on rampage. Ali is no longer on her radar, now Megan is here: ‘ ‘I don’t know much about Megan, I thought she was a lesbian’ (there’s a whole spectrum out there, Flo dear). And would she like to chat to Jake? ‘Why the fuck would I chat with him? What would I have to chat about?’. Anyway, she goes and chats with him. She says that she enjoys talking to him, although there is absolutely no evidence of this. It is incredibly tense and passive-aggressive. She notices Megan’s makeup on his shirt, and he tells her ‘It was a hug mark. We’re mates’. That’s the key part of this convo.

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Various parts of the gang are breaking it all down. Keira and Ali know that they both have a little somethin’ going on with Jarrod. And the man himself, sporting a fedora because of course, tells the boys that while he had an instant connection with Keira, he doesn’t want to get locked on to the first person. Considering the first of the two he chatted to was Ali, I daresay he’s gonna fail badly here.

The interminable Flo/Jake nonsense continues. Eden dobs Flo in to Jake, sharing that she’s been saying he’s two-faced. Meanwhile, Nina relays to Flo that Megan is being quite open about the fact that she and Jake kissed. You can see the steam come out of Flo’s ears here, and it’s not just the humidity. He must think she has an IQ below 100 to not find out about this business, she says. She starts resigning herself to going home.

Florence is feeling ‘single af’ as Lisa and Keira go through the list of couples out loud. This cuts to a shot I nearly shrieked at, of Laurina and Blake cozied up in bed.

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And now we enter love quadrilateral or pentagon or whatever territory. It starts with Mack and Leah, who have an odd vibe happen. Well, it’s not that odd. Mack is thirsty for her, and she’s entertaining herself with him until someone better comes along – but is neither so detached to not get butthurt if he pays attention to anyone else, nor so open about it that he feels he can do so without hurting some ‘loyalty’ he owes her. I don’t think it’s a game, which is he way Mack frames it. A game implies he has some chance of winning. She just likes the attention and doesn’t want to lose it. Anyway. Mack is part of the Ali Thirst Crew.

The centre of the Thirst Vortex is feeling Michael – she says he’s a ‘sweet soul’. Michael would like to talk to her thanks to their mutual background in property, which we all know really makes the panties drop. Ali thinks Jarrod is sweet, genuine, caring – a nice guy, but she feels no romantic connection, and he’s not her physical type. Good thing he’s got a date card and is about to ask her out, then.

The come upon some Fijian folks doing some traditional song and dance, which Jarrod compares to the Lion King, an intriguing choice there given the location of the Lion King in fucking Africa. They get roped in to dancing, and Jarrod is extremely Dad-like. Ali: ‘Jarrod’s dancing…I dunno. But he was definitely trying’. The date is essentially a cavalcade of Jarrod being way, way more in to Ali than she is to him, which is part of the reason I think he and Keira might be a perfect match. Despite him essentially implying her entry was heralded by angels, the best compliment she can muster is that he’s very genuine. He really does put it all out there. He continues to lay it on extra thick while she holds back, saying she wants to take her time and not kiss multiple men on the show (i.e YOU JARROD). Jarrod also doesn’t want to go around kissing guys or girls….’except for you, at some point, if it does continue down…’. Yeah very subtle bud. In the post-date interview, you can almost here the producers high-five each other over Jarrod’s soundbite  ‘If we’ve started out well now, who knows what could happen down the track. Nothing can destroy us’. Chillllllll.

Next up, it’s time to cancel Mack. Leah is finally being honest – she would take Michael on a date if she had the opportunity. Mack responds to this very normally and not at all gross and possessively: ‘If anyone is going to take you on a date, it’s going to be me taking you. If anyone’s going to kiss you first, it’s going to be me… You can’t go off with Mikey after I’ve been like…about 5 or 6 six days’. When Leah tries to tell him that their hanging out doesn’t necessarily have to be that fucking deep, and it’s Paradise, where they’re encouraged to test the waters and she doesn’t want to regret her experience, he graciously tells her ‘You can still talk to every person here’.

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Sam breaks it to Florence, who is chatting with Tara, ‘I just had a chat with Jake. He’s happy to continue having really good chats with you’
Flo: ‘ Don’t I feel honoured?’
Flo thinks he is malicious enough to tell everyone else he’s going to give her a rose so no-one else does. It’s not exactly a wild theory, he is a garbage person. Wais the bartender tells her she is living with the consequences of her actions. I would add that she is also living with the consequences of her terrible taste in men, because Davey was not a prize peach and everyone needs to stop pretending he was.
Megan and Jake discuss their sexual chemistry while sitting several feet away from each other. She empathises with how difficult it can be to date women. I promise it is harder to date Jake, please run away from this loser Megan.
It all goes off again. Michael sits down with Megan and Flo and asks Megan what Jake had said about other girls. Megan says Jake was open about the fact that he had taken out Florence, ‘but it was very much friendship’. Flo is floored and starts ranting about how he couldn’t stop kissing her and telling her how much he likes her. She then storms off to confront him in his bungalow, which unfortunately happens off-screen but with sound on. Things get heated ,with him denying Megan’s comment, her calling him narcissistic and then things get a little unclear, because I don’t know if production added in the sound effect of a smashing glass. Florence either threw the contents of her champagne glass at him, or the whole damn glass.
And look, the former is mostly a dream for any soap lover and a hilarious gif (provided the receiver is an asshole):
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But if it was the latter….if you’re going to go around accusing someone of being emotionally abusive (which Flo had), you probably don’t want to follow that up with being physically abusive yourself. Just a thought.

On Jarrod and Ali’s return from their date, Megan pays out Ali and Jarrod out for giggling, Sam obnoxiously (redundant) screams ‘Jarrod I want a download! How’d it go’, Mack is jealous and Ali somewhat shows her hand by going straight to Michael. But before things can get interesting, our boy Osher turns up to announce the rose ceremony that evening. While I think that’s extremely good news because it means this godforsaken episode is coming to an end, Leah tells him ‘Can you just give us some good news? Just casually. That’d be fantastic’.

Keira brings it a bit out a left field and starts pressuring Mack to keep her. A somewhat unlikely scenario – Mack’s life is fucking complicated enough.

Unlike the girls last week, the boys split up to discuss who will get roses. Turns out to be a tactical producer move. Jake is talking to Jarrod, Eden and Blake, while Michael is talking to Sam, Mack and Luke. Jarrod says Keira will hate him, but he plans to give his rose to Ali. Michael also has Ali in his sights for his rose. But he knows there’s a thing with Jarrod, and he knows Jarrod won’t react well if he gets in first with the rose.

Meanwhile in ladychats, Lisa thinks Jake will stay loyal to Flo. She thinks Jake loved getting a drink thrown at him. Which is a pretty hilarious interpretation, but the truth is, there’s not a lot of tension here with Jake’s rose, as we know very well from the promos that Megan stays.
Flo waltzes in to the cocktail party and Jake asks if she wants a drink.
Sam: ‘Maybe some champagne?’
Look, that’s probably the only thing I’m going to give Sam credit for in the course of the whole show.
Flo and Jake go for a chat and make nicey so the show can make us think he picks her.
Ali enters the party in a ~*~*dress*~*~ and half the men in the place flip shit. Jarrod abandons a conversation just to run over and tell her how good she looks (I REMEMBER THIS NONSENSE WITH SOPHIE). Ali chats with Michael, a grown man in capri pants, and they confirm their mutual interest. Mack corners her and freaks her out by telling her he’s thought about her a bunch over the last 24 hours. He insists he could talk to her all night, while she gently pushes to go back to the group. He feels like a comedian around her because she has a well-established awkwardness-coping mechanism of just laughing, which she did with Jarrod as well. Oh my god just let the poor girl have a cocktail in peace. The men are supposed to have the power this weak but they’re all ensnared by one girl.
Jarrod attempts to gently break it to Keira that he plans to give Ali his rose, which is pretty thoughtful. She’s immediately defensive, and when he talks about their connection growing she says ‘If I’m still around’ a bit sarcastically, and I wasn’t really buying her ‘I appreciate it’ when he says he wanted to explain it to her. Anyway, Keira goes off to have a massive teary about being loved for her, etc. You’ve seen the promos. That was this. Over Jarrod, of all people.
It’s almost rose ceremony time. Jake opines ‘this is a situation I didn’t want to be in’ even though he put himself in it, thoroughly. And Michael refers to the ‘love triangle’ where he, Jarrod and Mack are boning on for Ali. Not a triangle, mate.
Rose ceremony time! It is quite dramatic as far as these things go. Excellent work from the producers, putting Mack up first. He sends them all in to a tailspin by choosing Ali. Apart from Michael and Jarrod’s peevishness, Leah is there wondering what’s wrong with her? Is it because Ali reeks desperation? (probably not, hey).
Jarrod’s up next and gives a pining look to Ali before choosing Keira. She knows she’s he’s second choice, so one can pretty easily forgive her ‘Never thought you’d ask’ response, and the ‘…take what I can get at this stage’ thrown over her shoulder as she returns to the group.
Michael is stressing out because he doesn’t know what to do, while Jake (next to him), VERY unsubtly pressures him to choose Flo. Says he HAS to choose Flo. He lays it on so hard even though this is clearly not Michael’s decision to make, nor does Michael feel good about it.
Meanwhile, Eden chooses Nina and Luke chooses Lisa, we are never allowed to know anything about them or become invested.
Blake, Garbage Person, calls Laurina ‘Lenora’ during the rose ceremony. All the girls crack up but Laurina is done with him. Who the fuck is going to pick you now, dickhead? Get off my show.
Michael chooses Leah, which should please her. If he could just be a bit more rugged and manly (capri pants not included), he’d be just her type.
Once again, no tension because we know Megan stays, but oh god Jake does this in a fuckboyish manner, mournfully muttering ‘Willyouacceptthisrose’ without eye contact. To be fair, Megan was probably muttering ‘PleaseletEloraturnupsoon’ to herself.
As you can imagine, Flo takes this very graciously, and definitely doesn’t accuse him of being soulless, fake, and cold-hearted. Let’s hope this ends her fuckboy addiction for good.
Next week, Channel Ten goes full-on psychopathic with four episodes, Sunday-Wednesday. Once again, I have a real actual job, and I didn’t sign up to fucking recap the equivalent of the Return of the King: Extended Edition every week (plus I am interstate at the end of the week), so we’ll just have to see how we go.

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 Weeks 3 and 4: Taking Out The Garbage

Back at the start of the season I shared my impressions of some of the contestants. There’s so much filler in the early parts of the season that I only picked a select few to discuss – Ryan, The Interrupter, Jarrod, The Keenest Bean That Ever Lived, and Sam, Who Calls Them Cans.

Oh boy, did the turn out some peaches. Sam decided to make best buddies with fellow dillweed Blake, who I would feel comfortable in referring to as ‘this season’s Jen’, except with more floral urination (I’ll return to that one). Sophie wasn’t afraid to call out Sam on the incident when his verbal diarrhoea led to him repeatedly let Sophie know he was looking down her dress. He excused this as an attempt to use humour to connect with her even though it wasn’t, y’know, at all funny. Despite his many attempts, the only thing funny about Sam is his delusional hairdo. Nonetheless, our Queen, who can be a bit awkies herself, seemed happy to move on from this. After all, Sam was owed two single dates after his first night Double Delight rose triumph (still never got any word on whether this meant he was safe from elimination until he got them both). I suspect she was just biding her time, however.  Because when Single Date #2 came around in Episode 8, it was nothing more than an opportunity to insert his foot directly in to his mouth. The guy tried to mansplain the music industry to Sophie Effin’ Monk. Boy you better stop, better run away.

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She didn’t send him home directly from the stretch Hummer, as I would have. No, this arrogant twat, who walked away from the date with no kiss and no rose, was still oozing confidence going in to the rose ceremony. Then our queen racheted up the tension, sending her Chosen Fellas (new/old bloke Stu, Jarrod, James, and Apollo My Prince) out the of the ceremony, summarily dismissing Unsung Hero AJ so she could face down Sam and Blake, who had just recently been thinking they could perhaps be numbers 1 and 2 in the finale. Briefly quizzing them both on their intentions, she sent Sam home, saying it wasn’t quite right.

You can say it, Sophie. Sam ‘isn’t quite right’.

Let’s talk about Unsung Hero AJ here for a second, because he played a very important role. This chef rolls in as one of The Old Blokes and he’s very tall but bald and  moderately fine-looking and just seems like a pretty nice dude with no chemistry with Sophie. But oh, did he provide her a service. It was under the guise of ‘not ruffling feathers in the house’, but he totally threw a spelling bee (ugh, don’t ask) in episode 6, spelling ‘cuisine’, ‘quizine’ (that sounds like a horse tranquiliser bro). What did this mean? Ryan wins and gets to spend some alone time with Sophie.

They didn’t make him go through this in his school uniform, unfortunately.

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(this is a bad screenshot but I don’t want to look at his face for longer than necessary)

So lately this fucknugget has been talking about how he doesn’t really want a woman who swears. I’ll leave my general response to that to the immortal words of True Blood.

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Sophie, much like myself and bonafide smart person Stephen Fry, enjoys a bit of a swear. She thinks truck drivers could learn a new turn of phrase from her. He’d also said last time they hung out (and, in fact, the first time they met), that he wants ‘a girl who takes care of herself’ aka a perma-hottie. Sophie just wants to dag out in her trackies tbh (god is it any wonder we love her?). So she knows, in her heart of hearts, that she’s not the right girl for Ryan and he needs to go find someone else, preferably an inanimate sex doll that he can treat like the wardrobe he destroyed in week 2’s Man Test (yeah sorry I can’t even touch that bullshit representation of gender roles, I’ll just say, if you need things fixed around the house, consider paying a professional? People do those things as a legitimate trade.  Help stimulate the economy by not entering a committed relationship only to save a few bucks).

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Yes, this is acceptable

So Sophie knows it’s time to take out the trash, but in the end she boots him because he doesn’t actually….like her? And she has a bunch of people here who do? He says that he would be willing to have a public relationship (to be clear mate you’re on a reality show right this second, and went through a whole casting process to be here) if he thinks she’s ‘worth it’. And it’s like watching that lightbulb moment go off over every woman’s head, when they realise it’s time to get rid of the fuckboy. As he doubles down on the looking good, and the swearing (even mentioning that he himself works on a construction site and ‘you can imagine what that’s like’), she tries so hard to make him see that he just wants everything that’s the opposite of her. So..she sends him off. And he has a mini tantrum, bringing his own little potty mouth out to play. Sophie’s shocked enough to break that fourth wall like it’s chipboard.

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And so Week 3 drew our time with Overly Aggressive Ryan And The One Time I Have Not Been Attracted To A Kiwi Accent to a close.

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So as of now, Sophie has recycled her two biggest pieces of trash. But we need to talk about Jarrod. And we can’t talk about Jarrod without talking about Blake.

I can’t type his name without getting this in my head by the way.

Congratulations Blake, you’ve officially brought me back around to looking on Jarrod more favourably. Like, not a lot – I’d probably still consider pissing in his pot plant if I had the imagination for such things – but bullying people is a great way to make people feel more warmly towards the victim. The plant thing? Cheesy, thirsty, and dumb, and I’d want to urinate on it after the second time it came up in conversation, third at best. But in Week 4 there was a sleepover night that made it clear that Blake is nothing more than a bog-standard schoolyard bully. Sophie asked the boys’ families to send in something from their childhood, and unfortunately there was no scandalous ballet shoes moment. However Jarrod received his childhood blanket, bringing up an emotional reaction as he remembered family members who have passed. You can only imagine how this was improved by Blake sniggering and sniping away about how it’s only a blanket. I actually wanted to give Jarrod a high five when he told him to shut up.

Guess what men? It’s not fucking cute to shame other men for having actual emotions. You are toxic masculinity embodied, Blake, and I need you to do something for me:
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Jarrod, you little thirst monster, I need you to do a few things. I need you to learn some basic mathematics. I need you to never say the words ‘pot plant’ ever again. And just chill the hell out, you’re turning in to a beetroot more and more every episode and I’m worried you’re going to have an aneurysm.

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Stop doing….all of this.

Even as the world proves to us that men as a whole are basically garbage, at least we have one thing. We have Apollo and puppies.

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I’ve decided to stop occupying the corporeal realm and live inside this post.

To finish off, a couple of updates!

  • This week I should be back to livetweeting Sophie’s adventures, unless life is completely unfair.
  • I may do a separate post for this, but next week if you’re in Melbourne you can come see me at PAX! My bestie has somehow roped me in to a panel on Bad Dating Sims, I don’t know how I allow these things to happen. I’m currently looking at a Tinder Trends follow-up to line up with that, although doing the data collection for that may depend on me not actually spending all my nights livetweeting telly.

 

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:
TOMMY

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:
taras
wrong

RIP Bogan Queen.