Should I… Shall I… Dare I?
Let's (ugh) do (ugh) the (ugh) damn (ugh) thing (UUUUUUGH). Because ABC's newest Bachelorette, Becca K, recently had the sparkly Midwestern heart torn right from her chest cavity, then passed through a particularly elaborate Rube Goldberg machine for two hours before being spiked directly into an AirBnB's trash compactor by the human equivalent of a broken down Big Wheels, all on live television, I feel inclined to blindly support all of her endeavors.
If Becca wanted to wear Tevas with socks and only cold-shouldered gowns for the entire season, I would let her do that. If Becca wanted to tell me about the incredible new company she's working for that changed her whole life and is helping her be a both a business woman and lead a rewarding personal life, I would gladly buy the least expensive eye cream she had. [Ed note: Have you considered subscribing to These Are the Best Things, a fun new editorial venture by ME, Jodi Walker?!] If Becca wanted to go to a Star Wars convention in Star Trek cosplay, or date John Mayer, or prefer Real Housewives of New Jersey over Real Housewives of New York, or skin Chris Harrison and wear him like a coat, that would be fine. Insane—but fine, because a few short months ago, ABC brought Becca to a mansion in the Hollywood Hills, locked the door from the outside and said, Bleeeeeeeeed, woman.
But Becca didn't do it. She didn't bleed for them or for her cotton-candy-for-brains fiancé. For that reason, we have decided to stan forever [ed. note: we'll never be sick of her hoe ass]. But this tagline…
This tagline simply cannot stand. Riiiight up until Becca became a symbol of feminine strength and a rallying cry for unloading the emotional burdens of weak-willed men, the only thing we knew about her was that she was Minnesota-nice, she seemed to enjoy shiny dresses, and she had a propensity for saying, "let's do the damn thing" when a simple yes would suffice.
Whereas we knew Rachel to be a badass lawyer, and we knew JoJo to be super hot, and we knew Kaitlyn to be funny, and we knew Andi to be spunky — we have only ever known Becca to say these five words. And listen, I love a self-assigned bit. It can be comforting when someone repeats the same lines over and over because you know that, for a little while at least, you can stop listening to them. A great thing about men is that they quote movies a lot, and when they do that, you can tune out for a few seconds and think about midcentury modern furniture or Idris Elba at the Royal Wedding. I myself say "cervix" instead of "service" anytime I'm referencing my cell phone signal — it's a big hit 60 percent of the time!
So, I can't put my finger on exactly what it is that's so grating about this bit of Becca’s. Oh wait, yes I can: it's the use of “damn.”
One of the most enjoyable and, uh, knowable things about Becca K is that she is lovely, in both look and demeanor. So, it's very disconcerting to hear her sounding like Hank Hill telling his family to shut the gotdang door all the time. Damn is one of those sterile curse words that the worst kid at the slumber party would eagerly point out you're technically allowed to say because it's in the Bible. Hey, Zoe? Pony up and say one of the real ones, or pipe the fuck down, we're trying to watch Fear before Hannah’s parents get back home!
It is my greatest hope that Becca has allowed ABC to force this thing she said a few times into being her official tagline, and all utterances of it will cease immediately following the premiere. Those might seem like low expectations of our beloved Bachelorette, but that is because, as previously addressed, Becca could do this entire season in pig Latin while dabbing and quoting Napoleon Dynamite and we would forgive her for it. Eck-hay es-yay. The only people we really have the permission to judge are the 28 lunkheads who have gathered at the McMansion that Jake-Pavelka-and-The-Okay-But-Not-Great-Kind-of-HPV built to compete for Becca's damn affections.
The incredible thing about these 28 particular lunkheads is that, unlike all other lunkheads who came before them, they are starting out in the green by having achieved one simple thing: they are not Arie. In that way, these 28 men are already winners; only they can prove themselves to be losers; only they can get drunk and poop in the pool on the first night; only they can reveal to us that there are, surprisingly, 28 different wrong ways to wear a suit. And for some reason, ABC did these dudes the additional favor — and us the disservice — of not posting full excerpts from their patented Bachelorette questionnaire that includes such staples as, Meatloaf said he would ‘do anything for love, but he won’t do that’ … what will you not do? Which always, no matter what, kind of tells you which dudes are down to peg.
But this year, we do not get that vital information! Because, somehow, this franchise is a success despite constantly and consistently misunderstanding the things that the audience likes about it. How am I going to know what citrus fruit Darren F would be if Darren F could be any citrus fruit, ABC??? How am I supposed to know that Corbin has a Little Bear tattoo on on his bicep that's an inside joke with his mom and his second ex-fiance? How might I ascertain the intel on which of these guys would have lunch with Mark Cuban if they could have lunch with any person, living or dead??? (Just kidding, I know that one — it's all of them!) I guess I'll just have to…
MAKE WILD ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT THEIR PERSONALITY AND CHARACTER BASED ON THEIR LOOKS ALONE, PLUS A HANDFUL OF SENTENCES COBBLED TOGETHER BY UNPAID AND UNDERNOURISHED INTERNS IN ABSOLUTELY NO PARTICULAR ORDER AND WITH ZERO DISCRETION:
ALEX, 31: Construction Manager from Atlanta
A self-proclaimed country music lover, Alex enjoys spending time with his dog, Donzi, and taking trips to the beach with his boat. When he's not out on the water, you can find Alex hitting the ski slopes out West.
Alex is doing a lot…visually. I would say he's doing The Most, but he is basically the only brochacho this season who doesn’t have his hair styled a full six inches above his head like a peaked-ass meringue, so. Alex, you’re very good looking in that "going to miss being the next Bachelor by th[-----]is much" sort of way! You really don’t need a velvet paisley blazer layered over a dress shirt with two different prints. ABC describes Alex as a "self-proclaimed country music lover," and I just have to wonder: surely whoever pieced together these blurbs understands that all of the information they're given is self-proclamation? That you cannot be a scientifically-proven to be a country music lover? That a team of investigative journalists did not go full-Spotlight on Alex and dig up that he...has a boat and loves his dog? Surely. Surely.
CHRISTON, 31: Former Harlem Globetrotter from LA
Bored with his corporate job in Detroit, Christon sent an e-mail to the Harlem Globetrotters to see if they were looking for new talent. Before he knew it, he was flying around the world entertaining thousands with his acrobatic dunks. Now a professional dunker in LA, Christon hopes finding love with the Bachelorette will be a lay-up.
As much as Alex was doing with his optic choices, Christon is doing with his life choices. This bio had me gasping for air at every turn, and this is just a three-sentence distillation of Christon's life. Imagine if you actually got to sit down with this professional slam-dunker and hear the full tale of how he willed himself onto the legendary Harlem Globetrotters. Does Scooby Doo still exist, and is Christon a character on it when the gang runs into the Globetrotters? Just how tall is this man? Is being a professional slam dunker like being a professional poker player? Is there a…circuit? I have so many questions that only Christon has the answers to. I want to be mad at Christon about his tie, but I can't because the man literally glows of happiness from a life well-lived; this man has cleansed, toned, exfoliated, essenced, and moisturized his whole entire life. He absolutely will not make it past night one.
NICK, 27; Attorney from Orlando, FL
Nick is a fun-loving attorney with a zest for life. When he's not winning trials, you can catch him in his signature tracksuits being the life of the party. Nick is a self-proclaimed "weekend warrior" who loves brunches, barbecues and the beach.
Nick, I’m going to be real with you because as a (self-proclaimed!) weekend-warrior, I’m sure you can handle the brutal honesty: there's a reason Armie Hammer can pull off his signature tracksuits (RIP). I'm not going to explain to you what that reason is, and the correlating reason for why you cannot do the same…but I am going to explain to you that this photo makes it appear that your signature look is, in fact, raw-nipping it under an Orvis quarter-zip. My father would literally kick you out of our home for defiling Orvis like this.
DAVID, 25; Venture Capitalist from Denver
David is a successful businessman who enjoys fitness, golfing, skiing and spending time with his family at their beach house. He loves guacamole, but hates avocado. Hopefully, that's not a deal breaker for the Bachelorette!
I know you're going to be distracted by David's objectively bad pink v-neck (or maybe I just think it’s bad because David resembles Tanner of "Jade and Tanner's wedding" and that makes me think of using a baby for Different Eyewear #spon, which puts me in a bad place), but we actually need to talk about something else that David is wearing. Coming into season 14 of The Bachelorette, I was fearful of the Dean Effect: surely no one could replicate quite the fall from adorable grace that Dean had after Rachel's season, but they could replicate his young, hipster, twink-tastic style. One man in many floral skinny-ties is fine. Many men in many floral skinny-ties is too much for one season to handle.
What I was not expecting was the Karamo Effect. If you've watched the Queer Eye reboot on Neflix, you know that resident culture expert (???) and former Real-World-er (!!!) Karamo has an arsenal of snazzy bomber jackets so robust, he could actually outfit an entire infantry, should regulation uniform ever begin involving silk dragon appliques. [Ed note: If you haven't watched Queer Eye, do so now; the next 3,000 words can wait. Prepare to cry profusely, coo profoundly, and lust furiously after Antoni and his bland, shark-eyed appeal.] The men of season 14 have taken note of Karamo’s signature piece, apparently. David is just our first of many bombers, and I encourage you to imbibe in a liquor drink or perhaps a chicken tender every time you spot one.
CLAY, 30: Pro Football Player from Chicago
Clay is a professional football player who has come a long way from his small town in the outskirts of Chicago. Clay loves hip-hop and country music, and likes to think he's a good mix of a city and country boy. He is a true gentleman who doesn't even curse!
In a sea of Former Harlem Globetrotters and adult men still identifying themselves as high school baseball stars, Clay is an actual NFL football player. In addition to that, he doesn't curse, he has varied music tastes, and he's comfortable in all environments…
All proof that it is truly is incredible how much good will you can undo with one poorly-timed mock turtleneck. I hope Clay has a great experience running props at his One Act Play competition this year.
COLTON, 26; Former Pro Football Player from Denver
Colton was named after the Indianapolis Colts. He played professionally for three teams before an injury forced him to retire. Post-football, Colton has dedicated himself to helping children fighting Cystic Fibrosis. When he's not working on his charity, he's spending time with his family and his dog, Sniper.
Another former NFL player (sort of), Colton is living that Meghan Markle life, just like, retiring from his job before he's even started to get crow's feet, and becoming a full-time philanthropist. Must be nice. Some of us have to write about reality TV for a living. I want to like Colton, really I do — but I spy a gold chain, a leather jacket with two zippers, and I happen to know that he slid into Aly Raisman's DMs to holler at a champion, began dating her…and now they are no longer dating. And I trust Aly Raisman's judgement implicitly. You know whose judgment I have concern for? Former fiancé of Arie Luyendyk Jr., Becca K. Careful with this one.
RICKEY, 27; IT Consultant from San Diego
After college at JMU and a stint on Wall Street, Rickey created a successful online personal training company. He dreams of finding a woman who can keep up with his lifestyle and be his best friend first, and lover second.
Hey, Rickey — I've got friends. Solid bomber tho. (Drink/Tender!)
GRANT, 27; Electrician from Danville, CA
Grant is a fourth generation electrician with a great sense of humor. If the Bachelorette can handle a healthy dose of sarcasm, there will definitely be sparks with Grant!
At some point on The Bachelorette, "sales rep" starts sounding less like a job and more like a race of highly-coiffed men. Although this season, sales reps are actually in the minority to the largest subgroup: former athletes forced to move onto…something else. But amidst all those technically unemployed hunks, and ambiguously selling bros, comes Grant: an exotic electrician! And not just any electrician — a pedigreed electrician. Four generations! Grant's family could have feasibly been slinging electricity since, oh let's say, 1879…
WHEN ELECTRICITY WAS INVENTED. Eat your fucking heart out, John the Software Engineer! Plus, the Bachelor mansion could use Grant's Benny-Franklin touch; you know that place is just rampant with yanked-out sconces.
LINCOLN, 26; Account Sales from L.A.
May I offer you a snacc with no context?
LEO, 31; Stuntman from Studio City, CA
May I offer you a second snacc with a tiny amount of context? Stuntman.
JAKE, 29; Marketing Consultant from Minneapolis
This adventure-seeking Minneapolis native grew up riding dirt bikes in rural areas, racing motocross since the age of 13. He's also jumped off the third highest bungee jump in the world! He is a hopeless romantic who likes to write poems and loves a good dance.
I'm so sorry, but poetry is one of those things you either do professionally, or you just…keep it. I mean, you can write poetry in your spare time! Go for it, absolutely, express yourself. But if I express myself from time to time through dance, shall I call myself a dancer? Let me answer that for you, Jake: no, I absolutely shall not. I beg of you, do not read any poetry aloud to Becca. And so help me, Jake, if it rhymes…
[As an aside I hope just one person might appreciate: By way of the “How Did This Get Made” podcast, I recently watched a little film called Adore. Iiiiiit's about a coupl'a hot mom best friends played by Robin Wright and Naomi Watts who are…fucking each other's respective hot sons from the time they are 18, well into adulthood when the hot sons are married to wives that have no idea their husbands are — or have ever — fucked their best friend's mom. It's supposed to be flirting with taboo, but instead is just very hilarious because nobody speaks more than a 6-word sentence the entire movie, and all of those fragments are in wonderfully effortful shrimp-on-tha-bahbie Australian accents. Anyway, Jake looks exactly like a scrawnier version of the less-hot hot-son. I’m not recommending that you watch Adore, but if you do, definitely talk to me about it.]
JEAN BLANC, 31; Colognoisseur from Pensacola, FL
Jean Blanc was born in Haiti and immigrated with his family to Boston when he was only two years old. Jean Blanc attends college at Duke, got a masters degree in business administration and then moved to Memphis to work as an engineer. He recently relocated to Pensacola where he works in finance and continues to add to his very impressive cologne collection.
Let me get this straight. This man Jean Blanc has an MBA from Duke…worked as an engineer…has successfully transitioned into finance…and we're going to call him a colognoisseur. I'm beginning to feel like a broken record (or in Bachelor-terms, a Chris Harrison saying "we got bloopers!" at the Women Tell All), but what if — and stay with me here — we just called people's jobs their jobs, and their hobbies their hobbies?
I once spent a bunch of money on shiny rocks in a Marfa, Texas gem store…shall we call me a Geologist? Once again dear reader, I tell you: we! shall! not! I took Geology pass/fail at 8 a.m. the last semester of my senior year of college; I sat next to a boy who wore a puka shell necklace and O'Neill board shorts to class every day, January to May, and I cannot even explain to you how much lazier and worse at rocks I was than him. Why can't Jean Blanc just be a beautiful businessman who has a scent for every occasion and a name that sounds like a fancy pen?
TRENT, 28; Realtor from Naples, FL
This animal lover from Carrol, IA moved to Florida to pursue a career as a realtor and a model. He has been on the cover of romance novels and has done catalog work as well. Trent is excited to show the Bachelorette his sweet Midwestern charm.
I'm almost positive Trent is my brother's friend. Or your brother's friend. Trent just looks like somebody's brother's friend and that is the most that can be said about him, except that maybe he also looks like the quiet frat guy that you're shocked to find actually does the most violent hazing. At some point, Trent has made someone butt-chug something. And it was probably your brother. But nothing — nothing — could be more shocking than finding out that this Assistant Manager of the Pier 1 at the mall in your parent's hometown is a romance novel model. No shade, just… questions.
JOE, 31; Grocery Store Owner from Chicago, Illinois
Formerly one of the youngest traders on the Chicago stock exchange, Joe turned a successful career in big finance into a successful career in small business. He followed his family's footsteps in the grocery store world, where he currently owns and manages his own store. Successful in produce, but unsuccessful in love, Joe's ripe and ready to be picked by the Bachelorette.
H’oh boy. Do you ever get so excited for a trip or a holiday that you feel like it's already passed because you've been anticipating it for so long? That's how I feel about Joe. I can hardly even type this out; I’m sweating. And it's not because he's wearing the best of all the bombers. It’s that…I don't even know if I can explain what it would mean to me to date a grocery store owner.
And he comes from a grocery store family? Be still by fucking heart, folks. When I leave New York, I will miss nothing more than my neighborhood grocery store and the people inside of it. I want to be clear: I will miss my locally-owned Brooklyn grocery store more than I will miss my friends, my home, Central Park, the Manhattan skyline, the Hamptons, dollar slice, my church, my friends again, the food (unless it's from my grocery store), the art, the culture, one more time for my friends in the back…anything else. My cold, dead heart will miss my grocery store alone.
But hark! Some of that pain is eased, as I have only just discovered via Joe and Joe's family — who I can't wait to meet in a Crazy-Rich-Asians-style culture clash of Grocery Store People and non-Grocery Store Person (me) — that marrying a cute grocery store [owner] is something I could be working toward for my future. I am about to gold-dig my way right to the checkout line.
KAMIL, 30; Social Media Participant from Monroe, NY
Kamil was born in Poland and moved to the United States with his parents when he was five years old. He learned English by watching cartoons. Kamil has a successful career in real estate and dabbles in modeling as well.
Never have I personally been dragged so hard as when I read the phrase "Social Media Participant." I know that title is is for Kamil, but I have been seen, and I have been R E A D. At the end of my life, when I go to The Good Place (and have to explain all the things I've written here), I will be handed a participant ribbon that says, Really, Jodi? That's the best you could do on Twitter? I mourn the loss of Kamil on the first night, for we shall never know what the hell he is talking about with this job description, and I absolutely refuse to the journalistic work to figure it out myself.
MIKE, 27; Sports Analyst from Cincinnati
This Notre Dame alum majored in Accounting and Computer Applications and currently works as a football analyst. Mike loves festivals, horse races and state fairs. He also loves his bulldog, Riggins.
Mike is a real football analyst. Like, with real reporting who uses real stats, and with very real Brendan-Fraser-George-of-the-Jungle hair. Due to the George-of-the-Jungle-related sexual awakening all women of a certain age took part in, that automatically makes me attracted to him, even if this particular photo would cause my mom to whap Mike between the shoulder blades to correct his posture before going out the door to Sunday school. Given that Mike actually knows his shit about football, I find it fascinating that he could potentially analyze all these former NFL players in real time.
RYAN, 26; Banjoist from Manhattan Beach, CA
This banjo-playing Cape Cod native is extremely close to his family. They all play together in a bluegrass band. He loves playing the banjo, ukulele, guitar and trombone. Ryan also has a passion for sailing and can't wait to make the Bachelorette his first mate!
Every season, a lanky, asexualized, very white, music-loving dork comes along to fill what shall forever by known as the Wells Spot in my heart. Ryan is that man in season 14. Gah, just look at him; he looks like he should be running a grassroots gubernatorial campaign 12 years from now. I will love and root for Ryan fiercely until Becca tearfully dismisses him, telling him he's been her best friend in this journey, but she must choose the five hunkier men in front of him — all the while knowing that should we ever meet, he and his Cape Cod bluegrass family band would absolutely hate me :)
I sorely missed the full questionnaire bios, but I guess since we know so little about Becca, it’s okay that only know the most important of details about her men as well, like how fast they can run a mile and if they have boats.
**A special note to subscribers: You are queens among men, you are Joes among Nicks. Please do pass this li'l letter along to anyone you think might be interested in reading about The Best Things and The Bachelorette things, and let them know they can sign up for TATBT’s free letters if they're not sure about subscribing just yet. I can't wait to learn more about all the Florida-based male models with you in season 14! Excuse me while I go fire up Bumble near my grocery store…