St. Lucia. Our Bachelor Jake is taking his last three dames to the exotic magical Caribbean island (and it’s a foreign country too!) named in honor of the patron saint of the non-seeing. I’d say if that includes the willfully blind, then Our Bachelor is definitely in the right place. Just to remind, for those of you who might have been off at Book Club or somewhere and missed last week’s show, our remaining lovelies are Gia, Tenley, and Vienna.
WILL THE CONTESTANTS PLEASE STEP FORWARD?
Gia is the gorgeous swimsuit model who Jake almost sent home the first night for fear she was all body and no brain. (I think it’s more likely he realized he was totally out of her league, but that’s just my opinion.) Turns out, Jake avers, that Gia has hidden depths of character.
Tenley (that’s Ten-ley as in “the number ten” as she told Jake) is our former dancing Disney Princess, but is damaged goods due to the nefarious nature of her cheatin’ ex-husband. In case you didn’t know about that no-goodnik, Tenley will mention him, on average, every eighty-six seconds during the next two hours. What Jake admires about Tenley is her sterling character and high moral values. And flexibility; she’s very bend-y.
Last, and definitely not least, is Vienna. Jake loves Vienna for her determination not to waste a moment of opportunity: for example, straight out of the limo on night one she demanded to “feel those abs.” Other incidents, including climbing into his bed during a two-on-one date, have led to some concern on the Bachelor’s part that Vienna may be “immature, but in a good way.” Vienna didn’t exactly get the “Miss Congeniality” award from the other girls in the house; all her roommates in the mansion moved out because they couldn’t bear to be around her. Jake could care less, “I’ve decided to completely forget what everybody else thinks. She’s a little immature but not in ways if we got married we couldn’t mature together.” Somebody get that boy Dr. Phil’s number, pronto.
Missing from the trip is Ali. Did you hear? She announced last week that she had to return to work and leave the show. Jake said he was heartbroken about the whole thing, but he acted about as bothered as he might have been if his newspaper had been delivered late. Oh, wait! He’s still thinking about the one who got away, “I wonder how she’s doing.”
I’ll tell you how she’s doing, buddy, she’s a miserable wreck. And I know this how? Because, concerned for her state of mind, an entire crew of producers and camera-people have followed her back to her West Hollywood hotel room. Poor little thing, she doesn’t even have her own bathrobe; she has to wear one of those rough terrycloth ones provided by the hotel. Seriously regretting her decision to leave, she looks with longing and love over a couple of lousy-quality 8x10 photographs of you that she’s printed off the internet in the hotel’s business center. You couldn’t even give her a picture of yourself to remember you by? Selfish much? More about Ali later.
THE GIRL IN THE THOUSAND-DOLLAR SHOES
Once, on a high and windy hill, atop the fort at Pigeon Island, our Bachelor awaits Gia. She’s trudging up the steep rock-strewn dirt path. Reaching the summit she slips up behind Jake and puts her arms around him to surprise him. He responds with a hug; she reciprocates with a kiss.
Jake asks if Gia likes boats. She does, which is really lucky because that’s what Jake has planned. About now, if I’m Gia, I’m none too happy: I’ve nearly broken both legs trying to scramble up that hill wearing flip-flops and now he’s telling me we’re going straight back down. Besides, he’s acting dorky, taking his aviator shades and hooking them into the back collar of his polo shirt. Memo to Jake: the cool guys, like professional hockey players and NY Yankees pitchers, wear their sunglasses on the top of their head.
“Today,” reveals our Bachelor, “it’s just Gia and I, a boat and some water and some great people on the island.” Since there’s boat-travel, it’s a really good thing water is also involved. They hop into a skiff and head across to a local market where local people go to get local food. Gia complements Jake on his boating skills, “You’re a good boat driver. I would like wind up in the Bermuda Triangle.” Little does she realize—that’s exactly what she’s in, except it’s the St. Lucia triangle, not the Bermuda one.
At the market there’s music and vendors. This, Jake confesses, is sort of a test to see if Gia is suitable for matrimony. He’s really thrilled she can shake her booty along with the reggae guys, “It’s nice to see Gia from New York with thousand dollar shoes is empathetic with people out there trying to make a living. It’s really endearing.” Memo to Jake: even the footwear with the stiletto heels and the red soles and the insides stamped Christian Louboutin doesn’t usually run to a thousand bucks. Could it be the Bachelor is into a little reverse snobbery here: only the gal who never spends more than ten dollars a pair on her shoes at Payless is worthy of his love? Nothing wrong with some Jimmy Choo or Miu Miu, if you ask me.
The rest of the day is spent frolicking in the sand and surf between bouts of making-out; Gia continues to tutor Jake in the techniques from the book “How Adults Kiss.” No date with the Bachelor can be considered a success without a “Leap of Faith,” so Gia and Jake go dutifully running down the dock and jump into the ocean. As the music reaches a crescendo, there’s a screenful of the setting sun over the ocean. I’m pretty sure that silhouette filling the lower third of the screen is of a wooly mammoth, which has been extinct for millions of years. Probably just some footage from “The Ice Age” movie mixed in by mistake. Maybe they should have saved it for Tenley’s date?
Prompted by the producers for her thoughts, Gia offers, “By the end of the day I want us to be able to say to each other ‘I love you; I want to spend the rest of my life with you.” Would you settle for a bubble bath, honey?
Dinner on the beach with Gia is filled with romance and revelations. Gia wants Jake to tell her more about himself. He’s happy to oblige, “One thing I do is I always put others ahead of myself. If we’re married I’ll probably take care of you. That’s what I bring to a marriage.” After that speech, I’m almost ready to run away to Vegas with the guy myself.
There’s much to-do over the tacky heart-necklace on which Jake blew five of the show’s hard-earned dollars at the market. Gia promises him she’ll wear it ‘til the day she dies—or when the camera stops rolling, whichever comes first. But only as a bracelet because she’s wearing her Heart on her Sleeve. How this prevents the wearing of something around her neck is a bit murky to me. Must be one of those swimsuit-model things. Jake’s carried away in the moment, “I want to come back to St. Lucia on our honeymoon. My life with her starts flashing before my eyes.” The Lucian Minister of Tourism sighs with satisfaction and pours himself another snifter of brandy. Back in Queens, NY, Gia’s half-brother is in the living room tossing his baseball bat from hand to hand.
Our ever thoughtful host, Chris Harrison, has written a sweet note to Gia and Jake. There’s a key inside. If they can figure out which hotel door it fits they can spend the night together. Oh, lighten up—you know what this is all about! So does Gia: “I’m ready to go all the way.”
When the happy couple opens the door to the Fantasy Suite, the first thing I see is a kitchen. What, is Gia going to have to pass a cooking test or something? Whew! No, all she has to do is strew her clothes down the hallway, not slide down on the rose petals thrown all over the floor, slip into one of her contest-winning bikinis and hop into the bubble bath with the bachelor. End of fantasy number one.
ONE OF THE ONES WITH THE EX-HUSBAND
Next in line for a whirl on the Fantasy Ride provided by Bachelor Jake is Tenley-like-the-number-10. You may be surprised to learn that a helicopter is involved. Jake thinks an aerial tour of St. Lucia and its natural wonders will help take her mind off that awful man who cheated on her with a fellow police officer and didn’t even bother to hide his cell-phone bill. Jake’s plan seems to be working. Tenley feels as if she’s back at Disneyland: “It’s so gorgeous here. There’s blue water. There’s blue skies. I feel like I’m on top of the world.” Zip-ah-dee-doo-dah. Zip-ah-dee-ay.
Jake’s extensive planning for the outing has included a picnic in the ruins of a derelict sugar plantation. If it wouldn’t be such a downer, I’d mention that the spot he chooses for their dejeuner sur l’herbes isn’t anywhere near a l’herbe; they’re plopped down in the dirt right where the slaves used to be chained and roped to turn the giant wheel to crush the cane. Still, Tenley is delighted, “I haven’t had a picnic in years. Not with a boy.” (Umm, Tenley-like-the-number-ten: it’s not that hard. Just grab your sandwich and bottle of Yoo-Hoo and head outside.)
Tenley wants to be absolutely sure Jake knows that she’s willing to put aside all that unhappiness (did I mention her first husband cheated on her?), “I can see us together. I can see us being really happy.” Jake can’t really think of much of a response to that, so he offers only, “I can tell you twenty years into it, I’ll still have that boy-crush.” Stop. You know what he meant.
Tenley’s daydreaming about her future with Pilot Pavelka. He assures her that it will be every bit as glamorous as she’s imagined, owing to the fact that he is a Pilot and can-fly-for-free. For example, he says, “We might be out at dinner on Saturday night and then just hop on a plane and head to the Cayman Islands. (For those of you a little challenged in geography, that’s where all the gangsters keep their money in off-shore bank accounts.) I wouldn’t want to throw cold water on Tenley-like-the-number-ten’s vision of her future, but I couldn’t help but recall that the scenario Jake dangled last season in front of Jillian was his whisking her off to Belgium to have Belgian waffles with the Belgians. No doubt, Tenley will get Cayman Crepes or something equally tasty.
During lunch Tenley and Jake pretend-kiss, then wend their way through the rain forest to a black sand beach where crack ABC interns Phillip and Tiffany have thoughtfully left towels and swimsuits. There’s romantic music and a sunset. More pretend kissing.
Jake and Tenley leave us with their respective thoughts. He has been concerned whether Tenley will be able to open her heart again after that awful time with the lyin’ cheatin’ ex-husband. She’s worried sick about the Fantasy Suite card, “I haven’t been with a man since I was married. I’m not sure I’m ready to take this Leap of Faith.” Dearest girl, Gia took it and survived. I’m sure you can too.
Dinner is held at The Alhambra. Oh, sorry, it’s the Body Holiday Le Sport. What they really need to talk about is Tenley’s sad marital history. Jake, Tenley assures him, has allowed her to finally open her heart again after these nine long months, “I feel comfortable, at ease I can fall in love with you. I hope you can do the same. Having been married before, I appreciate your giving me this opportunity even with my past.” (Sheesh, girl, you’re a Disney Princess. Stop the whining and act like one! You don’t hear Vienna carping on about her ex-husband and how she’s only slept with one man: watch and learn.) Aw, gee, blushes the Bachelor, “Wanna dance?” Leading her up the steps, he assumes the ballroom position, but then backs down, “I’m just gonna sway back and forth with you.” That’s good enough for Tenley, “See you can lead me; I think you can lead me in life.”
Jake recites to the camera, “I am so falling in love with this girl. She deserves the world.” And the Cayman Islands.
The Fantasy Suite card is forthcoming and accepted forthwith. Tenley’s really nervous, “I’ve only been with one man.” Jake is shaking as well, “Every time we kiss I feel like I’m running on a treadmill.” No offense meant to hamsters I’m sure. The Fantasy Suite is luxurious, with its own swimming pool and enough rose petals to assure Tenley she is Valued. For about the zillionth time she tells Jake, “Tonight is really special.” Oh, and by the way, “This isn’t something I just do, spending an evening alone with a guy.” Okay, that’s two things she doesn’t do with guys: picnic and spend evenings alone. Jake is in really romantic mood, “The thing I love about you is your values and your morals.” Make that three things.
Jake wants us to assure everyone he doesn’t hold Tenley’s lack of experience against her, “It takes a lot of courage for a woman to tell a guy ‘I’ve only spent the night with one guy in my life’.” End of Fantasy Number Two.
ONE EYE BLIND
Jake has saved the last best date for Vienna. They’re going to have the pirate brig Unicorn all to themselves for a whole day. Vienna is thrilled and gurgling with giggles to hear that it’s the very boat used in the filming of Pirates of the Caribbean, but that’s not the important thing. She just wants to be with Her Man, “I don’t care whether we’re in Texas or St. Lucia, I just want to be with him.”
The captain provides grog in pottery tankards and the happy couple toast before going aboard. Vienna slips an eye-patch over Jake’s left eye to make him look more piratey. He scrunches closed his right eye and tries to see through the patch on the other one. Vienna helpfully points out that it’s easier to see through the uncovered eye. St. Lucia, patron saint of the unseeing.
Vienna’s wearing her only family-show-rated bikini. It’s the turquoise one with the ruffle across the rump. Jake and Vienna are lounging against the railing of the deck.
Vienna licks Jake all over the face and neck. Jake licks her back. No offense meant to dogs and cats I’m sure.
Jake reveals one of the things he finds most compelling about Vienna, “She doesn’t miss a moment in life. If I play rough with her, she plays rough right back.”
Jake and Vienna’s bodies are stacked on the deck. The kisses are not pretend. “On the Wings of Love,” annoying cloying string version, is playing so loudly I’m getting a migraine.
I’m sure that during the day Jake and Vienna had very serious, meaningful conversations. The part we hear, regrettably, is Vienna giggling like a hyena and mooning about how much she looooooves Jake. (Not Shown: Off camera, the producers are trying to talk Jake into climbing the rigging. He’s terrified of heights. They try everything. Finally someone has an idea, “You know Jake, if you climbed up there, you’d look like really tall.” That convinces him.) Vienna scampers ahead and coaxes, “This is easy—come on up Sweetheart.” Clinging to the mast like a couple of monkeys, they make out like there’s no tomorrow.
Jake is having the time of his life. He’s wearing a do-rag on his head and brandishing a plastic sword. He pops Vienna on her beruffled butt and pushes her off the “plank” into the ocean and dives in behind her.
Now in the sea, Vienna and Jake have no choice but to swim to a “deserted” beach where they flail around in the sand and surf and kiss like bandits. Jake cannot believe how wonderful this is, “Rolling around in the sand with Vienna was pretty smoking hot.” Personally, I think having sand in one’s knickers is anything but amourous. Jake’s apparently easier to thrill. With the dinner hour looming ahead, Jake knows it’s time to find out the truth. “I need to be sure my attraction to Vienna is not just sexual, that I’m attracted to her heart.” As for Vienna, she plans to waste no time, “I’m gonna go out on a limb and tell him I love him.”
For their dinner à deux, there’s a gazebo with candles set up by the pool. Right off the bat, Jake wants to question Vienna about what she’d said to him earlier, “One of the things you said on the ship today was you weren’t ready to have kids, be a mom. But are you ready to be married?” (Well, of course, she’s ready to be married you dolt: she’s living at home with dad and stepmom and stepsis and Chloe the dog and Chloe’s clothes. Closet space alone is a nightmare.)
“The Bachelor” (the show, not the guy) really frowns on the principal telling any of the contestants that he’s in love with them. But Jake’s figured out a way around that. So, Vienna, he asks, “I need to know what kind of ring you’d like, you know—skinny band or wide, what kind of stone, the cut, white gold or yellow.” Vienna is thrilled to be asked; she’s spent a lot of hours thinking about that very subject. She wants a skinny band to match her lovely thin fingers, a Princess cut (what else?), and “bling around the band.” Not Shown: Jake pulling his blue BIC ballpoint from the pocket-protector in his shirt-pocket and scribbling Vienna’s preferences down in the palm of his hand.
Also Not Shown: producers off-camera having hissy fits at the Star giving away too much. Jake is afraid he may be in trouble for his slip, so he begins to backpeddle with Vienna, “I’ve gotta be really honest. There’s two other women here and I’ve fallen for ‘em both. It makes everything really real.” He pretend-sighs.
Vienna isn’t particularly dismayed. She’s still carat-counting in her head. This girl isn’t going to let him continue with that line of conversation.
She launches into her prepared declaration of love, “I’m just gonna get it over with. I cannot picture being without you. I can’t see myself going back to Florida without you. You’re all I think about. I have Fallen In Love With You.”
Jake almost swoons with joy. “You’re in love with me?” He kisses her. I admit I’m not paying proper attention; I’m too busy counting the number of bobby pins in her hair.
Finally, the “two for one room card” appears. Vienna blushingly accepts, but only because she thinks Jake is probably a “good cuddler.” And besides, “I think we need some alone time if this is going to go any further.” They adjourn to the suite, where the few remaining roses on St. Lucia have been sacrificed to the cause of seduction.
Vienna confides that she has a present for Jake, “I want to show him that I can be elegant and can be a woman, and I’m going to tell him, you know, this is going to be something that you can keep forever.”
She heads into the bedroom, then flings open the door revealing Herself in a paper-thin white satin negligee. I think it must have shrunk in the laundry. I’m still working on the question of what part Jake’s going to get to “keep forever.” And does he have to carry it everywhere he goes in his special Pilot Suitcase? What if security decides to go through his bag? Won’t that be embarrassing?
With a triumphant look at the camera, Vienna leads Jake into the bedroom to receive his “present” and firmly closes the door in our faces. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. End of Fantasy Date Number Three.
THE NUMBER YOU’VE REACHED IS OUT OF SERVICE
It’s morning and our Bachelor is in the hotel bathroom admiring his abs and applying what I am sure is a manly brand of cosmetics to his face. There’s a loud ringing sound coming from the bedroom. Stopping only long enough to change his shorts and strap his watch around his wrist, he rushes around the corner and picks up the bedside phone. “Hello. Hello?” He hears only a dial tone. The insistent ringing continues.
Jake looks around frantically. Finally, he spots his Fisher-Price playphone that he used in Jillian’s season. Only one person has this number: his imaginary friend Tanner. Maybe he’s calling to offer some of his great advice. He flips open the phone and booms “Tanner!”
“Uh, no,” replies the voice at the other end. “It’s Ali.”
Jake is so excited to be hearing from her he completely forgets to ask how she got the pretend number of his pretend phone. “So Ali, how are you?”
Ali pretend sighs. “I’m a mess. All I can say is I know I made the wrong choice and I want to come back.”
Jake is taken aback. He gnaws on a piece of straw. It was probably left on his shirt from his date last night with Vienna.
Ali thinks he might have hung up on her.
Jake, playing for time, “I’m just trying to process everything.”
The following dialogue exact only as to author’s best recollections.
Ali: “Well, here I am in San Francisco and I’m really regretting not taking advantage of that nice free Caribbean vacation. I made a huge mistake there.”
Jake: “Well, tough stuff, toots, you just stomped on a little bitty piece of my heart, got in that limo and drove away without so much as a look in the rear view mirror.”
Ali: “Yeah, I know. I’m sorry about that. But you you sat in that hotel room for hours like a knot on a log. All I wanted was for you to tell me to stay.”
Jake: “Uh, let me try to get my head around this. You want to come back and knock out one of the Finalists? Little lady, you’ve missed too much class time. That boat has sailed. The horse is already out the barn door. Not to mention which I’ll have you know I got a hundred percent acceptance rate on the spend-the-night-party invitations. Not gonna happen.”
Ali: “I don’t know what to say. Sorry I hurt your feelings.”
Jake: “Thank you for your call.”
End of Pretend Conversation
Jake isn’t the least bit distraught over Ali’s plea, “I’m so in love with these three women, but I’m not in love with Ali.”
Ali, somewhere in California, is sobbing, “I know I made the wrong decision. But it’s too late. I don’t know that I’ll find anyone like Jake ever again.” I hope not, for her sake.
I LOVE YOU, BUT I LOVE THE OTHER TWO MORE
Jake is slowly and deliberately getting dressed for the dreaded Rose Ceremony. He buttons his shirt, stares at himself in the mirror, and decides to go just one button higher with the closure. He has a lot to think about. Today, he’ll be sending home a woman he loves. He’s sure each of these ladies is ready to settle down in Texas as Mrs. Jake Pavelka. After all, they’ve respectively already fulfilled their lifelong ambitions: Tenley dancing at home and abroad as a Disney Princess, Gia as the current title holder of “Miss Bikini Hardbody—Short Girl Division” and Vienna as fourth runner-up in her local “Hooters Girl” pageant. He sets out to meet his friend and mentor, Host Chris Harrison, at the appropriately product-placed Cap Maison resort. Host Chris looks pretty spiffy himself in a cotton-candy pink shirt and gray suit.
Naturally, having only just heard about it, Chris wants all the details about the phone call with Ali. “The truth is,” Jake shares, “there are three women still here that didn’t leave.” So I’m guessing there’s not going to be a limo pulling up in a few minutes with the little California gal hopping out.
So, let’s review the others, suggests Chris. Jake relates one by one how he’s ‘falling in love’ with each of the remaining ladies. He was so pleased with how well Gia got along with the natives despite her propensity for fancy footwear. “It seems like she’s always wearing $700 shoes.” I’m wondering two things: Is Jake planning on going into some kind of international diplomacy in the third world where it’s important his wife can hang with the locals? Second, how the dickens did Gia’s shoes lose $300 in value over the course of a two-hour show? The last time we heard about them they were “thousand-dollar” shoes.
Tenley, Chris notes (how did he find out), has been very forward. “At dinner she tells you she loves you.” Jake starts squirming and coughs out one of those embarrassed little laughs of his. Umm, yeah, well Tenley, “she brings positive to every conversation, even if its painful.” As in, when she’s talking about her ex-marriage, which is pretty much every time she opens her mouth.
Vienna? Chris asks, “Has she told you she loves you?”
Jake beams proudly, “Last night.”
Jake: “I’m in love with her.” [Emphasis added for elucidation.]
Jake claims to have no idea who he’s sending home. Chris tells him that’s too bad because he’s definitely going to have to shove one of them into the limo in a very short while. Just in case Jake needs a little help, though, the women have each left him a spontaneous, non-coached, totally personal and private video message.
Gia, in her video, is nervous and tongue tied but manages to squeak out, “I’m falling in love with you.” Tenley is far more confident in her time on camera, assuring Jake that she “loves our kisses” and wants to “dance with you forever.” There’s no mention of her high moral values. Vienna, deliriously happy with the manner in which her “gift” of the previous evening was received, confidently states, “I’m completely in love with you. I can’t wait to be your wife. I can’t wait to flirt with you for the next 80 years.” I have an unfortunate vision of the reality show in the making: I couldn’t possibly share the details but I can tell you it involves a Florida retirement home and some really really wrinkled old people.
Our lovely ladies arrive at the Rose Ceremony and are escorted in by Host Chris Harrison. Tenley looks beautiful in a short black cocktail dress with a yellow flower behind her ear. Gia is drop-dead gorgeous in a shimmery blue strapless number. Vienna looks like the scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz in a satin number from the “Barney the Dinosaur Collection at Walmart.” If I could offer one word of advice to the poor child, it would be this: Spanx.
Tenley gets her rose and then Vienna. Gia tearfully hugs her friends goodbye and is escorted by Jake to the “I’ve dumped you and now you have to sit here and listen why” Exit Bench. He assures her that while certainly “falling in love” with her, his feelings were just stronger for the other two. That has an eerily familiar ring to it. Gia, somehow pulling off the nearly impossible feat of looking fabulous while crying, is lovely and gracious. She assures Jake that his remaining options are both just hunky-dory great gals and she will heartily support and approve his choice. Semi-heartbroken, she’s driven away. I’m thinking this is not the last time that girl’s going to be seen in a limousine. The next time, I hope she has a smile on her face!
So that’s it for this week. Next week we’re sure to get some drama at the “Women Tell All” episode. Rozlyn alone should be worth the time. Then after that, we’ll find out how Jake’s parental units feel about him marrying Tenley or Vienna and be there up close and personal for “the most Spectacular Rose Ceremony” in Bachelor history.