Testosterone is not a character trait.
Part One of The Bachelorette’s two-night event served up a spectacular cliffhanger. The inimitable Chad, the most deluxe douche ever, offered that if the other men would not stop talking he would “cut off everyone’s arms and legs” and toss their torsos in the pool. Such a conceit was the main plot of the obscure nineties film Boxing Helena, but the dismemberment there was carried out against pin-up Sherilynn Fenn.
Such antics, by serial killers real and imagined, usually happen to the bodies of women—not to those of a bunch of buff guys.
The Bachelorette claims to represent heteronormativity in all its silly glory, but last night it spiraled into the “theater of the absurd”—much more than usual. Though Chad seems to be a tried and true misogynist, his rage aims at all the other dudes boxed into the Bachelor mansion with him. And they respond to his threats somewhat reasonably. With fear.
The producers hire a security guard to patrol the mansion grounds. This fellow wears a vest with the pronouncement “SECURITY” stamped on the back of it. Everyone here is profoundly insecure after all. We know that’s what it really boils down to. This is the cause of Chad’s “anger-gasms” and everyone else’s concerns for their own safety—as if they might be roomies with an active shooter rather than your basic gym rat.
The lovely JoJo was a supporting player on this episode. Secondary to Chad and his increasing collection of nemeses—a horde of men, as he sees it, obsessing over him due to his “honesty.” Honesty is Chad’s code word for wrath.
Is Chad a Human person?
Chad’s bestie, the daft Canadian Daniel, tries to offer support to his increasingly hated friend. He tells him to be less like Hitler and Trump, more like Mussolini and Bush (he doesn’t specify which,) but we get the picture. Chad, who munches on a raw sweet potato and then shoves lettuce into his mouth, rabbit-style, does not get the picture.
Chad does little, but lift weights, grunt and eat. At one point he spies himself in a mirror, stops to coif his hair and utters, “Hey Buddy” to himself. Then again, what else is there to do? The contestants are cut off from the outside world, plied with endless cocktails, housed in bunks, and left with nothing for entertainment but each other’s company and the stunning pool. The house overflows with “testosterone,” as host Chris Harrison plainly states.
Is testosterone a character trait?
On the group date, the contestants are forced to recount a sex story before a captive, cringing audience. Some professional performers, women, get the show rolling. Judging by dropped jaws, the men can barely handle a woman recounting an orgasm. Evan takes the stage with a plan to take-down Chad who is apparently an easy mark for someone with his expertise—Erectile Dysfunction—he runs a chain of clinics. Evan’s sex story is an obvious rendering of Chad and his steroidal “ropey muscles.” Evan lets out the fatal flaw around juicing with ‘roids—impotence. Such a burn pushes Chad over the edge. When it’s his turn he beckons JoJo to the stage (caveman style) and then, instead of telling a sex story, moves into kiss her.
What happens next is deemed by the Marine Alex as “the worst disaster of mankind . . . and a fine joy.” JoJo sidesteps the kiss (who wouldn’t?) and Chad gets a cheek and a wince. Such a debacle worsens Chad’s already frenzied mood. He had just shoved Evan, ripping his shirt in the process, on his way to the stage. Next, he punched a door, leaving his knuckles bloodied. Shortly thereafter he threatened to kill the now-rattled Evan. His roommate Derek later confessed he felt like Chad would snap.
Is that pain behind Chad’s eyes? Or simply textbook fury? Chad seems to embody (‘roids or not) archetypical masculinity, its pure Id. And it is a toddler. Constantly hungry. Prone to tantrum. Unpredictable. And totally undateable.
The good news about toddlers is that you can give them their pacifier and insist on naptime. But what do you do about Chad? (Or Hitler or Trump for that matter?) I’m afraid the Security guard will not prove savvy enough if Chad actually starts going for limbs.
Why is Long-neck Luke so Dang attractive?
Meanwhile, JoJo took the Singer-Songwriter on a literal trip down memory lane. They ride in her vintage convertible, dressed like it’s 1946, and learn to swing dance from a 92-year-old. James Taylor seems to not have any bodily rhythm despite being a guitarist. After the lesson, the two emerge into a dreamscape. Multiracial couples decked out in retro garb shake and shimmy on a shiny street. A youngster in a newsboy cap holds up a newspaper (remember those?) The Bachelorette Times. The light seems to come from a sun machine. But, JoJo wonders, is there any spark? Any chemistry? Clearly, there wasn’t a drop in the overt stage sex talk from the other men either.
James T. seems to be the one contestant with a lumpen physique. He claims to have been bullied for having a long neck and huge ears. Renamed Long-neck Luke at age 12. He makes it sound charming instead of tragic. He knows he doesn’t have the goods in the looks department. But somehow, he enraptures JoJo. He pulls out his guitar and she wipes the tears from her eyes—again. He’s dopey. No matter, she gives him a rose and although Chad would probably destroy James T. in a fist fight, he could never beat him at winning hearts.
Later, during an interview, an off-screen producer is worried about a moth swirling in the shot. James T. leaps up to grab the large insect. With his bare hands. He forces it behind a hot light, laments its burning, and then delights when the thing survives.
Somehow, it was the most honest and brave display of manliness on the entire episode.
Photo: Getty Images
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