TV

Every Terrible Lesson I Learned About Love While Watching ‘The Bachelorette’: Manly Men

In this recap, all the men take their shirts off and pose for a Mills and Boon novel.

Welcome to our Thursday Recap of The Bachelorette — you can read Rebecca Shaw’s upsettingly funny recap from Wednesday here. We’ll be recapping every episode, because we are very passionate about love or TV or whatever.


Look, we’re doing The Bachelorette now! We’re going to recap this seething mass of pecs, really dig deep into this house of sullen, repressed muscle boys and see what lessons we can discover in this horrifying soup of man and lust.

I never thought I’d recap again, not after the Honey Bachelor absolutely ruined me with his season. If you’re not aware, he managed to get to the very end of his romantic journey and choose… nobody. He had two perfectly beautiful young ladies to choose from, whose names have already disappeared from my mind like the name of a workplace acquaintance at the Christmas party. And he chose neither of them.

What a lesson to teach me, a nice young man just looking for lessons in love from reality TV, like an absolute psychopath.

But, the thing is, our new Bachelorette Ali is the perfect person to make me dust off the old recapping cloak (other people have a recapping hat, but I have a cape like a mighty wizard). From what I understand, Ali has had her heart broken TWICE on The Bachelor before, and here she is ready for another spin on the ol’ polygamy sim that we call The Bachelorette.

She’s either a hardcore idiot, or the bravest woman I know. So I can’t help but follow her foolhardy example and keep looking for love in all the wrong places (Channel 10, 7.30pm, Wednesday and Thursday).

Let’s find out everything we can about love and romance from The Bachelorette.

“Much like me, you are now trapped in an endless Bachy hell of your own making”.

It’s Raining Men And I Hate It

The first major point of difference between Ali and Nick “I hate love” Cummins is that Ali dates straight men.

Now, I don’t want to get too reductive about gender, but men are often very different to women. You know the old saying, “women are from Venus, men are generally awful”. It’s gonna be a real trip watching a bunch of horrifying straight men… interact. I was gonna explore that further, but honestly, that’s it. There are so many of them, and they will fill that space like a cloud of Lynx Africa on a busy train.

Back in town, these boys are.

The thing is, it’s difficult for me to relate to Ali on this. I date women, I date men, but unless something really weird happens, I will never date a straight man. I’m assuming some of them aren’t straight, but it’s probably overwhelmingly so.

It’s fascinating to watch their traditions and customs — watching them in a recreation of their natural habitat can be quite beautiful.

As far as I can tell, straight male culture mostly involves aggressively spreading across chairs and saying “mate”.

“I’m gobsmacked mate,” says Charlie, after a huge chinned brethren decides not to steal his date with a Wild Rose (?????). “All good mate, all good,” bellows the chin. They get up and pound each others dense shoulders like gorillas shaking a tree for fruit.

Me, shouting at the screen: “NOW KISS, YOU HORRIFYING TRUNKS, KIIIIIIIISSSSSSSSSSSSS”

Also, all conflict has currently arisen from some kind of weird bro-code, with which everyone is very concerned about. Whom talks to Ali at any time is highly regulated, and any breach will make a man named Paddy strut around furiously, jettisoning sprays of bitter urine into the air and hooting wildly.

“Charlie has promised the boys that he’s gonna be respectful and not cut the boys off.”

I don’t know what the takeaway lesson is from this is, except that toxic masculinity is a plague on everyone.

Jealousy, Turning Snakes In To The Sea

Being a man apparently means being insanely jealous, which makes me wonder if they understand the basic concept of the entire show? Like, you know this is just ritualised polyamory, staged for other people’s sick entertainment.

After watching a Mills and Boon themed cover-shoot group date, in which Ali was posed in sexy positions with various men, the OTHER men spent their time watching enviously, despite having also had their own turn.

“It’s like going to a restaurant and some bloke just took your favourite meal,” says one of the men hotly. Do you… do you know how restaurants work? You can ALSO order that fucking meal, mate. His enjoyment of it… will not preclude yours in any way.

Nobody better toucha my spaghet.

Also, serial dickhead ‘Paddy’ got dressed up as a bellboy in this shoot, and he looked like an unfriendly monkey. He also said:

“Nobody could pull off a cheeky bellboy but me!”

When did he find the time to pull off a cheeky bellboy?

“The joke is that I accidentally implied that I manually pleasured a bellboy, and I cannot be sure, but I’m probably very homophobic.”

I’m Holding Out For A Hero

The single date was with a dude named Charlie, who apparently builds skyscrapers for a living. They got winched out between two buildings to play Twister, except instead they just stood there freaking out quietly, as one would expect when you’re so obscenely high up on a Twister board.

“I want someone nurturing in times of extreme stress,” says Ali.

Now, we’ve seen the ‘do something weird and awful’ single date format so many times in The Bachelor. It’s so interesting that in The Bachelor, he would make his brides fly high in a helicopter made out of hair and anger as a way of testing their commitment and willingness to conform to his idea of a “easy-going gal ready to go the distance”. Yet, in The Bachelorette, the idea seems to be about testing whether or not the men are brave enough to support Ali.

“WHY AM I DOING THIS FOR A **THIRD** TIME???”

It’s weird — neither are good manifestations of gender expectations tbh, but in this case it’s interesting that if the dude rightfully joined Ali in her absolutely logical panic about being suspended in the air on a novelty game board, he would be seen as weak.

There’s no joke here, oh god, I’m gonna spend this entire season deconstructing toxic masculinity aren’t I, oh god.

Anyway, the lesson here is show no weakness.

Be Very Horny

Calling it now: Ali is the horniest Bachelor or Bachelorette ever, and it’s pretty great. It makes me like her a lot more. All these men are weird and most of them are bad, so it’s nice that Ali is getting to appreciate their best assets: various bulgey bits of muscle.

Very down to clown.

Here’s some quotes from this episode, in which she made out with TWO dudes already. I’m not mad, I’m impressed.

“Now this is more like it, trading the high life for a handsome drink and a stiff man.”

“Let’s bring those boys in.”

“Look at those pecs and shoulders, I am in heaven.”

“He can gatecrash my party anytime.”

Otherwise she’s pretty bland, but I think the horniness is good. It’s kind of a good motivation to keep going. The lesson is be horny, because it will give you the energy to find love.

This Guy’s Weird Excited Face

HE LOOKS LIKE NIGEL THORNBERRY AND HE’S ALWAYS SO EXCITED, SO I GUESS BE EXCITED.

SO EXCITED

TO HAVE MY HEART

BROKEN.

The Bachelorette is on every Wednesday and Thursday night, and Junkee will be recapping every episode like idiots.

Patrick Lenton is the Entertainment Editor at Junkee. He tweets @patricklenton.