Doula’s Choice

Well, it’s finally happened – and I’m not talking about a Bachelor season in which all of the contestants appear to be sane and rational. No, I’m talking about the fact that, after twenty seasons, the powers that be have decided America is finally ready for an openly bisexual contestant. Frankly, this bookie couldn’t be more thrilled. In what has already been a decidedly less monochromatic season, this show is leading its constituency – whether they like it or not – into a more open, more accepting world.

Kudos, I say – and I offer those as rarely as conflict gets resolved before a commercial break. It’d be nice to believe that, when the dust settles, Jaimi will still be around to take the reins of Bachelorette, but I won’t be offering odds on that prospect anytime soon. I enjoy taking peoples’ money, but I’ve never been big on robbing them.

These early episodes are always a struggle, especially when trying to turn a buck. Unless you’ve found a whale who’s a sucker for live prop bets, like which girl will get visibly drunk first (Corinne), who will be this season’s villain (Corinne), and who’s most likely to voluntarily take her top off first (Corinne), it’s slow going at the outset. That being said, on a season like this where each girl is assuming her role quickly, it’s the orcas that prey on the sharks.

Also, at the risk of devaluing the kudos I dispense so rarely, allow me to laud praise upon the producer that clearly understood their resources. Not only did they identify Corinne as the crazy and combative self-styled alpha of the group, but they found the one girl on the photo-shoot group-date in better shape than her (what? I’m not made of stone), put her in even fewer clothes than Corinne, then slated Corinne to be the last to go, allowing her to spend several hours stewing and getting liquored up like a poet on payday. It might not have been meritorious course of action, but we’re talking about the reality-industrial complex here, not UNICEF – you work with what ya got.

Sometimes what ya got is an over-privileged white girl from Miami who still gets served snacks by her nanny. Other times it’s a doula with whom the man of the hour shares a sexual history; and while that’s no less entertaining, it’s certainly confusing. Somehow – and I swear this isn’t the alcohol talking because I’m off the sauce until the boards go up – I found myself taking Nick’s side instead of Liz’s as they further danced around the details of their tryst.

Call me old fashioned, but when a gal declines to give me her digits after a one-night stand I consider our coupling concluded – even if (hell, especially if) we have mutual acquaintances. Much like Nick, I too would find myself particularly surprised if she showed up on my doorstep nine months later (thankfully solo) to ask me, in front of my twenty-nine other girlfriends, why I never gave things the ol’ college try.

I can’t say I fault Nick for what he did (again, hand to God, I’m sober), though it does fill me with a twinge of regret. As I alluded to last week, this stood to be the closest thing to a sex-positive season we’ve ever seen. Having a doula around to talk openly and directly about the very natural, very human act would have represented huge strides. Instead we’re forced to settle for baby steps.

I called Chris Harrison to see if he shared my lament. Sobriety made me hopeful, if not a little delusional.

“What’s the word, Harrison?”

He paused for a minute before responding. “Clint…are you honestly calling me this early in the season?”

“What, I can’t call to talk a little shop?”

“Jesus Christ, Jackson. Are you sober?”

“Just a little,” I said, shrugging it off. “What gives with the doula getting the sharp end of the rose?”

“You’d have to ask Nick,” he said in response.

“He didn’t tell you?”

“I didn’t ask.”

“Why the hell not?”

“He’s such a tool, Clint. I can’t be around him for longer than five minutes without a drink in my hand and I can’t be wasted on air again. I’ve already got two strikes.”

“Is that why you had something like thirty seconds of screen time this week?”

“Sobriety may not suit you, Jackson, but it makes you sharp. When’s the first board going up?”

“As soon as you clear off the crazies.”

“Clint, baby,” he said with a laugh. “You know that doesn’t happen until the finale. Ciao.”

I let out a sigh and lit another cigarette. The only thing worse than Chris Harrison getting the last word is when he’s right while doing it.

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