One of the things I like to do at the beginning of a new season of The Bachelor is play a little guessing game. I call it “Who’s Going Home Right Out Of The Gate.”
Now … I understand Monday’s premiere of the show was a few days ago. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have a little fun with it, right? Let’s face it — in the 20th season or so there might come a time when you need to humor yourself about a show to keep things fresh. Not that there’s any lack of drama on The Bachelor season to season. But it helps pass the time. And it’s a fun little game. Really.
I’ve been playing this for the last half dozen incarnations of the program. Here’s how it’s played: First, you get introduced to all the contestants as they exit the limo to meet The Bachelor for the first time during the premiere. Based on these initial introductions, you size them up and see what they have to offer right then and there. Most all of them are going to be nervous as hell or gushing excitement at being right there right at that moment or both. After all of them have come out to meet The Bachelor (in this case, Mr. Ben Higgins), you get to watch them schmooze each other and either strike up camaraderie, size one another up or villainize those who they think are fake, not being true to the heart of the program or any of a score of other labels put to them during the frolickous cocktail hour. (Seeing how they interact with each another can be very telling. Lots of eye rolling, face making and knee-jerk summations will result, some justified, some pulled out of thin air.) Lastly, their one on one encounters with the target of their affections can be just as revealing; you can get a pretty good bead on where the gals are coming from in the short time it takes them to spill whatever it is they want to bathe our stalwart Bachelor in. Then, based on the sum of all this information, you take a stab at who gets to hang around and who gets the old heave ho. Because seven girls won’t make the cut at the end of the night.
See? Easy enough.
And it really doesn’t make a difference if you’ve seen the episode. You can garner enough to get the gist of who’s who.
Ready? Good. First, we’ll take a peek at the contestants as they presented themselves to our new Bachelor …
- Laren B., flight attendant, 25 years of age, from Marina Del Rey, CA. She’s nervous as all get out (many of the girls are) and brought Ben a pair of wings with the hope he’s ready “to take off” on this Bachelor journey.
- Caila, software sales representative, 24, from Hudson, OH. Caila jogs toward and daringly leaps into Ben’s arms. He catches her, surprised. That makes an entrance, doesn’t it?
- Jennifer, small business owner, 25, Fort Lauderdale, FL. She missed stating her name at first but countered with the eye-rolling “Ben and Jen is too cute to forget.” *groan*
- Jami, bartender, 23, St. Albert, Alberta, Canada. Kaitlyn Bristowe (last year’s The Bachelorette) and Jami had a little powwow about Ben and she’s not afraid to let that be known to our hero. (There may have been a hint of a sweat on Ben’s forehead after that revelation.)
- Samantha, attorney, 26, New Smyrna Beach, FL. Right off, she’s got a really annoying voice. And it’s made even more annoying by her declaration she just found out on the way over to The Bachelor mansion that she passed her bar exam. Which of course led to the cheesy question she posed to Ben: “So … Boxers? Or legal briefs?”
- Jubilee, war veteran, 24, Fort Lauderdale, FL. Jubilee thought of a bunch of pick up lines but chose not to use any. Ben coaxes one out of her: “I’m having trouble breathing … but I don’t know if it’s from my dress being too tight or because I just saw you … I can’t decide.” *eye roll*
- Amanda, esthetician, 25, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA. “I’m really, really excited that it’s you and I can’t wait to talk to you more inside.” Then she basically turns and heads into the mansion. Not a whole lot to go on there.
- Lace, real estate agent, 25, Denver, CO. Daring enough to snag the first kiss of the show, Lace is a dish but she’s got an air of stand-offishness about her.
- Lauren, math teacher, 26, Houston, TX. She admits to stalking him on social media sites over the last couple months leading up to the show … which comes across as rather creepy. “I have something special to show you” she confesses cryptically. Heads up, Ben. Your radar should be blaring at you. Plus, she never lets on what her name is, even when Ben asks. A sly way to reel him in? Or just weird?
- Shushanna, mathematician, 25, Salt Lake City, UT. Speaking of weird, in an interesting twist Shushanna only speaks to Ben in Russian. Of course he’s thrown for a loop and it makes for a difficult exchange (such that it is) for him to determine her name. Eventually, he comes close thinking it’s “Shawna.” “I’m either getting tired or losing my mind” he confesses after she heads inside.
- Leah, event planner, 25, Denver, CO. She comes out with a football, promptly bends over and pistols a hike to Mr. Higgins in all her sheer dress glory. Football season is her favorite part of the year. And that impromptu formation might have been Ben’s favorite of the night up to this point.
- Joelle “Jojo”, real estate developer, 24, Dallas, TX. “Jojo” comically — and blindly — comes out with head covered in a full unicorn mask: “Unicorns do exist” she tells Ben. She lets him keep the mask. Uh-huh.
- Lauren H., kindergarten teacher, 25, Ann Arbor, MI. She brings out a bouquet of flowers from a wedding she attended the weekend before and tosses it to Ben to make a pointed statement. Cute but uncomfortable.
- Laura, account executive, 24, Louisville, KY. A pale, dazzling redhead, she tells Ben her friends call her “Red Velvet.” And she encourages Ben to call her same. With a tactic like that, it could very well play to your advantage. Confident women can be attractive.
- Mandi, dentist, 28, Portland, OR. Mandi gets the prize for the creepiest contestant of the show. A real oral hygiene freak, she makes her introduction with an over-sized fake flower atop her head. “Maybe, if things go well tonight, you can pollinate it later” she suggests to Ben. “Interesting,” Ben comments.
- Haley & Emily, both 22, twins from Las Vegas, NV. It’s explained in no uncertain terms Ben will be the one and only exception to them ever dating the same guy. Period.
- Maegan, cowgirl, 30, Weatherford, TX. Sans limo exit, Maegen opts to come walking up to Ben in boots and with Huey The Miniature Horse in tow. That’s a statement all right …
- Breanne, nutritional therapist, 30, Seattle, WA. It’s made clear she eats no gluten, (“Gluten is Satan!”) and she proceeds to pummel bread she brought with her against an entry rock wall to prove her point. Bad bread … bad, bad bread
- Isabel “Izzy”, graphic designer, 24, Brandord, CT. Another winner, Izzy enters dressed in a “onesie” pajama number declaring, “I wanted to find out if you are the ‘onesie’ for me.” Yeah … that.
- Rachel, unemployed, 23, Little Rock, AR. Her grand entrance? Not by limo but by hoverboard and tennis shoes. It takes all kinds sometimes.
- Jessica, accountant, 23, Boca Raton, FL. (It appears Florida is being well represented in this season of The Bachelor.) Jessica smothers Ben in two huge bear hugs that come across almost uncomfortably too long and desperate.
- Tiara, chicken enthusiast, 27, Redmond, VA. Yes … you read right: She’s a chicken enthusiast. She’s got a lot of chickens back home. Clearly, Tiara is flabbergasted by the entire scene when she meets Ben for the first time: “It’s like Disneyland” she claims, starry-eyed.
- Lauren “LB”, fashion buyer, 23, Stillwater, OK. There seems to be zero chemistry between the two on introduction.
- Jackie, gerontologist, 23, San Francisco, CA. Oddly, Jackie hands Ben a “save the date” card which reads toward the bottom “formal invite to follow.” Translation? Jackie predicts a wedding down the road. Different, to be sure.
- Olivia, news anchor, 23, Austin, TX. Beautiful, tall Texas blond. Ben is obviously struck by her.
But wait … there’s more. 26 women aren’t enough. Let’s get completely overwhelming and include two more just for the fun of it. And let those two additional gals be …
- Amber and Becka (who’s still a virgin) from the Chris Soules edition of The Bachelor a couple seasons ago. Bully.
*whew* We now have an official gaggle of women for Ben to sift through. (What? A grouping of women that large is known as a gaggle … right? Right?)
With all the introductions out of the way, let’s head inside for the cocktail hour where Ben gets caught in a virtual twister of female crosswinds. And remember: Based on the introductions and what happens (or doesn’t happen) during the cocktail hour, 25% of the girls will get cut without even a single date from Ben.
Now, I’m not going to henpeck each individual head-butt and confrontation among the girls nor am I going to call out all the one on ones Ben takes on. But there are a few standouts …
- Right in the middle of Ben’s speech welcoming all the girls, the poor dude doesn’t get to complete a string of sentences before old, weird Mandi steals him away. And proceeds to give him a complementary oral exam! And that’s no euphemism! His head is on her lap and she’s checking his chompers and gums to see if all is in order. Stranger than strange. Now, some guys might find this stimulating. I find it disturbing.
- Lace, who swiped the very first kiss of the show from Ben, reveals herself to be the token drunk chick of the group. At one point she tells the camera slurringly. “He can meet the duds first … and then meet me.” And later during the cocktail hour we find she doesn’t think there’s any competition in the room. Let me tell you: That’s confidence!
- Struck earlier by something he saw in Olivia the news anchor, Ben offers her the first impression rose … so we know Olivia is safe from elimination the first night.
Most of the other encounters Ben makes are flutter and fodder with no real clues to who’s staying or leaving.
But that didn’t stop me from putting my predictions down. Here’s what I came up with:
- The Twins from Vegas, Haley & Emily, needed to go. They seem a little too eager and strange. In such a scenario twins are just a weird situation. I see disaster headed Ben’s way if they stick around.
- The strange ones? Samantha the attorney with her annoying voice, Shushanna the Russian, Mandi the dentist, Maegan and her horse, and Tiara the chicken girl are on the list, too. Really, several others should get the boot including Lauren from Stillwater (zero chemistry), Isabel the pajama girl and Breanne the gluten-free chick. But there’s only a limited number of spots. Some of girls will get through.
As it turned out, The Twins, the attorney, the Russian and the dentist all got roses and survived the cut. My picks were way off base. 5 of the 7 I chose got the nod with only the chicken enthusiast and the cowgirl (plus her horse) exiting the residence. But as consolation some of my runners-up got ousted.
But there was a bit of a bonus for the viewers post-rose ceremony. Lace almost went postal on Ben for not only being offered the final rose of the night but for not making eye contact with our hero all through the proceedings! If that sort of drama isn’t a clear warning sign of things to come, I don’t know what is. Stay tuned …
See? Wasn’t that a fun little game to start the show with? And it really doesn’t matter if you’re right or wrong; the fun is in the guessing. And the guessing gets more exacting episode to episode … trust me. You can do this all season long.
Making The Bachelor fun. It’s what I’m here for.
You’re welcome, world.