Episode 10: Women Tell All

As you probably know by now, I've been writing a Bachelor commentary for Canadian women's magazine, Flare, for about a year now. The recaps have been a success to the point where they've actually asked me to be their new dating columnist (!), with the column appearing both online and in the hard copy magazine. I am beyond flattered and excited about the whole thing. If you or someone you know wants to #AskSharleen, drop a line to: editor@flare.com. Thanks, all!

I don't typically recap the Tell All since it's not a developmental episode and often speaks for itself. I figured I would just do a Best Dressed/Worst Dressed post. However, since my Women Tell All Flare recap, I've been overwhelmed by the responses via the comments and on Twitter. I couldn't not speak my mind on this topic.

In that recap, I called Kaitlyn classy. What ensued was very interesting; many readers seemed to think that because Kaitlyn tells dirty jokes, has a potty mouth, and stripped down during a game of truth or dare in a lake, she therefore does not qualify as "classy".

This is a topic near and dear to my heart. During and since Juan Pablo's Bachelor season, I have been fortunate enough to be referred to as classy. That's very kind and I am grateful for it, but here's the thing: I have both a potty mouth and a very dirty sense of humor; those who know me well certainly know that. I didn't censor myself or pretend to be someone else during filming, yet few examples of me swearing or making off-color remarks aired at all. Clearly, I got the "classy" edit, since it so conveniently fit my "worldly opera singer" profile. Except... well, that's not really me at all. Yes, I have traveled around, and yes, I am an opera singer. But that is what I do, not who I am.

The only example I could find.  (I was SUPER excited about Hobbiton.)

The only example I could find.  (I was SUPER excited about Hobbiton.)

So, let me ask you this: With that newfound knowledge, am I no longer "classy"? I still behave more or less the same; I generally have strong opinions but like to think I'm aware of social dynamics and how to behave. I try to have a strong sense of self, to know my worth, and to always demand high standards both of myself and those with whom I surround myself. Is all that negated by my potty mouth? Granted, I wouldn't strip down for a game of truth or dare, but it's not because I think it's unladylike; I am simply way too shy and self-conscious to do that. Kaitlyn is not self-conscious and more of a wild child. Does that negate the fact that, all season long, she avoided house drama, was consistently reasonable, well-spoken, even-tempered, and carried herself well?

Let's recap with specific examples...

  1. During the season, Kaitlyn never went behind another girl's back to tell Chris of her own personal misgivings about another girl. Her interactions with the Bachelor were solely about the two of them, regardless of how she personally felt about another woman. While I do expect that, not every woman is so respectful.
  2. Her jokes were just as light-hearted and tongue-in-cheek as they were dirty. Does a crass sense of humor automatically make one not classy? We find funny what we find funny; we are conditioned based on upbringing, social cues, and environment. Is there really a "right" or "wrong" in terms of sense of humor? If Kaitlyn's sense of humor can be used against her at all, it is only because one could argue she uses it as a defense mechanism to avoid dealing with real feelings. If anything, she's guilty of not taking herself seriously enough. However, and I don't know about you: I would choose to spend time with someone who doesn't take themselves seriously over one who does any day of the week.
  3. When Britt received a group date rose in front of her, Kaitlyn never threw a fit in front of Chris and the other girls. In fact, she tearily said it was humiliating to take two steps forward and one step back—in her ITM only. To Britt, she simply said it was difficult. She did not call Chris or Britt out at all, let alone in front of anyone.
  4. At Women Tell All, Kaitlyn got emotional without making it all about her, kept her cool without being cold, and spoke her mind without interrupting others. If that behavior isn't classy, I don't know what is.

I want to clarify one thing: Believe it or not, I don't dislike Britt. This blog isn't nor was it ever meant to be a Britt bashing zone. Just because I don't agree with her behavioral choices doesn't mean I "hate" her. I said from the first week that she had a lovely speaking voice (I did note the weirdness of that observation) and she's the sort of girl you want to be friends with. I think Britt is drop-dead gorgeous, eloquent, and intelligent. She has made several points throughout the season that I have wholeheartedly agreed with. The latest example? In Women Tell All, on the topic of her allegedly saying she loved being single, Britt said:

"I think you have to be happy with who you are as a single person before you can move into a marriage relationship... because then you want them to fill things in you and you resent them because they can't."

I agree with that statement completely. In fact, in my recap of Episode 5, I defended Britt's vilification: "I was a very happy single gal but that doesn't take away from my happiness and contentment in my relationship. If anything, my having enjoyed singledom adds validity to my relationship since I wasn't desperate to be in one in the first place."

My issue with Britt are that I find her way of being to be theatrical. I don't think, nor have I ever thought, that she behaves this way maliciously or perhaps even intentionally. However, way back on my Season Premiere recap, I stated:

"Before I offend anyone, let me just say that some of my biggest peeves are overt attention whores. Yes, I realize everyone on this series (myself included) did not end up there by accident. But believe it or not, I think this show is a fascinating study of human interaction and relationship development, and it detracts from the authenticity of this when someone is obviously there to chase the spotlight."

I value authenticity and self-awareness above all else. To me, these are attributes of a classy person. I felt Britt's performance at Women Tell All was, frankly, just that. A performance. I understand that she was hurt by things people said about her. I also get that she is an emotional person. But she cried dramatically at least five separate times. Get it together, girl. Compare that to Kelsey, who managed to keep it together well and who, frankly, had a WAY harsher and more difficult-to-recover-from edit. 

My biggest issue was that Britt didn't take any responsibility for her actions. She behaved like a victim throughout the entire episode. All these months later, she still blamed her departure on Carly:

This is insane to me for several reasons. First of all, filming began late September. Britt left at the same Rose Ceremony I did and I filmed for just shy of 6 weeks total. Women Tell All was filmed on Saturday, February 21st. So, we're looking at at least three and a half months since filming ended. She knew the guy for six weeks max, and by "knew", we're talking a one-on-one and a half (if you count the Big & Rich concert), plus a collective few hours of here-and-there one-on-one time. I speak from experience when I say you don't know each other that well (hence why I couldn't see a proposal in our future). I know she seemingly felt more strongly for Chris than I ever felt for Juan Pablo, but my point still remains. All this time later—far longer than she knew him in total—and she still thinks she would have been the last woman standing? She was so sure about him yet had packed her bags and was ready to leave early over a group date rose. Really? I'm sorry, it just doesn't add up.

This is what you call a lack of self-awareness. She is a) not taking any responsibility for things she said or did that might have turned Chris off, and b) belittling the relationship between Chris and whomever he is currently with by insinuating that they're only together because her relationship with Chris was sabotaged. If she truly believes that, she's remarkably un-self-aware. If she doesn't, she's being inauthentic in saying so. I don't understand nor have much patience for either.

The cherry on top, and then I'm done discussing Britt, I swear. Incredibly, people seem to think that any beef that myself or any woman has with Britt must stem from middle school-grade jealousy. I have been told that, as a woman, I should not be "mean" to other women.

First, I don't think I have ever been unfairly mean to anyone on this blog. Second, I have never aired any grievance towards Britt's behavior without thoroughly and painstakingly describing why I felt that way. And third, the asinine argument that a woman wouldn't like Britt out of insecurity alone degrades women far more than a woman disliking her for actual reasons; it dismisses all perception and compatibility (or lack thereof), leaving nothing but a simple Mean Girl-esque battle of who's prettier or more popular. Plus, I'm a firm believer that beauty draws people in, not the opposite. It's no coincidence that the most popular girls in any given high school tend to be the most conventionally "pretty". Please. This isn't about jealousy. It's critical thinking versus Koolaid-drinking.

 

Side Observation #1: Don't automatically assume that the person who doesn't talk trash in her ITMs is a benevolent soul. I'm not saying Britt isn't a benevolent soul. I'm saying that if she is, her lack of ITM trash talk is not a contributing factor to that conclusion. I've mentioned this in comments before, but it is very easy to tell when a producer is prompting you to talk about the other girls. You really can see it coming from a mile away. More often than not, when a girl trash-talks it's because she a) is at her wit's end with irritation and is venting to a producer (who really has become her friend), b) is worried about going home and is grasping at straws, or c) knows she's on a ridiculous dating show and knowingly provides suitably wry commentary.

Side Observation #2: An editing (and subsequent stamp-of-approval) fail...

That's Nikki, not Samantha. Way to add insult to the injury of basically editing both Nikki and Samantha out of the show entirely.

 

BEST DRESSED

Lots of fashion eye candy this week!

I have two runners-up for Best Dressed. First is Kaitlyn in her white two-piece number:

This is such a sexy look. I love the balancing of covered-up-ness with a flash of skin. And her statement necklace is fabulous; I often find big bijoux necklaces can overpower a simple ensemble, but this one just complements it. 

My other runner-up was Ashley I in her nude Grecian dress:

As always, Ashley I brought her A-game. She knows to play up her dark features with nudes and neutrals and the results are always striking. You know by now I'm a sucker for anything nude. I'm also a sucker for anything plunging. So, it's a given that I WANT THIS DRESS. (Good news: It's only $177!)

Drumroll... My Best Dressed this week was adorably kooky Ashley S:

This sequined chevron dress is not something I would ever pick out, so all the more reason I'm wowed by it. It's simultaneously flashy and subdued, but above all, it fits her like a glove. You can tell she has a killer bod without it being shoved in your face. Ladylike elegance perfected. Plus those shoes! And her up-do! Ashley S knocked it out of the park.

WORST DRESSED

Gahhh, Kelsey. I hate to give her any more flak than she's already gotten, but this look is just not good...

A Kelly green cotton jersey Ann Taylor-esque sundress is just not what you wear to Women Tell All. I've said this before: It's THE BACHELOR! Don't wear on national television what you'd wear to a Sunday picnic. This shade of green sadly does nothing for her, and if she insisted on going casual dress-wise, she should have at least matched it with subtle jewelry. Sigh. 

 

Until next week, fellow pandas!