Episode 7

I hustled to get this one out quickly this week as my parents have come to visit and to catch opening night of La Bohème! Yay!

 


 

“Comparison is a bitch."

Tia

 

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BECCA K'S 1-ON-1

Becca K gets the first 1-on-1 date and appears to be finally back in the game. We've known she's a season-long frontrunner but I've felt for awhile that we haven't been seeing enough consistent conversation. And even one we did see, back in Episode 5, was about 80% make-out and only 20% conversation.

If I'm honest, though, this 1-on-1 still wasn't as conversation-heavy as I would've liked—the gist was that they needed to re-explore what they had on their first 1-on-1 and "move forward" from there, followed by Becca K expressing having had a hard time as of late (which we annoyingly never saw) and that she's still there because she still believes in them, followed by shots of them making out on the grass, on a stone ledge, and against a wall. I recognize how great their chemistry is, but it irks me that the make outs we're shown aren't balanced by more concrete conversation and glimpses of easy banter, which they presumably have (theirs really doesn't feel like just a chemistry-based relationship).

Anyway, Becca K is definitely not going anywhere...

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The above is so emphatic that I'm torn again over whether or not Becca K could win. Her story is one of the more frustrating relationships to watch that I can recall, just since her airtime checks all the frontrunner boxes but we're never shown any of the actual meat of their relationship. Ugh!

In the evening, I was impressed when Becca K gingerly walked on COBBLESTONES in her gorgeous but not-for-the-faint-of-heart Louboutins (anyone who owns non-platform Louboutins knows this pain all too well). And then I laughed when we saw them in her hand later on...

 I've so been there.

I've so been there.

 

JACQUELINE'S DEPARTURE

Later that same evening, in easily the most déja-vu inducing segment I've ever seen since I was on the show, Jacqueline peaces out. So much about this felt familiar to me, from her obviously planned, seed-planting Girl Chat about having "doubts" (in Jacqueline's case, with Kendall; mine was with Renée), to her teary ITMs, to her visit to Arie's hotel suite after his first 1-on-1 of Week 7 (this was the exact time I left as well). I think I've mentioned before how carefully planned one's departure is, giving me the impression that Jacqueline likely was already considering leaving before her Week 6 1-on-1 date. I also believe her when she said she was NOT expecting to develop real feelings and was caught really off guard by them.

At any rate, I felt bad for her as I know exactly how she was feeling. Even though I knew it wasn't quite right, part of me still wished things might have been different, that maybe the timing were different, or that it was a different guy so I could feel all the feelings I was supposed to feel and just be able to experience that. Part of you wants to see it through, to see what happens.

What Arie said right at the end of this segment really stood out to me...

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This is the one moment all season where I questioned Arie's sincerity. It's not that I doubt he cared about Jacqueline, and I think the above sentiment is very kind, but it's not exactly productive or conducive to him whittling down his options. I think we can all agree that Jacqueline probably wasn't going to win the season (we basically didn't see one second of her from Episodes 2 through 5). Also, based on the former leads I've spoken to, it's almost a 0% chance that in Week 7, he doesn't know who his final 2 women are, or AT LEAST his final 3. I just have to wonder, if Jacqueline took Arie up on the above sentence and DID feel regret and DID return, would her return really be worth it? 

A lot has changed about this show in 4 years in that there now seems to be no issue with showing how close the women become with one another...

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I distinctly remember that while my season was airing, when Kelly, my closest friend and confidante in the house, was sent home in Episode 5, I lost it and began bawling. I got a TON of flak online, along the snarky lines of, "Doesn't Sharleen know this is a competition?", as though all women should rejoice when other women are sent home, period. As though, since you're all living together 24/7, you don't become far closer with each other than with the guy you're all dating. To me, that perspective always felt very gullible and old-fashioned Bachelor, where viewers actually believed every woman was on that show because they were desperate for love and that they perceived their housemates as nothing more than competition. Times sure have changed; we all know from social media that the friendships forged on each season are likely to last far longer than the final couple does. In my opinion, clips like the above demonstrate how this show is evolving to keep up with its constantly wising-up audience.

 

LAUREN'S 1-ON-1

In case there was any doubt of how into Lauren Arie is, he gives her another 1-on-1 when her first 1-on-1 was just last week. As they ride bicycles through Tuscany, Lauren ribs Arie while simultaneously breaking the 4th wall (even gesturing the cameras with her hand)... 

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In the evening, Lauren confesses to feeling feelings of love for Arie, and this moment was EPIC for me. I actually rewound and rewatched it a few times, trying to make sense of Arie's strange reaction...

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As I said over at Flare, my sister thought Arie needed to pow wow with a producer because Lauren's feelings changed the course of things. (She felt Arie was planning on sending Lauren home had she remained on the cold and standoffish side.) My thought was that Arie was actually verklempt and needed a moment. Since posting that, a reader name Christina wrote me about this and put it so perfectly that I figured I'd just copy and paste it here: 

"My husband and I both thought the same thing: That he wanted to say "I love you" or some version back, but wanted to check with producers about HOW to word it and what he was COULD say since there is the "unwritten" rule that the lead needs to play his/her cards close to the vest. I think he was gone for so long because he was getting advice on how to build up and craft his response - both to express his feelings AND to maintain "good TV" in the moment and for the future episodes.

I think he got thrown off by her saying that in that moment, because he is/was insecure in his relationship with her due to her reserved nature. I think he's SO in to her that he did not even in his wildest dreams imagine that she had strong feelings for him. 

After he said it my husband yelled "IS HE ALLOWED TO SAY THAT??"

Watching it back with that perspective in mind I couldn't agree more. The way he looks down after she says she's falling in love, it looks like he has so much he wants to say but stops himself. He then seems to visibly gulp. Then, the way he looks off to his left, it's like he's looking for a certain producer, not just craving a breath of fresh air and a stroll. 

At any rate, Arie leaves Lauren at the table where she proceeds to give THREE fleeting but distinct Direct-Looks-Into-Camera™...

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The more I see of Lauren the more I like her. She is SO poker-faced, yet you could see in her face in the above clip that she felt unbelievably vulnerable. Watching someone like her try to keep it together (she does a damn good job), while clocking the camera staring at her, is really compelling, far more so to me than the many contestants who just easily and willingly cry, seemingly on command. It's tears like the above that make good reality TV, not an actor's tears.

Arie gives Lauren the rose with easily the most powerful rose speech of the entire season thus far...

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This supports Christina's hypothesis. After all, if Arie felt like he was falling in love with Lauren, why wouldn't he have just said it back in the moment? Why would he have needed a time out if it weren't to nail down the semantics of what he was ALLOWED to say?

 

SEINNE'S 1-ON-1

I wish I had more to say about this date because I love Seinne but there's sadly not a lot to discuss here. Basically, the date went swimmingly well but I suspect Arie knew he wasn't going to be giving Seinne a Hometown. The result was a date that felt cursory and more out of respect for her than like an actual chance for them to build on their relationship. 

 Yep.

Yep.

Farewell, beautiful Seinne! We (and the fashion section) will miss you!

Back at their hotel, Seinne's suitcase is taken out, and the reactions here really stood out to me. Note how Bekah M is the only one to express joy at Seinne's departure...

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On one hand, you can applaud Bekah M for her honesty; she voiced what the three rose-less women were very likely thinking. That said, it's not in the greatest of taste. As I said on The Morning After, I DO buy the connection between Bekah M and Arie, so it only cheapens what they have when she words her thoughts in a way that suggests it's more about the competition and one's "odds" than about the big quest for love. But like I said, I give credit where credit is due for her brutal frankness here.

 

GROUP DATE

This Group Date had me on the edge of my seat! What CRAZY good TV this was. As I sad over at Flare, I was so sure Kendall would be going home (again, this is based on the fact that she hadn't gotten a 1-on-1, not me doubting her and Arie together) that when she got the first rose I actually gasped. The main debacle on this date was that Tia told Arie (and she subsequently told Bekah M to her face, which I applaud) that she questioned Bekah M's readiness for marriage and starting a family. Again, I expressed my thoughts on this at Flare so I won't repeat myself, but I did appreciate what a tearful Bekah M had to say about this...

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This, to me, concisely sums up one of my biggest frustrations in life. It bothers me (more than I'd like to admit) when people who don't really know you so willingly assume the worst about you.

I had an interesting conversation with a fellow singer the other day about this. He insisted that he didn’t care if people didn’t like him, but he had a major issue if people HATED him. He felt that if someone decided they hated him, they had clearly misunderstood him, and that bothered him way more than a mild distaste for him. I actually feel the opposite: It bothers me far more if someone casually decides they don’t care for me, because I can't help but feel that would stem from assumptions made about me, that I’ve been readily misunderstood without being given a real chance or the benefit of the doubt. Meanwhile, if someone does know me and decides they vehemently dislike me, or hate me even, I feel like that's such a strong reaction, it was a battle I was probably never going to win in the first place. (Thoughts on this?)

The above also represents one of the most maddening aspects of going on The Bachelor; not only does your edit show such a sliver of who you are, but viewers make sweeping assumptions about you based on that sliver shown. Anyway, if you can't tell, that sentence spoke to me.

Everyone's noticed by now that Arie is constantly absentmindedly stroking the women's faces, hair, legs, and hands, but there was a hilarious moment (spotted by my sister's boyfriend!) where he was actually stroking his OWN hand...

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Arie gives Kendall the first Group Date rose, resulting in the most deliciously awkward of moments...

 I live for watching these moments!

I live for watching these moments!

And finally, in the evening, in his final 1-on-1 time with Bekah M, we get a preview of what's going to happen. Watch Arie's body language, his facial expressions, how he avoids eye contact. I really saw this as him giving her a head's up that he was sending her home...

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As always, ICYMI, my Top 4 ranking and predictions can be found over at Flare!

 

THE FASHION

Requests

A few of you asked about Lauren's entire 1-on-1 daytime look...

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Lauren's Free People High Rise Busted Knee skinny jeans sell HERE (I loved these jeans). Her top is from Francesca's but I couldn't find her exact one online (the most similar one, HERE, is only available in stores), however, there's a near identical one selling HERE. Her Converse Chuck Taylors sell HERE.

A few of you also asked about Seinne's 1-on-1 daytime top...

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Seinne's For Love And Lemons "Elsa" bodysuit sells HERE and HERE, and in black HERE.

 

Best Dressed

Several pieces caught my eye and are Honorable Mentions this week. First up is Becca K with her varsity jacket...

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I loved the color palette and modern feel to this old school, Grease-esque jacket. Becca K's Abercrombie Varsity jacket sells (super on sale!) HERE and HERE.

We hardly saw it but I dug Seinne's tank from an ITM...

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I love the structured feel of this combined with the rather risqué cut and girly pale pink. Seinne's Nicholas "Ponti" open back crop top is sadly sold out (HERE) but there's one going on eBay HERE

I liked Lauren's cream jacket that she wore during Tuscany B-rolls...

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This jacket feels easy, slouchy, and just looks SO much more expensive than it is. Lauren's Lulus "Ready For Anything" faux suede jacket sells HERE, and in my search I found a slightly more drapey, slightly less slouchy one that I'm eyeing, HERE.

Several of you asked about Becca K's 1-on-1 date evening dress but it was already on my list...

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This dress is the perfect marriage of simplicity (the cut and silhouette) and interest in the form of a pop of color. I might've preferred a little tendril-y updo to highlight the open back (especially since her hair was down during the day), but she looked fantastic. Becca K's Lulus "Like A Lady" dress sells HERE.

I loved Lauren's sweater she wore when reading the Group Date card...

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This sweater combines so many things I love: Waffle knit, oatmeal color, off-the-shoulder, and oversized. Yup. Lauren's Bb Dakota "Tegan" sweater sells HERE.

Bekah M wore the cutest sideways wishbone choker throughout the whole episode...

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I love the daintiness of this piece and how it's barely there until it catches the light. Bekah M's wishbone necklace is by Irina Victoria and sells HERE. (Thanks Kaila!)

Bekah M has such a distinct personal style that I appreciate...

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This dress COULD look sort of whatever on a lot of people, as it's a relatively shapeless maxi dress, but Bekah M really makes it work for her and the result is effortless feeling and youthful. There's an off-the-beaten-path feel to Bekah's style where, even when I don't think I'd wear something she's chosen, I always respect the choice. Above all, she NEVER looks like she's trying too hard. Bekah M's Willow & Clay embroidered maxi dress sells (on sale!) HERE.

Finally, I loved Tia's Group Date blouse...

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There's something very polished and ladylike about this top while still having a hippie, boho vibe to it. I really love the color and print and am seriously considering it at this price. (I already own a Knot Sisters blouse and love it.) Tia's Knot Sisters "Willow" top sells (super on sale!) HERE.

I have a tie for runner-up for Best Dressed! First is Becca K with her 1-on-1 daytime dress...

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SO many of you requested this dress and that's no surprise; it is BEAUTIFUL. It's easy and feminine and just felt so perfect for a day of strolling and picnicking. Plus, the shorts added a layer of practicality. Becca K's exact Forever 21 dress is sold out, but fear not as there are a bunch of alternatives! There are super similar ones but without the shorts selling HERE, HERE, and HERE, and with the shorts but in a midi length HERE. If you're open to different necklines, there are currently two Forever 21 options (also with the shorts) available, a strapless one (HERE), and a more plunge-y, crisscross back one (I love this one, HERE). Finally, there's a slightly dressier version, HERE.

*** UPDATE 02.16.18: A few of you have written, pointing out a dress on Amazon which seems identical to Becca's, HERE. Thank you, guys!

My other runner-up is Seinne with her 1-on-1 evening look...

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I never in a MILLION years would've guessed this top was by a swimsuit brand which is a testament Seinne's ability to style pieces. She also has a true talent for wearing somewhat revealing pieces yet always looking SO refined and classy and never remotely trashy. (Her daytime bodysuit is a great example—SO few people could pull off something like that, especially when meeting and cooking with some Italian family they don't know.) In terms of this look, even the trench, with its subtle twists on a traditional trench coat, was an elevated "advanced level" choice. Seinne's Indah "Roxy" top sells (super on sale AND in two colors) HERE. Her Club Monaco "Ellayne" trench is sold out in green but is still available in grey, HERE.

Finally, surprising nobody, my Best Dressed this week was Lauren with her open back 1-on-1 date evening dress...

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Gosh, what a simply pretty dress! This one was also much-requested by you guys. I'm loving everything about this: that open back and the cut out sides balanced by the covered-up sleeves, the on-trend velvet, the flirty flared silhouette. She's a knockout in it. Lauren's Lulus "Charisma and Charm" (they have the weirdest names!) dress sells (in three colors) HERE.

 

Worst Dressed

No Worst Dressed this week!

 

Until next week, fellow pandas!

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