“You’re Like Home To Me…”

Did anyone else fall hard into the Carly and Evan romance this season of Bachelor in Paradise?  I did.  I couldn’t help it.  I like Carly.  Her commentary on all situations in the house is so funny, sometimes I fast forward through the episodes just to listen to her sum things up.

Evan, on the other hand, is a bit of an odd one to place.  He’s just so… geeky.  Nothing like the other men that tend to be on the show.

(Don’t get me wrong, geeks are totally my thing.  Guys, if I ever call you a “geek”, it probably means that I’m in love with you and want to get in your pants.)

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As one of my friends summed up Carly and Evan’s relationship: “They’re two charmless people who are somehow charming together”.  While I’m not sure that they are entirely charmless on their own (see comments above re: geeks) they certainly are better together.

And I’m not even gonna lie guys.  I may have shed a tear or two watching their final scene together.  How pathetic am I?

Listen, I know that these shows are total and complete bullshit.  But they are such well done bullshit.  I have them on in the background while I cook, or write, or dust.

(Totally kidding. I never dust).

I enjoy watching these shows.  And I do think that we can take some gems from them once in a while.  Carly and Evan are one of those gems.

I don’t believe in happily ever after.  But I really hope that Carly and Evan end up finding it.

Their relationship followed a different arc than most on the show.  Remember a few weeks back when Carly was all “Ew, Evan, ew” and then threw up after their kiss?  Remember when she suddenly realized that, through their friendship, he had gotten under her skin?  Remember when she realized that they were going to be great?

Their relationship probably started in the best way that a relationship can.  Friendship, getting to know one another, before you start looking forward to all that the future might bring.   Slow, steady and then all at once.  Or slow and steady followed by more slow and steady.  Carly and Evan were a little bit odd.  But I got them and I think that, probably, lots of viewers did.  Their oddness didn’t matter.  Because it worked for them.

Each relationship in our life is and should be unique unto itself.  It doesn’t matter what it is “supposed” to look like.  It matters what works for the two people in that relationship.

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Carly said: “Evan makes me feel like I can be any way I am.  Look any way I am. … He makes me feel so beautiful.  Like, inside and outside.  I’ve never felt like that.”

She told Evan: “You’re like home to me…”

Isn’t that how we all want to feel if and when we find a partner?

(I need to stop watching the Bachelor.  

Wait.  

Nick Viall is the next Bachelor.  

Yeah.  I’m so keeping my cable to watch that go down.)

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But My Checklist Says… !!!

I’ve been watching this (total train wreck) season of the Bachelorette since it started in May.

I watched on Monday night, cringing, as Kaitlyn ended things with Chris-the-Dentist.  She used so many dating buzz words.  “You meet my list of criteria”.  “It should be you”.  “My heart is somewhere else”.

Isn’t that just the way that we millennials do these things?

I don’t know if it is the phenomenon of online dating where you can pick and choose people like you would food at a buffet.  If it is scars from our parents, the boomers, having a high divorce rate (divorce rates peaked in Canada around 1987).  Were we raised by helicopter parents who left us incapable of making a decision on our own?

(Sometimes I like to blame everything on our parents.  It’s fun.)

I suspect the truth is that somehow we got this idea that if we do it right it’s going to be magical.  If we choose the right person.  Wait until the exact right moment.

We analyze our checklists and compare the person in front of us to the criteria that we think we need to fill.

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We wonder if it’s the right moment, the right time.  Do we have enough money?  Are our careers in the right place to add someone into the mix?  What are we going to miss out on?

(A couple of weeks ago I asked my boyfriend if he’d be able to put up with someone who liked to floss their teeth in bed at night in the long term.  He looked at me like I had two heads.  I think it was partly the question and partly: who the hell does that???)

We somehow got sold the picture that happiness was a destination.  It was Jake Ryan, picking you up from your sisters wedding in his red car, kissing you on top of the table with your birthday candles the only light.

(I’ll pause here for all the 80s girls to sigh nostalgically after Mr Ryan.  Ungh.)

What Sixteen Candles didn’t show was Jake’s parents arriving home, finding the trashed house, and sending him off to military school.  He and Sam tried the long distance thing for awhile but then Farmer Ted filled out a bit and Sam’s attention was redirected.

Life (and love) is complicated.

We want to know that it is going to be sunshine and roses and walks on the beach.

It isn’t.

At some point someone is going to lose their job, or you won’t have money for the car repairs.  Maybe you will find out that you can’t have children.  Maybe it will be illness, or an affair, or constant arguments about whose family you will see at Christmas.

As much as we might want to we cannot guard against these eventualities.

(Maybe The Notebook helped prepare us for this.  But there’s something romantic about the dying-in-one-another’s-arms and the message didn’t really sink in.)

Choosing a partner isn’t about finding the person who checks off all of the boxes.  It is much more complicated (and much simpler) than that.  It is finding a person who fits.  Finding that person at the right moment is equally important.

I think we should all stop watching dating shows like The Bachelorette (haha, like that’s going to happen) and just enjoy dating.  Finding someone who fits.  Stop analyzing and just go with it.  The right person is going to come along.  Or they won’t and we’ll still have a fabulous life.

What traits does your partner have that you thought were deal-breakers?

Is This Militant Feminism Or A Reasonable Request?

*I wrote this last month and forgot to post it so…

Something happened on the Bachelorette last night that made me roll my eyes. And then I got really uncomfortable with the fact that my only reaction was to roll my eyes.

This guy, Ryan M, got drunk.  He got really, really drunk.  At one point a guy asked him what he was doing and his response was: “why am I not raping you right now?”.  Um.  Ick.  This seemed to be the nail in his coffin and they sent him home.

But the thing that made me roll my eyes, and then kick myself for having no more reaction than that, was when Ryan M reached out and ran his hand along Kaitlyn’s hip.  And then, moments after she had casually moved herself away from his reach, Ryan M moved around and grabbed her ass.  Nothing was much was said, nothing much was done, and Kaitlyn wandered off on the arm of another guy, clearly very uncomfortable.

Earlier in the episode Ryan M had grabbed Britt and tried to pull her close, rough to the extent that another guy asked him to let her go and be more gentle.

I get it.  People get drunk.  They do stupid things.

Several months ago I was out with a friend at an open mike night and we ended up talking to one of the musicians.  It was at a small restaurant on the beach, a Sunday night, an older crowd.  Nothing wild or crazy.  We were honest with the musician that he was a good looking (if older and drunk) guy.  Just silly banter and flirting.

The guy then introduced himself to me and, in the motion of going to shake my hand, managed to cop a feel of not one, but both, breasts.  “Oops, I touched your breasts!”, he giggled.  He went to shake my hand a second time.  “Oops, I did it again!”.

We all laughed, the bartender rolled his eyes and said something about happy accidents.  It was all very innocent and funny.

But was it?

How many times have you, as a woman, been the recipient of these types of touches?  How often have they made you uncomfortable?  As a guy, has this ever happened to you?

Did I invite this man to touch my breasts by flirting with him?  No.  And yet I felt like I had.

And it wasn’t a big deal.  I looked back at the whole thing as a hilarious anecdote.

But maybe that’s a dangerous way to look at something like this.

Why wasn’t Ryan M kicked off the show the moment that he, uninvited, touched one of the girls?  Shouldn’t it be the responsibility of the producers to protect the women from these sorts of advances?  Why was there so little reaction from both women?

And in both their faces I could see that familiar female expression of self-protection: I am going to laugh at this because any other reaction will make the situation worse.

Earlier in the year I had a man, I won’t go into the situation or place but it was someone I had to spend time with, who kept touching me.  Little things like stroking my hand, holding my arm as I walked past so that I had to stop, hand on the back of my neck if he spoke to me when I was sitting down.

I was uncomfortable and told my Dad about it in a laughing way.  My Dad told me that the next time he did it I should tell him not to touch me in a very calm and matter of fact way.  My Dad seemed confused and frustrated that I wouldn’t just say something and put a stop to it.  But I didn’t and I simply adjusted my behaviour so that I was no longer in situations where he was close enough to touch me.

This guy didn’t mean anything by the touches, of this I am certain.  But I felt like my personal space had been invaded, particularly when my arm was restrained so that I couldn’t walk past.  And I felt that any mention that I wasn’t comfortable being touched by him would come across as bitchy, accusatory, or militant-feminist.  I mean really…

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But I didn’t want him to touch me, I wasn’t comfortable being touched by him, and I should have told him so.  Instead I altered my behavior to avoid his touches.

Is this normal?  How many people have experienced this?  Have men experienced this?  Opinions would be appreciated.