We’re down to 11 suitors and the action moves from Phuket (pronounced “Fuck it,” I can only assume), Thailand to Chiang Mai, Thailand. Ashley keeps talking about how the week post-Bentley was “a dark time” and she was in “a dark place.” I know you were, girl, you’re a friggin’ brunette! Boom! [Up top]
But she’s ready for a fresh start with these guys (or so she keeps telling herself) and what better place to fall in love than Chiang Mai, huh? Just like the old saying goes. Things kick off with a 1:1 date with the hotter half (that’s not saying much) of the “Monkey Twins” (Ben F. and Constantine), Ben F. He and Ashley putz around an outdoor market, paint parasols, and generally act cute date-y. Later that night over dinner (served in a sick garden covered in flowers & candles), Ben opens up about his old trust issues and the death of his father. He explains that he hasn’t let himself be emotionally vulnerable with anyone since his father’s death (FOUR AND A HALF YEARS AGO), but as of a year ago, he’s ready to let people in. He shut down because he didn’t want to love someone and lose them and get hurt again. I liked that tale of emotional detachment better when it was told by Patrick Swayze’s character in “Ghost.” Despite that, Ben F. is growing on me somewhat, and he’s definitely growing on Ashley.
Up next is a group date for Ames, Blake, JP, Ryan P., Mickey, Nick, Constantine, and Lucas. They head to a Muay Thai gym to punch stuff, kick stuff, and sweat. Whoever schemed up this activity has been reading my dream journal because this isn’t just up my alley, it’s also in my wheelhouse, and any other weird colloquialism that is vaguely sexual while communicating that it’s something I’d like. FIGHTS! Nick is looking dope, and overall there are some sweet bods among this crew of dudes. Even Ames, who reveals that he’s a complete pussy yet has pretty nice pecs. I want more coverage of Nick, though—and the lack of coverage of his “character” (himself) worries me. Could this indicate that the rich man’s Chad Kroeger is going to be sent home soon? Time will tell.
But first, the guys change their shorts and gloves, get into an open-air van, and are taken to a fighting ring in the town square. When the crew of shirtless dudes got in the truck, I couldn’t help but wonder if the next part of this group date was to be sold into slavery. Seriously- scary stuff. But no, it’s something only slightly worse than being a cog in the wheel of the global slave trade: the dudes had to fight each other in the town square. (Up next week, we identify witches and hang them!) The fights are pretty bush league with lots of tussling and very little landing of punches. Sadly, Ames receives some punches to the dome and lands a mild concussion. To add insult to (literal) injury, he’s wearing pink shorts and pink boxing gloves during this entire mortification. He is taken in an ambulance to a Thai hospital, where they run some tests.
That evening the group date crew gathers for drinks and flirting. Again, not much coverage of hot assed Nick and this continues to worry me. Ames arrives late and his forehead seems to have grown (just me?), plus he’s wearing a cheesy suit jacket. He went from “Eh—his eyes are kinda far apart, but whatever” to “Woa, dude’s head is GIANT and he’s a total wimp” in a matter of minutes. Sorry, Ames. He’s obviously really embarrassed and he can’t verbalize things very well (ouch), yet Ashley still doesn’t give him the group date rose. Harsh stuff. Instead, bland dentist Blake receives the rose but it feels like a pity rose. We’ll see.
Final date is the ‘ole 2:1 date which always devolves into an “Elimidate”-like episode of “Big Love.” (Yes, that was 2 pop culture references within words of each other. Look at that skill!) This is no different, but only because William is a stupid punk who makes lame jokes. William (cell phone salesman from Ohio) and Ben C. (lawyer w/ big jaw and faux British accent) are the two on the 2:1 date and you can tell that they aren’t besties. Ashley and the boys hop on a raft and head down to an “Elephant Experience” (which turns out to be riding elephants, not a creepy bestiality theme park) where they have a picnic. Ashley and William have some 1:1 time to chat, during which William tells her that Ben C. has talked about doing online dating when he gets home, or something like that. First off, William is a sneaky weasel and should mind his own damn business. As we learned from David, the Hot Psycho during Jillian’s season of The Bachelorette (David/Hot Psycho had big eyes, sick body, great tattoos, worked construction, and later went on to win Bachelor Pad), right now William is breaking Man Code. I don’t know the details of Man Code, but its tenets seem to be: Don’t be a Pussy, Mind Your Business, Don’t Throw Another Dude Under the Bus, and Hook Up A Lot.
Back to William breaking Man Code and being a weasel. Perhaps Ben C. said that, sure, but it’s not William’s place to tell Ashley about something that another guy MIGHT POTENTIALLY do later in life. Is every guy on this show supposed to be completely obsessed with Ashley and convinced that he will DEFINITELY marry her? William is double awful, though, because he has tapped into Ashley's major insecurity, which is that the guys on the show aren’t really into her. So she walks back to the picnic and sends Ben C. home immediately. Poor Ben C. tries to speak his piece and remains really calm, but his angled jaw and faux British accent can’t save him now. He floats away (literally) on probably the slowest raft ride ever.
Now William has Ashley to himself and thinks he’s all set, but she throws him for a loop (thank God). Over dinner (during which Ashley rocks a dope one-shoulder patterned dress), Ashley asks William about his earlier claim that he’s a really a child. Dude is 30 and apparently on their first date he made some joke about being “still a child” or a “man child.” Note to dudes: there is NOTHING hot about that. I would rather date an octogenarian who has his shit together than a 30 year old guy who is hot but immature. (Note: the octogenarian in this situation should NOT be Whitey Bulger. Can you believe they found him!? I’m still reeling. And now Whitey Bulger is going back to Mass, or as we say it in Mass, “Whitey Bulga’s comin’ home! Go get some Kelly’s Roast Beef and call Sully!”) Ashley explains that she wants a man, not a boy, and puts him in a car. William seems stunned by this turn of events, as he will be at every turn for the rest of his life. He’s just one of those guys who doesn’t get it, ya know? I used to work with a guy like him. This guy stole THOUSANDS of dollars in books from our company in a carefully orchestrated scam, then when he was fired, he seemed STUNNED by it. Blech.
Back at the house, the guys clap when BOTH sets of bags are removed.
At the next cocktail party, Ashley comes out and makes a weird speech about how she hopes that the guys like her. Oh man. Girl. Come on. Chin up, stop thinking about sleezy Bentley, and act confident. Fake it ‘till you make it!
Rose ceremony time and who gets the last rose? Ryan P. I mention the last rose because that’s usually a sign that a guy is on the chopping block, and I think that Ryan P’s eager beaver tendencies are grating on Ashley. Who gets sent home? Sigh. Rich man’s Chad Kroeger, Nick from Florida. Oh sweet Nick, we barely knew ye. I generally hate blonde guys, and yet you really got a hold on me somehow. Nick, perhaps you will find some comfort in this song by your doppelganger, Chad Kroeger. I give you the music video for “If Everyone Cared” and yes, this is the music video that prompted me to start crying while on an elliptical machine at New York Sports Club a few years back. Enjoy.