If DeAnna Pappas, this summer’s Bachelorette on ABC, indeed finds a husband on the show, is she in for a big surprise. Smart women, with the possible exception of Cameron Diaz, don’t judge potential life partners by their Jet Ski skills or how they kiss on horseback in the surf off Grand Bahama Island. Those things make pretty pictures on TV but they don’t begin to make the measure of a mate.
DeAnna’s’ task this week was to cut one of the three last bulls from the herd. With Jeremy, Jesse and Jason all snorting and pawing the ground for her attention, she had one-on-one day and nighttime dates with each.
Gorgeous but personality-anemic Jeremy looked yummy against the pounding waves at the beach resort, but he didn’t say diddly-squat as he and DeAnna shared a romantic picnic. DeAnna’s always urging the guys to “open up” to her, but Jeremy went all tick-a-lock on the sharing when they were alone (camera crews don’t count). They nibbled food and played tonsil tennis. Then off they went to the candlelit “fantasy suite,” where we’re supposed to imagine them getting all up in the Kama Sutra but where, for all we know, they spent the night playing gin rummy like Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine in The Apartment.
With Jason, the cute 31-year-old father of one (from a previous marriage), DeAnna went kayaking and had another beachside picnic. He thanked her for “teaching me that I can fall in love again.” Their lip-slurping never dislodged one atom of DeAnna’s thick lip gloss. Then off they went behind closed doors into that fantasy suite to, uh, play some cards.
Date three was with Jesse, the snowboarder with the busted beak. They rode horses into the water, smooched so much even the ponies looked embarrassed and ended up at yet another Champagne-soaked dinner. They briefly talked kids (Jesse’s on the “under-30 plan,” meaning he’s ready to shred snowy moguls and DeAnna’s womb) and then trundled off to the Kama Sutra suite to shuffle their decks.
Elimination time: Jesse and Jason are in. Pretty Jeremy is out. He didn’t “open up” enough.
And that’s the big bugaboo with trying to choose a husband on dates that look like scenes in a Beach Party movie. You can’t judge a man by how he acts on vacation. No meaningful conversation ever was had on a beach towel. You can't know what a man is like when all you're doing is the grown-up equivalent of recess. If The Bachelorette were serious about making real matches, they’d forget tropical islands and let DeAnna see what how these dudes behave in real life.
First, drop DeAnna and her suitors in a Home Depot. Make him strap on a carpenter bag and hand him some tools. Can he build a deck? Hang a door? Unclog a toilet?
A picnic is cute but it doesn’t show what a man can do with a task few men enjoy. Let’s send the guys to buy the groceries for the picnic. Without a list. And with coupons.
Instead of watching them ride horses, let’s see if Jesse and Jason can change the oil in DeAnna’s grandmother’s ’97 Camry and which of them also notices that the PSI on her tires is low. Kayaking? No, let’s hand the guys a stack of receipts and see who can navigate the rough waters of DeAnna’s taxes.
And here’s a fantasy suite for you: A king-sized bed covered in laundry. He who folds the sheets and towels best, he who nods patiently when DeAnna tells him to refold the towels in thirds so that none of the edges shows when they’re on the linen closet shelf, he gets to wrinkle the sheets already on the bed.
Here’s a final test date the ABC show producers should consider: Put the guy in a comfy den with a big-screen TV tuned to the Super Bowl or Game 7 of the World Series. Let him watch for an hour with all the Tecate and Tostitos he wants. Then have DeAnna come in wearing a muu-muu and no makeup, grab the remote, hit “Mute” and say, “Honey, I need to talk.”
Move in for the close-up on the guy’s face. There’s where real character is revealed. See which man grabs the remote back, turns off the TV, takes the lady’s hand in his and says, “Sure, hon, I’m all yours.”
Hands down, he’s the one.
DeAnna makes her final choice on The Bachelorette at 8 p.m. ET, July 7, on ABC.