“Mom, Dad, various gathered family members. I’m falling for him. I really am.”
“I’m skeptical about this whole thing. If you hurt my daughter, I will hunt you down. Arie, what can you say to make me trust you?”
“A Formula One car’s exhaust can melt aluminum.”
“Well, you have my blessing. I trust my daughter.”
Repeat four more times.
There was more chemistry and drama between Kendall’s taxidermied rats than between Arie and any of his ladytestants. It’s entirely unclear what he’s looking for, what he wants, or if any of the ladytestants meet his vague requirements. The person he’s shown the most passion for, in his words anyway, is an apparition. The slightest suggestion of a person. If the wind shifted and Lauren B. turned into a cold shoulder top floating in the breeze, I’d just shrug and keep it moving. And I’m gonna be honest with you: I was shocked when Tia was eliminated. For someone as emotionally shallow as Arie, I thought a woman saying that she was in love with him without any basis for their relationship would be perfect for him. But I was wrong. I can’t believe that Arie has managed to outfox me. Let’s get to it.
Kendall has the first hometown date in Los Angeles. Kendall is one of the rare ones to make it to hometown dates without a one-on-one date. Arie has managed to learn one fact about each ladytestant and if your fact isn’t “family is important to her,” he must really like you. Kendall’s fact is that “she’s quirky!” The first thing they do is go to a taxidermy room. Kendall has prepared a craft station for them to taxidermy their own white rats. I can’t figure out if it’s better to taxidermy a cute animal because the end product will be cuter or if it’s better to taxidermy a not-cute animal because … you’re handling its skin. Kendall also reveals that she got into taxidermy because she would find things on her hikes and want to preserve them. Then she makes her rat make out with Arie’s rat in front of a diorama of Paris.
Honestly, sometimes these things write themselves.
The main obstacle for Arie at Kendall’s home will be her identical twin sister, Kylie. I know it’s not a thing that twins actually do, but I would have loved a little twin switch-a-roo action. Mainly because I don’t believe that Arie would be capable of telling Kendall and her twin apart and I would love to see Arie attempt to emote at someone who didn’t give a shit about him. Knowing Arie, that would be an even bigger turn on than Kendall’s quirkiness and he’d fall for her sister.
Also, KENDALL? AND KYLIE?
Kylie reads energy and she can tell that Arie and Kendall certainly like each other, but something is missing. Arie’s nipples probably hardened under his shirt hearing that. He also tells her sister that his chemistry with Kendall is amazing. YOU DON’T TELL THAT TO SOMEONE’S SISTER! Kendall goes to tell her sister that her reaction to Arie saying he was falling for her was to kiss him. She also says that she’s not ready to get engaged at the end of this. It’s better than Miranda eating an entire cookie cake, but I have my suspicions about this relationship.
It’s time for Tia’s hometown date in Weiner, Arkansas. Tia has set up a little activity for them! It’s more racing! Arie has no other qualities or interests! After a few laps around the track, it’s time to meet the family. Tia’s dad, Kenny, is sitting in the living room waiting for them to arrive when he says, “We’ll find out when we get that handshake. That’s everything.” I’m about to overload on folksy wisdom from Tia’s family. Tia enters her parents’ house and immediately bursts into tears. Oh, Tia. Keep ’em coming. Tia’s dad refuses to get Arie’s name right and keeps calling him “Airy” which is oh so perfect.
Tia’s dad and her brother sit down with Airy and ask him if he’s a playboy and what is up with that whole “Kissing Bandit” thing. I just wish they dug a little deeper in Bachelor forums because maybe they’d see that Arie is more than just a “playboy,” which is a pretty tame way to describe a total dog. Arie’s answer for all the “Kissing Bandit” stuff is to laugh and say, “Well, I can’t give myself a nickname.”
I can’t with this bitch.
Arie manages to charm everyone’s family members by just repeating some empty platitudes about how their daughter is special and cool. When it comes to Tia, she’s a “strong southern girl who puts him in his place.” That’s how you describe the lead in a country song, not a real-life person.
Everyone’s mom just ends up resigned with the ladytestant sitting on a bed going “Well, if you’re happy, I’m happy.” I want someone to shake their daughter and tell her, “DON’T DO THIS! HE’S A BEIGE PASHMINA COME TO LIFE!” Even the act of giving a blessing for an engagement is performed by rote by each mom. “I trust my daughter.”
Your daughter walks in your front door with someone who is still doing a soft faux-hawk in the year of T’Challa 2018 and you trust her judgement?
Tia tells Arie that she loves him. She’s not just falling for him, but she’s in love with him. Her fate is sealed.
Up next is Becca in Minnesota. She takes him to an apple orchard and I said out loud, “Oh, she’s this type of fall-loving bitch.” Becca’s uncles will be putting up a modicum of a fight against Arie. Her uncles are sitting around her family’s house and talking shit. They can’t believe their pragmatic Minnesotan Becca would be taken in by this guy. Believe it, Uncle Gary. Uncle Gary takes Arie aside and remembers Becca’s dad in the most Minnesotan way: “You see all these ducks? He carved every one of them. So, he was the best.” After hearing about Becca’s family’s struggles with cancer and untimely death, the most Arie can muster is he feels strongly about Becca.
At the end of the night, Arie has managed to wrestle something resembling a blessing out of Becca’s mom and he sits down with Becca and she tells him that just keeps falling and falling for him. She says he keeps blowing her mind and stealing little pieces of her heart. That’s how you write a fucking country song.
One thing I never get is how at the end of these dates, the contestants are all horny for the lead. The night my boyfriend met my parents, we retreated into a giant bottle of wine and a dozen donuts the second we left their house. AND THAT WENT WELL.
Finally, it’s time for Lauren’s hometown visit.
WHAT DOES HE SEE IN THIS GIRL? This is a woman who has been engaged twice. Two times, men decided that she was the one they wanted to spend their life with? And she has Arie seriously contemplating shackling himself to her? And she’s only 25?! What am I missing? Someone tell me! This is also the only hometown visit that Arie is nervous for. At one point, he’s so overcome with emotion, he has to get up from the table and WIPE HIS BROW.
The family lets the conversation stall out a few times, but Arie also doesn’t seem to be putting in the work to impress Lauren’s family. Lauren’s father fancies himself a positively intimidating military man and he’s ready to scare the shit out of Arie. He lists all of Arie’s red flags and says that Arie better be prepared to protect his daughter with his life. But then Arie mentions that he did one goodwill tour in Iraq and her dad is totally won over. Arie wasn’t even bringing up the goodwill tour as a way of appreciating the troops or responding to the great danger they put themselves in. He was trying to tell a cool story about flying a plane one time.
Arie says he’s comforted by just looking at Lauren. This is getting exhausting.
Lauren sits down with her mom and her aunt and both women are incredulous that anything is happening between Arie and Lauren. Lauren snaps back defensively, “UH. YEAH.” Lauren’s mom keeps going, “ARE YOU SURE? REALLY? TRUE LOVE?” You can almost see the interrobangs. It’s really funny to think about Lauren and her mom and aunt talking about how Lauren has never felt this way and they’ve never see her with someone like this before and how protective Lauren is with her heart when she’s been engaged before.
Back in L.A., it’s time for the rose ceremony. Arie pulls some stunt right before the rose ceremony is supposed to begin by taking Kendall aside to ask if she’s ready to be engaged or not. Don’t you think you could have done this earlier? The best thing Kendall says is, “I don’t know what you need from me.” What do you need from any of us, Arie?
Tia is inside freaking the fuck out and saying that Kendall doesn’t make sense. Oh, Tia.
Becca, Lauren, and Kendall all get roses.
Tia goes to hug Arie and her entire body bursts into tears. She has become the tears. She goes outside with Arie and she doesn’t know what she did wrong. Arie can’t give her an answer because when you’re an empty driving moccasin and emotional depth is a stranger to you, there are no answers. Tia is tired of feeling like she’s not good enough. At the ripe of old age of 26, I can see how she could feel that way. I wonder if that spinster will ever find anyone.