The Bachelor 23.8: Hometowns: What Perfect Means

In advanced baseball sabermetrics (stay with me on this one) there’s a statistic called Wins Above Replacement or WAR. If you have a 0.0 WAR, then you could be generally replaced in the starting line-up by a high performing minor leaguer or major league bench player. Each additional point of WAR is supposed to represent each additional win you give your team compared to what a replacement-level player would give your team, so if you have a 3.0 WAR, then you are turning an 85-win team into an 88-win team by simply not being replacement-level.

Caelynn is a replacement-level contestant. We could have substituted her and her hometown out with basically anyone in the Top 10 or even Top 15 and that would be the result we could expect. I mean she’s from Virginia for God’s sake. We have been back to Virginia so many times for hometowns! They went to the local ice cream shop because sure I guess. Throw in a White Southern family with some uncles that you can’t totally understand because of their accents and a bunch of Old Money that we don’t dare investigate how their family acquired and you get the Amazon Basics Cookie Cutter Bachelor Hometown.

The most difficult part about watching the hometown was when Colton asked Caelynn’s father for her hand in marriage. And we all just know… we know it’s not going to be her. But he has to ask anyway because of some stupid rule some producer made up that the blessing must be asked for at hometowns. And then the parents either give it which makes them look shallow or they don’t which makes them look stubborn. No one comes out of that looking good!

Hannah G’s date, on the other hand, was a treat. Wow. There’s a LOT to unpack here. Hannah G said she wanted to turn Colton from a gentleman into a Southern gentleman and decided to do that by taking him to a Cotillion class. Though a cheaper solution would have been to just teach him a few phrases to use in front of the family like, “If I had my druthers,” and “Affirmative Action has the Blacks taking our jobs,” and “Congratulations on your engagement to your cousin.” You know, polite Southern conversation.

The real kicker came when the Cotillion teacher provided her perfect Southern analogy about what was going to happen that night. She counseled, “All of Hannah’s life, Hannah’s parents have been holding this umbrella. When she was a little girl, they would hold this umbrella protecting her from things that could hurt her, keeping her safe. And so, Hannah’s parents are looking for someone that would be willing to take that umbrella and say, ‘I want to hold that umbrella over Hannah now.’” Oh, ma’am, bless your antiquated, misogynistic heart. Hannah isn’t a child bride being given to the neighboring town’s prince as some sort of treaty. Hannah can maker her own decisions. Hannah does not need anyone to hold her umbrella for her. She has arms. And she has feet. And she can walk wherever she wants because she has her own umbrella. And this umbrella metaphor has made me really, really angry and I’m losing the analogy with each additional sentence, but I am still adamant that that woman is wrong and that woman should not be listened to. Please can we have our money back, I like cutting my bread roll down the middle and not eating it piece-by-piece because I’m hungry dammit! Good day, ma’am!

 There was only one notable thing about dinner with Hannah’s family: the group of four women who pulled her aside first. One was in her 30s, but the rest were about Hannah’s age. Of those four women, three of them were married and one was engaged. So that gives you an idea of who is advising the 23 year-old Hannah G in her time need.

Also we got the blooper of her rapping. And I don’t really want to get into all of the ways that was problematic, so let’s move on.

And then we get to Tayshia. I mean at this point it’s just not fair. They are just leagues and leagues ahead of the other three couples in terms of their relationship. The conversation that we as a Bachelor Nation are going to have to discuss over the next two weeks is whether or not Tayshia is simply too good for him and too out of his league that it would then become a Baccalaureate crime for her to win. But let’s work on that later.

She blindfolded him and drove him to their date and then they had their first “fight” because Tayshia had “lied” about not knowing where they were going, which COME ON was so cute and so real and so fun. Give me a break, they’re perfect.

And. She. Took. Him. SKYDIVING. Even after they both almost collapsed at the mere thought of bungee jumping. He confessed, “Payback’s a bitch and I’m getting payback right now.” The producer asked payback for what. “Payback for taking her bungee jumping when she didn’t probably want to bungee jump—shit.” Everyone talks about wanting a partner who pushes them, well this is it, ladies and gentlemen! We have found our winner. Tayshia is the Challenger in Chief. When they both reached the ground and ran to each other and embraced. That moment. That MOMENT was to die for.

Then we went to Tayshia’s home and, with each new family member—especially her father—you could see that the emotional intelligence in the household was exponentially more attuned than in any of the other homes he visited. Tayshia’s father was there to get to the bottom of it. He pealed apart every sentence Colton uttered, analyzed it with the precision of a Justice, and sought out the truth. He would not accept platitudes from a man who may become his son-in-law. “You really say you’re falling in love with her,” he interrogates. “I mean, that’s a strong word. You seem like a smart man, right? And so I’m sure you can pick the right words. And sometimes if somebody’s just falling back on their default word of saying ‘falling in love’ and whatnot, that’s the wrong thing to be doing, because now you’re just creating a web, if you will.” Tayshia’s father isn’t acting as her guardian looking for a man to hand her child over to like Hannah’s family. Tayshia’s father is an advocate for her depth and her rights and her freedoms. She is a full human being who knows herself and her power and is comfortable with who she is and her father is there to make sure he won’t smother that in any way.

Tayshia and her father talked. “You don’t microwave relationships,” was a highlight. The conversation was difficult and it was specific and it was thoughtful and it was persuasive. And Tayshia proved her commitment and confidence in the relationship. Colton had previously asked for her father’s blessing and rightfully didn’t get it, but after she and her father talked , the advocate was satisfied.

I watched this episode with my two roommates and when we saw Cassie giving a surf lesson on the beach in LA in, presumably, October, we all looked at each other and wondered why we lived in New York where the temperature had just ticked down to 26 degrees.

Also, in the last season of The Bachelor, one of the four hometowns were in the LA region. This season, two of the four hometowns were there. The season before that there was also one. None of the twelve have been in the Northeast. That’s something we can unpack at another time. (Also the outsize number of Coloradans.)

Look, again, Cassie and Colton are really, really hot together and they seem to get along well, but it sort of seems like they just are good at being partners to generic people, not good at being partners with each other, specifically. That sentiment was also echoed throughout the hometown. Her sister kept insisting that if Colton wasn’t absolutely perfect, there were other guys out there for her. “I literally think that you’re perfect and I want you to be with somebody that’s perfect.” That is the wrong frame for evaluating a relationship. We fall in love with the imperfections in our partners. We find people who love us because of our flawed state not in spite of it. And together we push to grow and improve our beings.

The red flags in Cassie’s hometowns only grew when she met with her dad. He brought up the same exact points that all of the fathers had brought up. It’s too fast; how do you know if he’s genuine; he’s dating three other women; are you prepared to get hurt; etc. Instead of taking each point and responding to them with confidence in the relationship, she just snapped at her dad for not being supportive. It was uncomfortable to watch her get angry at the obvious questions. In the end, her father did not give Colton his blessing.

The rose ceremony was clearly a battle between Caelynn and Cassie. With Caelynn, he had a woman who was in love with him (the only one, I might add, to say it so far), and a truly replacement-level contestant. With Cassie, he had a woman who hasn’t said she was falling for him even though he already said it to her, yet a woman who he has a much stronger connection with and could see the vast possibilities that lie in the relationship. What helped Cassie the most was that Colton’s relationships with Tayshia and Hannah G were so solid. He knew that that he had two solid things going and didn’t need a third, worse solid thing. He had room to take a chance on Cassie. And so he did.



Well the second, third, and fourth-place bracketeers behind me all also had Hannah G, Cassie, and Tayshia in the Top 3, so I remain exactly where I was the week before. The fifth, sixth, and seventh-place brackets all dropped one. So basically, the standings are exactly the same as last week. Hooray!