connecting the dot dot do(n)t’s

Florida, Abigail, life update tomorrow.

It’s in the universe. And it’s on The Bachelorette. Perhaps you couldn’t give two rosy shits about The Bachelorette, or about my unapologetic need to eat any and all dating candy, but on a more universal level what “happened to Ashley” “happens” to all of us. The air-quotes you just saw, that’s me trying to force you to get my point: that we decide what happens when something happens to us.

thebachelorette 0531 bentley article story main

For those living under a rock (or with noses in something, I dunno, like a newspaper that reports actual news), here’s the quick story: bachelorette Ashley Hebert was warned by a friend before the show began to watch out for a guy named Bentley Williams, who was—wait for it—”on the show for the wrong reasons.” But Ashley decides that the red in that flag really isn’t her color, deciding to “keep an open mind.” Ashley then fell hard for the 28-year-old dad from Utah. He’d tell her how amazing she was, stroke her hair, touch the small of her back, then, privately, he’d mock vomit, wishing Ashley were Emily (a previous contestant from the same season as Ashley). During his private one-on-one interviews with the camera, he’d trash Ashley’s looks and sling as many insults as he could. Why did he want this attention and what did it serve, acting like an empty ball sack, treating a woman this way, as he models behavior for his own young daughter? Wrong question.

Right question: Why did Ashley fall hard for a guy she hardly knew?

A la Straight Up & Dirty… Women declare their love before knowing how he handles anger, stress, or her when she’s gone and chicked out in a fit of insecurity. She’s practicing her would-be new monogram before knowing how he handles alcohol, meddling family, or texts from his ex. It can’t be “OMG, he’s the one!” before she knows if he’s the one who’s up to his manscaping in debt and mommy issues. Quite simply, like so many of us, Ashley fell in love with an idea. A bad idea.

Insecure, I used to believe that the hotter the guy who liked me equated to the hotter I actually was. This hot hot guy wants me?! And that, right there, is why Ashley fell so fast. Because he seemed hard to get, and she got him. We ask for what we get.

As a viewer, it’s easy to know what Ashley doesn’t and to roll our eyes and judge, but in truth, we’ve all been her. Maybe we didn’t whine as much, but we’ve been the gas instead of the brakes. We’ve been the one to push, to allow, to convince ourselves of who he really is, what we really are as an “us” or could be. We haven’t done it on national TV, but we’ve been a broken record in the face of our closet friends. “I’m just so confused.” “Mixed messages.” “Ugh, I can’t take it! I need answers now!”

But we have our answers. And when we don’t, we make our own, even if they’re the wrong ones. When there are empty spaces, we can’t help but want to fill them. I used to live at this address. If he wasn’t exactly where I was at the exact same time, I’d cut him off. If he wasn’t pursuing me hard enough, I’d end hard, easy. Because it was far easier than waiting for him to decide how he felt about me.

The biggest problem, and truth, standing in my way was this: if a guy is into you, he’ll move heaven and earth to be with you. He’d “sleep out in the rain, if she said that’s the way it ought to be.” Anything short of that full court press made us a no-go.

But… if you’ve given the relationship time to develop, and he’s not stepping up his game in a really big way, if he’s not putting his foot on the gas and making YOU set the pace of the relationship by adding just enough brakes, then it’s time to find a new ride. Because you never want to be on the wrong bus when the right one shows up.



  1. Unfortunately for Ashley she is a TERRIBLE judge of character. This wasn’t simply a case of going gaga before she got a clue. She’s demonstrated bad judgment throughout the show. She expected all those guys to be happy after announcing that she was finally done pining over Bentley. Let’s file that under things better left unexpressed. She’s completely insecure but agrees a roast would make a great activity for a date. We’ve all had our moments, but I can’t see this ending well. Once a guy starts talking to her about anything other than how great she is she starts chewing on her bottom lip and he’s sent packing. Maturity plays a large role in understanding and valuing yourself enough to know when not to fall for the wrong guy and she’s just not there yet.

  2. No, Stephanie, we haven’t “all been her.” Being the insecure, desperate-for-a-man woman is not the universal female experience.

    1. Meow – I think a vast majority of women have been. I think the ones who havent done that to themselves are in the minoirty, or they just cant admit that they have been there too.

  3. At some point making a man move heaven and earth to be with you stops becoming about him showing you he cares, and more about you feeling in control, powerful, and sometimes, showing off.

    I do think, in the beginning, it is wise not to be available all the time. Not to drop your plans at a moments notice to be with you. Dare I say it, expecting him to pay and plan (old school, but no less valid).

    But there comes a point where a woman who is making it difficult, not because she’s cultured, busy, and in demand, but simply because she can, starts becoming evil. Why? Why do that? If he’s done nothing wrong and everything right, what’s the point in making him sleep in the rain a year in just because you tell him he’d “do it if he loved you.” Or you heavily imply that anything less is a sign he’s just not that into you?

    There’s a difference between a good healthy “chase” and a 40 day and night obstacle course through the sahara for the “prize” of perhaps a phone call back. Women have to show they care and that they’re worth it, too. Not sit on a lily pad and be worshipped until she’s deemed he’s worked hard enough for her to acknowledge him. I dunno, there comes a point when being the brakes is just being a bitch.

  4. Great post, Stephanie —

    I have always thought that dating is like driving a car; the guy has the gas and the steering wheel, and the woman has the brakes and the map.

    At the beginning of the relationship, it’s up to the guy to step on the gas and start the trip, but if she doesn’t like how fast he’s going, or if he’s going down the wrong road, she can step on the brakes and redirect him.

    Of course, in the best relationships, the couple will consult the map TOGETHER before they hit the road!

    Ciao for now,

    1. What a wonderful statement, GP “Of course, in the best relationships, the couple will consult the map TOGETHER before they hit the road!”

      And so true. I’ve often wondered why people I knew who felt every part of their relationship was such work were still together (especially when still dating). Sure my husband and I have bumps, but we get through them because we both are each other’s favorite people in the world. Trust me, we know how lucky we are. But I think sometimes people try too hard to make what is convenient work. And I think sometimes people throw away something that is truly magical because they’re scared.

      And I don’t watch the Bachelorette, but I can understand watching a train wreck. Sometimes we all need to say, “oh honey, you are such a mess, don’t GO there!”

  5. Without using to many euphemisms, nor rising to commenting in Greek. But; men have been using women’s greed against them to separate them from their panties since Drubox went visiting two vale’s over 30,000 years ago in the Dordogne.
    And you cannot blame men for this. What man from Cattle County west Tx on meeting a hot woman that errs in her calculations and adds two plus two getting a ranch the size of Luxemburg. What is he to do, put her right and say that while solvent she will have to work to cloth her back.
    I would have used Oil, but I’m not sure that’s all that valid anymore.
    Here’s my tuppenceworth. Men trade up in relationships, women trade down.

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