Michael Stagliano: Episode 4

Salt Lake yields some “Salty Fakes.”

Wow! Shocker: I feel like I could write for 3 1/2 hours. But, sparing your sanity and mine I will, again, try to stay as brief as possible and end on a light note. Are you with me?

Then let’s go!

Our episode this week opens up with rolling hills, seemingly paint-brushed leaves and trees like the concept of Autumn was birthed in Park City, Utah. As I am sure you all were, I was stunned at how beautiful all of the scenery was on these dates. A potentially perfect backdrop for our first one-on-one with Rachel. From the start (and I realize you may think I am saying this in RESPONSE to the date, but I promise I wrote it down before the conclusion of it) it honestly looked like Ben and Rachel were two strangers on a Delta flight from Chicago O’Hare to LAX. They sat apart and made small observations about the tree’s and the sky and the clouds: I was waiting for a flight attendant do ask what they wanted to drink and hand Rachel a pack of peanuts. There was THAT much chemistry going on. So it was MUCH to my surprise that a kiss came out of the canoe ride on the lake. Though I must say, I saw this movie before The Notebook. Anyone else? No? I hate to lose my masculinity here, but minus the rain and a few thousand birds, the music and the lake sparkling, Ben rowing, you get it, The Notebook. But I digress.

I had to laugh a little at the verbal exchange in the boat though: I wrote down verbatim (keeping track of their sentences) “Nice, nice, pretty nice, refreshing, nice…” And then they KISSED. Now, I want to say that sometimes words don’t matter and all you can do with someone is kiss, ‘cause there is passion and heat and love going on! THIS was not that.

One, two, skip a few, Ben gives her the rose. That’s cool. I, for one, didn’t see any opening up and don’t have any warm fuzzies over Rachel. But she seems real enough, and kind enough, certainly don’t have anything bad to say. There’s just nothing great either.

Group Date: Fly Fishing. Though this is the equivalent of a Dancing With the Stars challenge being “The Chicken Dance.” It is outdoorsy and Lindzi is on the date so I am hooked (pun kind of intended) and I love fishing, so I was entertained.

For the most part the girls kind of waddle around like kids in “time out” in a candy store, where there is only one kind of candy and it’s Good & Plenty (remember those?). They are excited to be there, but it’s lack luster…so they deal.

OF COURSE, Courtney catches a fish. OF COURSE. But sure enough, she picks up that fish, wins Ben’s heart a little more, and leaves all of the girls squinting their eyes a little harder.

At night, Casey S. gets one-on-one time and I truthfully, had no idea there was a girl named Casey S. on the show.

Nicki and Ben have a really wonderful moment talking about “making it count,” which usually I can’t stomach, because talk like that produces a ton of clichés and eye-rolling cheesy comments. This was sweet and a small little moment that produces a kiss between them and I’m a fan.

Just as everyone is getting comfortable Samantha takes a crack at one-on-one time and comes in like a highly caffeinated Barbie off the short bus (that was mean, but yikes…this was brutal) and actually has the guts (or lack of brain cells) to say, “So like…I don’t get it, ‘cause like, I’ve been on only group dates, so like, what does that mean?” Unfortunately for Samantha, Nicki had LITERALLY JUST FINISHED saying how thankful she was for her group dates thus far. And I couldn’t think of a more profound 180 than having Samantha sit down and almost complain to Ben. Totally shocked, my mouth dropped every second Samantha said anything and completely supported Ben’s decision to send her home.

Two quick things:

1. Life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% how you react to it. Nicki: All group dates = A positive reaction. Samantha: All group dates = A negative reaction. Who goes home?

2. For those of us who don’t love confrontation, I think Ben manned up here in a bigger way then we have seen all season. I was totally convinced (again) that he is sincere in his reasons for doing this, and if he is not feeling it with a girl there is no reason for her to stay. So though it’s not a direct, “Flan-ick nack”… that was my moment for Ben this week where I became a fan of his all over again.

Maleficent, I mean Courtney, wraps the date up with a wonderful display of pouting and whining; she plays the victim card beautifully here and gets Ben to give up a Rose. Meanwhile, Kacie B. is about ready to throw out every swear word, her little Southern accent has heard to date. And a quick note on her: I like Kacie a lot. She is certainly in love with Ben (be it puppy love) more than the other girls, and I can totally empathize with her sadness and her heartache. But, it’s also part of what she signed up for, and while it is unfair to say, “she should have seen this coming,” I think it IS FAIR to say, bottle it up. Don’t let the process get in the way of having the time of your life! She is on The Bachelor! Sometimes I want to shake the girls and get them to realize, they need to SMILE, right? Every second they are on there, live up the adventure, drink too much, eat too much, laugh out loud, HAVE FUN. And yes, fall in love, but don’t get TOO wrapped in the love.

Back to the episode:

Jennifer has the other one-on-one. I’m totally blown away by Jennifer on this date. I think, like Ben, I wasn’t expecting to like her as much as I did by the end of their time together. But there is something incredibly warm and unabashed about her. I LOVED, LOVED what she said about finding love, just not the right person. How easy is it, to WANT love, and maybe go looking for it in the wrong places? She was with dude for 4 years and I have no doubt that she was in love, just not with the right person. SUCH a mature and impressive thing when she said, “he wasn’t going to ask me to marry him, so I left.”

She gets the rose and I’m all for it. She had the rain work for her, cause it might as well have been Chuck Berry coming down in Utah. Even I got turned on (In a PG Bachelor kind of way) towards the end of that date when they had to run in out of the rain. Anyone else just want them to go at it?

…And now for the Main Event!

In this corner weighing in at 85lbs (sorry, not funny but it works with the bit), to quote Emily: The “Vegan Raw, Doe-eyed Model…. Courtney!

And in this corner, a rapping MC, instead of putting water under the bridge…she climbs it: EMILY!

WOW…who was ready for this claw-tastic MELTDOWN?

SO much happened in such a short time it was hard to keep track.

Let’s reflect:

1. Emily spills the beans to an unfortunately confident Ben, who defends his lead horse unequivocally.
2. Emily goes in and tells the girls she did that. Oops.
3. Casey wastes no time, finds Courtney and tattle-tales.
4. Courtney produces some JAW dropping, self-unaware, GEMS of one-lines
a. Winning! (I’m sorry, if you said, or ever say the Charlie Sheen line “winning.” I’m seriously not joking, there is a 99% chance I won’t like you very much)
b. Is it not the DEFINITION of someone being unaware of themselves when they say: “I’m a nice person, don’t F*CK with me, I want to rip her head off and verbally assault her.” Do we remember that conversation starting with Courtney being SHOCKED that Emily would call her a “mean person?”
5. Courtney confronts Emily (kind of) and Emily lies right through her teeth and denies it all. We hear some ridiculous lines like:
a. You’re acting like a 10 year old. No you are. No you are.
b. You s**t in the hat (what does this mean?).
c. Now “you’re on the list.” (I know tons of “nice people” with lists in their pocket of people who wronged them.)

This whole thing wraps up at the Rose Ceremony when Emily gets the rose so both girls stay…BUT before WE end with it…lets break it down:

Do you tell? Do you NOT tell?

Honestly, both are right and both are wrong. Do I think Courtney is a she-devil? Yes. Do I want Ben to know that? Yes. Is it my job to tell him? No. Will he find out eventually? Yes. ALSO, IT ONLY makes YOU look bad to put down others. It’s why I feel bad even making little jabs at people in these blogs and why I try to not talk bad about people. Have you ever listened to someone rag on a friend, or co-worker and thought, “wow…this is making me like you more.” Nope.

Emily is bold, and means well in her actions to warn Ben about Courtney but it will NEVER play out well. Especially on The Bachelor, and I’d be willing to say in life. It never works out to tell. (Certainly there are varying circumstances: cheating, lying, stealing–you TELL, but not in this case.)

OK…as promised. I will finish on a light note.

I LOVE how Monica handled herself in her exit and though I can’t recall exactly how she said it, in the limo she said something along the lines of, “Getting hurt in love is one of the worst feelings in the world.”

I completely agree. You can feel sick: can’t eat, can’t sleep, can’t breath. Physical pain can be the result of love that leaves us in emotional pain.

And I smile at that. THAT fact, when THAT happens, it gives me hope. ‘Cause it is undeniable truth that the opposite is true as well – that when we do find love, it will be, and is, the BEST feeling in the world. You can feel healthy, you can eat, you can sleep, you can breath…but you do all of those things with a whole new meaning, new color, new zest… I would bet that more often than not, people get beat down by getting hurt in love. And, by all means, feel hurt, be sad, grieve, watch Sleepless in Seattle and eat a whole carton of ice cream. Promise me, and promise yourself if you feel that, if you face that, let it be undeniable proof that the opposite of that, the greatest gift in this world – hot, fire-works, jump-up and down LOVE is out there waiting to pick you back up.

I don’t mean to preach, and I don’t mean to act like I have it all figured out, not at all, I just want to give some hope. :)

Lastly, my manager told me to plug myself…which I hate…but I have to.

I’m playing shows in cities all over the U.S. and Canada, small acoustic shows on the Love Like This Tour. For dates and tickets, pictures and other stuff visit: www.michaelstaglianomusic.com. If you can make it out to a show, I would LOVE to give you a hug, share a smile and a picture.

As always, thank you for reading.