Michael Stagliano: Episode 8

It’s Saturday morning.  I have Foo Fighters’ “Walk” blasting on my iPhone as I write this:

And I’m thinking, this is going to be a different blog than my previous ones.  This is always my favorite part of the show, as is my favorite part of any well-constructed story: the turn.  The turn is the point in any narrative (not in every one) when the path we have been on from the start of the story (“journey” if we are using Bachelor vocab) has a bend in the road.  Small changes in what we see, hear and learn effect the whole story in a way that gives us pause.  For The Bachelor, hometown dates are the turn

Enough lecturing though…let’s dive in :)

Lindzi has the first hometown and I loved every second of it.  She seems incredibly comfortable and happy to see Ben.  Ben immediately delivers a Fla-nick-nack when he says, “You look good on this thing [horse]”.  And I completely agree.  Typically we see strapping young men on horses in fairy tales, the knight in shining armor, prince charming motif… Seeing a stunningly gorgeous blonde handle a strong horse might be off putting to some men.  It is a turn on for Ben (and me).

(Not Over You…Gavid Degraw just came on)

To start we hear a lot of repetitive lines which gets me worried Linzdi won’t really open up.  She says, “I’m so happy you’re here,/I’m glad you’re here” about a dozen times.  And Ben says it in response… It almost got comical at one point: the first 4 minutes was a regurgitation of the same 2 or 3 lines.  Fortunately, after a carriage ride (so cool) they find a spot to sit down and talk and Linzi takes a good shot at opening up about her past and what she wants with Ben.  This was a great start, but again…I still want more from her.  I feel like what we heard most of what she said in San Fran.  Certianly worth mentioning that that portion of the date must have been a few hours…we only get to see a few minutes of conversation…so when Ben says that Lindzi DID open up in that time.  I believe it : )

They ride over to her parents place and as soon as they get on screen I like her parents:  Harry and Margy.  They appear to be cut from the same fabric: humble, respectful, loving people.  Their dogs that I named, Bourbon and Whiskey (Scotch’s brothers) run over and hop on Ben’s lap (a good sign).  Lindzi’s parents are beyond welcoming and good conversation starts right away.

We learn that Harry and Margy were married in City Hall in San Francisco (a “reveal” is often part of The Turn).  And in my mind…friggin fireworks, lightbulbs, bells and whistles are going off!!!  Within 10 minutes of this hometown I was thinking Ben would marry into a wonderful family and have a beautiful loving wife.  Hot dayamn.  Margy throws up a small yellow flag in announcing that Lindzi hasn’t dated a lot.  Which is small and yellow because I think it matters very little…and everyone’s road to marriage is different…there is no “right” or “wrong”

(Jason Mraz, I’m Yours)

Harry is completely welcoming and open to Ben.  Seems to really like him and even makes a toast in his honor, welcoming him to the family (if that ends up happening).  Harry impresses me the most out of all the dads and I LOVE the mood Lindzi’s hometown sets up for the rest of the episode.  Meeting families is a HUGE deal, and starting in Florida was a step in the right direction.

Kacie B. brings Ben down to Tennesse, and unfortunately, she sticks with the Baton twirling act that we saw on their first one on one in Sonoma.  And I want to be careful here, I am not trying to offend baton twirlers, and I completely recognize how difficult it is:  It just is NOT the way to a man’s heart.  Ben does seem to enjoy it, and if he didn’t Kacie was adorable running and jumping into his arms.  We have known all along that Kacie is falling hard for Ben.  That moment made is obvious that she was : )

(John Mayer Slow Dancing in a Burning Room)

We hear a wonderful story about Kacie’s grandparents.  More specifically, how her grandfather died, and after he passed, his wife (Kacie’s grandmother) said she would go to the other side soon as well… and that she did, in fact, die of a broken heart.  I love hearing stories like this.  They are small, perfect reminders that 30, 40, 50 year love is the best thing in the world to fight for.  And if we find it and share it with someone, it can literally mean more than anything in the world.  So sweet.

Unfortunately for Ben, Kacie’s dad is a probation officer and has never had a drink in his life.  Ben delivers another Flan-nick nack in saying, ” Im screwed…cause my business is booze.”  Hahaha.  And he isn’t far off the mark.  Kacie gets some time with her sister, Alison, and they talk as sisters do…very openly and honestly and giggle about how great Ben is and how in love Kacie is.  For the record ladies, this is NOT how brothers talk, hahaha…

It seems like the evening will be a smooth ride until Ben sits down with Kacie’s Dad.  Yikes.  Anyone else immediately think of “Meet the Parents”.  Now, her dad was a long way from Robert DeNiro.  But hearing him say to Kacie, “if he asked for your hand in marriage, I would say “No,” that had to take some wind out of her sails… poor girl.

(Michael Jackson: PYT)

Both Kacie’s mom and dad seem to be pretty closed off to the idea of falling in love and having things lead to marriage, but they DO seem to like Ben a lot.  In a very prophetic way, Kacie’s dad ends up telling Ben…if Kacie is not the one…let her go now…  OUCH.

On a lighter note – Nicki is waiting in Texas with boots, hats and a good time in Fort Worth (such an awesome town).  Ben and Nicki really do look good together walking around town, they are very flirty and laughing a lot…I totally believed the image of them as a couple.  Also on board with them as a couple is Nicki’s mom.  How cute was this woman!?!? She was SO HAPPY for Nicki, and I LOVE seeing family members happy and supportive of other family members.

Though Nicki’s dad was also happy for her and Ben, it was hard to keep Kacie’s dad and Nicki’s dad straight.  Anyone else notice how similar they looked, they even dressed the same.  Nicki’s parents were divorced…So I honestly had a minute, where I thought Kacie and Nicki could have been sisters, if you follow.

(Michael Stagliano: College Love)

My suspicions were shot after hearing Nicki’s dad talk about Ben and how much he liked him, and furthermore listening to him apologize to Nicki about giving her hand away in marriage too quickly.  What an incredibly selfless and humble thing to admit to his daughter.  Such a powerful example of a guardian.  It was awesome.

And last comment I’ll say about Nicki’s hometown is actually a comment her mom made.  Nicki really did seem to be GLOWING around Ben.  I liked it.

Courtney rounds out the bunch with her hometown in AZ, and it was obviously the one that we were all the most anxious for.  Shockingly, the scene starts with Courtney having some reflective thoughts about her time so far…and she explains how she is remorseful about how she has treated the other girls.  This is too little, too late to really win us over… but I appreciate the attempt, right?  It was almost sweet…then I was reminded of how she treated Emily’s apology last week and any sympathy goes right out the window… to harsh?

Also to my surprise, Courtney dives right in, in front of her family and tells them how much he really “like/loves” Ben.  This was almost cute, but again, I then pictured her saying “He needs to step his game up” before their date in Belize… (too little too late).  I actually really liked her Dad and sister, her Mom didn’t give me warm fuzzies but she does seem loving and supportive of her daughter… and that’s always endearing to see.

(Tracy Chapman: Fast Car)

Her dad does pull out a quote that I completely disagree with though.  He says, “Marriage is one of life’s greatest gambles, there is a 50/50 shot it won’t work…are you ready to make that bet?”  Here’s the thing:  I get it.  I get the point that he is trying to make.  We all know the divorce rate is high.  Fine.  Great.  To me, it is just the WRONG approach.  It is the wrong way to think about a relationship and a marriage.  What is happening to everyone else has NO EFFECT on your relationship.  You and your significant other are what matters, statistics do not.  YES Marriage should NOT be considered lightly, but it is not a gamble, it is not a game to be won or lost.  It is a commitment to a lifetime of love with another person and it just bothers me when that is equated to betting…  Right?  Am I wrong?

Anywho.  In some bizarre twist of kindness, Courtney plans a pre-wedding.  And look, this was crazy sweet and.  IT WAS…stop it… it WAS!  Though I do remember “seeing” (that’s right… I never “participated”) kids do fake weddings at recess when I was 9 and 10.  She explains she did a photo shoot at the location they were at (bridezilla magazine?) and since she saw it, she has always wanted to get married there.  Sure.  I actually buy it…  She pulls out a bow tie, some paper, pens.  They walk up to the altar where a man is standing (who must be thinking…ok now, you want me to do WHAT exactly?  And the couple is HOW OLD?) and they read their vows.  Ben’s were a bit bland if you ask me.  It always irks me a bit when people write “poetry or vows” and use words they wouldn’t normally use, for example.  Ben says, ” I feel like a better person when I am in your presence.”  No one talks like that…including you, Ben…just say, “when I am with you.”

(The Temper Trap: Sweet Disposition…love this song)

Courtney’s vows are pretty mushy and heartfelt…YES I was stunned, like you, and didn’t know such language could some out of the same mouth that fiery, vomit-infused words had previously sprung.  I was watching it thinking, this is too foretelling for me to enjoy, (yes I have seen the magazine covers, and heard the rumors that B+C actually happens in the end…though I don’t buy it till I see it…and you shouldn’t either). It was strange seeing someone that we have loved to hate (not actually) for the last 7 weeks be kind of likeable.  It was like meeting an identical twin of Courtney’s named Sarah or something (there are no names that rhyme with Courtney, sorry).

(Kings of Leon: Knocked Up)

While I apologize for the lack of humor (well, there was some) in this blog, I find it wrong to make fun of people’s families, and truthfully there wasn’t much to poke-fun at this week, right!?  The hometowns were incredibly sweet, and for the most part went really well!  Again, this IS the turn in the story, when things really do get serious.  Love (maybe not TRUE love) starts to emerge and the craziness takes a back seat.

Speaking of love (haha, this segue is going to be brutal, hahaha) since I started blogging we have a had a TON of new tour dates get added to the “Love Like This Tour” WHAOW!  Pittsburgh, Winnipeg, Seattle, Vancouver have all been booked… North Carolina (coming for you Emily), Tennessee, Chicago, Texas are all on the map as well just don’t have dates/venues secured, yet…  If you can make it out to a show near you, I would love to meet you and grab a hug from you.  This little tour has been a huge blessing in my life and I promise you I will make it worth the trip and cost of admission (only $10-$15).  The shows are super intimate, I do question and answer about The Bachelor/ette/pad, tell stories, play covers…and lots more : ).  And it makes my DAY to see people rocking a Love Like This T-shirts.  You can get them here: http://www.michaelstaglianomusic.com/fr_home.cfm

Right now I am personally mailing them out, and will include a personalized LOVE note in each order. OH YEAH!

For those of you I have seen already, that got a t-shirt…or just listened to my songs: from the bottom of my heart, thank you for the love and support.  It is my goal to give it all back to you guys :)

As Always:

Love Like This: