I feel like I haven’t left my computer since the show ended on Monday night. I’ve been typing non stop for three days and can’t seem to detach myself from this seat. The “Reader Emails” this week took forever since it’s the biggest batch we’ve had since like week 2. All over the map with these emails today, so we got some diversity to say the least. I think people seem to forget that during Sean’s season of the “Bachelor,” they aired back-to-back episodes in February as well, but it was like episodes 4 & 5, or 5 & 6. Can’t remember. Since it wasn’t hometowns and overnights back-to-back, I think that’s why people forgot this has happened before. People definitely have short term memory when it comes to this show since, well, they only seem to remember things that they just saw, when in reality, this show really doesn’t bring anything new to the table. Kinda just does the same thing every season, just with different people.
I got a couple emails from people yesterday which made me realize not everyone completely understood what I meant when I gave the spoiler about Juan Pablo getting the monetary offer to propose at the ATFR, so let me address it now. This offer isn’t, “Hey, you two are in love and we’d love to compensate you for getting engaged on the live ATFR for everyone to see.” No, what I was saying is Juan Pablo has no interest in getting engaged to her. He never did. To anyone. From the moment he signed on. And nothing’s changed. They essentially are resorting to bribing him with money to do it. This is a, “Please do this for us. We’ll pay you.” Whether he does or not remains to be seen. My gut tells me he won’t, but we all know money talks. You never know.
Something I forgot yesterday in the column that probably didn’t make sense to people. When talking about the whole Andi/Juan Pablo confrontation at the end, I referred to an email from “earlier in the column.” Well, I forgot to include that email. It gave a perspective on the differences between the two that I thought was interesting, yet, I forgot to include it. Here it is:
I’m no fan of Juan Pablo but I think he is being unfairly criticized due to cultural differences.
From an American perspective, he came across as the biggest douche after Andi left and he said that once she started arguing with him, he would not have wanted her to stay. To us, that seems like a minor argument and a total disregard for the reality that couples argue. But South American cultures hold harmony in relationships to be more important than expressing feelings/thoughts in the direct way that Andi did. From his perspective, she was rude.
I know this because I dated a man from Argentina. It’s not Venezuela but I definitely identify some of the same cultural attitudes in Juan Pablo. The guy I dated was given a full ride to Cal-Tech where he got his PhD in physics, works in the field of quantum computing, and is a pilot. I’m sure I don’t have to explain to you the mental giant my ex is compared to Juan Pablo (not hard to manage) but yet I experienced some of the same sort of obliviousness and insistence on repressing feelings in order to maintain harmony.
He prized honesty the same way Juan Pablo does but was more chivalrous in dealing with me than JP is with the girls (i.e. telling Andi she “barely made it.” Not cool in any culture). But if I raised my voice even a little or expressed any kind of insecurity or doubt about our relationship, he immediately withdrew.
You’d also think that being as intelligent as my ex is, he’d be interested in intellectual debate but he abhorred it. He didn’t like being wrong or questioning his beliefs.
Even though I think my ex is a nice guy, I felt completely neglected by him and I see the same kind of pain the in the girls on the show. They don’t understand that their individual feelings are not important in JP’s culture. He’s from a collectivist culture where the focus is on the group harmony over the individual experience. America is an individualist culture where we’re all precious snowflakes whose feelings matter and personal fulfillment is priority number one.
I was also incredibly bored talking to my ex. Actually, he didn’t have much to say most of the time, much like Juan Pablo. This was completely counter-intuitive to me. I’m very well-educated and am constantly engaged in intellectual pursuits. I’m particularly interested in the physical sciences (physics, cosmology, chemistry), so it was completely baffling to me that I could barely carry on a conversation for more than five minutes with a man with a PhD in physics.
And it’s not like he was smarter than me so I was beneath him intellectually. He certainly knew more about his field than I did but seemed to have very little curiosity about the world or the nature of existence which is very common among American intellectuals.
I can also confirm the meeting of the family is not a big deal. It also happens to not be a big deal for me so we meshed on that level at least. He met my family on our second date.
The way JP is constantly “okay” with everything was the same. Everything was always “okay” with my ex. He was okay, he seemed to think the whole world was “okay” and I just needed to stop thinking about it and enjoy it.
After 3 months of dating, I was a neurotic basket case. This was a huge turn off to him which made me even more of a basket case. He finally had a breakthrough after I ended our relationship (4 months was my limit) when he had a mental breakdown at work (not related to our breakup) and realized that not everything in the world was “okay” and apologized to me for judging me so harshly.
I don’t see JP having any kind of breakthrough any time soon but here are some other things that are cultural that are going wrong between him and the girls (and the viewers):
- Not picking up on body language – culturally learned and almost entirely subconscious. JP does not speak our body “language” any better than he speaks English.
- Speaking at inappropriate times or not speaking when he should – also culturally learned and entirely subconscious. We learn to regulate taking turns in conversations through our culture and language.
- Not understanding American phrases like “I can see your wheels spinning”. There may be an equivalent phrase in his native culture/language but that makes no sense to him as a direct translation. For example, in our culture we say “comparing apples to oranges” but in Ukraine they say “comparing frogs to grandmothers”.
I know you think that Nikki is a bitch and JP is an imbecile but, honestly, she is probably the best fit for him BECAUSE she is what many Americans would view as a bitch. She is arrogant and brutally honest. To a Venezuelan man, this probably comes across as confidence and emotional maturity. Vulnerability in the way many American women express it is not prized in South American cultures. I don’t think they’ll last but if he had to pick someone, Nikki is the best fit. I predict they’ll have a huge culture clash at some point in the next couple of months and break up.
The producers made a huge mistake in not fully vetting Juan Pablo AND his culture before casting him. I don’t like JP but I don’t hate him either. I think an American audience just can’t fully relate to him and I am disgusted that the producers are now throwing him under the bus to try an cover their asses for making a poorly though out decision.
I’m not saying that ALL of JP’s behavior can be written off as cultural differences but A LOT of it can.
On a side note, Andi totally won me over the way she dealt with Juan Pablo tonight (as did her father last night). I was thinking I would be bored watching her as the bachelorette but she turned it around for me and I’m looking forward to her season.
Definitely a different perspective. I don’t agree with all of it, but most of it I do.
“Survivor” returned last night with a great 2 hour premiere. Looks like another solid season. Our “Survivor” recapper Bryan Fischer is back with his weekly recaps, so check that out by scrolling down the page and clicking on his recap from last night.
Don’t forget the live video chat returns tonight at 9:00pm EST/6:00pm PST. I’m sure you’ll have plenty to say about Andi as the next “Bachelorette,” this offer on the table for Juan Pablo, and if Kate really would choose Jack over Sawyer if she were the “Bachelorette.” See you tonight.