Of course you don’t watch The Bachelorette. Of course. Not at all. But if you did, and if you happened to catch last night’s episode, you would have met singer/songwriter/that-name-haver James Taylor. (Actually you would have already met him and probably forgotten because of all that is Chad.)
It’s easy to like James T. for his convincing incredulity and for being someone who is not Chad and also not talking to or about Chad. He is bad at dancing—adorable! He flatters old ladies—so sweet! Every time he has a “surprise” it’s a song he wrote and his guitar in the trunk—kinda cute the first few times!
But the crucial Aw shucks! moment awarded to James T. looks a little too much to my eyes like some finely-tuned Nice Guy shtick.
Things James T. says:
I’ve always considered myself an underdog in that department ... Almost specifically just, like, looks.
I just see myself on not that level. Especially with girls like you.
I feel like I’m single, that’s a big part of it, cause I want the girl that I just think the world of, and then when I meet one I think, she can’t be for me.
James T. does not say, “I worry that I am not hot enough to date the exclusively hot babes that I am interested in.” But he certainly seems to be implying it.
Deriving too much self-worth from romantic attention is a common, gender-neutral pitfall. (You must love yourself first, dear James!) But he’s veering a little close here to complaining about how those girls he thinks the world of only go for his hot friends. And since we’re talking “specifically just, like, looks,” and “on that level,” and since he and the lady in question have known each other for, oh, a week, call me cynical, but I think that James T. means hot babes.
That Do I Or Do I Not Deserve This Hot Babe Whose Value Is Inflated By The Many Protein-Guzzling Testosterone Machines Talking About How Hot She Is? works as an alternate title for this show is a sad comment on the men who participate, but isn’t it sadder still for the woman at the center? This is literally a distillation of trophy wife-ism (and, well, most of dating), and seeing James T.’s Nice Guy take on it is a good opportunity to remind everyone: Hot babes do not exist to validate your need to prove that you can get hot babes. Also, failure to land sufficiently hot babes is not why you’re single. Or if it is, don’t lead with that.