The Guy with the Golden Shorts - Bachelorette Recap Ep 4
By: Kim Coates
Episode 4 did not disappoint! We got two rose ceremonies - ending the cliffhanger pattern from last week to all viewers' relief - two interesting one-on-ones, and a group date where the men competed in a lumberjack competition. It was rather entertaining (I laughed out loud a few times) to watch the men attempt to split wood or overturn 400 pound logs in their checkered shirts, grunting like neanderthals the whole time. The cherry on top was that John, the Venmo software engineer, was the unlikely champion.
What stood out to me in this episode, though, was not Becca's love connections or one-on-ones, but rather a tense moment between some of the men at the after-party of the aforementioned Lumberjack competition. Perhaps it is no surprise that at the center of this little spat was Jordan.
It's been a few weeks now that this particular prize has been gracing the viewers with his off-kilter commentary and unabashed pride in his modeling career and resultant “skills”: walking around semi-nude, claiming professionalism is attached to all his actions (since his brand is attached to his body and, ostensibly, his body is attached to his enormous ego), and constant comparisons to clothing and attire ("the tapping of the shoes I wore is like the heartbeat of a gentleman"). Over the last few weeks, I’ve surprised myself by coming to see a strange logic in Jordan's thinking and even to develop a mild respect for him, if for nothing other than a bit of awe at his utter solipsism. He never picks fights with other men but only defends himself, and even though his pride in himself and his "look" is over the top, I can appreciate valuing your career - no matter what or how that looks to the outside world.
He has taken flack from viewers and the other men from the start for being (and proudly at that) a male model. At first this was funny, but I’ve started to wonder why some of the men are actually offended at his preening and it seems it is because Jordan represents a shade of femininity, which is unsettling to some of the men. And this is where I have an axe to grind. Take for example, the incident in question from this week:
Earlier in the episode (4), Becca gave Jordan a pair of gold lamé short shorts; it was sort of a sweet dig at his obsession with his image. During their alone time after the Lumberjack competition, Becca asked about the shorts and he said he was currently wearing them because they were his "good luck charm." Becca thought this was very funny and Jordan continued the humor by taking off his pants and dancing around briefly in the shorts. The mood was light-hearted and funny. Yes, he was wearing short gold shorts, but it was not inappropriate or disrespectful. It was Becca, after all, who gifted him the shorts.
Jordan then, probably not using the best judgment, paraded out in front of the group in his shorts...and that's when some of the other men lost it. Colton fumed, "This dude's a clown. He's not here for the right reasons."
(How does having a laugh with the woman who gave you an (admittedly silly) gift indicate of wrong reasons, I asked myself while watching the various meltdowns.)
Colton continued, "I want Jordan to know exactly where I stand with him," and pulled him outside for a chat, with another man, Chris, to back him up.
Once outside, Colton told Jordan (who was fully clothed again) he had lost all respect for him because he was "walking around in golden undies."
Jordan, defensive but calm, said that if Colton had seen the time he had with Becca he would understand. Colton continued to tell Jordan he had lost respect for him and at one point called him a word which I can't decipher as ABC bleeped it out, but I think it was "bitch."
So much to analyze. Colton is a former football player and has a fratty, bro-y vibe. He’s stereotypically masculine with his big muscles and big claims (see last week's recap). Counter to this is Jordan's comfort with more stereotypically feminine elements of his sexuality, such as wearing small and tight articles of clothing and taking pride in the minutiae of his appearance. Add to that the fact that Jordan enjoys modeling and will pose on cue, or wear golden shorts and have a good time with it, and we viewers witness the the perfect combination to boil Colton over. But Colton had no right to single Jordan out, use a derogatory word, and suggest that his way of being, really being a "man", was any less legitimate or honest than his own.
This, my friends, is toxic masculinity. It is poison and has no place in decent society.
Jordan is not going to end up with Becca, and his presence on the show is most likely for ratings and entertainment value. But, his masculinity or sexuality ought not to be put on trial.
And if someone gives you gold shorts, hell, wear them with Pride!