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CHEST IN SHOW Brooks, Chris, Ben, Michael, Zak and Bryden enjoy a little equal-opportunity objectification.
The men battle it out in Atlantic City for the title of The Bachelorette's Mr. America, while one guy doubts that Des is the woman for him| Published Jun 18, 2013
Good morning, rose lovers! It must be pretty darn early, too, because the guys all look especially sleepy-eyed and busted when Harrison arrives at Casa Bachelorette to give them the lowdown for the week. At least he's bringing some news that wakes them up quick: We're going to Atlantic City
because Vegas is too expensive and anyway they have to promote the Miss America pageant, so two birds, one stone!
Cut to Des bundled in a cozy pea coat and strolling down the mist-shrouded boardwalk, as cops wish her well and seagulls caw overhead. Soon the guys arrive and do the requisite oohing and ahhing over their sweet suite at the Revel hotel. Michael, so good at stating the obvious, observes, "Man, this place is awesome! It's basically like Las Vegas, on the ocean." Once they're all settled, we learn that Brad -- he of the unfortunately named son and alleged car-stealing ex -- gets the first one-on-one date. (The disappointment takes its toll on Brooks, who graduates from looking like death warmed over to looking and feeling like crap on a cracker.)
So it's off to Steel Pier for Des and Brad, who ride a variety of metal death traps and then break countless health violations by barging into a confection factory and grabbing chocolate-covered pretzels right off the assembly line. Things get more traditionally romantic a bit later, as Brad and Des settle into a little alcove on the beach framed by a giant, intricate sand castle. "There's a part of me that wants to be that girl that can complete his family," Des muses to Team Bachelorette. "I just need to figure out and see if I am that right fit." Hmmm, well that depends. Brad says he's looking a "great person" who's "very sweet" and who "would be a good mom." While Des respects that Brad "takes responsibility" for his son (um, yeah, it's kind of a job requirement when you're a dad), she doesn't really seem to be feeling that je ne sais quoi one needs when shopping for a husband. As the stroll away from the sandcastle, the Bachelorette admits it's do or die for Brad: "I still have a dinner ahead of me and I really need to just dig into conversation with Brad to see if he's the type of guy that I can see myself marrying." (Translation: God he is sooooo boring.)
At dinner, they sit at a 40-degree angle from each other and make halting conversation over untouched plates of food. "You're so amazing," Brad tells Des, who then signs his romantic death warrant by mumbling a simple, "Really? Thank you." Still, the Bachelorette is reluctant to send him packing yet, since she generally likes the idea of Brad, and would really like to like the reality of him as well. "I'm conflicted. Today's date went so well, and I had a great time with him," sighs Des. "But in this experience you really start to see what you really need in a relationship, and I'm not sure that I see that with Brad." It isn't until she and Brad climb the 228 steps leading to the top of the historic Absecon Lighthouse that Desiree finally gets some clarity about how she's feeling: It's time for Brad to go bye-bye. "I absolutely loved every single moment [of our date]. But I don't know, I…" [5-second pause during which Brad closes his eyes for slightly longer than a blink because he knows he's getting the boot] "...I think something was missing." Okay, Suitcase Ninja -- you're up!
NEXT: A "hodgepodge of tomfoolery"