"Two contestants, one rose. One stays, one goes." That's what the typical date card would say to announce the "dreaded" two-on-one date in Bachelor Nation. It's the date that no one ever wants to go on, the date that usually pits two total opposites together: Two people who hate each other, and, more often than not, two people who the Bachelor or Bachelorette quite honestly doesn't care much about. Sometimes one of the two people on date is the "villain" of the season, and, almost every time, it's the villain who heads home. Oh, and it's always "the most dramatic date of all time." I would know: I went on the two-on-one during Ben Higgins' Bachelor season... and I got sent home.
Monday night on The Bachelorette, JoJo handed out her second two-on-one date card of the season, this time for Chase and Derek. I'm not exactly sure why these two were chosen for this date, but it was fairly obvious from the beginning that Derek would be going home. Any time producers start to show the overconfidence of one of the contestants, that's a definite sign he's leaving the show. But, before that, JoJo greeted the guys by saying, "Let's just have fun today!" Well, no. There is nothing fun about being on that date. You physically cannot have any fun. You are fighting for the same person, and there is nothing fun about that.
So the three of them took a dance class, shared the same sensual dance moves, and it was so uncomfortable. Then they all sat down for dinner — which was even more awkward — both Derek and Chase got to confess their feelings for JoJo in the hopes that it was just enough to keep them around, and Derek ended up being sent home in one of the more painful breakup scenes. It involved Derek and his man tears in the limo juxtaposed with JoJo dancing and making out with Chase to a rendition of "Don't Cry For Me Argentina."
Every two-on-one date is painful — trust me, I've been there. Before going on the date, you'll always film some contemplation shots — for women it's putting your makeup on, for men, gelling up their hair. Before the date, you're also in charge of packing up all of your things with the reasonable expectation that there's a 50 percent chance you'll come home and unpack all of said items. The contestants involved always have to bring the luggage to the living room and leave it there so everyone who is not on the date can react in a shocked fashion when the luggage retriever shows up at the end of the night and takes one bag out of the hotel. "Oh my gosh, that's Olivia's bag! She's going home!"
As far as the actual date goes, it's just plain awkward. Think of it this way: No one likes being the third wheel on any date, even if you're just there supporting a friend and her boyfriend. But, Bachelor Nation third-wheeling is so much worse. There you are with someone who is also dating the same man or woman that you are, who has also made out with your boyfriend or girlfriend, and has probably trash talked you to this person. It's a recipe for disaster. So, you and the other contestant hop in a car and silently drive to the date destination. Seriously, you could hear a pin drop in the car. You stare off into the distance, wishing you were anywhere else and occasionally saying, "Wow, that's a pretty tree," in hopes of striking up some sort of conversation.
Then you arrive, in my case, on a boat dock in the Bahamas and wait for the lead to pick you up. The lead arrives and is running toward both of you for a big hug. But who hugs first? What if you both go in for a hug and it becomes an awkward side hug? Do you hold their hand?
After the initial greeting, the Bachelor or Bachelorette will ask you what you've been up to, listen to your boring answer because they know you've been up to absolutely nothing, smile intently, and then ask the exact same question to the contestant next to you. You'll partake in some sort of activity together, like JoJo, Alex, and Chad going for a hike, or Chase and Derek taking a dance class. My season was a tad different, considering there wasn't much to do on an island during a rainstorm resembling a hurricane. The activity portion isn't complete without several awkward silences, accidentally interrupting each other, and attempting to make physical contact with the person you're dating without making the other contestant jealous. Talk about dream date, right?
Then you'll have your private time with the lead before the rose is handed out. This is your time to confess all of your deepest feelings, knowing that there's a huge chance you're about to be dumped. Anyone who is on this date knows that the lead probably doesn't care too much, so there's this added pressure to say all the right things and hope to change their mind. For example, Derek told JoJo he was falling in love with her last night on his two-on-one date, which is surely a grand gesture, but it felt wrong considering he would be in a limo a few minutes later, heading home.
And, while your fellow contestant is off talking to the lead, which could reasonably take 45 minutes, you're sitting at a dinner table silently staring at food or off into the distance, taking an occasional drink of champagne and dreaming up the worst case scenario in your mind. We all know what the worst case scenario was for me: Getting dumped and abandoned on an island. The spoiler is that a separate boat came to pick me up minutes after Ben and Emily left me, despite my cheeky joke on Instagram that I was stuck in the Bahamas for months.
There you have it, the reason why every Bachelor Nation contestant refers to the two-on-one date as "dreaded." It's uncomfortable, both for the contestants and for the lead. It's the most dramatic date every season because there are so many stares, awkward silences, and third wheel moments to choose from, and, when a villain is involved, there's always a guarantee for trash talking.
America has already endured two of these dreaded dates on JoJo's season of The Bachelorette, will there be a third? She showed last night that she's willing to break the rules by being handing out roses to all the remaining men at the rose ceremony instead of sending someone home. Who knows, maybe she'll make history again and give us all another look at the two-on-one date. But, for the contestants' sake and ours — I hope it's one-on-ones only from here on out.
Images: Olivia Caridi/Instagram; ABC