'The Bachelorette': Des loves chocolate-covered pretzels; does not love Brad

Good morning, Bachelorette-rs! (It's a work in progress.) What an episode we enjoyed last night — Speedo strutting, Rose denying, Ben hating. We got a bit of everything. Just a plethora of sights and sounds to take in, and all set against the backdrop of Atlantic City, NJ — where dreams are born or pronounced dead, depending on your luck. Thematically on-point that Des' two dates last night should explore both sides of that divide! 

JAMES, of course, was the lucky one. Not only did he manage to make lemonade out of a depressing helicopter tour of Sandy devastation and the donation of his expected romantic dinner to an AC couple in need; he survived revealing to Des that he cheated on his longtime girlfriend. And Des had been cheated on, too! James got his rose, and also the nickname "fireproof," from me.

We come not to celebrate James, though, but mourn Brad. Poor, poor Brad. Quiet, awkward Brad. Oh, Brad. Brad. Time to break it down using our handy Bustle.com Date Grader (TM)!

Event: Casual stroll of the AC boardwalk, complete with rollercoaster ride, tour of a chocolate pretzel factory (so messy!), hang sesh in/around a sand castle, Italian Lady & The Tramp-style dinner, and lighthouse rendezvous

Guy: Brad, the 27-year-old accountant we met last week

Does He Have a Son?: He has a son

Brad's Favorite Flower: "A rose. I hope to be getting a lot of them." (Read on to find out how this worked out for him!)

I've been inclined in previous weeks to offer a lower "Do It Yourself" score for those dates wellllll outside the range of possibility for normal Joes like myself, a quick slap on the wrist to producers. "What about us regular guys?" I ask on behalf of regular guys. "How are we going to afford dancing on an office building at the same time we're serenaded by a Top 40 group?" But this week we're going to change it up, completely undoing the careful scoring system we've established, and give minimal points because it would be so easily orchestrated at home. A chocolate pretzel factory, sure — that's awesome. My date and I would still be there! But lighthouses are a dime a dozen in New Jersey, Italian dinner worked in the late 60s but not today when there are great Thai places to check out... and the boardwalk? NOT IN MARCH.

DIY Score: 2/10

Lest you think this date was beyond Brad's control from the start, that he was simply dealt a bum date card by producers, let's talk about...well, Brad's talking. A field in which he does not appear to be particularly educated. "What kind of girls do you date?" asked Des. "Umm....I don't know," Brad stammered, looking frantically to the sand sculpture behind them for some scrap of an idea. Could he Keyser Soze his way out of this one?

"I think, like, good personality. That's big." It's not the worst line considering Des, like any human, has a personality of some kind, but he should have elaborated on the whole "good" descriptor. Morally good? Good as in you like it? Good as in "tasty," maybe like a chocolate-covered pretzel? As with anything — from personal statements to carefully-orchestrated beach dates — specificity is key. Use your words!

Talking: 1/5 (as long as you open your mouth you get at least one point)

It's never a good sign when you have to rewind to make sure someone, at some point, kissed the other person. But that's exactly what my viewing party was forced to do! On reviewing the tape, it does makes sense that the moment would land so awkwardly. Brad can't figure out when to talk or not talk; it's only natural that kissing would offer the same challenge. They kissed in front of the sand sculpture. (Maybe to stay warm? Let's not rule out survival instinct.) Then again on their date, between bouts of stilted conversation and quietly twirling spaghetti. But both were chaste. And in both cases, if you zoom in enough, I'm pretty sure you can see Brad texting his son.

(I'm kidding! That didn't happen. But you can imagine it happening, right? Imagination plays an integral role in the scoring here.)

Kiss Factor: 5/40

This whole weird, awkward day finally came to a close in the most romantic — and therefore most weird + awkward — Jersey setting possible, the top of a lighthouse. Under different circumstances? When you're looking out at the lights below, and the vast Atlantic, next to someone you can imagine spending the rest of your life with? ROMANCE CITY. But next to what we have to assume is an attractive albeit malfunctioning automaton? Who, even in this moment where he has to see death right in front of him, remains so, so, so quiet?

Rose: Noooooooo no no no no no

Image: ABC

Must Reads