Team Cupcake now has an official theme song: REO Speedwagon’s “Can’t Fight This Feeling.” At least it’s better than “On The Wings of Love,” right?
Ashley Hebert heads to the hometowns of her “fortunate four” on The Bachelorette Season 7, Episode 8. All of the dates go well. All of the families are warm and welcoming. And Ames Brown is right about “sprezzatura” — love is the best when the ordinary is made extraordinary. There is romance in pizza, wine, disco balls, and mullets. Unfortunately for Ames, there wasn’t enough romance in the most obviously romantic move — a horse-drawn carriage through the woods.
Why? Because Ames and Ashley never had that spark. And he just isn’t as hot (to her) as the other guys. Ashley repeatedly calls Constantine Tzortzis and Ben Flajnik “sexy” and she can’t keep her hands off JP “Cupcake” Rosenbaum, even after seeing that bar mitzvah photo. Love may be a slow burn, but if it doesn’t catch fire in time things turn cold.
Anyway, that is a sweet mullet. And it is pretty obvious where Ashely’s heart seems to be, at least in the edit we’re being shown.
Read on for a full recap of the hometown dates.
ASHLEY HANDICAPS HER MEN
Ben F.: “I just love everything about Ben. Ben F. is a real guy, no question.” Physically he’s so attractive to her, with his long hair. This journey has allowed Ben to communicate his emotions. “More than ever I can see myself with Ben… There would never be a dull moment with him.”
Constantine: Dino is one of her favorite guys from the beginning. He’s gorgeous and physically what she looks for in a man. “There’s something about Constantine that’s so sexy to me.” Their date in Taiwan was their first indication that they could have something. “He is the total package for me.”
Ames: “Ames is one of the most unique guys I’ve ever met.” She loves being around him. He’s funny and humble about his accomplishments. She called their first kiss “amazing.” She wants a life filled with spontaneity and adventure and Ames would be the perfect person to share that with.
JP: “I feel like I’ve known JP forever. I’m so comfortable around him. I feel secure, I feel relaxed. I feel like I don’t have a care in the world. I feel like I can do anything with him. I can be playful. I can be serious. I can be emotional. And he would be accepting of that.” With JP everything is there, physical and emotional. She just needs to see that it’s very real for both of them.
DATE WITH CONSTANTINE TZORTZIS
Hometown: Cumming, GA
His mom was always confident he would be bringing the Bachelorette back for hometown dates. He is one of those adored sons, you can already tell. They go to his family’s restaurant, Giorgio's, and make some pizza. All the waitresses love him, so why can’t he just date one of them?
He is really confident, charming, and comfortable on his home turf. It’s like something out of a romantic comedy when they sit outside talking as the waitresses gather and stare at them out the window. So cute! It’s a shame their kiss isn’t more passionate. Someone get JP in there to give lessons!
They head to his family’s house to meet Dino’s parents, sister Maria, and little dog. Ashley wants that kind of warmth and love for her own family. Just take the dog! Maria likes how cute and happy her brother looks with Ashley. Mom wants to throw a party for Dino, when he comes home for good. Dad lets Ashley know his son is good with kids.
But Mom wants to know if Ashley is willing to relocate. She says she is basically willing to move anywhere. Isn’t that what Brad Womack wanted to know on The Bachelor? Dad likes Ashley and compliments her, but he doesn’t want Constantine to be rushed into anything. These things take time. But if Dino thinks Ashley is the right person, Dad gives his blessing. His parents are still together and they can be a good example.
Ashley feels very welcome and comfortable. Then the rest of the family shows up. There’s, like, a thousand people. They dance and, of course, our dancing dentist picks the moves up quickly. Ashley loves Constantine’s family. She loves seeing his interactions with his goddaughter. She can picture herself having a life with him. Mom wants to turn Ashley into an honorary Greek. Dad wants them to have a love forever, but he says it in Greek. Something ending in “agape.”
They kiss outside and everyone cheers. It’s like something out of a movie. Maybe the Colin Firth part of Love Actually.
DATE WITH AMES BROWN
Hometown: Chadds Ford, PA
Ames looks really cute in his plaid shirt, but he’s Oompa Loompa orange with that tan. Ashley’s hair is best in ponytails like this.
The house is lovely, of course. It’s set on some kind of pastoral estate. Ames’ mother thinks her son looks healthy and happy and seems “taken” with Ashley. Ames’ sister, Serena, wants to see if Ashley has the same spark in her eyes that Ames has.
Ashley admits that her relationship with Ames has moved slower than some of the others, but she’s kept him around longer because she sees so much potential.
Serena says Ames is the most loyal and honest person and he’s very romantic. She tells Ashley that Ames is “smitten” with her. Ames tells his mom his relationship with Ashley has been fast but not forced.
Ames’ father died when he was 10 and his stepfather died of cancer as well? Wow. Serena gushes about her bro and says no one ever has a bad word to say about him. Ashley is adamant that she wants to — and will — end this engaged.
Ashley talks to Ames’ mom and they decide love is a marathon, but Ashley still wants that romantic spark. Serena is giving good advice. She encourages Ames to show more of himself and bring a little “fiyah.”
That prompts Ames to bring Ashley to a park called Winterthur. They sit under magnolia trees and have a beautiful picnic. Ames went to boarding school for high school and said he was a bad student. He was the unpopular guy in his class, he said. But in his ABC bio he said his most embarrassing moment was a teacher walking in on him when he was making out with someone in boarding school. He could’ve have been that unpopular.
Ashley believes their minds work the same way. He talks about the Italian Renaissance way of being romantic called sprezzatura, which is where you try to be as romantic as possible, but in an effortless way through your ordinary life. “There's so much more magic in the ordinary.” They kiss and get special music. Ames says a bunch of flowery things about the kiss, but it’s not a JP kiss.
Then they take a carriage ride through the woods. It’s like a fairy tale.
DATE WITH BEN FLAJNIK
Hometown: Sonoma, CA
Ashley keeps running to her guys. Why don’t they run to her? Ben is so sexy, Ashley says. His hair, his fashion, the fact that he’s a winemaker. “Everything about him screams sexiness to me.”
They go for a tour and Ashley’s already planning to drink lots and lots of wine. Ben has so many sides, Ashley says. She’s seen the playfulness and now she’s seeing his sophistication and passion for what he does.
She’s giving him “I want to sex you up” eyes. But that could be the wine talking. Ashley wants her mom to come visit. Only one girl has come home to meet his mama? That’s a big deal. Ashley wants to know why. It just hasn’t felt right. He’s had short-term relationships. (Like JP.) He was just playing the field.
Ashley wants to know what Ben’s dad would think of her. Ben says he was a “gentle giant” and a quiet guy. Jovial.
Ash says she’s the most nervous to meet Ben’s family because there’s a lot of pressure on this date for Ben. It needs to work, Ben says. It needs to be good or it won’t work for him. His mom and his sister are everything to him.
Ashley feels special but also nervous that Ben has only brought home one girl. Ben’s sister signed him up for the show. Ben’s hair is his power. Mom isn’t into the long hair.
Sister Julia hasn’t always approved of Ben’s past girlfriends. Julia looks like a cross between Season 2 Bachelorette Meredith Phillips and Season 15 Bachelor funeral director Shawntel Newton.
Ben tells Julia he likes that things are effortless with Ashley. They have sprezzatura! Julia asks if Ben is falling for her. He doesn’t say yes. Will he propose? “If things keep progressing the way that they are … I have no problem proposing.”
Ben tells his mom this has been one of the best experiences of his life. It’s changed from an adventure to actually having feelings for this girl. He hasn’t told her he loves her, but he told her that he likes her.
He tells his mom, after his father died, he should’ve been a better son. He should’ve been there more for his mom and sister. He has regrets. Mom says that’s all in the past. “I think that dad really is looking down on us. It’s his birthday tomorrow and he’s probably thinking ‘Well done.’ And I think he would be proud of you.”
Ben cries to the camera. He misses his dad. His tears are sweet and genuine, but how does he feel about Ashley? He just likes her and it seems very “shrug” casual.
Ash tells the camera she could see herself spending the rest of her life with Ben.
DATE WITH JP ROSENBAUM
Hometown: Roslyn, NY
Finally, a guy goes to her. It was supposed to be raining, so he planned something indoors. She doesn’t care what they do as long as they are together. They go to a roller rink.
She keeps smooching him. They do seem very comfortable and natural together. The disco ball is turning, the cheesy ‘80s music is playing and Ashley feels like she’s in seventh grade. Then JP falls. But it’s a cute fall, as Ashley says. She tells the camera she can’t believe how lucky she is to be there. That’s the kind of thing Ali Fedotowsky used to say about Roberto Martinez.
JP has taken four girls home before Ashley. Ash thinks that’s not too many since he’s “a little bit older” than her. (She’s 26. He’s 34.)
The last girl he brought home didn’t turn out well, relationship-wise. He was hurt. Things she would do would give him cause to doubt their relationship.
JP says he is 100 percent sure about Ashley. She wants to know why he is so sure about her. JP says he’s on such a high with her and when he’s without her he’s miserable. “I don’t want to be without you.” Awww!
Does he have any concerns? Someone is going to get hurt in the end. He accepts that at the end he could have his heart broken.
Ashley goes to JP’s home to meet the parents, brother and bro’s g-friend. JP’s mom has such cute sparkly eyes. He has that same spark. Brother Roy is afraid to see JP get hurt again. He’s surprised to see JP fall so hard so fast. Eating lasagna, JP is worried about the carbs. He is at the gym every day now — the paparazzi stalk him.
Mom: “Are you in love with her?” JP says there are a lot of signs that point toward it. He’s just not ready to say it yet. “I don’t think I’m going to get my heart broken. I really don’t. She and I have something that I really don’t think she has with any other — I know she doesn’t have with any of the other guys.”
Will JP propose to her? “If I feel it? Yeah.”
Mom is guarded for her son. She likes Ashley and finds her bubbly and warm, but she’s worried. Mom talks about how his last relationship really broke his heart. This does fit very well with the Life & Style description of Ashley’s chosen one.
Mom: “I'm so scared that his heart will be broken because he looks at you with love in his eyes.” Swoon!
Ashley talks about how she makes decisions based on her gut. “I am smitten by your son. We have something that is very special to me.” Wow! So that’s right out in the open to his mother, not to the cameras or in a voice-over. Mom says JP sees how Ashley is a beautiful girl on the inside, too.
JP talks to his brother, Roy. He wants the show to end now. He wants Ashley to pick him now. He reiterates that someone is going to get his heart broken. The mullet photo comes out! It’s from his bar mitzvah. JP says it’s like a cross between Kirk Cameron and Doogie Howser.
JP talks about getting ready to tell her he loves her.
DELIBERATION WITH CHRIS HARRISON
The last time they were there, she canceled the cocktail party because of Bentley. Are we talking about him again?
Ashley said Constantine had “the best hometown date.” She saw more depth to their relationship. Ames is everything she’s looking for and he would make the best husband. Her date with Ben was everything she hoped for and more. She saw a more emotional and vulnerable side. Ashley compliments JP’s mother as the sweetest woman. The date went exactly as she hoped it would.
She is proud to say she has no regrets. She’s so happy with her four guys. She should be! This is a decent crop.
Ashley says she came there looking for a good man and a family man and she saw that in all of them.
Going home: Ames
Ames still has that smile frozen on his face. It never leaves! She says she cares so much about him. He says he’s so lucky to have her in his life. He’s usually composed, but not now. “It’s been totally beautiful and full of the unexpected and even more poetic than I would’ve ever imagined. And I’ll remember every second of it for the rest of my life.” Wow. Who just pulls that out of their tush after being dumped?
In the limo, Ames says he feels numb. He fell in love with someone who did not love him back. He was hoping to share a lifetime of adventures with her. (Don’t worry. Ames will be fine.)
They are going to Fiji for overnight dates. Ben cut his hair! But his hair was his power! She said she loved his hair.
We see Ashley and JP talking on the beach and Ashley asks if he thinks he’ll know enough about her to leave there engaged. He says, is he willing to do it right there? No. Then the scene cuts away and we hear a voice-over with Ashley saying “This is not how I saw my night going at all. It’s over right here. He made a decision and I think actions speak louder than words.”
That’s not JP. We’re being led to believe it is, but if you want to know who she is probably talking about, and who returns, head here.
Holy crap! Ashley gets into a fight with her sister Chrystie Corns, who tells her a certain guy is not right for her? Ashley calls her sister a “bitch”?! Ashley seems to go with her own gut on the guy. Wowza.
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