The Courtship Episode 8
Arrivals, departures, cow tongues, and confessions
Hello, gentle readers!
Plate some macarons and pour the champagne, it’s time for more Regency romance!
The Daily Tea
The Daily Tea announces that Nicole’s parents are returning from their trip, and there will be a celebratory dinner party. Parlor games will follow, but only for a select few. Apparently even the Regency era had a VIP section.
Quick, Hide the Togas!
The Rémys arrive.
Nicole catches up her parents by telling them Dr. Hatem and Captain Kim departed, and there’s a new suitor, Mr. Nazaire. Wisely, she omits any mention of the bacchanal or Mr. Chapman’s overnight stay. It is a truth universally acknowledged: clueless parents = happy parents.
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Fine Dining: Of Toasts and Tongues
The dinner is a smashing success, even if there are a few lapses in etiquette.
The suitors have to be reminded to place their napkins over their cravats, and Mr. Cones interrupts Mr. Rémy’s toast with an awkward, faltering tribute of his own. His mistake is magnified further when Mr. Nazaire delivers a toast in flawless French. (Later on, we’ll learn that he feels like “a dog turd” about it, and Miles is “a crepe of crap.”)
Also, the table setting lacks a pineapple, the ultimate hallmark of hospitality.
“One fun fact is that pineapples often graced the table of a formal dinner party, but not for eating; it was a table ornament. Because pineapple was so expensive and rare, a hostess would literally rent a pineapple to put on her table just to show off her wealth.”—Donna Hatch
I think Mr. Cones would have made an excellent traveling fruit salesman.
Mr. Chapman, meanwhile, runs afoul of dating etiquette. He asks Dom how he knew his wife was The One, and reveals his own dating history.
“My van’s packed. I have a gig in another state. It’s an easy excuse just to bounce.” He continues, “It’s literally been a string of three dates and out. Four dates and out. You know, and town to town.”
Pro tip: This is not the best information to share with your date’s brother.
He tells the camera, “I’m terrified of falling in love and changing my lifestyle, and then six months down the road, after the honeymoon phase is gone, I’m feeling resentment.”
Maybe Mr. Chapman would make a better traveling salesman. “Parting is such sweet sorrow, my dear, but this pineapple’s about to turn.”
Mr. Edwards says parlor games appealed to the Brits’ naughter, racier side. They were the perfect opportunity to have time alone without chaperones, “and, if you were lucky, catch sight of a bare ankle or two.”
Nicole invites Mr. Chapman, Mr. Mumbray, Mr. Bochicchio, and Mr. Nazaire to join her and Tessa in the Regency version of a “clerb.”
They have drinks, and start with a game of Poor Kitty, where one person pretends to be a cat and everyone else tries not to laugh.
Tessa suggests something more modern, so they move on to Never Have I Ever.
Various scenarios are tossed out, and you must take a drink if you’ve done the thing in question.
Mr. Bochicchio’s skin is tattoo-free. (Why am I picturing him as Dr. Evil’s hairless cat?)
Mr. Mumbray and Mr. Nazaire have had a ménage à trois (not together, presumably).
Nicole, Tessa, and Mr. Mumbray confess to having more than one piercing.
When Mr. Nazaire says “Never have I ever feared commitment,” Mr. Chapman guzzles his drink like a man who’s been backpacking across the Sahara.
He’s also pulled down his stockings, giving him an Angus Young vibe. Maybe he wants to give us the bare ankles promised by Mr. Edwards, or show us he simply cannot be contained, by monogamy or hosiery.
Nicole notices, of course, and shares her feelings with the camera. “Holy shit! I feel like an idiot right now. I was intimate with him and now he doesn’t want commitment. I’m confused. Like, if that’s not what you want, then why are you still here?”
A Message from Beyond
I know seances didn’t come into vogue until the Victorian era, but I think we need some help figuring out Mr. Chapman.
I lit some candles, and the spirit that came through was Chris Farley, as motivational speaker Matt Foley. Here’s what he had to say:
Look here, Nicole. This Chapman guy CHAPS MY ASS! Players like him don’t amount to JACK SQUAT, unless you like body odor and GOVERNMENT CHEESE!
I know he’s pretty and all, and he gives you butterflies, but he will TRAP YOU IN A JAR and PULL OFF YOUR WINGS! Then after the romance wears off, you’ll be LIVING IN A VAN, DOWN BY THE RIVER, with a guy who doesn’t even own a decent pair of socks!
Get yourself a nice guy, with a house that doesn’t have a dang STEERING WHEEL ATTACHED! Marry that British guy, Mumbray, ‘cause at least you’ll always have CAKE!
Solid advice, Matt, especially the part about cake.
The Morning After
Mr. Chapman is craving electrolytes to balance last night’s alcohol, and Nicole discusses the suitors with her mother.
Mama Rémy finds Mr. Nazaire very charming, but her favorite suitor is Mr. Hunter.
Nicole shares that Miles was the life of the party and is “down to be down,” whatever that means. She’s concerned about Mr. Holland, though. He’s convinced she’s the one, but she’s not there yet. Mama agrees; she thinks he may be too serious.
Clay Pigeons and Typography
Mr. Judge, Mr. Hunter, Mr. Cones and Mr. Holland missed out on parlor games, so they’re invited to go skeet shooting with the court.
Nicole says the suitors look good in their tweed hats, then bursts into laughter. “But they look like Elmer Fudd!”
Mama Rémy (actually, Dr. Rémy), is former military, so she’s a crack shot.
Mr. Cones says, “Oh, crap. Mrs. Rémy is like an actual, professional sniper woman. That’s the kind of family I’m trying to marry into, where there’s a sniper mom. I’m scared.”
While the suitors fire at clay targets, Nicole fires at them, with a barrage of questions designed to shake their confidence.
Mr. Holland has the best response. She asks, “How do you feel about getting my name tattooed on your butt?” He says, “What font would you want it in?”
Good one! Helvetica is always nice, or maybe a swirly script font.
Hunter Makes His Move
Mr. Hunter picks some flowers and heads to the castle to spend time with Nicole.
He can’t stop thinking about her, and she can’t stop thinking about his “cool confidence,” and his exes. At the skeet shoot he said he’s lived with a woman before, and she wants to know more about his romantic past.
She asks, “Can you kind of give me an idea what it looked like?”
He’s quiet, and she asks, “Are you holding back with something?”
He says, “Yeah,” but he doesn’t answer her question.
He tells the camera it’s hard for him to be vulnerable. “There’s very few people that I really trust to be completely open and honest and transparent with…So I really need to figure some stuff out. Because right now where we’re sitting is dangerous territory.”
I like Mr. Hunter, but shouldn’t you figure out your dating stuff before you go on a dating show? Just sayin’.
As it turns out, he’s not the only one holding back…
Mr. Cones Confesses
Mr. Cones has something serious to discuss with Nicole, so he brings her a bottle of wine and shares his truth. “For me, I consider myself sexually fluid.”
He’s sick of being labeled. "You could be, easily, the love of my life. No doubt about it. But also, I wouldn't rule out, like, there could be a dude out there. For me, it doesn't really boil down to the gender. Yeah, I just want to love who I love freely, without thinking twice about why I love them."
She’s grateful he can open up to her, and he appreciates her support. He calls it one of the best conversations he’s had in his entire life. “I’ve never felt that safe with anybody.”
The Farewell Dance
Nicole is stressed about the evening. “I don’t want to break somebody’s heart again. It sucks. But I try to stay hopeful thinking, like, I’m getting one step closer to finding my husband every time.”
Mr. Edwards reads the names: Mr. Chapman, Mr. Mumbray, Mr. Holland, and Mr. Hunter.
Her first dance is with Mr. Mumbray.
She feels they’re in the friend zone. He wants more time to get to know her, but she says, “I don’t know if that romantic connection’s there.” He tells her not to cry, “You’re allowed to feel that way,” and gives her a big hug.
Just like that, the adorable Mr. Mumbray must leave the castle. He hugs Danie and she says, “I’m gonna miss you so much.” He hugs Mama Rémy and Dom, and shakes Mr. Rémy’s hand.
There are lots of tears, and then he’s gone.
Bloody hell! I’m going to miss him, and that delightful Lemon Drizzle Cake.
The next dance is with Mr. Holland.
Nicole’s not sure if they’re compatible, if their energies match.
He tells her it’s okay. “I came here with an open heart. You came here with an open heart. It hurts that I’m not that guy for you…I love the honesty.”
Through tears, she struggles to get the words out. “I want you to find somebody that cares about you the way you care about me.”
Nicole’s crying, the entire court is crying, and the suitors all descend from the balcony to envelop him with hugs.
Typically suitors make the farewell walk to the carriage alone, but Nicole walks with him, while everyone applauds.
She gives him the burgundy jacket he wore on their horseback riding date, and wishes him a safe journey.
After two wrenching goodbyes in a row, Nicole is done dancing. She tells Mr. Hunter and Mr. Chapman she wants them to stay.
There are six suitors left, and she says, “Let’s continue on. Let’s find love.”
She hugs Mr. Hunter, who’s still harboring his mysterious secret, and then she hugs Mr. Chapman.
Mr. Chapman is still confused about their relationship, but he doesn’t let on. He says “I legitimately am falling for you. I’m so crazy for you. If I knew the rules I could break, I would break every freaking rule for you.”
Nicole tells the camera, “That was the first ‘[I’m falling for you],’ that I feel like I can start to reciprocate.”
Episode Nine features shirtless suitors in a “Battle of the Biceps,” Danny B. and Nicole canoodling in a bathtub, and plenty of tears as Nicole confronts Mr. Chapman about his fear of commitment.
Grab your favorite rubber ducky and a crate of tissues, and meet me here next week. Cheers!
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