Quelling someone else’s temper tantrums isn’t something most of us have to worry about until we actually have small children. But Arie Luyendyk Jr., the current titular bachelor, claims to want a wife and family stat, so perhaps it’s appropriate that he had to test his own tantrum-defusing skills on Monday night’s episode.
The meltdown took place on a bowling group date. Two groups of women competed to win the right to attend an evening soirée with Arie, but he had second thoughts after seeing the losing team’s disappointment and invited them as well. Krystal, the season’s villain, was infuriated that her hard-won advantage had been easily taken away. On the drive back to the hotel, according to several other bachelorettes, she called Arie a liar for changing his mind. Back at the hotel, she changed into a robe while the other women primped, then dramatically announced she wouldn’t be going. “My bags are packed,” she said.
Krystal’s feelings of disappointment may have been valid, but everyone seemed to agree ― both on the show and in the Twitter commentariat ― that her reaction came off as selfish and manipulative, designed to grab Arie’s attention and force him to spend time away from the group smoothing things over with her.
But this raises the question: What would be the optimal way for Arie to handle such a stunt? Should he have left her alone all night to stew? Should he have taken her hurt seriously and tried to comfort her? Or should he have confronted her and let her know that throwing a fit would get her nowhere?
Arie chose the latter option, leaving the other women at the evening party to talk to a spa robe-clad Krystal in her hotel room ― and lay down the law. “I think you should stay up here tonight,” he told her. “Know that I’m not happy about [your behavior].”
Now, there’s something undeniably icky about the the bachelor, a man who is, in theory, dating and pursuing a possible long-term relationship with each of these women, chastising one of them like she’s a misbehaving toddler. It’s hardly an equal dynamic. But it’s also gratifying to see the lead resist the impulse to cater to a contestant’s bad behavior ― she was, after all, acting like a petulant child.
So what was the right way to handle Krystal’s power sulk?
On HuffPost’s “Here to Make Friends,” we discussed all this and more with actress and “Bachelor” superfan Erin Darke:
Claire Fallon: So Arie says, “I think the right thing for me to do is probably check on her. I don’t wanna disrespect you guys by going up, but she has such strong feelings so I should probably address it.”
Erin Darke: By the way, I don’t think that was the right thing to do.
Claire: I’m torn.
Emma Gray: I’m torn too.
Erin: I think if someone is throwing a temper tantrum, and you have nine other women in front of you who aren’t throwing a temper tantrum, you spend the time with them.
Emma: I agree, but I think that part of what he was doing was shutting her down when he went to talk to her.
Erin: He didn’t shut her down! She came back down an hour later!
Claire: He told her not to come down. He went up and was like, do not come down. And she did it anyway, but he told her not to.
Erin: But he gave her exactly what she wanted.
Claire: What she wanted was for him to go up there and beg her to come back down.
Erin: But she also just wanted attention.
Emma: But she wanted it to work in her favor, and instead he’s so much less into her.
Erin: He said, “I don’t want to be disrespectful to you,” [to the other women], but I do think it was disrespectful, because he just left those nine women sitting on this couch in the W Hotel for god knows how long while he went and talked to the girl in the robe.
Emma: I also wonder, though, if it’s partially that he knew he was gonna have to have this conversation at some point. There’s no way the producers were gonna let him not confront Krystal in this moment.
Claire: If I were him I might just want to get this over with, so that I’m not thinking about it.
Erin: Maybe with another person it would have worked more. Arie’s like a dating robot. You can feel him processing information and then going like, “What would a human do next?” There’s a 10-second lag between everything he says.
Claire: I also just wanted to point out again that Krystal is in a robe when Arie shows up but her hair and makeup are perfect.
Emma: Oh she has been preparing for this moment, which is why I enjoyed that he did shut her down. At one point he says, “It’s just bowling.”
Claire: And she says, “It wasn’t just that, you know that.” Why would you say that? He literally just told you it was just bowling.
Erin: But then he also says to her, “You know me better than anyone else here,” which just encourages her. He said it at least twice.
Claire: I feel like it was a way of reprimanding her, though. Like, “you’ve had more opportunity than anyone else to know me, and yet you can’t trust me, you can’t treat me respectfully. It’s not that I haven’t given you what you need in order to treat me better.”
Erin: She’s seen his home videos. [All laugh.]
Claire: So Krystal says to Arie, “I felt very passionate and I felt very hurt and I said things out of hurt and I don’t feel like I know anything about you.” And that’s when he’s like, “You know more about me than anyone.” And she’s like, “I know, but I need more.” And he says, “If you were downstairs, we’d be able to talk about it, but this is what couples can’t do, run away from their problems, and when things like this happen, it makes me pull back.”
Emma: I thought this was a valid point on his end.
Claire: Then he says, “I think you should just stay up here tonight, I’m gonna go down and hang out with everyone else. Know that I’m not happy about it. I’ll see you in a couple days.” And he just kinda leaves. He doesn’t give her another hug or anything. If I was Krystal here ― and I’ve been the girl who picks a fight to get attention ― that would not be a reaction I would be happy with. I would be like, I was hoping to get validation out of it, and instead he is treating me more coldly than he ever has.
Erin: It’s funny, because when you read that dialogue back, I was like, “Oh yeah, those are really intelligent things to say.” But when I hear Arie say them, I just wanna bang my head against a wall. But that is exactly how you should respond in that situation!
This transcript has been edited and condensed for clarity.