This morning driving to work a baby squirrel barreled towards the road in front of me. I stepped on my breaks and as I did, the squirrel turned and ran back towards safety. Then suddenly, he turned and ran straight for the road again. Thank goodness I stopped in time. There have been times in my life where I’ve suffered from baby squirrel syndrome. I’ve psyched myself up to try something and began running straight for the goal, only to turn around at the first sign of danger. Had I stopped there, I might have been considered mature, or conversely a coward, but things would never have degenerated into road kill. The mistake of the baby squirrel was in suddenly reversing and running headlong into danger. It was as if he became confused in his fear and over reacted in a way that could have cost him his little life.
The Bachelorette’s Ashley Hebert seems to be suffering from baby squirrel syndrome this season as well, first with Bentley, then with her decision to tell the others about the Bentley saga. In the beginning Ashley knew Bentley was trouble. She’d been told so by Michelle Money through texts before the show. I can see where maybe she wouldn’t have listened; she and Michelle weren’t the best of friends in their fight for Brad. But she ran towards the road anyway and it seemed like she had made the turn for an episode or two when Bentley left and we saw some decent progress with her, JP, and Ben!
Ultimately though, baby squirrel syndrome took over and she became confused and fearful running right back into the road. It was painful to watch how hopeful she was when she was told Bentley was in the hotel. For those of us who have been manipulated by guys as suave and snake-like as Bentley it was like watching a cat play with a mouse and we knew that the mouse would lose. No doubt about it, even with her assertive “*&#@ you” after their meeting, as an audience we knew she had tire tracks all over her.
The one thing she had going for her at this point was the fact that none of the guys was aware of her recent confusion and immaturity. She seemed lighter, more sure of herself, and really ready to move on and give the guys a chance. Cue repeat of the syndrome. Now, there are arguments that can be made for telling J.P. the truth. If her feelings are as strong for him as she said, full disclosure and honesty is important. But she could also have waited until they were stronger as a couple or even engaged to say, “Hey – you might not like the first few weeks of the show.” She was lucky that the driver on the road – J.P. – was compassionate and understanding, and probably already in love with her.
I have to think that J.P. probably felt a lot like I did watching the squirrel run right back into the road when he heard her telling the other guys. She’d already been luckier than she deserved in his reaction and then she decides to lay it all out there for everyone else? Poor Mickey and Blake accidentally over-corrected and hit her hard, while Constantine and Lucas just seemed to step on the gas. (Side note here: the whole scene was a tribute to the fragility of the male ego…even J.P. had to get in on the action and rub it into the other guys that she told him first.)
I really hope that with all of this behind her she can be cured of her ailment and develop a decent relationship with one of the deserving guys left, but the previews don’t bode well. The producers are either trying to entice us to keep watching with drama because the rest of the season is dull due to her obvious love for J.P. or Ben, or it really was a train wreck and they have no choice in the matter. I still don’t want to give up hope. As sick as she is, I’d like her to find love.