This week on Tough Love, the ladies were asked to create an online profile. Steve’s advice is to put themselves in the mind of a man reading the profile, rather than just writing about whatever comes to mind. Be honest, but be appealing. Some of the women are having a hard time figuring out what would appeal to a man, and some of them are just oblivious. Donna is tempted to write about her hero, Barbra Streisand. Elizabeth could write a novel about her estrangement from her family. And Despina, describing her ideal date, mentions that it should always end with sex. So of course, after they’ve written profiles like these, the only thing that makes sense for Steve to do is show the profiles to his man panel, who will judge them all.
One by one, they evaluate profiles.
For Danielle‘s, the first impression is “Love the booty.” “She’s just looking to get f—d,” said one of the gentlemen.
Danielle is “presenting” herself in the animal sense, according to these guys. (“All they saw was entry points,” Steve tells Danielle later. Hello!)
When they discuss Shalana’s profile, the men aren’t turned off my the fact that she has a son, but they don’t like that she has a son and yet she admits she’s never been in a relationship. “Something’s wrong with her, man,” says one panelist. Red flag alert!
Elizabeth’s photos were gorgeous, but on her form, she described her family as controlling, unfair and quick to judge. Again, love the honesty, hate the red flag it presents. “She can’t bring a man around her family,” says one of the men. “This is a Dumpster file,” says another.
Despina’s profile is generally acceptable, until everyone catches the part about ever date ending with sex. And it’s not just the men that that shocks.
One of the men intuits that from her love of sex, her distant photo and her description as a loner, she has intimacy issues.
Tiffany’s profile was incomplete in several ways. Not only did she leave several questions blank, but she failed to mention (again) that she has children. “Why would I put that on an online profile?” she asks, not getting it. (“It” = the concept of honesty.) “I don’t want the focus to be on my kids!” is her defense when Steve tells her that the omission is misleading. “The focus should be on me.” (That could actually be the sub-title for any dating competition show out there, btw.) Steve admits he’s almost at the end of his rope with Tiffany, and we’re not even halfway through the second episode.
After viewing Stephanie’s photo, the men call her “pretty plastic” and can tell she’s had surgery. Overall, they prefer her most casual, minimalist profile picture, which goes against everything Stephanie represents as far as her “human Barbie doll” mantra is concerned.
Elizabeth’s profile though, concerns Steve a little bit because it definitely sounds like her issue is no longer about finding a man with money, it’s about the judgment she faces from her family. She wishes things were different, but her mother puts an emphasis on money so it was only natural that she fell into that trap as well. “Love doesn’t pay the bills, in their eyes,” Elizabeth says.
I had pegged Elizabeth as one of the more shallow, tough cookies on this season, but now that all this has been brought to light, she’s inching toward the top of the pack.
Steve and JoAnn make their matches for the women, most of the men having been sourced from last week’s boat trip/house party, and then sends the women off for a “date” at the men’s “apartments.” It’s all a set up, the apartments are phony and have been staged to be littered with things like high heels and lipstick-stained glasses so the women will be suspicious. (More than anything, I’d just be suspicious that these guys don’t clean their dishes well enough though, and that would be the real deal breaker.)
“For all I know, the girl who drank out of that has oral herpes,” Melissa says when she spots the violating glass. I’m with you girl, I’m not suspicious, just grossed out. She’s the first woman up in this challenge and when she visits Chris in his fake apartment, she keeps her mouth shut when she sees it. She keeps her mouth shut after spying all the other hidden offenses too, a Valentine’s card, a purse, and framed photos of random women, because she knows she’d turn the situation into something awkward otherwise. I think she deserves a few points for self-awareness here.
This exercise relies on the women snooping to some degree, and yet Steve and JoAnn are shocked when Shalana pokes around to see what’s on her date’s iPad.
Worse still is Tiffany, who cases the apartment just scanning to see what private stuff she can look at and then goes through her date’s phone and computer, although they were both password protected.
Stephanie has been set up with “good guy” John (as opposed to “bad boy” John who was also an option) and she’s the first of the bunch who actually brings up all the lady-swag around the house. When he tells her that all the photos are of sisters or family friends, Stephanie is put at ease. Too much easy. “I’ve never wanted to jump someone’s bones so bad,” she says.
Donna doesn’t need ladies items strewn about to get a sense of what her potential date is all about, she prejudges strictly on the criteria of cleanliness. “I’d rather know who they are before I smell their towels.” She directly correlates towel cleanliness to how attracted she’s able to be to a man. Which, when you think about it, is kind of gross but accurate. Have you smelled an old, damp towel lately? Donna is not attracted to her date, Butler, though, at first glance, and it has nothing to do with towels. Hilariously, Donna is only turned off by the Diet Cokes in his fridge and the scratched Teflon pan on his stove. Oh, and the fact that he’s not hot enough for her is cause for a meltdown.
Elizabeth says she jumps to conclusions over everything, so as soon as she sees the pink purse in Stephon’s place, she freaks (internally). What aggravates Elizabeth more is that Stephon didn’t toast anything, he just drank his wine during the meal, and he didn’t “give a rundown with an education about the wine” (what??) and he didn’t serve her food or even feed her (DOUBLE WHAT???). And yet the date still goes well, which seems impossible to believe.
After the dates conclude and the women are dishing out the deets to each other, Donna monopolizes the conversation and Elizabeth and Stephanie try to leave the room, which sets everyone off. Conflict in the house! Elizabeth and Stephanie are labeled rude and everyone seems annoyed by everyone else.
At group, Steve reveals that the apartments were fake and the women’s items were planted there on purpose, which relieves everyone, but Stephanie, the only one who actually brought it up to her date, is deemed the winner of the week.
Elizabeth gets positive feedback too when Steve applauds her for ignoring her mother’s influences and expectations that a man should always do the “manly” things like pulling out her chair or chewing your food for you (wait, no, sorry…). She’s trusting her gut, and it’s working.
Unfortunately, not all the feedback Steve dishes is as positive, and he calls Shalana’s iPad snooping “shameless” and a “straight-up invasion of someone’s privacy.” But it’s Donna who has ended up in the hot seat. Steve reprimands her for her high-maintenance, which has to please Elizabeth and Stephanie who are tired of it, too. (But hello, high maintenance pots meet kettle.)
Footage of Donna’s rant against her date contrasted against how phony-nice she was to him in person, not to mention that she actually forgot his name when she was with him. “What do you offer that is so phenomenal that I’m going to want to deal with all of that bulls—?” Steve asks her.
Once she realizes that she’s there to earn a process and not necessarily find a knight in shining armor, she starts to understand what Steve is saying…finally.