Maybe the contestants on this show are totally over being naked. Maybe they long for clothes or are sick of sand in weird places and inconvenient tan lines. Who knows! But last night’s crew really drank the Kool-Aid re: the naked revolution. Dating Naked is a show that takes its moral very seriously, and wants us all to believe in the “dating revolution” that will occur when we all take off our clothes and play naked in the streets. But let's keep some perspective here: This is a show called Dating Naked, about going on dates, naked, without clothes, in the nude. Now is not the time to wrestle with your abandonment issues.
Last night was a big night for “feelings.” In fact, the entire episode felt like product placement for Deep Emotions, instead of Boobs or Mountain Dew like it should have. I blame this on our male contestant Mike. He’s a self-professed former fat kid, who came on the show to learn to be comfortable in his own skin. As a result, he’s all about “personality first.” Boobs don’t even matter to him even when they’re attached to my favorite female contestant so far, Candace. She’s a sharp-shooting, no-nonsense tomboy from Idaho who knows her boobs are great and has no time for men who don’t worship them. (YES.) At one point she asks, “Are your balls okay?” But, really, she’s asking, Do your balls even exist, men? The answer is: probably not.
Oh, the return to the infamous Jungle Ropes Course and naked ziplining — as you’ll recall, the site of the Brake Face incident of Episode 3. Candace and Mike feel very awkward and so make prolonged getting-to-know-you small talk while trying to figure out which standing position shows off their butts the best.
Back at the Jungle Villa, they put on clothes and really dig into each other’s souls. Just, like, dig in right in there. Balls deep. They’re talking about walls and letting down their walls, and making weird meta-references to how the show helped them tap into their emotions. I guess VH1 paid Candace and Mike the most. Next, they decide to take a dip and engage in the first ever semi-clothed pool romp in this show’s history. I guess they’re Never Nudes. I’m very happy they’ve found each other.
Then, finally, Candace uses a great, obvious pickup line and says, “I’ve never had sex in a pool,” and they go at it to a soothing soft-rock ballad. Well played, Candace. I can already tell she’s a sex-positive lady who goes for what she wants. And what she wanted was that former fat kid’s pert butt.
Every day is a gamble on this show. Mike and Candace forged a real connection last night, but will it last today? Only two naked dates will tell. Mike’s date is Diana, a.k.a. the Giggler. Upon their meeting he tells her she has pretty eyes in the most gentlemanly way possible. She immediately giggle-spasms like she’s never seen enormous man nipples before (FWIW, I also giggled). Mike is really determined to make that small talk, once again avoiding looking at any boobs. Mike is definitely not a Breast Man; he’s a Brain Man, and sadly Diana forgot to pack one.
Their date is croquet! To which Diana responds, “I’m not really a golf person.” Mike’s brain-boner continues to shrivel up, but he makes a good effort, and comes back with: “Let’s see how you whack some balls.” This is a massacre. All of a sudden Diana is like naked, giggling Godzilla.
She not only destroys the croquet court but causes emotional devastation by discussing the cheating boyfriend (who impregnated another woman), as well as recounting in great detail that time when she got kicked off a naked waterslide (“Too much ruuuuuum"). Well, at least she kept her pinkie up during tea! Needless to say, Diana has decided Mike is her future husband, and I don’t think he has anything to say about the matter.
At first sight, J.D. seems like the man for Candace. He’s got a beard and is a firefighter from L.A. He’s funny! So we’ll forgive him for keeping his backwardsbaseball cap on, the Dating Naked equivalent of wearing socks during sex. They have a great time BMX biking around the island (points for creativity, VH1),but everything falls apart during their sunset cocktail hour. He takes off his hat (we understand now why he kept it on) and reveals some serious balding. Then he opens his mouth and reveals 30 years of deep-seated neurosis and abandonment issues. Sigh.
J.D. makes sensitive Mike seem like the most macho man in the world. When he and Candace are reunited at the Jungle Villa pool, it’s like the ending of a romantic period drama or something. They sneak off. They sneak off to emotionally hump each other (discuss feelings again) and make out. Diana took it pretty well:
Another day, another naked date, another threat to the love Mike and Candace have been cultivating. They’ve shared so many feelings. We’ve seen all of their feels. Will their love survive another day?
Holy crap, probably not. Because Mike’s date Amber is the hottest thing to grace this screen. She shows up in gladiator stiletto heels and hoops the size of her head, tiptoeing across the sand like a goddess. Mike is as happy as a fat kid with a free pass to a cake buffet. Except that cake buffet is Amber.
Mike and Amber have a great date. It involves them rubbing edible items on each other in a “massage.” Amber reveals that she likes to put things in her mouth, and that she had a lesbian phase. Really, Mike, what more do you need to know? But of course, Mike is a man who does not see outer beauty. He sits her down to ask if she believes in at love at first sight and if she dates a lot.
Candace’s date is also just delicious. The minute Candace meets Marcus, a muscular grad student with a smile straight from the heavens, she can’t hide her love for him. Mike who?! Seriously. Mike who. She’s crossing her legs, flipping her hair, giggling like loony Diana. He’s into it, too. And out of the blue, Candace can’t quite remember what had her so preoccupied all these days. Who was that little man who asked so many questions? Milky? Mickey? Who cares, only Marcus matters. They have a beautiful kite-flying date, and run across the sand into the sunset like lovers do, and later share a dance in the surf. You guys, this is love!
Back at the pool, Candace is the most popular girl at the party. J.D., Marcus, and Mike are all grunting for her attention. And in a turn of events, it seems like Mike is going to win the evening — but, don’t forget, he really cares about feelings and Diana is letting her feelings flow. Hottie Amber is bored and doesn’t want to sleep with anyone, anyway, so she joins in with some hot-girl bullying. Candace gives Mike a come-hither eye, and sneaks away to arrange herself on a small couch in her room. She’s waiting for Mike to come in and prove he’s a man, a man who can take his woman. Unfortunately, Mike cannot, and because we're now following the plot of a Jane Austen novel gone naked, Marcus enters the room and takes Candace into his arms and shows her what a man looks like. (Not like Mike — just to drive this point home. A man looks like Marcus.)
In the end, Mike chooses Candace. But Candace has found her heart’s true aim, and it is aimed right at Marcus’s well-endowed form.
Most-awkward naked activity of the episode: Taking off your clothes.