The Bachelorette: Bob D'Amico/ABC
Jennifer Armstrong
February 18, 2004 AT 05:00 AM EST

Meredith is down to two

Oh, Ian.

How I love you.

Sure, he engaged in audible smooching on the beach during his overnight date with Meredith in Puerto Rico, and he said a few lame dating-show things like, ”When Meredith said she wasn’t the best communicator, I had to smile because that’s something I struggle with.” But honey, you two don’t need ”communication.” You’ve got some major combustion happening. And if she doesn’t choose this gorgeous investment banker, there’s a line forming, and I’m at the front.

He’s so damned sensible: ”It’s not my way to do things publicly,” he said, explaining his inordinately reasonable stance against proposing if he’s chosen in the finale. And he’s so damned cute, which Meredith clearly noticed, as evidenced by her inability to keep her hands off him even as he was telling her he wouldn’t pop the question. The fantasy suite was a foregone conclusion. There was champagne. And a rose-petal-strewn bed. And lots of rolling around on it as the camera suggestively panned away.

Then came Chad’s turn, and all I could think was, HE’S NOT IAN. (And I’m not the only one. My friend who watched with me, a ”Bachelorette” first-timer, quipped, ”I just met Ian and I already love him.”) Chad droned on in true reality inanity: ”We know we can be jokesters and we can talk about emotions and stuff ?” She switched into interview-question mode, going right for his vulnerable spot — his unemployment. Bless her heart, she approached it gently, asking, ”Where are you in your life right now?” But the fact remained; he’s unemployed and living with his mom.

Oh, and Meredith just found this out last week, a fact she reiterated, albeit tactfully: ”I thought before I went to his hometown that he was an employed man.” He did, however, make up for his lack of job with some major take-charge attitude, telling her, ”I don’t care what you say. I’m taking you to the fantasy suite.” Then, while there, he physically picked up her arm, which was resting casually across the back of the sofa, and placed it around him. And slipped his hand onto her rear while going for the kiss.

Matthew, for his part, came out swinging some super-sweet lines. ”I’ve never seen eyes like yours,” he cooed, then went on for a good 30 seconds detailing her irises’ exact color composition. Then he told the camera, ”When we kiss, there’s really strong physical chemistry there.” (Meanwhile, my viewing companion whined, ”But he’s not Ian!”) You know, these two are okay together. And, yeah, he looks like Bob the Bachelor, obviously something she likes. But she doesn’t turn to mush in his presence or caress his face or have totally smart, realistic conversations about the chances of marital success on a dating show. HE’S NOT IAN.

So the night’s ouster of Chad was no surprise, but she’ll no doubt have a tougher time with next week’s final choice. Anyone want to guess who I’d choose?

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