It's cuffing season and the Below Deck crew is starting to couple up. In recent episodes, deckhand Nico Scholly broke up with his long-distance girlfriend to explore a "boat fling" with stewardess Brianna Adekeye, Nico's brother came to town and piqued Jennifer Howell's interest, and in recent episodes, Valor's bosun, EJ Jansen, began a "courtship" with deckhand Baker Manning. However, it seems like Baker is doing most of the courting. It's still too early to tell how things will go between these two on the show, but on Tuesday night's episode of After Deck with Kate Chastain, Kate asked EJ about his first impressions of the "female Matthew McConaughey" and whether the two still see each other on land.
"We hung out a little bit in L.A.; partied it up a bit," EJ told Kate on the podcast, "You know, she's a busy girl. She's riding off in her RV in the sunset, somewhere." When Kate pressed if there's anything still going on romantically with him and Baker, he responded, "Not a heck of a lot."
He explained that when he stepped on the boat, there weren't a lot of options for allies or friends, but he instantly noticed how no one seemed to have any beef with Baker. "[She] is kind of neutral, easy to get along with."
"When I first met Baker I was literally speechless and stunned at how beautiful she is," Kate added. "Like, I don't think it shows on Below Deck as pretty as she is."
"You're right. You're absolutely right. I have good taste, Kate," EJ said.
Despite Baker's beauty and chill vibes, EJ explained to Kate that past experiences with love on boats have made him wary of romantic relationships with crew members. One of these former flings included a girlfriend moving on quickly to the bed of EJ's fellow deckhand and best friend on the boat.
"You're around that person every day. And if you're new, or they're new, you don't know what they're going to be like in six months, right?" EJ said. "You don't know if maybe it's going to get dry or maybe you end up liking one of the other crew members, God forbid."
Kate echoed EJ's sentiment and explained that the right move is to wait it out before making a move and to make sure it's worth being stuck together.
However, despite experience and knowing better, EJ felt the attraction early on for Baker, "Obviously, as soon as I see Baker when I walked up the dock, I thought she was cute," he said. "So as soon as I walked up, I was like, 'Oh, shit. There's potential trouble.'"
Here's to hoping this season doesn't end in another yachtie love triangle for EJ.
To find out why Baker beat EJ to the punch on planning the first date, listen to the full episode of After Deck with Kate Chastain, above.
New episodes of Bravo’s After Deck with Kate Chastain are available Tuesday nights after episodes of Below Deck. Listen, like and subscribe to Bravo TV’s After Deck with Kate Chastain on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher and anywhere else you enjoy your favorite podcasts. Don’t forget to vote each week on a Yachtie and a Dinghy of the Week by tweeting @AfterDeckTweets and follow @AfterDeckInsta for news about upcoming episodes of After Deck.
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