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'Age of Love' suitors eliminate themselves, Top 2 finalists revealed


By Christopher Rocchio, 07/31/2007 

Megan and Maria were both eliminated during last night's penultimate broadcast of NBC's Age of Love reality dating series -- however the show's bachelor Mark Philippoussis wasn't responsible for sending either home.

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For Maria, a 42-year-old photographer from Playa Del Rey, CA, the third time was the charm, as she finally followed through on her decision to take herself out of the competition because there wasn't enough of a connection with Mark; while Megan, a 21-year-old Loyola University student from Chicago, IL, couldn't overcome her fear of flying and bring herself to get on a plane bound for the 31-year-old professional tennis player's native Australia to meet his family. 

As a result, Megan became the fifth 20-something "Kitten" eliminated, while Maria became the sixth 40-something "Cougar" to leave the competition.

Age of Love's seventh and penultimate broadcast began with Jennifer, a 48-year-old Carson, CA-resident who works as an executive assistant for the owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, explaining how she was sad to see Mark eliminate fellow Cougar Jayanna, a decision that made her feel "really homesick."

"If I didn't now Mark, I would hate him right now for what he did to my friend," said Jen.  However her anger would quickly be redirected towards Amanda, a 25-year-old financial planner's assistant from Nashville, TN, when the remaining bachelorettes received a video message from Jayanna in which she explained how Amanda was responsible for her ousting. 

"Amanda better watch out," warned Jen.  "What goes around comes back around."

Mark then informed Maria and Amanda that he was taking them on a salsa-dancing date, and Amanda immediately thought her age would give her an advantage.  Each would have a chance to dance with Mark (who could use a stint on Dancing with the Stars to show him how to lead), and Maria went first. 

Mark noticed she was wearing a "hot little salsa outfit," which made Amanda a "little jealous."  However Maria worked Mark like he was some sort of pole and didn't really dance with him.  He felt "a lot more sexual" with Amanda, and Maria was covered in sweat and looked like she was going to pass-out.  Things only got worse for Maria as the three sat at a table and talked.  She asked Mark what he would say to each of the girls if it was the last time he got to see them.

"That was like a buzz kill," said Mark.  "It just felt like Maria's being Maria again.  It just totally killed the mood."  Maria commented while there was "juice" on the dance floor, the same couldn't be said for her conversation with Mark, which she described as "exhausting."

Next it was Megan's turn to go on a date with Mark, and he took her for high tea, a date she thought was more suitable for one of the Cougars.  Still, Mark revealed Megan made him smile and there was never a dull moment when he was with her.  While she described the competition as "awkward," Megan was happy she still had the opportunity to spend time with Mark.  The two also salsa danced a bit following their tea.

"I'm definitely falling for him," said Megan following the date.

Jen got the final date with Mark, and Megan and Amanda were instantly jealous that it involved a carriage ride and swimsuit.  Jen was "really excited," and felt like "the most special" woman in the house.

"If anyone here has made me forget about age, it's honestly you," said Mark to Jen as they enjoyed a carriage ride through the city, which was followed by a trip to the pool.  The two ended up making out under a towel as they warmed up -- and with Jen feeling "feisty" -- they eventually found themselves in Mark's room giving each other "massages" in the dark.

"Tonight after my date, I've fallen for him," said Jen.  She decided to talk about her "massage" with Mark to Amanda and Megan, a move that once again made Amanda feel "stupid," "silly" and "embarrassed" because she thought she was the only one Mark had feelings for.

While Maria had attempted to withdraw herself from the competition twice before, Mark had always convinced her to stay.  However she said this time would be different.  "My instinct is I don't think he's the guy for me," said Maria.  The other girls were fed-up with Maria's comments of not wanting to remain yet never actually leaving, and Megan thought Maria "just needs to leave."

Mark said the upcoming elimination would "definitely be the hardest one" and decided he needed one more opportunity to talk with each of the four remaining bachelorettes before making his decision.  Amanda was the first to meet with Mark, and she told him she felt "all over the place" and added it was "hard" to see the "connections" he has with the other girls.  She then ratted out Jen for spilling the beans about the "massages."  Lucky for Mark he's a smooth talker.

"All I can think about is how I feel with you," said Mark after owning up to the "massages" with Jen.  "I can tell you honestly that I have missed you."  Mark apparently didn't have to say anything, as Amanda explained he had her with his smile.  It was then Maria's turn to meet with Mark.

"I know there were two other times where I said, 'Okay.  I'm out of here,'" said Maria before seeing Mark.  "But he's not going to talk me into it this time."  Mark was hesitant to ask Maria how she was feeling, but did so anyway.

"When we're one-on-one, it's great.  I feel your passion.  I feel you totally there," started Maria.  "Sometimes I feel I don't know where you're at.  I guess all I'm saying is at 40, I don't know if there's tomorrow.  I know this is a wild game that we're playing.  But I don't see it as a game to me.  What I do know is that we are on limited time.  I get turned off when I feel like I'm opening the door and inviting you in and you slam it shut."

Mark reiterated Maria was still around because he wants her to still be around since she's "different" than the others. "This is very difficult for me to come in here," continued Maria.  "The reason why I'm saying this is because I came in here to tell you that I'm eliminating myself.  I have to go."  In the end, Mark was ultimately unable to solve a problem like Maria.

"I respect your thoughts," said Mark.  "Truth was, you were going to stay.  I wanted you to stay."

"If you are going to invest time into someone, it's always hard to say, 'You know, this isn't right for me.  It isn't working for me,'" said Maria once she finally followed through with her decision to withdraw from the competition.  "At my age I just kind of know what I need."

Mark then informed Jen, Amanda and Megan of Maria's decision and added that as Age of Love's remaining three bachelorettes, they'd be accompanying him on a trip to Australia to meet his family. Jen and Amanda were excited.  Megan... not so much.

"Oh my God... we're going to Australia," she said.  "I'm terrified to fly.  It's not gonna go well.  I'd rather crawl it's such a long flight.  Or drive in a van (???) then fly in a plane."

After Megan discussed various scenarios of the plane crashing, the group finally ventured to the airport.  As the flight boarded it looked like Megan would be able to overcome her fears, but she stopped short in the tunnel and was unmovable.  Mark tried to comfort her, but Megan still couldn't do it and instead felt like she was going to throw-up.

"She just freaked out.  She was crying.  I felt really bad to see her like this," said Mark.  Megan reiterated she couldn't board the plane, and her attempt at winning Mark's heart officially came to an end as he walked her out of the airport.  "Once Megan freaked out, it was all over." 

"It was going to be an amazing experience... A once-in-a-lifetime chance," aid a teary-eyed Megan.  "I like couldn't breath or anything."  Somewhat ironically, Megan and Mark had their first kiss before he sent her away in a cab. 

"I was like, 'Why now!?'" asked Mark.  "For the first time she's holding my hand and kissing me.  I really was sad.  It shouldn't end like this.  I did not want her to leave, and she left.  It's not supposed to happen like that."

Age of Love's finale will air Monday, August 6 at 9PM ET/PT with Jen and Amanda traveling to Australia to meet Mark's family.  Each of the women will also have one last date with Mark, and at the conclusion of the episode, he'll choose between Age of Love's remaining Cougar and Kitten to determine the winner.

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