LOS ANGELES – Does it pay to make a list if you’re “The Bachelor”?
Nope, says Arie Luyendyk Jr., the current television romantic.
“You keep things in your head,” he says. “You have these moments and conversations and some people stand out. Sometimes the decisions are very difficult because of the limited time in the beginning. But it’s just like anything – once you meet somebody, in the first few minutes, you get a good idea if there’s compatibility there.”
Although some contestants do wild things to attract attention, they’re not a deal breaker. “It’s more about conversation,” Luyendyk says.
And, if it looks like there are a lot of meltdowns among the women, the process is pretty hard on him, too.
A contestant six years ago, Luyendyk was close to making Emily Maynard his wife. The relationship ended, however, and he was done with romance for a while.
“It took some time,” the 36-year-old race car driver says. “You’re not ready to jump right in right afterwards – or at least I wasn’t.”
When producers came calling five years later, “the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. I said, ‘Let’s give it a try.’”
As the man in the driver’s seat, Luyendyk says there’s more pressure. “You see the enormity of the production. As one of the 25 or 29 contestants, you’re shielded a little bit from that so you can be more relaxed and open to the experience. As a 'Bachelor,' there’s more to think about. None of it is negative, just different.”
Saying goodbye to contestants is hard, he admits, because the speed of early dates could result in a potential mate slipping by.
Those exotic dates are fun, but you’re constantly thinking, ‘Will this person work in my life, outside this kind of situation?’”
Now a real estate broker in Scottsdale, Arizona, Luyendyk says he’s constantly trying to see if a woman would fit in his life and he in hers. “There’s a lot of sorting out that’s involved.”
Because he’s close with his parents (dad was a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner), Luyendyk often seeks their advice. “I lean on them all the time. They’ve been happily married for almost 37 years and they’re good role models for me. They didn’t go on a show to find each other and their relationship works.”
While Luyendyk still considers himself a race car driver, he isn’t the dashing bachelor that career suggests.
“Now that I’m older and grayer and wiser, I leave the racing to the track. In my youth – when I first got my license – I got a lot of speeding tickets. Now, I don’t.”
Luyendyk drives a Ford Raptor (“a big truck”) and says the real estate business in Arizona is good – even if some potential buyers come to an open house just to meet him.
“It was an incredible experience for me the last time,” he says of “The Bachelorette.” It was the only time in my life when I felt like I was ready to get married. Now, I feel that way again. And it made perfect sense for me to come to the show and have the opportunity again.”