It took me a few months to decide whether or not I wanted to try and find love this way again, and after thinking long and hard about it, I ultimately thought it would be another positive experience. Guess you'll have to wait and see just how positive it turns out to be.
Arriving at the mansion that first night was an extraordinary experience. Having such fond memories at the mansion from my time on The Bachelorette gave me a bit of comfort, but I was nervous nonetheless. One thing that helped make me felt a bit more at ease was that the women who were about to arrive knew I was going to be the one greeting them at the door and they weren't going to be surprised.
As the first limo pulled up, my heart began to beat faster than it ever had before. I immediately began to think, "What did I just get myself into?" To be completely honest, I don't even remember what the first few women said to me, as I was on sheer nervous autopilot if that makes any sense. After I settled in a bit, I realized I had already had my first kiss, been punched on the shoulder, met a grandma, and had a woman ride in on horseback. I remember thinking, "What else does this night have in store for me?"
Upon entering the mansion and facing all 25 – well, 26 women if you include Grandma Sheryl – for the first time, I addressed them with a speech I thought to be very real, and very me. I told them that, "I don't know if my wife is in this room, but I am going to stay open, and honest to this experience." If they needed any advice, guidance, or comfort, they could come to me at any time.
I remember almost all of my nerves were gone by this point and I was in a good mood. I was calm, collected, and remarkably ready to navigate 25 different conversations, some "soon to be drama," and a bevvy of beautiful women. So far, so good.
Meeting the WomenMy conversations that night were really heartfelt. The women seemed to open up to me early on and that was incredible. They kept telling me how I was giving them a "calming" feeling, but I think they were all doing the same for me. The majority of women were on their best behavior and it made my night much easier than expected.
I particularly remember my conversation with Nicki being very natural. It was moments such as this one where I found myself thinking that being the Bachelor was the right decision and I was going to have fun with it.
Speaking of fun, Sheryl the grandma was also a highlight of my night. I am close with my grandma and found it to be very endearing that Brittany would bring hers along. I also really enjoyed talking to Rachel and Courtney. They both seemed like they had good families back home, and had experienced life a bit more than some of the other women.
When I decided who was going to get the first impression rose I knew I was going to have a lot of glaring eyes on my back as I left the main room, which was not a good feeling. It was in that moment when I realized just how difficult this journey was going to be. Lindzi had such a good energy about her that I decided she would be the perfect choice for the first impression rose. Let's be honest too … she's a beautiful, confident woman who rode in on a horse!
The First Rose CeremonyNow let's discuss my first rose ceremony as the Bachelor … uh oh. The moment I wasn't looking forward to was finally here. I think anyone who has been in my position before can attest to how difficult the first rose ceremony is to handle. It really is a night of first impressions, and unfortunately you only have so many roses to hand out. But at the end of the night I was confident in the decisions I had made and was looking forward to getting to know the group of women much better.
Again, I can't thank everyone enough for this unique opportunity. And because I'm seeing a lot of the women's interactions with one another (while I was out on dates) for the first time as well, I am as curious as you to see how this season plays out! Until next week ….