Now that The Bachelor is about to enter its 12th incarnation, there’s really only one question to ask the guy who’s searching for love among 25 casting director-picked women: Why?
Why, given the trail of unsuccessful relationships on a show that’s supposed to be about finding love, would any man want to subject himself to that?
The snarky answer for Matt Grant, the 27-year-old at the center of The Bachelor: London Calling, would be "because he hasn’t seen the show before." Grant, a Londoner who admits to not having known much about it before he was cast, is more optimistic than that.
"If you always go by track records, life can be pretty dull. I know, OK, if I was a betting man that obviously I’m going to bet on the horse that’s won lots of races, not one that has not," Grant says. "But this isn’t a betting game. This is life, and this is actually me. Those previous guys weren’t me.
"I was confident that I could come on to this and be myself, and I was hoping therefore that there would be one person who would be that standout … someone who has those unique qualities. And you know, I just am not too fussed about the track record of the show."
Happily for Bachelor fans — who were mighty peeved when the last guy, Brad Womack, rejected both of the final two women — Grant says he has, in fact, found love via the show. In a conference call with reporters last week from his home in London, the affable Brit also talked about what he was looking for, living in the United States and what comes next.
Highlights of the conversation:
On what he was looking for: "I’ve always liked hairy women … so I guess that was the main thing for me. The hairier the better.
"You know, going in, really — the one thing I was really interested in was just someone who’s going to make me laugh. More than I just made you laugh with that terrible joke. So, you know, yes, it’s just that fun factor. Someone who’d stand out. Someone that walks in a room and you just think, ‘You’ve got something a bit different.’ That’s what I was really looking for."
Did he find it? "Yes. That’s the most important thing, right? I definitely found love and yes, [the women] lived up to my expectations. It was incredible. I’m still buzzing from it now."
Why he likes American women: "A lot of different reasons, really. At a very young age … my next brother Simon, who lived in the States for a few years in Washington State, he brought back an American girl who must have been about 18 [or] 19 for Christmas one year. She was sort of very fun, outgoing, very attractive, and great with the family. And I think from that point onward, I always had a bit of soft spot for American women. …
"They seem to be a little bit more outgoing than British women. … I’m going to refer to them as European women and then I’m not specifically knocking British women. [laughs] But yeah, more outgoing — I love the balance of that fun and flirtiness. And also, just the fact that, you know, I love sports, and all the women seem to be more kind of understanding of sports in the States than the U.K. and I love that about American women as well."
Pleasant surprises: "The most surprising thing, I think, was just simply how much I enjoyed the time in the States. You know, considering that — I was concerned with lack of sleep, I was concerned with not being able to get on the gym everyday, and you know, [the show is] constant, non-stop — it’s intense.
"I did have concerns, but I was surprised how — well I guess how much I sort of fell in love with the U.S., really. I thought maybe I might get fed up with the food or — you notice that when you go abroad somewhere. … [Laughs] I think I was in a privileged position so [compared to] the average tourist. …
"I didn’t expect there’d be so much [to do] there. So I mean, that was the thing that I really loved the most, the amount of different things I got done in such a short time. But because everything was concentrated and compounded so much, it’s almost like the six, seven weeks of filming seemed more like, you know, six, eight, nine months, if that makes sense — just like time goes tenfold."
Who’s moving where: "It takes two to tango, doesn’t it? It’s not up me, it’s up to us. So we’ll discuss it. Either country is great. They’ve both got their unique selling points, and I think they’re two of the best countries in the world, having been to both of them and been around the world a lot as well. … Either way it’ll be a winner. I just need to discuss it with the other one."
The Bachelor: London Calling premieres at 9:30 p.m. ET Monday, March 17. Looking forward to it?