Chris Soules is the Bachelor! After a bittersweet exit from Andi Dorfman’s season of The Bachelorette, the farmer from Arlington, Iowa, is searching for love once again on ABC’s hit franchise. Chris, 33, will be blogging for PEOPLE.com every week about the women, the dates and the difficult decisions he’ll make on his journey to love. So check back each week, and follow Chris on Twitter.
First off, I’m not a writer. I’m a farmer. So if this blog doesn’t exactly sound like Hemingway, there’s a reason! I don’t write blogs. I farm stuff. Regardless, I’m going to give this a shot. What’s the worst that could happen, right?
So I flew into L.A. a few days before the women arrived, and it was great to have that time to just wrap my head around what I was about to embark upon. I also did a couple photo shoots and tried on LOTS of clothes. Cary Fetman is the guy who I’m talking to while I’m surrounded by racks and racks of expensive suits, and not only is Cary wonderful with clothes, but he’s also just a wonderful man. Cary, you magician, you made this farmer look damn good!
Thankfully, I’d spent the last few weeks working out back in Iowa with my buddy, Cody Sattler. He and I became friends on The Bachelorette, and so I flew him out to help me train. I needed to look good for these women, and I’ve seen the show enough to know that every once in a while, the Bachelor takes his shirt off! Having Cody train me was an experience. He would wake me up every morning, jumping around my room and playing crazy music. A few minutes later, he and I would begin our first workout of the day. Within a week, I could feel and see the difference. I was ready, at least physically.
As that first night approached, the more nervous and excited I got. How could I not be, knowing that there was a chance I could be meeting my future wife?! That said, none of it felt real until that first limo pulled in. That’s the moment I finally knew I was really the Bachelor. Sure, I guess knew I was the Bachelor, but in the back of my mind I kept thinking everyone at ABC (and in America!) was going to change their minds and tell this farmer from Iowa to head home and let the real Bachelor take over. But when I saw the headlights of that first limo, I knew they were stuck with me, for better or for worse.
Oh, and I have a few answers to questions I get all the time. Do they wet down the driveway? Of course; it never rains in Los Angeles! Are the flowers near the fountain real or fake? Some are real, some are fake. You really have to get close to tell the difference. Is Chris Harrison as nice in person as he seems on TV? That’s easy. Yes. Chris is great.
When that first limo pulled up, I took some deep breaths and tried to settle my nerves. The hug from Britt definitely helped. And yes, it really did seem to last forever. But I can’t put the hug only on Britt. The truth is that I really am a hugger. Always have been. Turns out so is Britt. Put two huggers together and what do you get? Yep, the longest televised hug in history. It really was a nice moment we shared, and I think it helped put both of us at ease.
Now I knew some of the women were going to show up doing crazy stuff to get my attention, and sometimes it worked. Tara was memorable both times I met her, with and without her Daisy Dukes! However, nothing could have prepared me for what Kaitlyn said. Wow, she really had me tongue-tied.
While some of the women were more memorable than others, all of them were drop-dead gorgeous. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to be getting to meet them all. On the other hand, I couldn’t believe how unlucky I was knowing I was going to have to send some of them home at the end of the night.
After meeting 15 women, I was already feeling a little dazed. I’m not used to dating more than one woman, let alone 15. When Chris suggested I head inside, I didn’t hesitate. I didn’t know if more women were coming or not; I just wanted to get inside and start getting to know the women who were already there.
Talking to Whitney was definitely a highlight, as was finding Amanda, my secret admirer. But just when I thought I was getting a handle on juggling all these women, Chris let me know there were more about to arrive. And they kept coming and coming!
When it was finally time to hand out that first impression rose, my head was spinning. So many choices! Whitney had impressed me with her beauty and poise, Kaitlyn had killed it with her humor and her dance moves, and countless others like Carly, Kelsey, Tandra and Ashley I. had me thinking maybe they should get that first rose. Ultimately, I gave the first impression rose to Britt, who not only gave me the best hug of my entire life but also really made me feel comfortable on what was a pretty stressful evening.
Walking into that first rose ceremony was truly overwhelming. Thirty women were staring back at me. I tried to say a few words, but speeches aren’t exactly my thing. I don’t give speeches. I farm stuff!
And then it was time to hand out some roses. To be honest, I couldn’t remember everyone’s name. It was almost too much for me. I guess I thought Chris would be there next to me with a little cheat sheet or something. But no, I was on my own. More than anything, I just didn’t want to make a mistake and send my future wife home on the first night.
As I handed out the roses, I started noticing Tara. I could tell she was a little shaky on her feet and that she had probably had a few too many drinks. I must admit it was a little disappointing to see her so out of it, but I’m no choir boy, and I’m the first person to admit that we all make mistakes. Tara also seemed fun and cool, someone I wanted to get to know better. Ultimately, I gave her a rose, and I don’t regret it.
That was the end of one unforgettable night. Or so I thought! Kimberly pulled me aside for one more conversation. Did she really ask for a second chance? And if so, did I give it to her? You’ll have to tune in next week to find out!
Okay, that’s enough blogging for now. I need to go farm some stuff!