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.
When I woke up the morning after the first rose ceremony, it all seemed like a dream. Did all of that really just happen? I couldn’t stop thinking how hard this was all going to be. I remember just lying in bed stressing over how I was going to choose between all these amazing women. I know, high class problem. Still, it was really stressing me out. And while I knew I had made things even harder on myself by allowing Kimberly a second chance, I was okay with that. Kimberly seemed so sincere, and we really hadn’t gotten a chance to talk that first night.
Staying down the hill from the mansion was huge for me. It felt so great knowing that all the women were just a few hundred feet away. When it was time for a date or a cocktail party, I didn’t have to waste any time driving over; I just ran up the hill!
Now, a few words about all these shots of me showering. As you can probably imagine, it’s a little weird showering with a camera a few feet from you. I’d like to tell you that you just get used to it, but you never quite get used to it. When I shower back home, there aren’t any cameras. When I shower at a hotel, there aren’t any cameras. When I shower, it’s just me, the water, and some shampoo and soap. (And, no, I’m not into the whole loofah thing.) Anyway, at one point when I was showering, I got a little irritated and asked the cameraman to back off a little bit. The cameraman – Marc J., one of my favorites – immediately apologized. I felt bad. Marc J. was just doing his job, and I’m sure he was even more uncomfortable than I was. Marc J., if you’re reading this: I miss you! But I’m glad we’re not showering together anymore.
But about the first date …. I was pumped! I just wanted to really start spending quality time with these women. And the pool party was a good way to just relax and have some fun. Walking through downtown L.A. with all those beautiful women in their bikinis was, well, interesting. I thought the walk was only going to be a couple blocks, but it ended up being more like a mile or so. If I had to do it all over again, maybe we all would have changed clothes for that walk.
Back at the mansion, Jillian and Megan had busted into my place and were having some fun of their own. They actually left me a note that I found when I returned home that night, so I knew they had been down there checking the place out. I just had no idea Megan had been ramming her head into the walls. I’m glad that helmet held up okay, Megan! And what was with all the black bars over Jillian’s unmentionables? How skimpy was that bikini she was wearing?!
The tractor racing was something I was really looking forward to. I knew the women would get into it, and I was excited to see them put the pedal to the metal. However, I do need to come clean about one thing. Those are not John Deere tractors, and anyone who knows me knows I’m a John Deere guy through and through. Those tractors were Kubotas! While they aren’t what I’m used to dealing with, the women had little trouble figuring out how to get them working.
The beginning of the race was a little sssssslow, but then the women figured out how to kick it into gear. I actually had to run down to the finish to catch up with them! Ashley I. won by a wheel, and we really had a great conversation. She impressed me a lot that day. However, I wanted to spend the rest of the night with just one woman, and I chose Mackenzie. I felt bad knowing the other women were heading back to the mansion, but I had just spent a night juggling 30 women, and I really wanted to focus on just one. Mackenzie surprised me in all kinds of ways that night, from revealing her thoughts on aliens and my nose to revealing that she was a mother. Mackenzie’s unique, for sure!
What you don’t see is that there was another woman on the date that night. A woman named Evie showed up at the bar where Mackenzie and I were having drinks, interrupted my time with Mackenzie and pulled me aside to tell me that she thought she and I would be perfect together and that I should bring her back to the mansion to join the other women on the show. Evie seemed great, but I’d already given Kimberly a second chance, and it just didn’t seem fair to add another woman to the mix. Sorry, Evie!
I chose Megan for my first one-on-one date simply because Megan had made a great impression that first night, and I wanted to spend my first one-on-one date with someone who was going to just have fun. And immediately when Megan and I got in the private plane, it was fun! We laughed the entire way to Las Vegas. But you know, looking at myself there in the helicopter, I sure am showing a lot of chest. Maybe I should have buttoned another button. Don’t you hate it when you’re in between buttons on a shirt? The worst!
The Grand Canyon was spectacular, especially to see it the way we saw it, flying in on a helicopter. It was an experience I will never forget. I also won’t forget the time Megan and I spent together there. I had no idea what she had been through just weeks prior to her coming and meeting me. If I had been in her position, I don’t know if I would have been strong enough to make the same decision. Megan is one strong woman.
Little did I know, Mackenzie was back at the mansion telling all the other women about how many times we had kissed on our date the night before. That’s definitely something I learned a little too late: the women tell each other everything! I guess this is what happens when you date 30 women simultaneously.
I was really looking forward to the group date because I knew everyone would have a blast. I got there well before the girls, and the zombies looked great. They were also really personable, even though they were, well, half-dead. When the limo pulled up with the girls in it, I told the zombies to go nuts and swarm the car. I was standing just off to the side taking it all in, laughing the entire time because I could hear all the women screaming from inside the limo. When I opened the door to greet them, they screamed even louder!
Shooting the zombies was fun, and even though some of the girls were freaked out by Ashley S. handling her gun, I thought Ashley S. was just having a good time with it all. I definitely wasn’t scared of her, that’s for sure. Out of all the girls, I think Jillian and Britt were the best shots. They really went after it.
That night, Kaitlyn and I had a chance to really talk. I knew I liked her that first night, but as I got to know her better, I realized she was more than just a break-dancing, wise-cracking Canadian. She has depth. Stay tuned for more on Kaitlyn – she’s great.
Back to Ashley S. A lot of people have been asking me about her. They want to know if she is really that crazy. Ashley S. is definitely different. She’s also beautiful. And sweet. And not that crazy. Did she say some things that were a little off-the-wall? Sure. She also said some things that made a lot of sense. It’s not easy dating the same guy as your housemates and then having a bunch of cameras televise it. The experience was hard for her, and she expressed that to me. I really respected that, and because of that I was all for giving her a few extra chances.
The second cocktail party was a lot easier to handle than the first. For starters, I could remember everyone’s name! I loved making a wish with Ashley I., and when Whitney brought me Templeton – my favorite whiskey – I was in heaven. But I wasn’t looking forward to that rose ceremony. Talking to Chris Harrison definitely helped. He and I have a good relationship, and chatting with him always feels like talking to a friend. But where does Chris go during the rose ceremonies when I’m handing out all those roses? The guy just disappears until it’s time for the “final rose tonight” when he appears out of thin air. Chris, where do you go? Are you in the kitchen raiding the fridge???
The rose ceremony was tough. Yes, I could remember everyone’s name this time around, but that wasn’t the hard part. Now I was sending women home whom I genuinely cared for but didn’t see a future with. Kimberly is a beautiful woman, but saying goodbye to her the second time was even harder. And Tara is a real sweetheart. She’ll make some guy very happy one day.
Thanks again for reading. Tune in next week as Jimmy Kimmel takes over and nearly ruins everything for me!