When this season’s cast of The Bachelor was released last month, Bachelor Nation sleuths were quick to point out that the age of one contestant—Bekah M.—was mysteriously missing from her profile. And now we know why.
During a romantic one-on-one date in tonight’s episode, the feisty pixie cut-wearing nanny from Fresno finally reveals her age to Arie Luyendyk Jr. in the most Bekah way possible. “Wait, do you know how old I am?” she coyly asks Arie at dinner, eventually revealing that she is only 22 years old, a whopping 14 years younger than the 36-year-old race car driver.
Though Arie doesn’t try to hide his initial shock on the date—you can practically see him doing the mental math on their age difference in this clip—he told us that when it comes to Bekah, and dating in general, age really is just a number to him.
“Age has never been a factor for me in relationships,” Luyendyk Jr. told InStyle last week when we caught up with him about the current season. “Some women are very mature in their early twenties, just like some are not mature at all in their mid-thirties. It’s more about: Is this person ready for that next step in their lives? And are they ready to settle down and get married?”
Pre-Bachelor, Luyendyk Jr. said his girlfriends have run the age gamut. “I’ve dated younger, I’ve dated older. Last year, I briefly dated a woman who was 47,” he told us.
VIDEO: Arie Learns Bekah M. is 22
Still, it’s hard not to notice that this season’s pool of ladies skew a little young for a 36 year-old man who is looking to settle down, have a family, and wear cardigans.
Only six of the 29 women handpicked by ABC for Luyendyk Jr. were also in their thirties, with the oldest being Lauren J., a 33-year-old recent master's graduate from Louisiana, who unceremoniously got sent packing on the first night. The rest are in their twenties, with the youngest being Bekah, 22, and Maquel, a photographer from Utah, 23. Disappointingly, there’s not one cougar in the bunch, which might be more of a testament to ABC’s casting couch than Luyendyk Jr.’s actual dating preferences.
Luyendyk Jr. maintains that when it comes to Bekah or any other girl, it will always come down to compatibility more than age. “If our lifestyles mesh, that’s the biggest thing,” he said. “I’m not the type of person that likes to go out on the town three nights a week. I have a quieter life. For me, more than anything else, it’s about how mature a person is in their lifestyle.”
We hope Bekah is ready for some cozy nights in.
The Bachelor airs on Monday nights at 8 p.m. on ABC.