Arie's salt and pepper vibe could bring a certain gravitas to The Bachelor (editor: Amy Barbour), but his age isn't the ones that fans are buzzing about after the premiere. So, does Arie know how old Bekah M. is on The Bachelor? Her age is a mystery to the other women and fans alike, since the show is declining to show it. (Although a press screening of the premiere revealed that Bekah is 22.)
You'd think that Bekah M's pixie cut, which stands out in a sea of barrel curls, would be what everybody is talking about this season. She's already redefining femininity on the series, which seems wild in 2018, but many aspects of The Bachelor (senior producer: Lindsay Liles) tend towards the traditional. Instead, the fact that her age is not listed on her ABC profile, and that she is 22 years old compared to Arie's 36 years on this Earth, seems to be the major focus for fans and her fellow contestants. So far on the season, Bekah has not revealed her age to Arie, and he probably doesn't know how old she is on the show. That said... does it ultimately matter? He certainly knows how old she is now, and he doesn't seem to care.
"I think it’s more about the person and if they’re ready for marriage and how mature they are," Luyendyk said in a December interview with The Hollywood Reporter where he admitted that age was a theme in his season. "Some women are far beyond their years and some women are very immature in their thirties — I’ve dated younger, older." He went on to say that "it’s more about being ready. I was open to a variety, and that’s something that the producers knew." So he clearly doesn't care how old any of the women are, and that's what matters as far as his own journey to love.
In a more recent THR interview, after the premiere of the season, Arie elaborated on that comment. The interviewer included Bekah's age, 22, in the question. So if there was any doubt that he did not know while filming — he definitely knows now that the episodes have started airing and he is doing press.
"I only really addressed that if I felt it was an issue," he told THR. "If I felt there was some immaturity there, or if I was questioning if they were really ready for marriage. I really didn’t let that get in the way unless there was some real emotion in that relationship and I needed to know if we could get to that next step of being possibly engaged. I never asked the producers for any of the women's ages."
Basically, we're all going to have to wait and see if Bekah's age is ever addressed by Arie on the show. "If it came up in conversation," he said in the same interview, "it came up. It’s like anything. If you’re on a date and you reference an old movie or you reference a band and they don’t know that band, then you’re like, 'wait a second, they don’t know that band.' It never really has been an issue for me. I’ve dated older. I’ve dated younger. It’s just more about readiness and about being able to take that next step. And if that’s something that they really want in their lives."
If you're critical of the show's decision to cast someone so much younger than its leading man, consider this. Bekah may be one of the youngest ever contestants, but she's not the youngest, and an age gap has almost always existed in the Nation. In 2013, the Huffington Post calculated an average five year age gap between male leads and female contestants. Compare that to this season, where Arie has on average a nine year age gap between himself and the women he dates on the show, according to Newsweek. That might be a bigger issue to discuss than singling Bekah out for being young.
Hollywood distorts ages all the time in ways that are not often great for women. In 2013, Vulture investigated how (on screen) leading men age but the actresses who play their love interests don't, creating a gap. On the other hand, seeing a 33 year old Amy Poehler as 26 year old Rachel McAdams' mother in Mean Girl (screenwriter: Tina Fey) might cause fans to look at Arie and Bekah on screen together and joke that they look like father and daughter. (Fans have been doing that. A lot.)
Ultimately, though, keep watching. Arie doesn't care about Bekah's age, y'all, and he acknowledges that it's as much Bekah's choice to be there and date older. He said in the January THR interview that age doesn't really play a huge factor in his relationship with Bekah. Her personality takes over on The Bachelor instead. At the end of the day, that's what's important — not a number.