Great news, Bachelor Nation: It's almost time for the first rose ceremony to commence. When The Bachelor returns on Jan. 1, 29 women will be vying for the heart of Arizona realtor Arie Luyendyk Jr. Amongst those women competing is Bekah Martinez, from Fresno, California, whose official cast bio on ABC raised a head-scratching question amongst fans: how old is Bachelor contestant Bekah?
The nanny said in the premiere press screener that she's 22, though that was edited out of the broadcast version. In any case, her age is hardly the big deal some are making it out to be. In a teaser for the Bachelor other contestants are shown discussing Bekah's age. "I wonder if her age is going to be a deal breaker," one girl says. Another says “I think she is reluctant to tell Arie how old she is,” with a tearful Martinez saying, “I’m like, sick of people saying that.”
Luyendyk, 36, was first introduced to Bachelor nation on Emily Maynard's season of The Bachelorette, finishing as runner-up. The majority of the women on his season are in their early to mid-twenties, with only six in their thirties. And while Bekah is definitely the youngest, it's not a crime to be 22 and looking for love on the reality show. The application for The Bachelor has an minimum age requirement of 21, so Bekah is totally in the clear.
The chatter surrounding Bekah's age is, unfortunately, perpetuated by the stereotype that women who date older man are looking for a "sugar daddy," or have deep-seated "daddy issues." In Bekah's situation, this stereotype couldn't be further off. According to her her Q&A with ABC, she admires her father more than anyone. "He's incredibly wise and confident, he loves his family and wife more than anything, and he knows what he wants and goes for it," she wrote.
Further debunking this unfounded myth is a 2016 study published in the Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences journal, that found that women who date much older men have no “daddy issues,” and have the same type of attachment that women in similar-age relationships have. The researchers of the study actually predicted that younger women in age gap relationships wouldn’t have daddy issues, because as they mention, "it is evolutionary beneficial for women to seek older mates, and that there will be no significant difference in attachment styles between women in age-gap versus similar-age relationships.”
When asked for his thoughts about the age gap between him and his contestants, Luyendyk seemed unfazed. "I think it’s more about the person and if they’re ready for marriage and how mature they are," Luyendyk said, insisting that he doesn't have a type in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. "Some women are far beyond their years and some women are very immature in their thirties — I’ve dated younger, older."
As to the question of whether or not Bekah is mature enough to hold her own in a relationship with Luyendyk, all signs point to yes. In five years she sees herself "teaching art or owning an art studio for children" and "hopefully married and planning to have babies," she told ABC. It seems Bekah's got a pretty good head on her shoulders.
Speaking of her head, eyebrows have also been raised regarding Bekah's hair style — a short, pixie cut as opposed to the "normal" free-flowing locks Bachelor contestants normally sport. Though she’s not the first contestant to ever wear short hair on the show — Season 19's Kelsey Poe sported a chin-length bob while vying for Chris Soules’ heart — Martinez’s cut is definitely one of the shortest Bachelor Nation has seen before. Luckily, fans are totally here for it.
With not much being known about Bekah or the other Bachelor contestants, there's no telling how far she'll make it on the show. But if there's one thing to be said about millennials, it's that we fight for what we want wholeheartedly — especially in relationships. So Arie better get ready.