Age gaps are a strange thing. Not necessarily the gaps themselves, but how a span of a few years can cause massively different reactions from multiple people. Is a five year age gap too much? How about 10 or 15? Everyone has a different opinion. Take, for example, the case of Arie Luyendyk Jr. and Bekah M. from the latest season of The Bachelor (supervising producer: Deborah Read). The show has been playing Bekah's age close to the chest, revealing the age of every other contestant except for her. (Though a press screener of the episode revealed that she's 22.) Bekah is the youngest of the eligible bachelorettes this season, and the other ladies have a lot to say about that. But, what does Arie think of the Bachelor age gap between Bekah M. and him?
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Arie revealed post-show that her believes that "it’s more about the person and if they’re ready for marriage and how mature they are," rather than the age number alone. "Some women are far beyond their years and some women are very immature in their thirties — I’ve dated younger, older," Arie told the outlet.
So, while Bekah may be younger than Arie, Arie seems willing to entertain that she may be wise beyond her years. But, does Arie believe that she is 14 years wiser than her age, because that's the age gape that these two are straddling.
In an sneak-peek on People of what The Bachelor is calling "The Bekah-ning," footage of a one-on-one date between Bekah and Arie seemingly turns from sweet to sour after Bekah asks Arie, "Do you know how old I am?" The sneak peek includes a clip of Arie's hand over his mouth in shock, seemingly delivering the major reveal of her age that The Bachelor has been hiding all season. Even though another one of the contestants, Maquel Cooper, is just a year older than Bekah at 23, Bekah's age is all anyone seems to be able to talk about.
But, though the preview seems to indicate a negative reaction, that could just be creative editing. IRL, he doesn't seem to have an issue with age differences. He explained to The Hollywood Reporter that, for him, "[Love is] more about being ready. I was open to a variety [of ages], and that’s something that the producers knew." That variety extends from 22-year-old Bekah to 33-year-old Lauren J. who was the oldest competitor on Arie's season. (She's been eliminated, though.)
No matter what, 36-year-old Arie was going to be dating younger than him — the only factor is whether or not he would be dating someone who is slightly younger or significantly younger. But, for Arie, he told THR that age only really came up if/when "it was an issue — if I felt there was some immaturity there, or if I was questioning if they were really ready for marriage."
When it comes to the gap between him and Bekah M., it appears that he's not nearly as concerned as The Bachelor makes him out to be. When asked by THR, "Why does age become such a thing between you and Bekah M.?" he answered, "I don’t really think it does. I know they’re hinting it."
Arie was more interested in everything about Bekah that wasn't her age. As he described her to THR,
"I think she has this bold, big personality and you see that in the first episode already. I love her facial expressions. That’s something I didn’t really catch on to until watching it back on Monday. It’s interesting and the viewers are really going to get to know her."
The chemistry between the two seems strong, but will it be enough to cover the 14-year gap? Only time will tell for these two.