Controversy is bound to happen on a show like The Bachelor — 25+ women are dating one man, so there's plenty of drama to go around — but it's not that often that comments from contestants are focused on another contestant's age. Her background, the way she chews her food, her feet — all of those are trodden paths. But age? Not as common (usually because they're all pretty young). Take Bekah, on Arie's newest season of The Bachelor. She's kept her age a secret from the Bachelor himself and previews for the rest of the season show that the other women... well, they have some issues about it. But Bekah has commented on her Bachelor age controversy, and she's not bothered by it.
Firstly, the cat is out of the bag — Bekah is 22 years old. Her age was withheld from viewers at the beginning of the show probably as a plot device, but for the record, it was available to the press in a pre-season screener. It was a secret, but it wasn't really a secret, dig? In any case, Arie was 36 at the time of filming. That's a big age gap even for a show like The Bachelor (supervising producer: Deborah Read). (Bustle reached out to ABC about why Bekah's age isn't shown on the series, and the network had no comment.)
The chemistry between Bekah and Arie is intense, and they get along, so what does it matter? Promos for the rest of the season show that it might. In one, off-screen woman says, I wonder if her age is going to be a deal breaker." Chelsea says, "I think she is reluctant to tell Arie how old she is." It's worth noting that Bachelor contestants must be 21 or older. Bekah is breaking no rules by participating on the show. She's an adult in the eyes of the law and the eyes of The Bachelor. Also, Maquel, another contestant on the season, is 23. Where are the pitchforks for her? It's only a year difference.
Of course, all of that chatter has to weigh on a gal, and the aforementioned promo video shows a tearful Bekah saying, "I'm like, sick of people saying that," i.e., commenting on how old she is.
Bekah hasn't done a full-scale interview or anything about her age versus Arie's, but she has been her cheeky self on social media. Her Twitter boasts jokes about how ridiculous it is that people are so obsessed with her age, like this one:
She also revealed a spoiler about her true identity:
And she also retweeted a tweet from former Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe, and while retweets don't always equal endorsement, you get the point here:
It's nice to see that Bekah can poke fun at all of this ridiculousness.
She's also made reference to her age on the show. During her limo arrival, Bekah showed up in a 1960s Mustang convertible. When introducing herself to Arie, she tongue-in-cheekily said, "I may be young but I can still appreciate something classic." There seems to be a heck of a lot more age chatter coming up in the season. On their next one-on-one date, Bekah asks Arie, "Do you know how old I am?" "How old are you?" he responds.
People's sneak peek of the date shows Arie in absolute shock with a hand over his face following Bekah's admission, but that could just be creative editing, since Arie told The Hollywood Reporter before his season started that, to paraphrase Aaliyah, age is just a number to him. "I think it's more about the person and if they're ready for marriage and how mature they are," he said. "Some women are far beyond their years and some women are very immature in their thirties - I've dated younger, older." He continued, saying that though age played a factor in the overall arc of the season, he felt "it was more about being ready" for marriage than a chronological age.
For now, anyone with eyes can see that Bekah and Arie have chemistry, and sometimes, that's all it takes. Her age has nothing to do with it.