In case you missed it, Arie Luyendyk Jr. season has arrived. Luyendyk is the leading man for season 22 of The Bachelor and, while we’re already bracing ourselves for a few surprises, there’s already a bit of controversy in the air. There’s a pretty large and glaring age gap between Luyendyk and the contestants.
Luyendyk is 36, and out of the 29 women on this season, the eldest is 33-year-old Lauren J., a recent master’s graduate from New Roads, Louisiana. Five other women range in age between 30 and 32. The rest are in their mid-to-late 20s.
The youngest contestant to compete for Luyendyk’s heart is a 23-year-old photographer from Orem, Utah named Maquel. For most of the women, there’s roughly an entire decade between them and their potential betrothed. Let's be real here, the idea of a younger woman dating an older man is nothing new. But, the show’s decision to cap the contestants age at 33 and instead opt to cast much younger women is a bit tired.
For context, the average age for women to marry for the first time in the U.S. is 27, according to a 2013 study from The Atlantic. It’s also the average age of the women Luyendyk has from which to select a wife on the show. (The same study revealed that 29 is the average age for men to wed for the first time, make of that information what you will.)
While the race-car driving star has never been married, you might remember that this “kissing bandit” has had a lot of maturing to do since we first saw him Emily Maynard's season of The Bachelorette.
There is one woman, though, a nanny nicknamed “Bekah” from Los Angeles whose age isn’t listed. It’s unclear why ABC made this decision. Maybe it was a mistake? Then again, given the history of The Bachelor, we know there simply aren’t any mistakes, just hints that proceeed some attention-grabbing drama.