There were many winners on last night's first episode of The Bachelorette. There was Rachel Lindsay's dog, Cooper. There were puns aplenty, all of them winners, and some really fabulous entrances. These are all arbitrary winners in our minds. There was one actual victor: the suitor who took home the first impression rose. Bryan, a chiropractor, earned the premiere episode honor for being the most forward with Rachel all night. Bryan is also one of the oldest men among the 31 contestants — at 37, he's one of three suitors older than Lindsay herself. He's not just mature in years, either. In the premiere, Bryan spoke plainly about wanting to settle down, something you don't hear every day in Bachelor Nation.
"I want to get down to the nitty-gritty," he said in a confessional during the premiere. He's 37 — in Bachelor Nation, a land brimming with the young and foolhardy, he's practically Rip Van Winkle. (Granted, last season's Bachelor Nick Viall is 36, but the average age of his contestants was 26.)
"I'm 37 years old," he began in his first solo interaction with Rachel.
She immediately replied, "I love that already."
"I don't want to waste your time," he continued. "I'm here for something serious." After a deep smooch and some light flirting, it became clear that Rachel Lindsay is really into Bryan. If the first impression rose is a sign of her proclivities, it would seem she may be leaning toward the older guys. The men she seemed to prefer were all on the more mature side. Peter, another early frontrunner, is 31.
It helps that Lindsay, an attorney from Dallas, is 31 herself. By contrast, last season's Bachelorette Jojo Fletcher was 26 when she appeared on the show. Lindsay is very vocal about wanting to settle down, too. She wants kids! She wants marriage! Which isn't to say that previous Bachelorettes haven't had the same goals, but Lindsay is particularly clear with hers: She's not here to play games, as she says in the preview for the upcoming season.
The first impression rose always sets the tone for what's to come. Last season, Jordan Rodgers earned the coveted flower. (He ultimately won the season.) This year's winner might not win the overall series — the jury is still out on Bryan — but his age is telling. Lindsay's time on The Bachelorette is about finding a partner in crime, not delivering pure entertainment.
Although, let's be honest, this season is going to bring us plenty of that, too.
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