Bachelor in Paradise is in full swing, but personally, I'm still reeling from The Bachelorette's season finale. I admit that there were plenty of spoilers and signs indicating who would came out victorious, but I was still rooting for Eric Bigger, the personal trainer from Baltimore, to win Rachel Lindsay's heart.
As we all know by now, #TeamEric mourned as she told him she loved him, but wasn't in love with him. But the tears subsided (and the Tweets rolled in) once Bigger hit the reunion stage with his new facial hair. "Eric looking hot with a beard post breakup is the equivalent of girls changing their hair color post breakup," one wise Tweeter noticed.
"I was anticipating it, but I wasn't expecting it," Bigger sheepishly admits to Refinery29 about all the attention his new beard has generated. "I knew it was possible, so I kind of took advantage of it."
Unbeknownst to Bigger, he joins an army of men sporting scruffier looks after heartbreak (see Ben Affleck in the months following his split announcement) or trying times (like Scott Disick after rehab). "After a breakup, people can go through a host of changes. They may experience changes in their perceptions of themselves and others. They may 'try on' different versions of themselves in order to understand and reflect on what's occurred over the course of the relationship and within themselves," Matthew Childs, Psy.D., tells R29. "Perhaps some men grow beards as a way of finding a new way of being, looking for new ways to see themselves and others, or maybe simply as change of pace. A man whose partner didn't like beards may grow one now that he has the chance."
That doesn't appear to be the case with Bigger and Lindsay. "I never thought about anything — or anyone — else [when I grew my beard]," he admits, before adding this: "But Rachel did love it." Read more about Bigger's new look, as well as a few Bachelorette secrets, ahead.
He Didn't Dwell On The Breakup... That Much
"I was probably over it in about two months, maybe a month and a half. I understood what I signed up for and I knew the situation I was in, so it wasn't like I was unaware that could happen. I thought about it for weeks before it happened. It wasn't like I was sad. It was more like, okay, this didn't work. Move on and figure it out."
So, Why'd He Grow The Beard?
"We had gotten back from Geneva, Switzerland and flew to L.A., and I was there a few days before hometowns. I had to get a haircut by my barber. I wanted him to trim my face up and give me a nice cut. It was something that just came to me in the moment. Then when I got to Spain, everyone was like, 'Woah, I love it.' From there, it became a thing and I've been rocking with it ever since. I wasn't expecting the attention at all. I was like, 'Wow, beard got him on fire.' So beard it is.
"It's not my first time rocking a beard, though. When you're going on auditions in L.A., you have to be clean-shaven, so I was always shaving my face. In 2014, I had a little beard for a minute. I couldn't keep it together, so I cut it off. Now it's just my thing. I've never had it this long, I don't think."
What Grooming On The Bachelorette Was Like
"I didn't feel pressure to look a certain way. I couldn't care less. I'm going to be me, whether I shave the beard or cut it down a little. I think they would've been fine if I wore it on the show. I actually only had three haircuts throughout the whole season. One in the house, one in South Carolina, and my last one in Denmark."
On His Biggest Beauty Splurges
"I like Versace Fresh and Gucci Guilty colognes. I use organic soap to wash my face, and moisturize with Cetaphil. I got a facial lady in L.A., she's amazing — Skin By Celeste. She keeps my skin on fire.
"For my beard, I use Cantu Men's Shea Butter Beard Oil sometimes. I'll comb it out depending on how long it is, and I'll brush it, too. I don't do a lot to it... just enough to keep it where it needs to be. But it's a new territory and I'm learning as I go.
"I take care of myself, and it's not easy. You have to spend a lot of money on manicures, pedicures, and massages. I think well-being is very important. A lot of guys, if they focus on their well-being, a lot of things could change in their life — personal, financial, relationships, sexual life, all of that stuff. It's important for ladies as well, but I know that they know that."
It's Bigger Than Facial Hair
"The beard had perfect timing. It symbolizes growth. I evolved on the show. I became a man. I was a boy before, and I became a man on the back end.
"Also, I think it's rugged and edgy — like, I gotta be a man. This is what a man looks like and that's what it symbolizes. Plus, beards are in right now. If you have a beard and it looks good, you're winning. People are like, 'You look so good with hair on your face.' A man wants to look like a man sometimes. The clean look is great, but I want to mix it up sometimes.
"The only disadvantages are that I can taste the hair in my lips sometimes. It's all over my lips and my nose. It can be uncomfortable sometimes and it's itchy. You have to really brush it and comb it and give it attention."
Is He Keeping It?
"Absolutely. It's a winner winner, chicken dinner. I gotta keep it"
By The Way, He's Single, Y'all...
"Love is always an option because love trumps all things. Love is the only thing we all want in life. If it happens organically, and it pops up on my radar, then absolutely. But right now I'm just focusing on life and business and moving forward."