At the "Men Tell All" Monday night, Jason Tartick took the stage briefly to talk about his "heart-wrenching" exit from The Bachelorette. He left the show heartbroken, he said, and flabbergasted that he'd been dumped at all. Why did it have to be him? After all, Becca Kufrin had met his friends! Later, when Kufrin took the stage, Tartick and Kufrin exchanged kind words. Tartick blew her a kiss, even.
"[Jason] was by far the hardest goodbye," Kufrin told Chris Harrison. Jason asked what he could do better in future relationships. Kufrin told him he didn't need to change anything. Then, they hugged.
The moral? Exes on The Bachelorette are really, really sweet exes.
More importantly, though, Tartick's appearance on "Men Tell All" was 50% closure and 50% prep for Tartick's eventual swipe at being the Bachelor. After his departure last Monday, Tartick has been the subject of numerous "#JasonforBachelor" tweets, a campaign that will only accelerate after the "Men Tell All." After all, for Tartick, there isn't much to tell. On the show, he was fairly mundane — until he wasn't. In episode two, Kufrin literally forgot his name. Three episodes later, he was doing a split in the middle of an "unhappy hour" for Edgar Allen Poe. Now, he's at the forefront of Bachelor Nation, perilously close to the Nation's equivalent to the Iron Throne. (He is in direct competition with Refinery29 TV writer Ariana Romero's pick, Wills Reid.)
Following his departure, Refinery29 spoke to Tartick about his exit, Jordan Kimball's famed Tinder swipes, and what really happens in the Bachelorette manse. A few important details before we embark: Tartick is the vice president of protocol for Key Bank in Seattle, and yes, he knows he looks like Andrew Keegan. (Or, in a different light, Milo Ventimiglia.) In other news, his current celebrity crush is Jennifer Lawrence.
Refinery29: What's the reaction been like to you leaving the show? Has there been a lot of support?
Jason Tartick: "Yes, so just honestly the outpouring of support on social media, friends and family has been amazing. And those in my community. It's been so overwhelming and flattering. I don't think I anticipated the support that has come in, but it has been really incredible."
Tell me again: Why did you go back to talk to Becca?
"Just the manner in which it ended — it ended so abruptly. I really was blindsided. I had no expectation. I don't think there was any type of proportional behavior response between what her and I had that that would've happened. I was so caught off guard, and it hit me so quick. When I was in the limo going back to the hotel, I was just in pure shock.
When I had some time to digest and think about it, I just thought about our journey and how deeply we connected — intellectually, and just emotionally. I mean, we talked about some really meaningful things. We shared things we'd learned from loved ones who are no longer with us. We shared pictures of those people. She met my best friends; I met her best friends. She met my family. I just felt the manner in which we closed the door didn't do justice to [our relationship]. I had mentioned to her on her date that I had a gift that I wanted to give her. So, I gave her the photo book that summarized our story, start to finish. In that book, there was everything from a funny name tag — "Hello, my name is Jason" — from the date where she forgot my name, to some of the deeper conversations about where we were at and where we could have gone. It had nothing to do with trying to win her heart back."
You were working on the scrapbook during the show?
"I had been working on collecting a lot of the stuff. I had a notebook, and I had the pictures, and I had all the memories. And then I just started putting it together probably toward the latter end of the show."
Do you scrapbook in your everyday life as well?
"No, I've never done it ever in my life. At first, I was just collecting the photos. But, you know, you have a lot of time [in the house]. It was just something I gave a go at."
"Let me think back to that point. I heard conversations of it. But I hadn't heard it come out of his mouth until the night of that date. So people had mentioned that those conversations were going on, and then he got called out that night, and he admitted to saying what he said. I was in shock. I hadn't been around conversations of that manner before, so I found it quite humorous."
So were people talking about Tinder in general, though, before the comment?
"So the thing about Jordan is he's consistent with who he is. I remember the first time I met him, within two sentences, he told me that he'd been on four magazine covers. It's just who he is. And he's consistent through and through. When you talk about, 'were there Tinder conversations,' I don't think guys were in the house talking about Tinder and what Tinder is. I think he had come out just saying what he said, and then someone called him out for it on that date."
If you were the Bachelor, is there anything about the format of the show that you would change?
"I don't think so. I think I would keep the format. I think production has done a great job. I'll be honest — I don't think I'd ever want my mother to see me waking up in the fantasy suite with someone. Maybe I'd leave a little left to the imagination. I think it's a great show — I think production's done a great job of putting it in place. History just shows that it works. There's been a lot of couples that come out of this engaged, who pursue families, who pursue marriage."
Well, the Bachelor has a lower success rate than The Bachelorette.
"I have heard that. Do you know what the success rate is?"
Off the top of my head, no. I think overall the couples have about a 33% success rate, but that's including Bachelor in Paradise and The Bachelorette. From The Bachelor, there's only Jason Mesnick and Sean Lowe, Arie Luyendyk, Jr. pending. (Editor's note: Three out of the 22 Bachelor-curated couples remain. That's about 13%.)
"I don't know. I do know that there are couples who came out of this successful."
Have you watched previous seasons?
"Yeah. I wasn't an avid watcher, but I was aware of the show. My mother loves the show. She's a big fan. I think my father was indifferent about it."
Throughout the show, you and other contestants often post show-related updates on Instagram. They're usually photos of you with Becca, often with some cozy caption. Is that weird posting these photos after you've already been broken up with?
"I'll start off by answering in this manner: My life has been dedicated to my career. I've relocated for [my] company four times. I've been extremely fortunate to have seven promotions in eight years. I earned my MBA while working full time to use the cash flow to pay for my debt associated with that. So, in general, the social media thing is very, very new to me. Could I probably use a lesson? Absolutely. But to your question, the reality of the situation is that the show isn't shown live and in real time. We've experienced the story A to Z. And the viewers get to watch our story A to Z. And it goes the same way — we're not going to talk about the results before the show airs. I think it makes sense to show your story start to finish, where you travel, [your] appreciation for Becca and the chemistry, because that's what the viewers see.
You asked if it's hard. I don't think it was for me. I loved and adored Becca and I'm not in love [anymore] and I'm over the relationship, but I still have such appreciation for [her]."
Okay, lastly, what TV show are you watching right now?
"The latest one I just finished was Ozark. But my favorite TV show is Game of Thrones. I love Game of Thrones."
I wish we could see y'all talking about those things, but maybe that's just what I like talking about.
"One of the funny things is that my profile said that I love Disney and I sing Disney. And if you ask any of the guys, they can attest to that. I mean, we were around the house singing Lion King and Aladdin and the guys would jump in. To your point, it would be fun if they showed that."
Well, now I need to know: What's your favorite Disney song?
"'Circle of Life.' That's my jam right there."
Editor's note: This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. This post has also been adjusted from its original format.
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