By Kristen Fischer
With a roster of 25 beautiful, successful women vying for his attention (Monday nights at 9 p.m. ET), Charlie O'Connell will need a strategic game plan as he tries to find love as ABC's newest "Bachelor."
A quick glance at overall stats indicates improbabilities of making a championship run at matrimonial bliss: In six seasons, the show is just 2-for-12 in the men's and women's categories -- only golden couple Trista Rehn and Ryan Sutter and Byron Velvick and Mary Delgado remain happily involved.
Meanwhile, others have indulged in their moments of notoriety, hit the party circuit and played like free agents. But we're not here to talk about the past.
O'Connell is batting cleanup -- and entering the competition with a fresh and honest perspective.
"You can't possibly go into something like this and say: 'I want to be married.' At least I can't. I don't think you can go into something blind and know you're coming out married," he shared. "The only thing you can look for is a relationship. Then, between the two of you, discuss whether it could lead to engagement. Then, you discuss marriage."
Intrigued by the notion of applying common sense, Page 3 sat down with the ruggedly handsome, easygoing, "jack of all trades" for further breakdown of the competition:
Q: How did you become the next "Bachelor?"
A lot of people have asked me: "Why do you need to be the bachelor?" But that's a stupid question. It's not about why I have to be "The Bachelor," this is just one way to meet a great girl.
Q: What will be so different?
And the other thing is that I'm hoping to come out with a relationship. I don't want anyone thinking I'm doing this for any other reason. I plan on, without a doubt, trying to find somebody -- my way. Meaning, I'm going to be stubborn and stick to my guns. If I don't like a girl, I'm going to tell her. If I think she's being dishonest to another girl, or lying about her to me, I'll bring it up with both of them.
So, the rose ceremonies will be more than just me calling a girl's name and handing her a rose. It'll be more like a cat fight! A lot more intense and a lot more emotion involved.
Q: You mentioned your brother Jerry. He's dating supermodel Rebecca Romijn ... Um, she couldn't set you up with somebody?
[Laughs] Oh, she's got friends. But her friends are either older than me or they're hairdressers ... and they're guys. That'd be a different show! That's not what I'm looking for! I really like Rebecca, but I haven't found one friend of hers that I was interested in.
And let me tell you, those two -- my brother and Rebecca -- they can gossip! If I got into a relationship with anybody because of one of those two, they'd constantly be on the phone with me and the girl, asking like, "What happened? What'd he say? Did you kiss him? What are you gonna do?" So I can't have a relationship with my brother and Rebecca anywhere near involved. They're way too gossipy!
Q: So you're not going to kiss and tell?
Q: You and your brother were fencers growing up; how do you get into a sport like fencing? And what other sports did you play?
In high school, I also played basketball, but I went to a small school where pretty much anybody who wanted to play could play, so I made it off the bench. I also played tennis. Growing up, I took judo, ballet, tap dance, karate, and now, I golf and sail ... I've done it all.
Q: Does fencing require more endurance than most people think?
I love boxing. George Foreman is the greatest boxer of all time. I know Muhammad Ali is great and I know he beat him, but Foreman was smart enough not to get back in the ring with him ever again. When I moved to L.A., I started boxing. I figured it was a great way to get in shape ... until I got hit in the stomach so hard that I retired my gloves!
Q: Is a sporting event a place to bring your girlfriend, or is that a night out with the guys?
It depends on timing. There's a time to bring your girlfriend, but don't bring your girlfriend if you're going with the guys, unless the other guys are bringing their girls, too. But I get caught doing it sometimes -- you can draw the line or not draw the line -- sometimes it's up to the girl to figure it out when you give a her a weak: "Well, you can come with us." Of course, then you have to draw the line if she doesn't understand. You have to nip it in the bud. But don't be the guy who brings his girlfriend when everyone else isn't.
Q: All is fair in love and war?
Q: You seem to have a handle on what you want. What advice would you give single men on meeting women?
A good friend of mine was going on an Internet date, and I thought, "Are you kidding me? I never thought of you as an Internet guy." Then, I was like, "Whoa! Who am I to pass judgment?!" And it seems that things are going great for him, and he found a couple of girls who really worked out.
This opportunity just happened to fall upon me. I'm glad I took it, or I would've wondered for the rest of my life if it could be done. And if I could've found someone that I like -- and the answer is, I can.
Q: Sounds like you're smitten. What's next? Marriage?
I'll get married when I find the right girl. I'm certainly close, but that's something that needs to be discussed with her. It's not something for just me to decide. And when the wedding is planned, I'm going to sit back and let her be completely in charge!