By Kristen Fischer
Page 3

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."

Charlie O'Connell
You won't see Charlie O'Connell wearing many suits this season.

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?"
I woke up one morning and my brother [actor Jerry O'Connell of "Sliders" and "Jerry Maguire" fame] asked me what I thought about becoming the next "Bachelor." He's friends with a couple of the producers, who suggested me to him because they wanted it [the show] to be completely different. At first, I didn't know if it was for me, but after sleeping on it, I woke up and thought, "Why not?" It's an opportunity. I don't know how many girls submit, but it's in the thousands and I personally have not dated a thousand girls in my life. Then, ABC knocks that down to 25 girls they think are compatible with me -- and that's when I step in.

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?
First of all, I told the ABC folks that I can't do the suits. I'm not a suit guy. I haven't watched many of the other "Bachelors," but I said, "I don't see myself getting into a suit every day!" ABC was like, "Fine, we can work around the suits, already!"

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.

Jerry O'Connell
Love birds Jerry O'Connell and Rebecca Romijn would love to meddle in Charlie's romance.
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?
When I go on a date one night, and another date the next, if she wants to know if we made out or whatever, I'll tell her straight up whether we did or didn't. I'm not going to act like I'm only dating one girl, when I'm dating 25, 20, 15, 10 and so on. But when I'm on a date, I'm going to give that girl my full attention. I can't be like, "Last night? Nooooo!" because I'm trying to build a relationship on honesty with the final girl. And I wouldn't want her coming back and watching the show and asking: "Um, what is that?"

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?
I went to the junior Olympics in fencing, and I was captain of the NYU fencing team when we won the NCAA championships. My mom put me in it ... . Actually, I always wanted to be a ninja, but, well, I couldn't go to ninja school, so I picked up fencing instead.

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?
Definitely. It's a high-endurance sport. It's a lot like boxing, though without the rotation, because you want to keep good distance. If you break distance, it can fool the opponent into thinking they're closer or further and then they attack ... then, you make your move. Like boxing, it requires a lot of leg work. You have to have strong legs and strong half of your upper body.

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!

Jerry and Charlie O'Connell
Brothers Jerry and Charlie are thicker than thieves.
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?
False. All is fair in war. You don't have to be honest when you're at war, but that's not how to build a relationship. It could be more of a competition for the girls, so with them, if you asked that same question, they might answer, true. But I have to answer false because I'm trying to do this without lying to the girls. You can't start a relationship with dishonesty.

Q: You seem to have a handle on what you want. What advice would you give single men on meeting women?
I've always met girls at bars, parties or a friend of a friend. In the past, I would've looked at something like what I'm doing now and passed judgment on whether it's the right way. But now, after doing it, all that I can say is be yourself and whatever happens, happens.

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'm still trying to figure that out. Right now, I'm down to two girls and trying to figure out what's realistically right for all of us. But feelings are going to be hurt. I came into this being honest with every single girl, and I plan on being honest with these girls and figuring out which one is right for me. It's coming up. But I still think that regardless of the girl I choose, we'll all still be friends -- because we went through a lot together, and there can't be hard feelings because we're only trying to make the right decision.

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!