The Bachelor 2015, with a bevy of women vying for the affections of farmer hunk Chris Soules, has a silent player: Iowa. The bachelor’s roots in Arlington, where he has a substantial plot of workable farmland, were also at the center of Soules’ time on The Bachelorette, when Andi Dorfman said goodbye to Chris not long after visiting his hometown.
In Sunday night’s special episode, the remaining women took a spontaneous trip about three hours out of Des Moines to visit Arlington, and discovered Chris’ big secret: that Arlington, perhaps suffering from economic ills or the movement of population towards urban areas, is basically abandoned. Entertainment Weekly described it this way.
“Jade claims [Arlington] is ‘tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny.’ I’m going to add one more ‘tiny’ to that considering that by standing in one location, Chris can give her a tour of the entire town, which has mostly shut down. There’s one grocery store—called THE Market—which has shut down, and there’s no bar, restaurant, or movie theater or coffee shop. But really, where do you buy groceries? Is there a doctor nearby? A vet? Suddenly, it makes sense why we went to The Badlands last week—to make this place look populated.”
While Jade Roper might have had the luxury of visiting Chris’ house and meeting his parents at a high school football game during their one-on-one, the other girls’ covert trip out of the city to sneak a peek at Arlington led them to a conversation with the town’s pastor. He said that if people want to do anything for a social evening, they leave — to nearby Cedar Rapids, for example.
Chris Soules wrote in his Bachelor blog for People that the women’s impression of his hometown was important to him. Turns out he loves Iowa, and deeply.
“By now, all of you know how much I love the place. It’s home. It’s where my heart is. It’s everything to me. One of the best moments in my life was telling the girls we were heading to Iowa! I’m not going to lie, part of me was a little nervous that the girls might not be thrilled that we were heading to Iowa because, well, let’s face it, Iowa is not necessarily as glamorous as some typical locales frequented by past Bachelors.”
Soules even admitted that when he arrived in Des Moines, he went “rogue” with some of the Bachelor crew and snuck out for some karaoke. He does not simply love Iowa, but Arlington, where he grew up.
“I’ve said before that I’ve always been a bit insecure about my hometown. It’s small. Really small. But it’s where I live, it’s the place I love and it’s where I want to raise a family.”
He even said that the town has seen an unfortunate decline, which has been difficult for him to experience. The evolution of his business, farming, has been part of that decline.
“[T]he farming industry has changed so much that there just aren’t as many jobs anymore, and people have had to leave small towns to find jobs in other larger cities. It makes me sad to see how empty the place is, but regardless of how small Arlington is, it’s still a great place to raise a family, and that’s what’s important to me at this stage in my life. My community may not have a large population, but it’s the quality of the people that makes it special.”
Apparently Soules was able to find a woman on this season’s Bachelor who does want to build a life in Arlington. Sean Lowe, a former bachelor, recently told The Toronto Star he’s been advising Soules on his new relationship.
The Bachelor airs Mondays on ABC.
[Chris Soules image: ABC]