Chris Soules learned at least one thing from his time on The Bachelorette and The Bachelor: people outside the Midwest don’t really know much about the American farmer. Soules’ new website promotes not only himself, but the agriculture industry that has served him so well.
In Soules’ words, “Farmers are talented, resilient individuals who care about feeding the world’s growing population.”
And many of them remain unmarried. According to the Des Moines Register, which reported on the heightened profile of Soules’ hometown of Arlington, Iowa, as a result of The Bachelor, more than 20 percent of rural male Iowans have never married. Jason Thole, 35, another Arlington farmer, told the Register he is trying to get rid of his own bachelorhood as a result of Soules’ inspiration.
“It surprised me that he actually went out on a limb and did something like this. But if you are looking for love, I guess it makes you do crazy things.
“I’m trying to turn every stone and take every chance. The whole calendar thing helped me get out of my shell a little bit. I got a few phone numbers, a few more Facebook friends.”
The “calendar” featured the “other bachelors of Arlington,” and was sold as a fundraiser for the town’s community center.
Chris Soules has frequently discussed his deep connection to Arlington. Although he expressed insecurity about how the Bachelor contestants might react to his small town, he told the Register that was not rooted in embarrassment.
“I am proud of everything about (Arlington), whether it’s the fact that it’s a great place to raise a family or the strong community or the successful people that make up the community.”
On Monday night, Soules will offer the final rose to either Becca Tilley or Whitney Bischoff. When Whitney goes back to Arlington to meet Chris’ family, it will be her first trip there; Becca had a glimpse of Soules’ hometown when she and the other contestants took an unplanned road trip while Chris and Whitney were having a one-on-one date in Des Moines.
During that episode, the women were shocked by the town’s size and many closed businesses. Asked by the Register whether they were upset with how the program portrayed Arlington, some locals were not bothered. While it was true that the day the Bachelor filmed many shops were closed, and therefore made the town seem more deserted than it actually is, city clerk Mary Jo Brown said you can’t argue with reality.
“I think (ABC) probably filmed what they wanted it to come across as, but it’s hard to get mad when it is what it is. We are a small town. Four hundred people can’t support night clubs and movie theaters.
“If we knew they were coming, we would have baked them a cake.”
The Bachelor season finale airs Monday at 8 p.m.
[Chris Soules image: ABC/The Bachelor]