After arriving at The Bachelor house aware of numerous details about the personal life of thirteenth season star Jason Mesnick, Shannon Bair, a 29-year-old dental hygienist from Marshall, MO, earned herself a bit of a reputation as the house's resident stalker. However, after failing to establish a lasting connection with Jason -- and despite some last-minute pleading -- Shannon was eventually eliminated along with three other bachelorettes during last week's broadcast of the ABC reality dating show.
On Monday, Shannon talked to Reality TV World about how she went about gathering her obscure facts about Jason, why she was not close to being as obsessed with him as it came across on the show, and why her The Bachelor experience ended with a self-described "Happy ending" despite her elimination.
Reality TV World: What did you think when Jason decided not to hand out the final rose? Did you appreciate him not wanting to lead anyone on, or do you think that he should've given someone another week to try and give them another chance?
Shannon: I actually appreciated that Jason was being honest because I was being very honest with him and if there wasn't a love connection it's better to find out sooner than later. I was there for love and I know that he was as well, so I think that him being honest and not leading anybody on was a good thing.
Reality TV World: During your last one-on-one moment you two had together before the Rose Ceremony, you told him you had "so much to offer" and asked him not to eliminate you. Is it safe to say that by that point you knew you were in real danger of getting eliminated?
Shannon: Um, yeah I would probably say that's safe to say. It was really hard because the time with him that I had was very limited and we didn't have a lot of one-on-one time. So to get my feelings out in the small amount of time that I had with him was difficult for me, and it was a hard situation to try and tell him everything I wanted to tell him in such a short amount of time and that's kinda how it came out. (Laughs)
Reality TV World: Did you tell him that because you felt you had made a real connection with him or was there some other reason?
Shannon: You know what, it's basically that I don't know that the things I said to him at that point were actually coming from the heart. I was pretty emotional and I was very tired and I think my emotions were coming out. Now when I look back on it, I didn't feel that connection with Jason.
So I appreciate him being honest as well because I wasn't feeling it, and I think he could probably sense that as well. I mean it kinda portrayed that I was, but in the end I don't think either one of us was really feeling it.
Reality TV World: When we talked with Megan [a 25-year-old lacrosse coach and single mom from Sewickley, PA] last week, she said that, given her own pre-Rose Ceremony conversation with [Jason], that she was questioning whether or not he was really there for love after all. What are your thoughts about that?
Shannon: It's very hard to say in a situation like that, you know, what people's intentions are. There's been rumors that people go on the show for publicity and to furthered their career in acting, or whatever the case may be. With Jason, I do feel that it was hard to connect with him in that setting. I never felt like I had his undivided attention. Either he just didn't say a whole lot, I felt like a lot of the talking was something that the females had to do to him and I didn't really feel like he gave much back.
So it's hard to say, I really can't say that for him. I know that, in real life, I'm sure that Jason is a great guy and he seems very genuine, I'm lucky to have gotten to meet him. But I really can't answer that for him, I'm not sure what he was there for.
Reality TV World: Actually it's funny you mention the thing with conversations with him, because Megan also said that she felt every conversation [Jason] had with many of the women seemed the same and that he never really opened up very much -- would you agree with that?
Shannon: Absolutely. Absolutely. And that's where I think it was very awkward when I would talk to him, because I never really knew what to say to him. Like that last night I was there it was awkward to me. Even though I said all of those things to him, did I really feel? It looked like I did feel them, but I really don't think that I was feeling them.
I felt that the pressure was on me to start the conversation, and I really didn't know what to say to him. I really didn't even know the guy and that's just kind of what came out. He would never say much so it was kind of awkward.
Reality TV World: So I've got to ask, how did you become such a Jason Mesnick expert?
Shannon: (Laughs) Well, some people may think that sounds a little crazy of me, but in reality I was going on the show to find love and I did know what I was looking for and in order for me to put my life on hold, I wanted to make sure I was doing it for a good reason and for a good person that is somebody I was going to be compatible with. So I went online and looked around and read some of his interviews. And then of course he has a MySpace page with everything about his life on there.
So basically at the click of a button you can know everything about Jason Mesnick, so that's how I did my research, with his MySpace -- which had his brother and his son and where he was from and what he did. It really wasn't like I just sat at a computer and daydreamed about Jason.
Reality TV World: So did you just do research [before] you went on the show, or do you [also know] about other men who have been on The Bachelor or The Bachelorette?
Shannon: No, no. I just did it for him because I really was going on there for him and I wanted to know if he was going to be worth my time taking off of work and putting my life on hold. And he was, he definitely was and he seemed like something I would be compatible with.
Reality TV World: So, had you ever applied for The Bachelor before Jason became the star?
Shannon: No, I had not.
Reality TV World: In your exit statement you said that Jason "sounded like the perfect man" when you watched him on The Bachelorette. After your experience on The Bachelor do you still feel that way, or did it change your opinion of him?
Shannon: I definitely think Jason is a great person. From what I did get to know [about him] I have no bad feelings towards him, or anything bad to say about him. Do I feel that I was able to fall in love in that setting? No I don't. Whether that has to do with [the fact that] there just wasn't a connection with Jason, or it was just the setting or whatever the situation may be, I don't think so.
But I also had some things in the back of my mind, and I think I kind of left my heart in Kansas City with an ex-boyfriend too, so that was probably another thing that was holding me back.
Reality TV World: Can you go into any detail about that?
Shannon: Yeah! I had been dating a guy for five years and we were really serious. We took some time off, and in that time I had applied for the show. We were sorta trying to get back together after I had already made the show, and then I wasn't gonna pass up this opportunity so I went and did it. I think I had a lot of time to think while I was on the set and I definitely left my heart back in Kansas City with him. He is the love of my life.
Reality TV World: Are you guys back together now?
Shannon: We are! We're very happy and stronger than ever and I definitely know that I will get a ring from him some day.
Reality TV World: Oh, well that's great!
Shannon: So it was a happy ending for me, whether it looked like it on the show or not.
Reality TV World: Okay, going back to the show, Jason seemed to be alternately impressed and sometimes a little shocked by the stuff you knew about him. In retrospect do you think you may have come on a little strong at any times?
Shannon: You know, yeah I do. I do and I feel the reason that I did that was because it was like speed dating. We only had so much time with him and I felt like I had to get everything out that I knew about him and everything that I wanted to tell him in a matter of minutes.
In a normal setting, no I'm not like that with the guys I date, and I think that was why it was very hard for me was that I had to try and get everything out in that short amount of time, and in a normal situation I would take things very slowly. It was just very stressful, I mean, it was hard to do that.
Reality TV World: They didn't show a huge reaction to it on the show, but what was [Jason's] reaction to that rap song you made him?
Shannon: Oh he loved it! Everybody loved that song and I wish that they woulda shown more of it. I was actually really impressed with myself and I was looking forward to watching that. The girls loved it -- they thought it was the best -- and he was laughing and hugged me and said it was the funniest thing ever. I still have the little piece of paper with all the words on it, so I'll have to sing it again someday. (Laughs)
Reality TV World: Before going on the group date [on last week's episode] -- and you've kind of alluded to this a few times -- but you said that it felt like a "deal breaker day" and that you could "easily go home" at the next Rose Ceremony. By that point did you know that you needed to do something drastic to get his interest, or to get something [going] on your end?
Shannon: Like I said, there was just a lot of pressure for me to do something to him to make myself stand out and to get recognized and not to just be one of the little props on the show. So yeah there was definitely pressure, I felt like I needed... (Pauses) I hadn't had a lot of one-on-one time with him like the other girls had, and I felt that I needed to do something.
And it was uncomfortable for me because, like I said, in a normal situation I would just take it slowly, but there it was like "Okay, I need to do something," and that's kinda how it came out and I was all emotional and very stressed and tired. That's not how I wanted it to come out, but that's how it came out, and I personally didn't like to see myself crying on TV like that.
Reality TV World: [After you did that practice kiss with Jason on the set of General Hospital] you said that you did feel a "connection" with him at that time. Was that the first time, or one of the few times, you felt that?
Shannon: You know, I said that but I didn't really feel a connection. (Pauses) I... I honestly don't know that I ever did feel a connection with Jason. I think I tried, and I think I said things that, from my heart I don't think that I really meant them. I think, like I said, that it was more into me feeling pressure that I had to do something, and I was saying things that normally I probably wouldn't say. Honestly I didn't have those feelings, and I said them, but I know Jason obviously felt the same way because he didn't have them either. So it was a mutual decision.
Reality TV World: You seemed to be the only girl that really tried to wait up for Molly [a 24-year-old department store buyer from Grand Rapids, MI] when she went on her one-on-one date with Jason. Were you two really close or was there some other reason why you wanted to wait up for her, or did the show edit it differently?
Shannon: I was close to every girl in that house, I love them all to death, and I just wanted to hear about her date and see what the heck was going on. I really didn't expect her to be gone all night and I just wanted to see how her date went. That was really the only reason why, but I was close to everybody in the house. I got along with everybody. No cat fights here.
Reality TV World: What was the reaction in the house when [Molly] came back to the house the next morning wearing his clothes? Do you think that may have set the stage for the high emotions from the girls that came later during the group date?
Shannon: You know, I do. I think the girls in the house that were building a connection with Jason, I think that hit home with them and I think it did upset some girls. With me, on the other hand, I just kinda thought it was funny, I was like "Wow, I wasn't expecting that."
With the girls that were developing stronger feelings for Jason I definitely think that it bothered them a little bit.
Reality TV World: It seemed like some of the girls were a little frustrated because they felt that Jason was going to be less focused on the group date because he'd been up most of the night before with Molly. Was that the case?
Shannon: You know, I bet that probably crossed my mind at some point. I know that I was completely exhausted because I did stay up late [waiting for Molly] and the Jason was literally turning around an hour later and going on a morning date/night date/morning date again with no sleep. I remember asking him in the limo "How in the heck are you doing this?"
That's one of the things that's really hard is putting on your best game for a guy you're trying to impress when you're completely exhausted. Same for him and same for us, it's hard to give your best to each other when you're so tired.
So yeah. I know that crossed my mind with him, and I know that I don't know if I was able to give my best to him because I was emotionally and physically and mentally drained and just very, very tired. On a normal date you would go home and have rest and you'd get ready in your own bathroom and then have time to do your hair and look pretty. There we were sharing the bathrooms and you don't get a lot of sleep and we have bags under our eyes and there's pressure. For me it was hard to be my real self in that kind of setting.
Reality TV World: During the group date when you each had busts done of yourselves for charity, the episode showed you having Jason come and help rub the paper mache on you, and it seemed like it was only you [who had Jason do that]. Were you really the only girl to take advantage of that chance to get some one-on-one time with him?
Shannon: Um, you know, he walked over to me and did that. I didn't ask him to do that, but I think he walked around to all the girls, whether he put paper mache on them I don't know, but I know he did it on mine. It was funny. (Laughs)
Reality TV World: Was there anything that you expected to make it on the show that didn't make it on the air?
Shannon: There are things that I did want them to show, but that's just part of it and (Pauses) that's just part of it. That's really all I can say about that.
Reality TV World: Was there anyone that you were surprised to see Jason eliminate or give a rose to?
Shannon: (Pauses) Um. You, know, not really. The first night was probably a little shocking to me because I know he didn't get to meet all of the girls and some of them went home. I'm not quite sure how that all works. But I was a little shocked at some of the girls he sent home over some of the others, yeah definitely.
Reality TV World: Once that you're eliminated, was there any particular girl you began rooting for?
Shannon: God, that's so hard to say because I love all of them. I honestly cannot say which one I want more than the other. I think all five of those girls are wonderful girls and I think any one of them would make Jason happy. I'd be happy with any of them winning Jason's heart.
Reality TV World: Did you have a sense he was leaning towards anyone or not?
Shannon: You know, from the very beginning... well actually when I left I thought it would be Jillian [a 29-year-old interior designer from Peace River, Alberta, Canada], and then I kinda think Melissa [a 25-year-old sales representative from Dallas, TX], and then Molly. I just don't know.
If I had to guess I would way Jillian or Melissa, but I don't know. Like I said any of 'em would be great for Jason.