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'The Bachelorette' runner-up Jason Mesnick talks about his experience


By Christopher Rocchio, 07/09/2008 

Jason Mesnick said he can attest to the fact that DeAnna Pappas altered what she was looking for in a guy during her The Bachelorette fourth-season journey.

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"I could say that the one thing that I thought throughout the whole process was if she was ready for what she said she was ready from Day 1, she would have picked me," Mesnick told Reality TV World during a Tuesday conference call.  "But if she wasn't or things changed throughout the process and she wasn't sure if she was ready for the family, then she'd go with [Jesse Csincsak].  We saw what she did."

What Pappas did was pick Csincsak over the 31-year-old account executive and single father from Kirkland, WA during Monday night's pre-taped The Bachelorette fourth-season finale broadcast.

"I know more than anybody that people can change and you can learn more about yourself through an experience," Mesnick told Reality TV World.  "Do I think she led me on?  I don't know.  Maybe a little bit.  But I really don't fault her for it at all anymore."

Mesnick said he was able to achieve "final closure" on the situation when he saw Pappas and Csincsak "happy together" at the filming of the season's The Bachelorette: After the Final Rose special.

"The connection they had and what I saw on the show when I was there filming was absolutely love and a look that she gave him that she couldn't live without him, and she never gave that to me," he told Reality TV World.  "I need to have that in my life; I think we all deserve to have that in our life.  It's not a connection or look that she ever gave me."

Mesnick explained that the look he was referring to that Pappas gave Csincsak -- as well as, in his opinion, fellow ousted suitor Graham Bunn -- was something he didn't notice until watching the finale episode.

"Sometime early on when we were on a group date and Graham was there where she was just so drawn to him -- that's early on in the process -- it was something where I knew she had to look at me like that," he told reporters. 

"For some reason I didn't feel it as much on the group dates, but on the individual dates I always felt it.  But I'll say that it was very different than what I saw at After the Final Rose.  When I saw [DeAnna and Jesse] together, it made me really happy to see both of them happy.  But also it made me feel like that's exactly what we all need in our lives."

Not only did Mesnick say he felt more connected to Pappas on one-on-one dates, he added that when cameras weren't rolling was one he most enjoyed his time with her.

"The best times that DeAnna and I had were off camera," he told reporters, giving the example of the three-hour drive home from the observatory following a one-on-one date.

"That was the best part of the date and that's the most real for me," he said.  "It's more comfortable and that's what's real."

While Mesnick said "there's more time" and emotions didn't need to be laid on the table so quickly when the cameras are off, he was unsure what Bunn was talking about when he previously told reporters that viewers were "missing something" about Pappas "in the edit."

"I don't know what Graham was talking about there," Mesnick told Reality TV World.  "They had their own relationship.  Everybody saw what that was."

Mesnick immediately differentiated himself from the other 24 guys vying for Pappas' heart due to his 3-year-old son Ty, who was partially aware of what his dad was going through.

"I think it started with a [production] crew that came in town before I left and all Ty knew was the 'TV guys.'  The 'TV guys' meant producers and the camera guys, and they were all really fun and he had a great time with them," explained Mesnick.  "That's where he thought daddy went.  When I was gone, I would just tell him that I was there for a friend."

Ty subsequently got to meet Pappas when she traveled to Seattle for Mesnick's hometown visit.

"He was there, and he was there to meet one of daddy's friends," said Mesnick, who added his son is currently "doing great." 

"Him and DeAnna and Jesse will be friends forever," he said.  "He really thinks of DeAnna as a friend, so he's doing great."

Still, Mesnick said he's unsure if he totally believed Pappas when she told him during the After the Final Rose that him being a single father didn't play a role in her decision.

"I don't think it was the sole decision, but it plays a part in who I am," he told Reality TV World. 

"I think you have to be ready for something like that, and I think what DeAnna had told me during After the Final Rose was that she didn't want her life planned out -- she wanted it more fun and carefree.  So for her to say it had nothing to do with Ty, I can believe it didn't have so much to do with Ty because that would mean some things were a little bit more planned out."

Mesnick also said he's unsure if him living in the Pacific Northwest and Pappas wanting to be close to her family in Georgia also played a role in her decision.

"I hope it didn't play a role," he told Reality TV World.  "When she's weighing -- that one day when she's trying to decide between Jesse and I -- I'm sure that a bunch of factors came in.  Jesse's a guy that can spend a few months in Breckenridge doing the snowboarding thing and then he can be anywhere.  He doesn't have that three-foot-tall little guy that's keeping him in a certain place.  So I'm sure those things all weighed into her decision.  I don't blame her, that's a huge decision to make.  Maybe she wasn't ready for it, and that's okay."

Mesnick said his The Bachelorette experience really began about 18 months ago when he saw old friend Bevin Powers finish as the runner-up on The Bachelor: Officer and a Gentleman

"I've known Bevin for about 10 years, and I was watching the show going, 'God I could do something like that,'" he told Reality TV World.  "So I mean it was really just an email I sent in.  I never heard anything for well over a year and then the casting called me and they left a message.  I was thinking it was kind of a joke.  It's like buying a lottery ticket -- are they really going to call you back?"

"The very next day -- I hadn't seen Bevin in five years, she moved down to California -- and she was up here for the weekend and I was literally running from one meeting to the next and I literally almost ran into her physically," he continued.  "As far as fate and destiny, I was like, 'I've got to tell you what happened to me yesterday.'  I talked to her briefly, and this was right at the time when they announced DeAnna and [Bevin] said she and DeAnna had connected.  She said, 'They've just announced DeAnna and you've got to check her out.'  I went online, did some research, watched some clips of her... I was in."

Mesnick explained there were initially two factors that made him attracted to Pappas.

"It had a lot to do with who she was as a person, what she wanted out of life.  She seemed like she was really ready to settle down.  She seemed like she just loved life more than anything," he told Reality TV World.  "Secondly it was her Greek heritage.  My favorite place I've ever been is Greece, so there was like this little draw for me."

Despite being attracted to Pappas, Mesnick said it would be foolish for him to expect love to blossom on the first night.

"You have no idea going into that first night," he told Reality TV World.  "In the back of my mind I said, 'If I can get past this fist night and she gets to know me, I think I'll do really well.'  So that first night my whole thought was just have a lot of fun and see if you see that spark, and if she sees it in you, you'll be around.  All I wanted to do was get to know her better.  I will be the first one to say I did not expect to find DeAnna there, or a person like DeAnna, or for me to even fall in love."

But Mesnick did fall for Pappas, only to be rejected by her as he was preparing to propose marriage.

"My initial reaction was I was just completely shocked.  You saw me in the limo, I was just completely shell-shocked," he told reporters.  "As time's gone by over the last couple months, I've come to grips with it.  I'm a person that believes in fate and destiny and I think things happen for a reason.  She didn't pick me for a reason and watching her and Jesse together really solidified for me that that's something I need to have."

Mesnick described Pappas and Csincsak as "two absolutely wonderful people."

"Going through the whole process, obviously I get to know her extremely well, but as far as the guys go, I got to know Jesse one of the best as well.  He's a wonderful guy," said Mesnick.  "I think Jesse and I are very similar in how we look at the world and how we care about people.  Jesse and I will be friends forever."

Despite the heartbreak, Mesnick said he would "consider" starring in The Bachelor's thirteenth installment but has yet to be approached by ABC about it.

"I will say that the body armor is down and I am ready to date again," he told reporters.

Many people who know Mesnick apparently felt he wouldn't need to date again after seeing him on The Bachelorette.

"Every single person assumed when I first got back that I did very well, and secondly I think everybody really thought that she picked me," he told reporters.

Of course, that just made it even more difficult for Mesnick to keep quiet about how things ended.

"That was horribly hard for me because everyone around me knows how transparent I am," he told Reality TV World.  "I think that I did a good enough job just being myself and being happy, it might have thrown a lot of people off.  But it was really tough for me."

Another person who Mesnick said presumably had a tough time watching The Bachelorette was his ex-wife.

"I'm sure she had some struggles with it," he told reporters. 

"But I'll say the one thing that I know about her is -- it might be similar to DeAnna -- that what they both seem to want in life is something that's a little bit more different than I am, something a little more exciting, like a snowboarder, and in [my ex-wife's] case, something even a little bit different.  I think they both really support that.  Somebody who's going to end up with me is going to want somebody who's different from what Jesse is."

(Photo credit ABC)


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