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Originally published December 16, 2009 at 10:50 AM | Page modified January 21, 2009 at 8:59 AM

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Kirkland's Jason Mesnick spills about "The Bachelor"

Local Jason Mesnick, of Kirkland, is the star of the next "The Bachelor," which premieres Monday on ABC. In an interview, he talks about being engaged; the breakup of Bachelorette DeAnna Pappas and snowboarder Jesse Csincsak; being the Bachelor and his son Ty.

Seattle Times staff reporter

On TV

"The Bachelor"

Two-hour season premiere, 8 p.m. Monday on ABC.

Video | An interview with Jason Mesnick

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Tonight in Prime Time

When Jason Mesnick, of Kirkland, acts like his life is normal, he goes out to eat in Belltown, takes his 3-year-old, Ty, to the zoo or the golf course and does not answer questions about the breakup of Bachelorette DeAnna Pappas and Jesse Csincsak.

But as ABC's newest Bachelor — a fan favorite after Pappas rejected him for snowboarder Csincsak in "The Bachelorette" finale — he's spending a lot of time telling people he's "shocked" about their split. Oh, and he's engaged and in love. (To whom, we don't know: Mesnick has finished filming the show, but can't reveal his final pick until the finale, which should air in March or April.)

In other real news, Mesnick eats his eggs scrambled and laughs at himself when asked to tilt his head and look into the camera for a picture. He didn't think to unlist his address before going on "The Bachelorette," and came home to thousands of letters and people waiting outside his house to offer him "opportunities."

With "The Bachelor" set to premiere Monday on ABC with a two-hour special starting at 8 p.m., Mesnick will have to get used to the new normal.

Mesnick, 32, who grew up in the area and graduated from the University of Washington, sat down for breakfast at Trellis in Kirkland to talk about the show shortly after filming "The Bachelor" finale.

Q: Most dramatic moment ever: Jesse's video about his split from DeAnna. What did you think?

A: I just heard through everybody else. I just can't believe it. I was completely shocked. Ask anybody in my regular world. I would say, 'Yeah, they're going to get married and they're going to invite me to the wedding, too.' I truly, truly believed it.

Q: How did the experience on the "Bachelor" compare to falling for DeAnna on "The Bachelorette"?

A: Everything happens for a reason. I wouldn't trade my experience with my ex-wife for anything; I wouldn't trade my experience with DeAnna for anything. But this, this is forever stuff. And it blows my experience on "The Bachelorette" away. DeAnna was right, and I can thank her for not picking me, because I found the right person for me.

Q: What kind of girl did you want to meet?

A: The person who has that spark of life, the person that really enjoys getting to know people. I started realizing through my experience last time they also had to have their own experience done in life, whether that's going through a real single phase and dating a lot of people and traveling a lot or partying a lot. My life has more responsibility than just a regular bachelor.

Q: Did you have hesitations about becoming the Bachelor?

A: It wasn't an easy yes. When I went on ["The Bachelorette"], I really made sure my son was going to be OK. I checked with the child therapist, I checked with the pediatrician. They said, 'He's going to be fine. He's 3 ½ years old, their sense of time is a little bit different from ours anyway.' It was still hard [this time] because I didn't want to be away from him. I thought about it for several weeks, and it made sense. If they're going to go out across the country for 25 amazing girls that I'm looking for, asking me what kind of qualities are you looking for, what kind of interests, how could it not work?

Q: Except the Bachelor doesn't have the best success record. None of the 12 Bachelors so far has married his final pick — although two Bachelor couples are reportedly still together. You're Bachelor No. 13. How will it be different for you?

A: It starts with the person who's the Bachelor or Bachelorette. They are the only one who knows the true answer if they're ready for a serious relationship. I knew exactly what I'm looking for.

Q: Do you have a game plan for the next three months when you have to keep the relationship a secret and she is watching you on dates?

A: There are probably reasons why it hasn't worked out and it may have something to do with it how you approach what's going to happen during airing and immediately after. I want to make sure whatever people did that worked, I want to take pieces of that, and whatever didn't work, I want to throw those away. This has to work, and that's why I did it.

Q: Can you really fall in love in such a short time-frame, on television?

A: Everything moves quicker. The things you talk about on your first date or second date are things you might not talk about until your first or second month. You get to know people quickly. That's how you can fall in love faster, too, I think.

Q: What does Ty think about your new fiancée?

A: Ty had a great time with both of them. It was just the last two. There's no way I wanted to introduce him to a group of 25 or 8 or 6. I knew I couldn't fully give myself to somebody in my heart until I saw him with them, saw how he interacted with them and how they interacted with them. It's something his mom and I talked about a lot.

Q: How much does Ty know about the show?

A: Ty knows about the TV guys. Everybody's great with him. He's got this whole group of friends, some are audio people, some are producers, some of them are camera guys. I think he just thinks I have a goofy group of friends.

Q: Does his mom have him while you're filming?

A: She travels a lot more for work, so when I'm gone it's either her parents, who live here, or my mom and my brothers, who live here. It's the crew.

Q: Have you heard about DeAnna's new Lifetime show helping brides plan their weddings? It premieres on the same day as "The Bachelor."

A: I just heard about it. (Jokingly) DeAnna and I are linked forever. She's got a great personality. I'll watch it.

Q: In more Bachelor gossip, did you know there's a grandma in Montana who started an online petition for Jesse to be the next Bachelor?

A: A grandma in Montana? No. Is it his grandma?

Q: It's a random grandma who likes Jesse.

A: I like the grandma fan. That's hilarious.

Q: Are you planning to stay in Seattle?

A: I'm staying in Seattle without a doubt. I would never take my son away from his mom, and she would never take him away from me. That's the thing Ty does for me, he completely grounds me.

Q: Is your fiancée moving here?

A: If she doesn't live here. It's a big world, right? If she doesn't live here, she will definitely end up here.

Nicole Tsong: 206-464-2150 or ntsong@seattletimes.com

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