Sex + Dating

What's Dating Like After 'The Bachelor'? JJ Tells All.

JJ Lane from The Bachelor
Courtesy of JJ Lane

JJ Lane wasn’t exactly depicted in the best light during his time on The Bachelorette, personally declaring that a “villain's gotta vill” as America watched editors turn him into Kaitlyn Bristowe’s worst nightmare. Then, on Bachelor in Paradise, things changed... or, rather, producers changed. Either way, JJ’s persona morphed from a hot-headed jock to the type of guy you’d happily buy a beer -- good beer, too.

Regardless of the complimentary editing, women still don’t know what JJ is like off the show, but that doesn’t stop them from flocking to him... something he considers a double-edged sword.

So, what’s it like to go back into the dating scene in your mid-30s, with a child, post-Bachelorette? He told us.

On not realizing the popularity of the series

"When I signed up for this, my buddies and I would just joke around like, “You're just going to have all these hot chicks and you're going to just hook up all the time. It will be awesome.” I thought I would have, at most, 5,000 new Instagram followers. I was just very naïve, and viewed it very simply. Now it is not that simple. Then there's another aspect of it, where I've had people attempt to blackmail me. I got home from The Bachelorette kind of early, mid-April, and ended up getting introduced to this awesome, very beautiful girl.

We ended up kind of dating and I told her, “Just so you know, I don't know how they're going to edit it, but I know that there's a really good chance I'm going to be portrayed fairly negatively and there's going to be a ton of attention." I didn't really know the magnitude of the attention. She's like, "Yeah, that's fine." It's just TV, right? Sure enough, show airs, second week all the attention, especially all the negative attention.

We're supposed to go to Aspen, and granted they asked me to go on Bachelor in Paradise, which I was supposed to leave like June 1. I didn't give an answer, because I was like well, if I'm really dating this girl and I really like her then I'm not going to go. Well, the week before I go to Bachelor in Paradise I booked a trip to go to Aspen with her on like a Tuesday and the episode airs on a Monday. She texts me Monday night like, "I just don't think I can go to Aspen with you. This is just too hard." I'm like, "Nothing happened on TV that I didn't tell you was going to happen."

None of us had a clue at the magnitude of the show.

Then finally, Tuesday afternoon she's like, "OK, I'll let you take me to Aspen." I'm like, "OK." Then I got home and I realized that I probably should go to Paradise. This is already kind of unraveling, that relationship, because of the show. Had the show not been involved I'd probably have stayed dating her a lot longer. I think it also has a way of flushing out people's insecurities. I went to Paradise, right? Her and I broke up and it was done, and I go to Paradise and didn't really hit it off with anybody and was kind of, I think, subconsciously trying to keep her in my back pocket. I didn't want to go and just pour it up on Paradise so that when I come home I can't ... in case I go back to her, right?

I left Paradise kind of under the premise of hey, I'm going to go see about this girl back in Denver. I came home and at that stage she'd been on her own for two weeks, which were my two worst episodes. Where they basically made me look gay. She had no context or nothing. I wasn't there. I freaking ... I come back and she's so over me it was ridiculous. I'm like, "Hey, I'm falling in love with you." I don't think I said the love word, but all this stuff. She's like, "Yeah, we're not going to." That was kind of the first taste of it. Where I was like, this thing could actually affect my dating life. Speaking for myself and broadly speaking for the rest of the guys, none of us had a clue at the magnitude of the show."

JJ Lane from The Bachelor hanging out

On being edited into a villain

"They have to build us up into characters. Luckily they were really kind to me the second go-round. They put me in situations where I was able to do something and look really good in the eyes of America.

That was really it. The dating thing is tough now. Now you're conflicted. In a very carnal mindset it's incredible, because you're like, "Oh my gosh." It's kind of every guy's dream to have so many women that desire you, and also it changes it because they now are the approachers. As a guy, typically, you're constantly having to put yourself out there and risk failing. Now, because they recognize you they DM you, they comment, they comp you at bars or at the restaurant. Girls are now putting themselves out there for you.

These people have fallen in love with an idea of who they've built up in their head. ABC showed me as being an awful villain on one show and an American hero on the next. It's like, what am I? I'm kind of just a normal guy that just kind of is neither one of those things.

People now fall in love with this idea of what they see on TV. It's like a rock star syndrome. I always used to look, I'm like dude, if Justin Timberlake walked into a bar he'd be the 200th most attractive guy in the bar, but the fucker is super famous, rich, and he sings, so all of a sudden these women think that he's the hottest looking guy in the world. It just changes perception like nobody's business."

On why dates go terribly

"It's a running joke with my buddy and I, that the women will tell you how confident they are in themselves. "I'm not an insecure person," and "I don't care," and "I can view the comments and laugh." Well the second that you're kind of theirs, you're going down that path of starting to date, man alive dude. It just changes on a dime. Next thing you know you're getting, "Who's this person? I saw somebody comment on your Instagram, how do you know her? Why do you follow this person?"

I haven't found somebody who can handle it. I see why other celebrities, actors, musicians, whatever, all kind of date within their own circle. It makes total sense now. They're the only ones that get it. It'd be hard for Katy Perry to date some Joe Blow, because Joe Blow is going to be that insecure dude who's like, "Oh my gosh, you were at the red carpet with John Mayer."

Social media, I think, is the biggest aspect of our dating conundrum

"You went to this after party. I read in the tabloids that you hooked up." She's like, "No, I didn't hook up with John Mayer. Tabloids just say shit." People don't get that. Gosh, it was implied a couple of weeks ago that I hooked up ... Cosmo made some comment about I hooked up with some really young girl. It's like all right, they can say whatever they want. They kind of just do."

On the Bachelor in-crowd

"First of all, you become really good friends with the people on the show and a lot of times it almost becomes a brother/sister relationship. Just because you're bonding over a lot of stuff that you have to relate to them because no one else gets the... I hate to use the word struggle, because none of us should be struggling, right?

You just can't talk to somebody about XYZ. They weren't on the show so they're not going to get it. The other part is it's a pretty incestuous circle. You pretty much know that if you hook up with somebody that everybody in the entire Bachelor family is going to know about it."

Do the producers even care?

"I mean, I don't think they really care, but I also think that social media has changed a lot since this whole thing started. I feel like it's fairly antiquated, their perception, because I think they're like, "Yeah, whatever. It's not a big deal." Now it's become a become a big deal.

Where somebody, and this is kind of a different discussion, and one that a lot of us have kind of been having side conversations about, is ... New York Post had a great article about it, but the suicide rate, all these suicides among people from the show. Is it the chicken or the egg that came first?

I probably won't matter in a year.

And with the advent of all this extra social media attention that we're exposed to, which didn't exist 10 years ago, we're in this situation where they villain-ize somebody just for the sake of the show.

You're like, "Haha, that's funny." Then the blow-back and everything that happens to people when you go back to regular life and that happens. You're reading the comments and maybe you weren't really emotionally prepared for something like that. Or you're not able to deal with it. It creates some issues there. Obviously, that's a completely different discussion.

Social media, I think, is the biggest aspect of our dating conundrum. You get hit up on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, it's an overwhelming inbound interest from females. How do you manage that?"

How long will fame last?

"I'd say… probably a year from now it'll all be a fairly moot point. I probably won't matter in a year."

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Jeremy Glass is a writer for Thrillist and can't wait to see JoJo in The Bachelorette.