Craig Sjodin/ ABC
Ben Flajnik was well-prepared to be tight-lipped about Season 16 of The Bachelor, but ETonline was equally equipped to pry out some details ahead of the premiere.
Despite Ashley Hebert rejecting his proposal on last season's The Bachelorette, Ben isn't jaded on the prospect of finding love on reality TV. "I'm an opportunist and an optimist. I think you can find anyone in any way, shape, or form," he prophesied. "Doesn't matter if it's on a TV show, on an airplane, or in a restaurant."
To recover from his broken heart, Ben threw himself "back into work" and didn't date anyone "seriously." So, what was his mysterious outing with actress Jennifer Love Hewitt all about? "She reached out and wanted to come up to the winery with all her friends, which she did. We went out to dinner and chatted it off," he explained. "A nice girl, but I was right in the middle of deciding to be on The Bachelor." A self-proclaimed "down to earth person," Ben maintains that dating a celebrity is 'not something I ever imagined doing."
No telling who got the first impression rose, but Ben did comment on perhaps the most shocking introduction shown in promos. A senior citizen can be seen greeting the 28-year-old winemaker. He called her "drop dead gorgeous; a beautiful, stunning older woman." Is she a cougar or there on behalf of a granddaughter, perhaps? All Ben would say was, "She was there for a specific reason."
Now that the table's been turned, the jilted romantic better understands how Ashley simultaneously fell in love with both him and J.P. Rosenbaum, who she is currently engaged to. Ben admitted he found himself in the same predicament, falling in love with multiple women on the show. He used the virtue of "patience" to get him through his conflicting emotions.
One thing's for certain. Ben will bare his heart and his bum on the show. Laughing off an impromptu striptease with one of his pursuers, he said, "When a beautiful woman asks you to go skinny dipping, you don't say no. I think any guy would be crazy not to. A bare butt is not the end of the world."
Don't be surprised if Ben pulls a Brad Womack, a la his first stint as The Bachelor, and not drop to one knee. "I told production I'm not going on this show to propose," he asserted. "If I meet someone that strikes that chord,… I was open to it."
Ben can reveal, however, that he'll be ringing in 2012 with a pretty blonde. He'll be interviewed by bombshell Jenny McCarthy on Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve, broadcast live from New York's Times Square on ABC. Jenny appeared on Bravo's Millionaire Matchmaker as a kissing expert, so you just never know if the two will lock lips at the stroke of midnight. The Bachelor premieres January 2, 2012 on ABC.