Ben Higgins, the man Kaitlyn Bristowe was never going to choose to be her husband on the last season of The Bachelorette, will soon be returning to the small-screen to find love once again. But unlike Bachelor wannabe Nick Viall, who slunk his way onto a second season of the show, Ben H. will proudly be returning to be the youngest Bachelor the show has ever had.

The news was announced at the end of Monday night’s episode of After Paradise. People reports that Ben (dropping the H because it’s likely he’ll be the only Ben on the show next season, though he is not the first Ben to be Bachelor) is excited for the opportunity to find the one on national television and is “ready to get married,” even though fans of the show feel that the software salesman and second-cutest guy on the last season of The Bachelorette (call me, emotionally vulnerable “cupcake” Chris) may not be old enough or mature enough to go on national television to find love with one of 25 pre-selected women who may or may not be there for “the right reasons.”

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According to Bustle, which did a deep dive into whether any other Bachelor has been as young as Ben and found that while Jesse Palmer was also 26 when his season was on TV, Ben is still technically the youngest contestant. But considering other, older men who have been on the show (Jake Pavelka, Kasey Kahl, Byron Velvick) and their records, it’s unlikely his age will be a liability. Unless the producers trick him by only bringing 80-year-old widows on the show to do a special “may-december” season. (Which I would totally watch.) And there are some very excited fans, too. Not everyone’s skeptical of Ben’s ability to carry the show for a season, even though he may not have been as handsome as Ben Z., as dramatic as Nick and Shawn, or an actual serial killer, like Joe.

While much of America may be surprised at who the next Bachelor will be, he was first revealed to be the next Bachelor in June, when Reality Steve reported that the network was deciding between Ben and Josh Murray (who split with Andi Dorfman after she chose him over Nick Viall on a previous season of The Bachelorette). Even then, Reality Steve was skeptical of Ben’s youth, but without any real basis. Yeah, Ben’s not rich and settled, but he’s genuine, seems like a nice guy, and doesn’t induce an involuntary full-body cringe when appearing on screen. Plus, he says he’s ready:

“I’m ready to share my life with somebody,” says Higgins... “And I’m not fearful of the idea of getting married. As soon as I can find that person, it seems like the better life will be.”

Ben’s crowning does, of course, means that last season’s Ian is out of the running to achieve his dream of publicly demeaning women while reminding them of how great he is because he went to Princeton and was a model and his ex-girlfriends are models also. Good call on that one, ABC. You may not have dodged the bullet, but it was only a flesh wound.


Contact the author at mark.shrayber@jezebel.com.

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