The Mallet Grill at International Polo Club Palm Beach seems to be the perfect setting for a rose ceremony on “The Bachelorette,” so exclusive-looking with its dark wood and views of the pristine pool and cabanas. You could just imagine current love-seeker Kaitlyn Bristowe, her lip quivering nervously, standing in the corner, in front of a table full of long stems, as the sea of perfect-looking paramours gets smaller and smaller. In fact, those guys look a lot like the one now leaning against the bar.
And there’s a good reason for that!
Ryan Beckett, a 32-year-old real estate agent, polo club member, dog lover and man about Wellington, spent five weeks as one of Bristowe’s would-be suitors on the ABC reality show, surviving two rose ceremonies before being sent home on June 15. But there’s no hard feelings or drama with Ryan B., as he was known on the show to distinguish himself from fellow love-testant Ryan M. — “I was pretty much expecting it,” he says.
In fact, the Ironman triathlete is pretty upbeat about his time on the show and his ongoing “journey,” as the shows put it, to love.
Ryan’s road to the roses: He first caught the attention of the show years ago during an open call for “The Bachelor” at the now-defunct CityPlace nightclub Resort, where he was “playing wing man” for a friend and got noticed. Ryan was actually cast on Jillian Harris’ season of “The Bachelorette” in 2009, but had to pull out for “various reasons” he doesn’t care to elaborate on. That same year, he was also one cut away from appearing on “Survivor: Samoa,” where he would have encountered eventual mainstay Russell Hantz. “The older I get, the more I believe that things happen for a reason. The timing was better this time.”
He didn’t win the girl on a reality show, but he has dated someone who was on a reality show : “My ex is Jamie Edmondson, who was a Dolphins cheerleader. She came in second on ‘The Amazing Race!’”
He’s a Florida boy: He lives in Wellington, but was born and raised in Boca Raton, giving credence to The Palm Beach Post’s theory that there is a factory in Boca churning out reality show contestants. (“It was so funny reading that you thought that, because you didn’t even know I was from Boca.”) A 2000 graduate of Pope John Paul II High School, he got his bachelor’s degree from Florida State University and his master’s in business administration from West Palm Beach’s Palm Beach Atlantic University.
He wasn’t featured on the show much, but it still made him famous … sort of: During his five episodes on the show, Beckett “didn’t get a ton of time” — Bristowe didn’t choose him for an individual date, and he was sort of low-key. Still, “I get a lot of ‘You look really familiar!,’” he says. “I usually play it off.”
He spent more time with the other guys dating Kaitlyn than Kaitlyn herself: “We’re sequestered, no phones, no TV, nothing, so you get pretty close. It becomes like a fraternity pledge class. Tanner, who was our resident ‘Bachelorette’ expert, just called me. I’ve had dinner with a couple of the guys. It’s a highly stressful situation, and everyone’s out of their comfort zone. So when you’re sequestered like that, you’re bonding in dog years. It happens really fast.”
He was Team Kaitlyn: One of the show’s twists this year was that the men themselves had to vote between Bristowe and Britt Nilsson, who had both appeared on the previous “Bachelor” season with Iowa farmer Chris Soules. Ryan says he “campaigned” for Kaitlyn, who seemed “more of the all-around” choice. “The process was stressful, and I’m not an actor, so I don’t know if I could have been as enthusiastic if it were Britt.”
He says he saw no evidence of the supposed “Brokeback Bachelor” ordeal, a heavily-promoted possible connection between love-testants J.J. and Clint, including a hinted-at interlude in a shower: “You could see what they aired. Clint made that shower comment … but I think that if anything really romantic had happened, (ABC) would have made sure that got out there (on air). Since I wasn’t partaking in their showers, I don’t know for sure, but I don’t think that was the case.”
He didn’t become one of the drunk guys who embarrassed themselves and got kicked off, but he sympathizes with them: “You can’t overindulge there. You’re really nervous and trying to cope with everything. It’s like skydiving — when you sign that waiver, you’re acknowledging that while nothing will probably happen, you’re acknowledging there’s a small chance it might. With the other Ryan, he’s a nice guy who I think just got nervous. Then again, he’s proof that no P.R. is bad P.R. His business is doing really well.”
His one regret: “That I didn’t let myself fully go. I would not drink too much, but I would not be so guarded. I think that in real life, I’m a little more guarded.”
He swears that reality television, at least in his experience, was real: “It’s not scripted. Again, you’re all under pressure. It’s Psychology 101 — sequestration, sleep deprivation … things happen.”
He would do another reality show: “It would have to be to the level of quality of ‘The Bachelorette’ to have something to do with it, not some local something or other. It was well-produced, not low-brow.”
“The Bachelorette” hasn’t yet had an impact on his real-life dating … yet: “It’s been a wild ride. I admit to having Champagne taste on a beer budget. I’m a little picky. I haven’t gone on any dates that way, and other than working since I’ve been back I’ve been laying relatively low. I’ve been on a couple dates with someone I already knew before the show. It hasn’t gotten really super-duper crazy.”