Meet Jacob Raehn, CH2’s Bachelor of 2009!
Author: Jean Wharton | Photographer: photography by anne
Hometown: Hilton Head Island, SC (a bona fide, born and raised LOCAL)
Occupation: Real Estate Sales but in this economic climate, Job Seeker
Location: Frankie Bones
Attire: Preppy plaid button-down shirt and jeans
Drink of Choice: Pinot Grigio, to start and a Jack & Diet, during the heavy hitting questions
Meal: Caesar salad, sans anchovies, followed by New York strip
Three years ago, when the staff at CH2 launched HHI’s Bachelor of the Year phenomenon, I thought, “Surely they are joking.” It seemed like a good idea around the office or chatting during happy hour, but I never thought it would result in the 80 fellas being nominated, a huge carnival party, and thousands of people voting online. However, I did have enough foresight three years ago to request that I be the writer to interview the winner. I wanted first crack at the shiny new bachelor (purely from a journalistic perspective).
This year, I met our winner on the night that he was notified. Since CH2 wanted to keep the winner’s identity hush-hush until January, Jacob Raehn and I tucked into a booth in the back of Frankie Bones. I was a few minutes late because I had to pick up batteries for the digital recorder that hadn’t been used since the Bachelor ’08 interview. Jacob was already sitting at the table and, in a gentlemanly way, stood to greet me and shake my hand. Politely, he had waited to order a drink until I arrived. We quickly ordered some wine, and I offered the first congratulatory toast.
Jacob was the youngest guy nominated this year and is the youngest winner to date. He is the first non-teacher to wear the crown; however, his youth and local roots may have contributed to the win.
Q. Congratulations! What contributed to your win? Did you have a campaign manager?
A. I have two younger brothers, one a senior at USC and another who is in high school at Hilton Head Christian Academy; I think they were a big contribution to the win. I also still have lots of friends in college. I grew up here and have friends here who have younger siblings still in middle and high school, which may have helped me win.
Q. Since both our previous winners were high school teachers, I was betting on that teacher, Chris Lewis. Mr. Lewis did come in second place, but you secured the win with 4,000 votes, 23 percent of the total. Who did you think was going to win?
A. I thought that Chris Lewis had a pretty good chance, and Marty Mulligan has been around Hilton Head for a lot of years…I’ve know Marty and his family for a long time, I thought he could win.
Q. What constitutes a bachelor in your opinion?
A. A bachelor is single, dating but not in a relationship. I prefer not to “date around.” I would rather date to meet someone.
Q. What does your mom think of your win?
A. Oh, she’s pretty excited about it. My parents have lived on Hilton Head for 27 years, so they know a lot of people and are pretty proud.
Q. Why did you want to enter? What was has been the best part about being in the contest?
A. Meeting all the girls at CH2 has been lots of fun, especially Maggie Washo and hanging out with the other guys, some of whom I already knew.
Q. Do you read CH2?
A. I read “He Says, She Says”
Q. Did you always know you wanted come back to Hilton Head after graduating from Clemson?
A. Not really. I didn’t have any plans during college to immediately come back to the island. I had a few job offers, but they weren’t in any places that I really wanted to live so… There is actually a pretty good crew of us who have moved back—some of my core friends, which has been nice. It makes a difference. I have a good group of friends here that will be hard to leave, if and when I ever do.
Q. If you could have your dream job, what would it be and where?
A. Not really sure. Commercial real estate in New York City would probably be a lot of fun. I would like to move away from Hilton Head, but would eventually like to come back here to raise a family. So, I guess my dream job would be something that keeps me financially secure long term so I can make that happen. I’m working on getting into pharmaceutical sales, so that’s my short-term dream job.
Q. Did you enjoy growing up on Hilton Head? I imagine it was a culture shock when you went to college?
A. I loved growing up on Hilton Head. You don’t know you’re living in a bubble when you’re living in a bubble. I traveled quite a bit during high school, so I was ready for life off the island. The interesting part of being from Hilton Head, especially when I traveled playing tennis in high school or when I rushed a fraternity at Clemson, was hearing other people’s conception of what it must be like to be from Hilton Head. It’s kind of reverse culture shock, trying to explain that you don’t hang out at the beach every day or play golf all of the time.
Q. Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?
A. Not really. I have a list of things I’d like to get accomplished by the end of the year: find a new job; gain 10 pounds; find a decent girl to date.
(Only a man could put, “gain 10 pounds” on his list of New Year’s Resolutions.)
Q. My New Year’s resolution is to attempt to learn to play the piano. Last year I attempted the guitar. Do you play any musical instruments?
A. My mom is a classical pianist. I recently designed her Web site. I played the piano growing up, but my brother and I struck on our piano teacher and that was it. I can play some, by ear. I’m more of a memorizer.
Q. How do you think that your reign as Bachelor of the Year will affect the economy?
A. Let’s see… My aunt lives in Thailand and has friends around the world. She e-mailed her friends in Tibet, Taipei and Moscow to have them vote for me. Votes for me came from around the world, so maybe it will cause an influx of tourism. That’s the best I can come up with off the top of my head.
Q. What’s playing on you iPod?
A. I listen to just about anything—rap and country—two complete opposites, but I like a lot of alternative music too. One of my favorite bands is The Red Hot Chili Peppers. I try to keep current through my little brother, too.
Q. If entrance music could be played when you walked into a room, what would it be?
A. The first song that comes to mind would be the Chicago Bulls music from back in Jordan’s day, but I suppose that’s a little too “Jock Jams” for me now. That’s the kid in me coming out. Immediate answer? Bulls Theme. I may have to simmer on that question for bit.
Q. What kind of cologne do you wear?
A. I don’t really wear cologne. It’s expensive; I lose it or drop it. Try cleaning cologne out of your bathroom for a week.
Q. What’s the silliest thing you’ve ever done to impress a girl?
A. Let’s keep this PG. Sing karaoke in a bar, actually sing to her.
Q. In the style of Top Gun?
A. Actually the same song, “You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling.” I had my fraternity pledges doing the background do-wop, but they didn’t do the best job keeping the beat. But I did get a date out of it.
Q. Do you put the toilet seat down?
A. No, because I live with another guy. If I was a guest, I might think to put it down. If I was living with girls, I’m sure I’d revert back to the way I grew up, in a house with all boys. My mom was pretty used to it. I think that there a just some things for guys that if you don’t have enough girls yelling at you to do, you just forget.
Q. If you are at Hinoki on a date and she doesn’t know how to use chopsticks, do you help her?
A. Yes, but I do think it’s funny when people don’t know how to use chopsticks. If she really needed me to teach her something, I’d try to help out. I do like sushi, but Asian food isn’t exactly my first choice when I go out to eat. I’m more of a steak and potatoes kind of guy.
Q. Have you ever had your heartbroken?
A. (Long pause, sly smile…) Maybe once. I didn’t realize that it was happening at the time.
Q. Who is the most beautiful person you’ve ever seen up close (present company excluded, and CH2 editor, Maggie doesn’t count either)?
A. Wow! I’d rather not say who I’ve seen locally. I have met Anna Kournikova twice, if you want an honest answer. I met her when I was a ball boy during the Family Circle Tournament and another time at the U.S. Open. She is beautiful.
Q. What’s the first thing that attracts you to a woman?
A. Figure, I guess. In passing that’s the thing I take note of. Sure, eyes, but you can’t exactly notice eyes as she’s walking past. Eyes are important, though, especially, eye contact.
Q. What is one regret you have?
A. Breaking up with a certain girl. Not spending enough time with my younger brothers.
Q. What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?
A. The harder you work, the luckier you get.
Q. What or who are you willing to sacrifice for?
A. My family. Anything beyond my family, I’d have to ask, “sacrifice what?” Anything for my family.
Q. Who is your “In Case of Emergency” phone call?
A. My parents. Dad first because he can be calmer than my mom, but she’s a bit more reliable about answering her cell phone.
Q. Who is your last phone call of the day?
A. Whoever calls me after 9 o’clock.
Q. What was the last movie you saw or book you read?
A. The last new movie I saw in the theater was Twilight, but that was strictly by accident. Last book I read was Moscow Rules, by Daniel Silva; it’s a series about the secret service and terrorist. It’s a good beach or plane read.
Q. Do you date online?
A. No, no way. Facebook is bad enough.
Q. If a date wanted to pay for dinner would you let her?
A. If we are a date, especially a first date, no way; I’d never let her pay. If she insisted, maybe I’d consider going Dutch, but it would bother me the rest of the night. If she was my girlfriend and I’ve paid for her lots of times, it would be different. I guess I’m pretty old-fashioned that way.
(Well the magazine pays for this meal.)
Q. When was the last time you said, “Wow! What a night!”
A. I suppose I could have one every weekend.
Q. Really, so where do you hang out?
A. Where ever is fun on that night. I go to the triangle some nights, but not all the time. I just kind of do whatever my heart desires; that’s the best way to have a “Wow! What a night.”
Q. What do you look forward to every day?
Q. Describe your ideal day?
A. Any day out on a boat, going to the Sandbar with friends, doing some wake boarding.
Q. What is the most lavish thing you’ve ever done for yourself?
A. I had a massage, on a cliff overlooking the ocean at sunset in Coast Rica. That was pretty sweet.
Q. What does a girl need to know about herself?
A. She’s got to be able to tell me what she’s thinking or at least be able to make up a damn good lie. I’m not possessive, but I do want to know what she’s doing. Ideally, I like a girl who can hold her own. If we go to a bar or party, we can split up and meet back together so that we can both see friends and not have to worry about the other. Honesty is so important. She’s just got to be honest about what she wants.
Q. Okay, back to my earlier question about what your entrance music would be. Do you want to amend your Chicago Bulls theme?
A. Kayne West, “Welcome to the Good Life.”
There you have it… CH2’s Bachelor of 2009: a homegrown islander with Southern charm and a great wit who loves his Momma but isn’t a Momma’s boy. Jacob, youthful but intelligent, is a worthy gentleman who surely won’t be eligible for the contest next year, because guys like this don’t tend to stay single for very long on HHI