January 2010

Meet Troy AhYo, C2’s 2010 Bachelor of the Year

Author: Jean Wharton | Photographer: Mark Staff

What makes a bachelor? On the most basic level, a bachelor has no wife, girlfriend or steady fling. Beyond that, a true bachelor has an intangible sense of freedom, matched with a unique swagger that can only stem from a life not tied to specifics.

It is year four of C2’s Bachelor of the Year contest on Hilton Head Island. Our fourth go at throwing a nomination party, showcasing the fellas in a photo shoot and opening up the voting to the public. This year’s winner seemed to relish in all of the steps leading up to winning Bachelor of the Year, yet has kept a humble air about him. He is well traveled, worked in lots of professional arenas and has vast personal interests, ranging from skateboarding to cooking. Troy came to Hilton Head in 1995 for a few years, left the island, but came back within the last year (they always come back).

I met our BOTY at the south end Wild Wing Café on a rainy night in December. Without further ado, we present Troy Ahyo.

THE RUNDOWN

Name: Troy AhYo

Age: 46 (at time of interview in December, but he’s an Aquarius so you do the math)

Occupation: Vice President of Sales and Marketing with Jester Communications and Urnge.com

Hometown: Stanford, California

Drink of Choice: Sam Adams Winter Lager (same as the esteemed writer)

Meal of Choice: Salad with bleu cheese dressing followed by 12 wings (Chernobyl and Slayer)

Ensemble: Black T-shirt, jeans and sneakers

C2: You’re 46, still single. Gotta ask…do you want to be married, do you believe in marriage, is that a goal for you?
Troy AyYo: “Yes, I do. All the members of my family are married. I believe in marriage. My parents were married for 30 years, got divorced and remarried…each other. They parted for about a year and then got back together. I believe in marriage in the sense that it’s important in our society. I expect to be married someday.

C2: Kids?
TA: Yeah, I would have kids. I enjoy my time around kids—nieces and nephews, friends’ kids. There have been more than a few times that I’ve been told I’d make a great dad. Both my brothers are great dads, so I know I have it in me.

C2: Is it difficult living away from your family?
TA: I am very close to my family and talk to them multiple times a week. But I’ve live most of my adult life away from them.

C2: You work in Internet marketing; you could do your work from anywhere…
TA: “Yeah, I could. Luckily, I can work from somewhere as beautiful as Hilton Head. I’ve had the opportunity to live in some amazing places: Hawaii, San Francisco, New York, LA, Vegas and a bunch of other places.

C2: What exactly do you do?
TA: I do Web site development and online marketing for Jester Communications and Urnge.com.

C2: How do you think you were able to secure the win?
TA: It has been an excellent learning experience for me. I have a lot of people who care a lot about me who will go way out of their way to do things that would benefit me. Friends and family did heroic things to get me votes. No online magic, just talking to the people who cared about me, which was really humbling.

C2: Who nominated you?
TA: Lynn Anderson (Core Pilates), my old boss’s wife. I was really hesitant at first, but she thought it would be great for me, and I am very grateful to her for doing it.

C2: How did you feel about your plantation-esque photo shoot in the December issue?
TA: I’ve gotten my fair share of razzing. Mark Staff is such a talented photographer, and he was laughing the whole time, so I didn’t take it too seriously. It was a lot of fun. I’m not a professional model, and I have no experience doing a look, like in Zoolander.

C2: Where did you grow up?
TA: I was born at Stanford University Hospital in California and lived there through high school. I joined the Coast Guard after high school. I got my travel bug in the Coast Guard, living in Hawaii, Connecticut and New Jersey.

C2: Anyone could get bitten by the travel bug living in New Jersey.
TA: Huge life lesson for me—one of those times when life gives you a lesson when you’re in an extremely uncomfortable situation. I was from the West Coast, never been off the West Coast. Living on the East Coast now opened up my mind. Californians think it is the most beautiful place on the planet but there are LOTS of beautiful places. I didn’t know that until I was exposed to other places by being forced, through military, to live somewhere else. I learned to appreciate different people and different places.”

C2: Living in the South different than simply living on the East Coast?
TA: I love the people in the south and the beauty of this area. It is so much different from the West Coast, but it has its own unique flavor to it. I would really appreciate it if the water was blue and I could go out diving, but you can drive a few hours from here to do that.

C2: California boy, do you surf?
TA: Yeah, I surf. Wish the waves could be better around here, but I have lots of friends who surf as much as possible. Compared to Hawaii or California, there is really not that much surf, but I’m learning other things, like kite boarding. When the waves aren’t there, you’ve always got the wind. I’m sure I’m going to get out there and hurt myself a bunch of times, but less now as I get older.

C2: You ride a skateboard?
TA: It does take more time to heal when I hurt myself, but I still ride a skateboard, because I enjoy it and I figure I’ll start playing golf in my 60s or 70s. I’m sure I could play golf; my dad is an excellent golfer, but I don’t feel the need to play it yet.

C2: Where is your family?
TA: My parents live in the Bay Area in California. My whole family is in California, and none of my brothers and sisters have ever lived outside of California. My sister spent a semester in New Hampshire, but other than that they are all there.”

C2: Where are you in the pecking order?
TA: I’m second. I have an older brother, younger sister and younger brother—all married with kids.

C2: Ever been married?
TA: Never been married. Certainly thought about it. I’m surprised that I’ve never been married. Really surprised. Sometimes, it is surprising how fast the years go by. I’ve been best man six times. It just hasn’t happened to me yet—and I do mean yet.

C2: How have you found the dating scene on Hilton Head?
TA: I haven’t really dated here. I think that it’s a small town. I have a lot of really close friends here, so I fill my time with that. I’m not lonely. I was in a long-term relationship for six years prior to moving here. It has been a yearlong re-evaluation. It was a wonderful thing; it just didn’t work. So I haven’t been that motivated to go out and date much.

C2: Where do you like to hang out on Hilton Head?
TA: Jon and Kim at Mellow Mushroom are great friends, I go there a lot. I go see Steve and Bo at the bar at 211 Park. Not so much the Triangle, because that’s not really my scene. Mostly, I work a lot and play outside, so there’s not much room for nightlife.

C2: What did you do when you got out of the Coast Guard?
TA: I went to Fresno State and graduated with my degree in physical therapy. I worked in physical therapy for six years and, from there, started working in the dot com industry. I helped take an online business public and had the opportunity to make a lot of money, but it only lasted a few years.

C2: Wow, that must be hard to look back on. Any regrets?
TA: Well, you can either look back with regret or with humor. I try to look back with humor. Some unbelievable opportunities were afforded to me as part of doing that, such as being on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. I opened offices in NYC and San Francisco, ate at the best restaurants, flew all around the country. I just didn’t manage to hang on to the money. To whom much is given, much is expected. I (like a lot of people who were part of the dot com bomb) didn’t make it out with the money.

Just another growth opportunity [he says with sarcasm]. It was sort of like winning the lottery. I worked 100 hours a week for over a year to win, but it was much the same thing. I still have great friends from that time and strong business connections from that time. You could look at anything and see failure or success.

C2: You’re into martial arts?
TA: I trained for many years with an amazing teacher. I’m not training or teaching right now, but it is one of those things that gets into your blood. It allows me to relax a little bit.

C2: If you could be the best at something, world renowned, what would it be?
TA: “I think that I’d like to be the best doctor or surgeon. I worked in the medical field for a long time as a paramedic in the Coast Guard and as a physical therapist. To be the best healer in the world, to save a person’s life, is an amazing high, and to do that every day would be really rewarding.

C2: Why did you get out of physical therapy?
TA: I really enjoyed patient care and the profession in general, but I had financial goals and aspirations that I wanted to achieve.

C2: What would be your ultimate job?
TA: An acquaintance of mine, who lives on the Big Island of Hawaii, is heir to a family fortune. His job is to manage the philanthropic side of things for the family. He spends 10-20 million a year on what he deems appropriate philanthropic endeavors for the family. I think that would be amazing—to get to spend time identifying a need before allocating funds to the people and institutions that would benefit most.

C2: You mentioned that you don’t have cable at your house. What was the last movie you watched?
TA: Embarrassing. I rented the latest Transformers movie, for the special effects stuff. The dialog was complete garbage. I like great movies. I recently saw, Se Nombre. It’s a brilliant movie. I tend to like a movie that is reasonably intelligent, but also entertaining.

C2: What kinds of music do you listen to?
TA: I like a lot of variety. Sinatra—there is time for Sinatra, but there is also time for hard core ’80’s punk, classic rock or salsa. I love Latin music; it always reminds me of the great times I’ve had on vacation in Latin American countries. Classical music—always on the weekends.

C2: Do you play any instruments?
TA: Badly. The ukulele and guitar, but I haven’t dedicated the time it would take to be competent. I would love play.

C2: Do you cook?
TA: I love to cook. I see cooking as an expression of love. It shows that you’re going to take care of someone. I love to cook socially, for big parties. On holidays, I can be found with the men in my family, cooking.

C2: Describe the perfect, no limit date…anywhere.
TA: “It’s difficult to say perfect date. I think that it would be with someone I’m really comfortable with whom I’ve dated a while—a reasonably exotic location—a tropical locale at sunset with gorgeous weather and seafood.

C2: What would be a perfect date on Hilton Head?
TA: I love the idea of spending a lot of time on the beach—talking, riding bikes or being on a boat—just getting to spend time together in a beautiful setting. Then cooking for each other or going to a nice restaurant. I do like to cook for a woman. Then again, I like going to a great restaurant.

C2: What is the first thing that you notice about a woman?
TA: A woman who catches my eye is laughing and enjoying herself, with a figure that I find attractive and strong eyes. There are plenty of intangibles about a woman that attract me to her—a confident woman who is sure of herself. There are times when I see a woman across the room and I go, wow! I don’t think there is one attribute to which I’m more attracted. I’ve typically dated women with really strong eyes who take care of themselves.

C2: When dating a woman, what’s a deal-breaker for you?
TA: Insecurity. That translates into a woman who says bad things about herself—anyone with complaints about herself. If I’m attracted to a woman and she has issues with herself, that reflects on me. A woman with no sense of humor or doesn’t know how to laugh is incompatible with me. At the very least, she’s got to find me funny.

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