If you, too, felt victimized by Bachelor Matt James’ questionable eyes-open kissing technique, then you’re not alone. The reality star, himself, admitted that he also felt uneasy rewatching his unusual approach.
During a recent appearance on ACC Network’s In Play, hosts Kelsey Riggs and EJ Manuel asked James point-blank about the way in which he kisses. “Dang, you all threw me under the bus, that’s crazy,” the real estate broker, 29, responded with a laugh on Tuesday, January 26. “I guess I didn’t realize I kiss with my eyes open until people were videotaping me kiss people, and I’m watching it back. I’m like, ‘Yo, what are you doing?’”
As James issued an apology to fans for his actions, he also warned them to expect more eye-open kisses in the episodes to come.
“It was just as uncomfortable for me to watch as everybody else,” he explained. “So like, everyone is telling me, ‘You need to close your eyes!’ There’s gonna be a lot of this because this has already been filmed. I apologize to fans, but maybe I need to start wearing shades? If I were to do this again, I’d probably have an eye patch or something. It’s a learning experience.”
Earlier this month, fans took to Twitter to call out James’ unique kissing style after the January 11 episode. Even his pal, Tyler Cameron, mocked him while reshaping a fan’s tweet of James’ smooch with contestant Lauren Maddox. “Ayyyyoooo @mattjames919 what we got going on over here,” he wrote alongside several laughing emojis.
The North Carolina native responded, “Gotta make sure no one sneaking up on us! When your eyes are closed … ANYTHING can happen! It’s for both of our protection.”
One week later, James poked fun at himself by sharing a look a close-up shot of what it looks like when he kisses. “*Literally any kiss POV* 😂😂😂,” the former football player wrote alongside the selfie on January 18.
James was named the first Black Bachelor in June 2020. Before the January 4 premiere, longtime Bachelor host Chris Harrison teased the challenges that the franchise newcomer faces throughout his journey.
“There is a depth and layers to him — the likes of which we’ve never seen on this show. There are issues that we need to dive into, issues that he realizes along the way, that if we don’t face head-on, we’re not going anywhere,” Harrison, 49, told Us Weekly exclusively in December 2020. “It is contentious at times, it’s emotional at times, it’s gut-wrenching, it’s anger. You’re going to get it all. Bless him for going through this because he went through the wringer.”
The Bachelor airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.