Longmeadow native gives inside look at search for ‘Bachelorette’ love

Date: 7/10/2014

Longmeadow native Dylan Petitt may have put himself in the spotlight as one of the 25 hunks seeking to win Andi Dorfman’s heart on ABC’s “The Bachelorette” but he’ll be the first to express his preference for the quieter life waiting in the wings.

Petitt told Reminder Publications that his shy, reserved nature around strangers ultimately led to his elimination from the final six, which aired June 30.

“I wasn’t shocked [that I got sent home]. Every single Rose Ceremony I thought I was going home,” said Petitt, 26, an accountant at Walter & Shuffain in Boston. “I thought I was going home the first night because there are 24 other guys and I thought I was nothing special.”

When asked if he truly believed he could fall in love on a reality show, Petitt replied, “I heard that you can’t find love on TV. It’s way more real than people think. There aren’t retakes. There are people on the show who were falling in love. I didn’t have as much one-on-one time with Andi so I didn’t think that it was going to happen for us.”

He said he ultimately decided to participate in the show because he was “ready to be the dad I never had and she’s the type of girl I want to marry.”

Petitt added, “My buddy signed me up for the show about a year ago. I just went through a couple of interviews in New York and California and I kept telling myself ‘Why not?’”

Petitt even admitted to “trying the whole dating online thing for a little while” but couldn’t meet the right girl, which also contributed to his decision to appear on the show. The experience also gave him the opportunity to travel to Europe as this season was taped in various locations in Belgium, France and Italy.

“It was awesome,” he said of visiting Europe. “I’ve never been to Europe before. We weren’t really allowed to go out much, except on a one-on-one [date] or group dates. Obviously they don’t want us running around in foreign countries for liability issues.”

Cast members even had their cell phones confiscated during filming, he said.

When asked if he believed he was portrayed accurately by the show, Petitt replied, “I know that the only issue I’m having is that they didn’t give me much airtime because I wasn’t feeding into this drama and I still have a career to come back home to. I was trying to stay out of the drama.”

Petitt did get some individual airtime during the fourth episode when he revealed to Andi the challenges of growing up without a father, as well as surviving the deaths of his sister, Jessica Emery, and brother, Patrick Petitt, both within the past five years. Petitt and his mother, Diane Petitt of Longmeadow, are the only surviving members of the family.

Petitt said although he was eliminated one week before the hometown episodes – when the final four take the bachelorette to meet their families – he’d already considered what he’d show Andi in Longmeadow.

“My mom was excited. She hasn’t really had it easy [with the passing of my brother and sister]. She got the call that I was probably getting a hometown. They were already ordering catering,” Petitt said, adding that his family and friends were disappointed to learn shortly thereafter that he’d been eliminated.

He added that the producers have a way of manipulating the storyline at times, particularly when each of them had to take a lie detector test, as well as the moments after his elimination.

“I got a bad rap because of the lie detector test episode. I heard the question wrong. They asked if I had relations with more than 20 women and I said yes, but what I thought what they asked was if I’d had sex more than 20 times. I said yes but I misheard the question. The answer is no. I went to the producers but they said we couldn’t reshoot it.

“People have been giving me a hard time about the hand washing thing [a question during the lie detector test]. I didn’t want to come across as a liar. Not everyone washes their hands every time they go to the bathroom. Every single guy answered that question the same way but they chose to show me,” he continued.

Petitt also explained that during his exit interview the way the show was cut it appears to viewers that he’s crying about his elimination, when really he’d just had to say goodbye to Chris, with whom he’d become close friends.

“When I did leave, one of the main producers interviewed me and brought Chris over,” he recalled. “I was upset that I had to say goodbye to this guy ’cause Chris and I were the closest on the show, we lived with each other everywhere. We were both crying. They show me kind of crying after he left. Chris was a big part of my experience and I wish the could’ve showed the kind of character he had.”

Petitt said he still keeps in touch with Chris and several other cast members.

When asked if he’d ever participate in a reality TV show again, Petitt replied coyly, “I would do it again … You may or may not see me on something else.”