After the jump, New York’s new man and the self-described “happiest man on the planet” talks about going to extremes to win her heart, how he feels about the other guys on the show and how his daughter feels about the new woman in his life.
I assume that you feel vindicated after the fight that you put forth to win New York’s heart.
By the time we were in Jamaica, everything was going perfectly with New York and me, but at the same time I was so worried about what was going to happen with Buddha. I really felt like he played a lot of mind games and stuff, and it still seemed like he had a real control over her. I was just concerned that he was going to be able to manipulate her one way or another. I never like took her for granted. I never said, “I got this in the bag.” When he chose me and said it was an easy choice I was just so happy. I fought so hard. I stepped up, when she wanted me to step up, I laid back when she wanted me to lay back because I was causing too much trouble with the other guys. I think at the end of the day it was alll worth it because she really…I know it’s clichéd, but she really made me the happiest guy on the planet.
Watching, I thought you were the underdog.
Yeah I think so, too. A lot of what I did early on back in the first four episodes, I kinda set myself up to be the villain. But at the same time, our connection was pretty intense very quickly. After our first date, when we went to the jewelry store, I came back to the house and I was just in awe. I was just smitten. And I think that she really had the same vibe too. You’ll hear her talk about, “Oh, he has hair plugs and this and that,” but to me, I felt like whenever we were alone on a date together, we really had a strong connection. After the spitting incident, I had to step back. I actually felt like I was losing that connection. Initially, I was being so aggressive to get any time alone with her that…I don’t like the word “snitching,” but I was bringing to her attention the other guys’ faults or just doing whatever it took to be with her. And I feel like if you want to be with a woman, that’s how you have to be. You have to really show her yourself. Buddha tried to do the opposite. He kind of said, “I’m so great that you should be chasing me.” Who the hell does he think he is?
You really ran the risk of alienating yourself from the viewing audience with your behavior early on in the show’s run.
I never really worried about the viewers or the audience or their perception. I think that’s the key difference between me and the other guys. A lot of them kept talking about the reunion while we were still in the house. I never even thought about the reunion. That is just so weird to me. I wasn’t worrying about making friends with all the guys. They were all worried like, “Oh man, how’s this gonna look when people see you?” I think even Punk said, “What are people gonna say when they see you spit in his face?” I’m not thinking about what other people think, I’m worried about what Tiffany thinks. These guys were so into the whole camaraderie, the whole fraternity, it’s like literally, I think they approached it more like they thought it was The Real World or a social experiment of guys living together. They really weren’t making any effort to be with Tiffany, at least in my eyes. It was almost like they thought it was a free vacation or something.
You entered the house already really into New York, right?
Oh, definitely. When I watched Flavor of Love, she was the girl right off the bat that I was attracted to. I like her physically but I also like her attitude. She’s really sassy, you know? She wears her emotions on her sleeve. She’s a very genuine person and you can really see that. She was very heartbroken after Flav, and then to have to see it again and then to have to see Tango do it to her. Especially when it happened with Tango, you see the pain in her eyes. She is such a wonderful woman and these guys keep playing her and it’s just like I don’t know if they see what they have in front of them.
If your relationship ends up working out, it will be a first for VH1 dating shows.
Well, I think the main difference is that with Tiffany, you could see the emotion. Otherwise, what’s the point? It’s just for TV, it’s just for money or whatever. It’s almost like this genre of reality dating is set up so 99 percent of the time it will fail. Unless there’s a real connection, it’s destined to fail. I just think [our success so far] shows our compatibility and how we were made for each other.
It also helps that you’ve been living together.
If you go on a show like this and you say you found your soul mate, how are you then gonna say OK, because you want to respect the confidentiality agreement or because we want to preserve ratings, we’re just not going to see each other? As soon as the two people say that, that’s when you know they are more interested in television then their relationship. I don’t know if it was three days or a week after filming wrapped, but we kinda said, “Forget this!” We were basically bad kids, you know what I mean? They tell us, “No no no. You can’t do this,” and we just say, “Forget you.” Love is not about following rules. There shouldn’t be limitations on love.
It must be different courting in public with cameras on you versus courting in private.
Oh, absolutely. Our time on the show is such an insignificant piece of our life together. The show is what brought us together, so I’ll always be grateful for it. However at the end of the day, it is very insignificant. We’ve been together now almost six months, and the show was four weeks. So much more happened outside of the show that people don’t and will never know.
And during this time, how have you been getting along? Tiffany you know, as we see on TV, is sort of emotionally volatile, have you been fighting at all?
I think you summed it up very well when you said “emotionally volatile.” That’s her in a nutshell and that’s what attracts me to her. I think the key is opposites attract. We have so much in common in terms of how we approach relationships in that we put our entire heart and our entire soul into a relationship. However at the same time, I think I’m a little bit more passive. They play me out to be a lot more passive on the show and they probably make her out to look a little more dominant than she really is. The show makes her out to be like she’s just the total dominant diva and puts man in their place and I’m just a totally subservient passive guy. I think I lean more toward that, but I think it’s not as dramatic as you see on television.
Are you aware of like the MySpace blog Buddha writes? On it, he implied that you and Punk were interested more in each other than in New York.
I didn’t read it, but I read about it in your interview with Punk. These guys are so obsessed with MySpace. Believe me, I don’t want to belittle MySpace because I know it’s a great forum for our fans, but it seems these guys had their MySpace pages set up even before the show. But regarding the Punk thing, that’s just bull. I just think it’s just sour grapes on Buddha’s part. One thing that really stood out to me was when Pretty came back from that incident with his sister, I heard Buddha say, “Don’t worry. We got your back.” And I’m like, what does he mean he has their back? He should have Tiffany’s back. Even when Buddha returned, the other guys were like, “Yeah! Buddha’s back! Game on!” Why do you want him back? Don’t you want to be with Tiffany? This is just one guy who’s gonna stand between you and her. They were all so into each other.
Some people have accused you of trying to buy Tiffany’s love.
I’ve read that and I just feel that it’s not about the cost of the gift, it’s about the thought that goes into it. That sounds clichéd, but those shoes [I gave her on the second episode], it’s not like I went into Nordstrom and said, “Give me the most expensive shoes you got.” I wanted something that really embodied who she was. Something that was sexy, something that was sassy. I used the metaphor that she was my Cinderella and I was her Prince Charming. It doesn’t have to do with your financial needs. Some of the guys did put thought into it. They drew a picture, they wrote a poem, whatever it was. But Buddha brought a teddy bear, and I just thought that was so…he just thinks he’s so great he doesn’t have to put any effort into it. It’s not about cost. I felt that me picking out those gifts like the shoes and the La Perla negligee and the fact that she liked them showed that I know who she is.
You work for Ecko, right?
Yes. I’m a planner for our retail division. Prior to the show, I worked for Calvin Klein and I had to actually resign from my job to come out and compete for Tiffany’s heart.
The show potentially films for up to a month and I asked for a leave of absence. They said, “Well, we have budget meetings coming up. There is no way you could miss them, and second of all we’re not going to give you a leave of absence to go on a reality show.” So I took a gamble and I quit my job and, obviously, it all paid off. So I took a few weeks off after the show to spend time with Tiffany and then I started interviewing. When I sat down with Ecko, the fact that I was on the show wasn’t looked down upon. Whereas if I took a job with a very buttoned-up company, they would have considered it a liability.
Watching the show, I thought you came from money.
Nah. My mother’s family, I wouldn’t call them affluent, but they live a comfortable lifestyle.
There was a part in the couple’s counseling episode when New York said she wanted you to get a penis implant…
Yes, that was interesting. I was kind of thrown off because the way they presented it was, “How would you feel if we asked you to do some elective plastic surgery?” I was thinking, what the hell would I need done? When they brought that up, I told her that I’ve never heard any complaints about my penis size, but because I am devoted to you, I’ll be willing to do whatever it takes.
How has it been introducing Tiffany to your daughter?
They get along very well. Tiffany’s almost like a big sister to her. They’re like two peas in a pod. They like to team up on me and make fun of me. My daughter has nothing but good things to say about her. I was pleasantly surprised. Just as it’s important that Sister Patterson approves of Tiffany’s choices in men, I think it’s equally important that my daughter has a good vibe with the woman in my life. And that’s the case, which is great.
So what are your plans for the future?
Well, New York’s 24-month ultimatum was a good idea. It’s key that we get to know each other outside of the show. That’s pretty much what we did over the course of the last six months. At this point, she knows I want to spend the rest of my life with her. And the feeling is mutual.
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I Love New York 2 show page