Next Wednesday night, The Bachelor's Byron Velvick awards the final rose to Mary or Tanya. How did the 40-year-old bass fisherman narrow his choice down to these two ladies? Two words, kids: Niceness counts.

"Both of them weren't really malicious toward other people," Velvick says. "They weren't doing a lot of attacking and they weren't caught up in the drama of the house.

"Tanya put it best when she said, 'I'm a schoolteacher for special-ed. children. This is nothing compared to some of the classrooms I've been in.' Both she and Mary are just kindhearted women who showed they could be extremely gracious under difficult conditions. They were more stable."

By now, Bachelor fans hardly need to be reminded of the show's dismal relationship success stats. But just to be wicked, we'll do it anyway! So far, the previous five Bachelor fellas all broke up with their chosen ones, while the two Bachelorette gals have held onto their men. Is Velvick confident of enjoying greater romantic longevity than his predecessors?

"We are officially engaged," he confirms, "so I take [my relationship] seriously. I didn't watch the show before, so I didn't get in this to set or break a record. I don't feel the pressure to be the first to succeed.

"I think I found a great partner," the pragmatic outdoorsman continues. "I hope that I've met the one, but we haven't been a normal couple yet, without the cameras and the media around. I think she absolutely has potential, and this media thing will die soon enough. It's probably 11 or 12 minutes counting down into our 15 minutes. It's all going to fizzle away and then we'll see."

While Velvick doesn't exactly say no to a possible televised wedding, he sounds reluctant, and is quick to point out that his maybe-bride-to-be is no Trista Rehn. "I don't see her as seeking the limelight or promoting the hell out of herself," he says. "There were girls like that on the show. They didn't last very long."