Love him or hate him (and we think we can guess which of those you would choose), Bachelorette Season 5 and Bachelor Pad contestant Wes Hayden certainly has a way with the ladies. He talked to us about his dating life when we spoke to him at the Bachelor reunion in NYC on Saturday, January 29, and he also explained why things went so horribly wrong with Jillian.

Credit: © 2011 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Photo: Wes Hayden Arrives at the Bachelor Reunion in NYC on January 29, 2011

Wetpaint: I never thought I’d be saying this to Wes, but you were kind of a sweetheart on Bachelor Pad. Did you make a conscious effort to soften your image?
Wes: No, actually I didn’t. I think that they focused more on the human side of me than they did on The Bachelorette. We all got those good qualities, dude — know what I mean? I might be a little rugged guy from Texas, but I got a heart. I want to fall in love. I want all these things, too.

WP: Has fan reception been different for you since the new show?
Wes: You know what? Here’s what the crazy thing is. When I did The Bachelorette, I had so many fans that loved me because they thought I was the most real guy that they’ve ever seen on the show. I spoke my mind. And then I had people that hated me. It was one extreme or the other. It was like, “Man, we love this guy,” or “We hate this guy.” But I would say that I had just an amazing fan base after Bachelorette, but the Bachelor Pad, what it did was it won over a lot of the people that weren’t sure about me on The Bachelorette.

WP: Did you have a connection with Jillian?
Wes: I liked Jillian a lot, and I still think she’s a sweetheart. I just didn’t get to spend the time with her to make a girlfriend.

WP: So did you have a girlfriend?
Wes: I didn’t. I had no girlfriend then. That was all part of the big shebang. There’s a lot of things that goes into the editing. But no, I never had a girlfriend.

WP: There always seem to be rumors about your dating life. How has dating changed since being on the show?
Wes: Dating is… I don’t date much, you know what I’m saying?

WP: What do you mean?
Wes: I’m gone a lot. I’m off working and playing shows and gigs, which I’ve been doing for a long time. But even after the show, it’s gotten me out of Texas into other states, and I’m always gone. I really don’t have time for a relationship.

WP: So you’re not looking for a girlfriend right now?
Wes: You know what — if it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t happen, then it’ll happen when it’s supposed to happen.

WP: And you haven’t been getting any drinks thrown in the crotch anymore?
Wes: You know, not as of yet. Let’s see how the rest of this night pans out.

WP: Do you watch the new season of The Bachelor?
Wes: I’m not really watching this season.

WP: How’s the music career going?
Wes: It’s great, music’s great. We’re doing our fourth record right now in Nashville, and everything’s real good.