When 25 women are competing for one man, it's a good idea to make a grand entrance. Even when it's on the show "The Bachelor," and The Bachelor is a friendly, down-to-earth guy like Ben Flajnik of Sonoma.

It worked for Lindzi, a bachelorette from Seattle, who rode in on a horse to meet Flajnik at the Bachelor mansion. It was one of a few moments that seemed to have romantic potential on the show Monday night on ABC, the first episode of the season starring Flajnik.

"Can I help you down from there?" Flajnik asked.

"Yes," Lindzi replied. "You're cute."

"You're beautiful," Flajnik said.

Flajnik later gave Lindzi the "first impression" rose, signaling that she was welcome to stay for anther week. "I'm not giving this to you because of the horse," Flajnik said. "I liked the conversations that we had. You seem down to earth, and I like funny girls."

Another woman, Brittney, brought her grandmother along, who sat down with Flajnik and told him about Brittney's good qualities. When Flajnik walked her to the limo, the grandmother said she hoped to see him next on her Brittney's wedding day.

Flajnik seemed a bit overwhelmed, and appeared to let the women take the lead in making small talk out of the limo.

"I've got a lot of wonderful women, and this is just going to be ridiculous," Flajnik said. "This is going to be so hard."

"I have the biggest crush on you," said Courtney, a model, after stepping out of the limousine in sparkling heels. "I like your hair," she said.

"That is a pretty girl," Flajnik said as Courtney strode away.

But Courtney showed she didn't feel quite as friendly toward her fellow contestants in an in-the-moment interview to the cameras.

"Screw you and the horse you rode in on," Courtney said.

Few sparks seemed to fly in the first hour and a half of the show, except perhaps between the female contestants. Monica and Blakely snuggled on the couch, and the bachelorettes cooed and speculated whether the two women were making out.

And Jenna, a blogger from New York City who writes about love and relationships, clashed with Monica over an unspecified disagreement that grew uncontrollably as the minutes passed. Rachel tried to intervene and make peace between the women, but she didn't get very far.

On Twitter, fans reacted. "I think Jenna needs to blog it out," one wrote. "Someone get Jenna some Xanax!!!" tweeted another.

Flajnik was more sympathetic, and in the end gave Jenna a rose, the signal that she can stay for another week, despite not seeming to have a meaningful connection.

"I know what it's like to be in Jenna's shoes, and there are a lot of nerves," Flajnik said.

Jenna spent a lot of time in the bathroom, crying.

"I'm not the girl who is like wanting fame out of this," Jenna whimpered. "I'm the girl who got hurt out of this."

Undoubtedly, she won't be the only one.

You can reach Staff Writer Cathy Bussewitz at 521-5276 or cathy.bussewitz@pressdemocrat.com.