Lents neighborhood native and David Douglas graduate Joe Torgerson goes to New Orleans for 'Are You the One?'

COURTESY: MTV - Joe Torgerson, soon to be 24, had a series of failed relationships before trying to find love through MTV's 'Are You the One?'For those not yet worn out on network reality television, what with all of its high-pitched bleeps censoring swear words, catch local 20-something Joe Torgerson on MTV's "Are You the One?"

The first episode aired last week. It airs on television at 10 p.m. PT on Wednesdays, and free episodes can be found online at afterward.

The show, in its sixth season, uproots the Lents neighborhood native and places him in a mansion in New Orleans so that he might find the woman of his dreams, who is pre-selected by show experts.

The experts put 22 adults in the house — 11 men and 11 women — with the idea that each will naturally gravitate to his or her pre-determined "perfect match."

It's unclear how the show's experts determine this, but Torgerson, a David Douglas High School graduate, gave some insight.

"I answered 5,000 questions and sat in front of doctors — they knew what I needed. The past eight years in the dating world just hasn't worked," Torgerson says in a phone interview.

After a series of failed relationships, including a relationship with a girl who was on season 5 of the show, the former member of Jehovah's Witnesses decided to try the "Are You the One?" for himself. The show's season been taped so he can't divulge much about what actually goes on, but he talks a little bit about his thought process in landing his match.

"My whole strategy was not to rush into anything, and not just jump into bed with anyone — to take my time and figure it out," Torgerson says. He says he didn't have any shame about any of his tumultuous past, coming from a deeply religious family.

He was in a "god-awful toxic relationship" for four to five years with a girl from 16 to the time he stopped being a Jehovah's Witness at 21.

"Neither of us really knew how to treat someone we cared about, we like cheated on each other," he says. "After that finally ended, I didn't really know what to do. I didn't have trouble meeting girls, but I didn't really know how to have a relationship with one."

COURTESY: MTV - 'Are You the One?' airs on television at 10 p.m. PT on Wednesdays, and free episodes can be found online at afterward.And, while on the show, he did learn more about himself outside of trying to meet his match.

The house didn't allow internet, phone or television.

"I definitely learned a lot about myself by being there. Just there with people and all you can really do is explore yourself," Torgerson says. "I felt like (before the show) I was replacing things that actually mattered with social media and texting — superficial things. It was great to test myself to be a real person for 10 weeks."

If the shows experts successfully match all 22 men and women, the show's contestants would split $1 million.

The show hasn't managed that feat yet, when all matches end up together. But Torgerson wasn't particularly worried about winning money. In his spare time, he takes classes at Oregon State University, grows medical marijuana and referees high school water polo, and says he has enough cash flow.

He's just ready to find that someone special.

"I've had a horrible past with relationships, and I felt like I was finally ready to be with one person. I'm pretty successful financially in my own ways. If I lost, if I found love, I would still feel like I won," he says.

But there's only one way to find out if he did: Watch the show.

Lyndsey Hewitt
Reporter, Portland Tribune
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