WORTHINGTON -- He's a ten (Haken).
Worthington native Paul Ten Haken has been named as a finalist in Redbook's America's Hottest Husbands Contest.
Ten Haken's wife, Jill, of Rock Valley, Iowa, nominated him for the competition about six months ago, but they were both surprised to learn he had made the cut for the top 22 in the nation.
"It was just a really sweet gesture on her part," Ten Haken said of his wife of 10 years. "I thought of the thousands of nominations that it wasn't really going to go anywhere. I was surprised and embarrassed, really. ... I'm kind of humble and it seems kind of showy. I didn't want it to come across that way."
"When I found out, the first person I called was his mother. I knew she would get a kick out of that," explained Jill.
She said her nomination began as a personal gesture.
"I was definitely not expecting to get contacted by Redbook," she admitted.
But now that Paul is in contention for a trip to Antigua, Jill is having a bit of fun with the contest, and has even created a Facebook page -- "Vote for Paul in Redbook's HH Contest" -- to encourage folks to vote for her handsome hubby on the magazine's Web site.
"I tell people that they need to vote, and I say 'Do it for my pale, frozen skin,'" joked Jill.
Paul is president of Click Rain, an online marketing company, and Jill is the director of marketing for a technology company. Though the couple now lives in Sioux Falls, S.D., with daughter Jade, 4, and son Max, 1, Paul said his family still makes frequent trips to his hometown. His parents, Lyle and Beth Ten Haken, still reside there.
"I think the memories I have in Worthington really revolve around the friends I made there," he said, recalling times spent golfing or enjoying Lake Okabena. "It just was a great place to grow up; we like the fact that we're still close to home."
In her nomination letter, Jill writes about her husband's qualities as a detective.
"Paul worked at a sporting goods store where I was a customer. He knew I went to the local university, so he called around until he found a mutual friend who gave him my number!" she wrote.
"One of my co-workers had been talking to her and I said 'Who is that girl?' and he couldn't remember her name but he knew where she went to school," remembered Paul, who was then a student at Dordt College.
After he tracked her down, the couple dated for 11 months before Paul proposed in front of 3,000 people at a basketball game. And after more than a decade together, Jill said she still can't believe what a genuine person he is -- and a great dad to boot.
"Every evening when Paul gets home from work, he'll take our daughter, Jade, to the park to get popsicles for dessert. He doesn't even like popsicles; he just likes making people happy!" she wrote.
Jill said she doesn't want the true purpose of the contest to get lost in the superficial.
"What makes my husband even more good-looking is that he has no idea exactly how hot he really is," she said. "The moral of the contest is being just as good-looking on the inside as they are on the outside."
"I feel vain even talking about it," said Paul. "I'm just really thankful that my wife did that. It just reinforces how much she likes me, which just makes a guy feel good."
On the Net:
Voting ends March 19.