“And the stories only mine to live and die with
A couple of months ago I matched with a woman on a dating app whose job title was listed as “Casting” for FOX television. I found her attractive and her profile interesting so I messaged her--not thinking too much about her job.
We started talking and eventually she mentioned a new dating show FOX is creating titled, “Untitled Love Story” (the name is still in the works). She asked if I’d be interested in being one of the men on the show.
My initial reaction was “hell no”, and used some cheesy line like, “only if you won’t go out with me”. I took a shot, right?
After thinking about it, I decided to hear what they had to say. It was pitched to me as different from the bachelor--a smaller cast, folks in their 30s rather than 20s, the ability to work remotely during taping, etc.
I decided to consider it, confided in a few close friends and family for advice, and eventually agreed to go through the interview process.
I mean, why the hell not? It’s not like I’ve just been killing it in the dating world. It's more than that, though. I love saying yes to new adventures and new possibilities. Knowing I can always say no later if I start to feel uncomfortable.
So I taped a Skype interview, learned the producers were interested, and waited to hear more.
Then last week I received a call--FOX wanted to bring me out to LA to meet the producers so they could narrow it down to the final 10-12 men. But first I had to sign a contract...
They proceeded to send me a 27 PAGE CONTRACT. Removing all my rights to anything I say, write, or create as part of the show--and giving them the right to edit all of it as they see fit. All of which was to be expected. Then I got towards the end, and there they required I agree to: genetic testing, fertility testing, mental acuity testing, AND give them the right to talk about it all on the show.
Now, I’m a pretty open guy. I don’t mind being upfront with my struggles, with my successes, and with the processes of change I’m going through. But even I have a limit. Turns out it starts with my sperm count...
At the end of the day, it’s not so much about what they’re asking me to divulge publicly. It’s how--without any creative license of my own. With no input, opinion, or engagement.
They want to tell my story for me.
We don’t ever get to tell our entire story for ourselves. We don’t exist alone in the world, and as long as that is true others will help us tell our stories. For better or worse, it’s what being in relationship is all about.
But no one, and I mean no one, gets to tell our entire story. And that’s what FOX’s contract wanted: the right to tell my entire story to the world.
I believe I'm a good storyteller. Whether it’s helping an organization tell their story to the world or walking through life with friends and family discovering new ways to tell our stories, it’s what I’m most passionate.
As a therapist by education, I’ve seen what happens when our ability to tell our stories is taken away. I’ve seen the trauma, the pain, the impact of such a loss of control.
I’ll be damned if anyone other than me, Sam, and my friends and family get to tell the world who I am.
I have a deep desire to fall in love, but I want it to be with someone who wants to create a new story together, not at the hands of some Hollywood TV executives.
Because love deserves the right to tell its own story, too.
I don’t mind talking about sex. Not anymore, anyway. I’ll bring it up on dates, in bars, at work and, well, at the doctor’s office.
I mean, the doctor’s office is where you’re supposed to talk about it, right? It seems foolish in 2018 not to ask questions and get tested on a regular basis.
SIDE NOTE: Seriously, if you’re sexually active PLEASE GET TESTED. It’s easy, it’s fast, and it’s IMPORTANT!
Recently I went in for a doctor’s appointment and, as I do every year, got tested and talked with my doctor about sex.
I won’t lie, we both laughed as she started to blush a bit, but it also got me thinking: why is sex so scary to talk about? Why do we have an internal reaction so strong that our faces turn red, our bodies squirm, and we struggle to express ourselves?
Part of it goes back to religion--Christianity is notorious for causing fear and shame around sex.
It’s not just religion though. As I’ve ventured further outside the religion of my childhood, I’ve found it’s still a difficult topic. Non-religious folks may have more sex, but they aren’t necessarily talking about it more often.
The main reason this scares me is I don’t trust secrecy, as it is the playground of toxic guilt and shame.
It’s the stories left untold, the wounds left unhealed, and the dark crevices of our existence that hinder us the most. That keep us from growing and becoming more fully who we’re meant to be.
In other words, when sex is a secret--when it’s left quiet and hidden--it’s almost impossible to live as our most sexual (and most real) selves.
In secrecy it’s impossible to heal our places of shame around sexuality.
I don’t know how many of you have watched the most recent version of Queer Eye (on Netflix), but I love it. Those men come across so deeply themselves--authentic to what’s most real inside.
I know it’s TV and editing is a powerful tool, but I wish for all of us to live so fully into our true selves. To appreciate and exist in our sexuality. To talk openly about sex, how complex it is, and how much we love it.
You can’t cut off one part of who you are and be totally yourself. If even one piece of you is hidden, the rest will be only a fraction of what it was meant to be.
So get out there, y’all, make some doctors and friends and family BLUSH. Talk about sex, where you struggle, and what feels good.
Oh and can someone in Hollywood please quit acting like sex is always so smooth and un-awkward? There is nothing more in-authentic than sex on TV and in the movies. It’s awkward, it’s funny, and it still feels damn good.