Monday, June 25, 2012

IF YOU HATE SNOOKI & KIM KARDASHIAN, MAYBE YOU CAN BE A REALITY STAR TOO!                                             By Barry Dutter

"Do you hate Snooki from Jersey Shore?"
This was the question posed by an ad on Craigs List in the spring of 2011. The ad was for a new show on the CW Network called H8ER. The premise of the show was that a celebrity would spend some time with the person that hated them the most. By the end of the episode, the celeb would try to convince the hater (or “H8ER”) not to despise them any more.
Among the polarizing celebs who had signed up for the initial episodes were Kim Kardashian, Joe Francis (of GIRLS GONE WILD fame), and of course, Snook-ums herself.
I decided to answer the ad. I should note here that I have nothing against Snooki. I actually thought the first couple of seasons of JERSEY SHORE were fairly entertaining. But for the sake of this job, I decided I would pretend to hate her.
The ad asked for any Snooki -haters to make a video of themselves explaining why they loathed the diminutive reality star so much. So I filmed myself ranting for a few minutes about how I was a real Jersey guy and Snooki wasn’t even from Jersey, and for that matter, she wasn’t even Italian! She was just a poser!
I sent the video in to the TV company that had placed the ad. Then I waited to see if I would get picked as the Number One Snooki-Hater.
I didn’t get picked for the Snooki episode. Sadly, I missed out on the Kim K. episode too. (I love Kim, but I would have pretended to hate her just to meet her!)
But I thought it might be fun to be on an episode of H8ER, even if I didn’t actually hate the celebrity who I would be appearing with.
In order to get on the show, I would need a partner. H8ER was a hidden camera show, where you set up your friend to be ambushed by the celeb they despise the most. Your friend is supposed to be surprised to find out that he is on TV and that he or she will be spending the day with their least favorite showbiz personality.
I’ve done enough reality TV to know that some hidden camera shows are fake -- that the person being pranked is often in on the prank, and they are just pretending to be surprised because it makes for good TV.
Why would any network have to fake a prank show? Well, the average man of woman on the street might not want to be on TV and might not be willing to sign a  release form, which means that a whole day of shooting and weeks of planning could be ruined by a person who simply refuses to sign off on their appearance on the show.
That’s why the first thing the casting department does on a show like H8ER is to place ads on Craigs List in the section advertising for actors. They never say they are looking for actors, but I think it’s pretty much implied. They might even say in the ad, “NO actors, we are looking for REAL PEOPLE.”
But I always answer those ads anyway. I figure, if they didn’t want actors, they wouldn’t have placed an ad in the section on Craigs List labeled "Gigs." My feeling is that if you get picked for one of these shows, all you have to do is tell them you’re not an actor.
I knew I wanted to be on H8ER. The only question was, who would I get to be on with me?
I asked my friend, Thomas, a 23-year-old L.A. resident who I had met when we both worked as extras on a movie. Thomas is Asian,m and the only reason I mention that is because it comes up in this story later.
We agreed that I would submit Thomas as the H8ER. The only question was, which celeb would he hate?
That night, I went home and looked at the H8ER ad that ran on Craigs List. There was a small list of celebs they were looking to feature on the show.
I called Thomas and read him the list.
The one name that popped out was mixed martial arts fighter Tito Ortiz. Thomas said the reason he hated Tito was because whenever he played his ultimate fighter video game, he would lose to Tito. I thought that was a funny reason to hate someone.
I sent in our pics to the casting department. We got called to come in for an audition a few days later.
At this point, Thomas was not supposed to know that he was going to be on H8ER. I had been instructed to tell him that we were auditioning for a “pop culture game show.” But I actually told Thomas the real deal. I figure it’s easier to get anyone to do something if you are honest with them.
Thomas had done his homework. He found out on Wikipedia that Tito had been accused of dodging tough fights and only taking easy ones. So he made sure to mention that in the audition. 
I chimed in with, "Thomas thinks he can beat Tito!" which was total B.S. --Thomas had never said that,  and I think the casting agent must have known it. But he really didn’t care.
And I totally understood why.
Imagine your job is to cast a show about people who hate celebrities. Suppose none of the people who try out for the show actually hate any celebrities. They’re just actors who are pretending to hate them so they can be on TV. But you still need people to be on the show.
What do you do? Simple. You cast them, and tell them to keep their mouths shut about not actually hating anyone.
That’s essentially what the casting agent for H8ER did for us. Basically he told us, “I don’t care if you guys are really friends or not. I don’t care if you’re actors. I don’t care if you really hate the celebrities or not. All I ask is that you can fake it all for the show.”
The bottom line is that 99% of the people who try out for TV shows are actors. So if you put an ad on Craigs List looking for people to be on your show, you’re going to get a  bunch of actors showing up whether they are willing to admit it or not.
It’s the unspoken secret of reality TV casting. It’s the showbiz equivalent of “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”
The casting agent liked Thomas and I and said he would like to put us on the show. As always, the final decision rested with the producers. If they gave the thumbs up, we were in.
About a week later, I got the call. We had been picked. I wasn’t supposed to tell Thomas that we were going to be on TV. Instead, I was supposed to invite to hang out for the day in Santa Monica. We were to go to a coffee shop, where I would give Thomas the good news that I had won a spa package for two. I was to announce that I was treating the two of us to free massages.
That’s when the trap was to be sprung. When Thomas lied down on the table at the spa, little would he suspect that the person coming out to rub his shoulders would be his arch-nemesis, Tito Ortiz!
Naturally I tipped Thomas off about the whole deal.
The day started off exactly as planned -- Thomas and I met up at the coffee shop in Santa Monica. But then  it all began to unravel.
Unbeknownst to us, the producers would sometimes film two different haters of the same celebrity. This gave them the freedom to be able to pick the best hater if one of the segments turned out to be a dud.
As Thomas and I were chilling at the coffee shop, the crew was busy shooting Tito at the spa with another unsuspecting dupe.
The spa shoot wound up going long. The production company only had access to the spa location for a limited amount of time, and it was running out fast.
We sat around for about two hours waiting for the signal to head over to the spa. All along, the production coordinator kept texting me saying to be patient and that it would happen soon.
At one point, Thomas got up and went inside the coffee shop to use the restroom. As soon as he was gone, the production coordinator ran over to me and said they had to abort our segment. She told me not to tell Thomas anything. Then she ran off and disappeared before Thomas got back.
When Thomas returned from the bathroom, he could tell something was amiss. I explained to him that the massages would not be happening, and that it was time for us to leave.
We were both pretty bummed about the whole thing. We had wasted a whole day in Santa Monica for nothing. Worst of all, they had sent us home at the peak of rush hour. This meant I would have a two-hour drive home.
Needless to say, that was not a fun ride.
As you might imagine, I was not in a good mood when I got home that night.
You can imagine my surprise when, later that night, I got a call from my contact on the show. She had some great news for: first of all, Thomas and I were both going to be paid for the Tito episode, even though we weren’t even going to be on it!
Secondly, we could both appear on a different episode of the show, and get paid for that, too. All we had to do was find another celebrity for Thomas to hate!
I was given a list of another half a dozen celebs that had agreed to appear on the show. Among the celebs on the new list were Real Housewife of DC Michelle Zalahi and Tila Teqila.
Thomas told me he really did hate Tila Tequila, and would love to have the chance to tell her so to her face. He and I were asked to come in for another audition. Basically, they needed to get Thomas on tape saying he hated this new batch of celebs. These tapes would then be used to convince the producers to put us on the show.
The second audition went just as well as the first. Thomas and I pretty much figured we would get picked for the Tila Tequila episode -- the idea of having an Asian guy hating on an Asian girl seemed too good to resist.
Sure enough, a few days later, we did get picked. Thomas was especially thrilled to be doing an episode with a so-called celeb who he actually despised, as opposed to Tito Ortiz, who he really didn’t have much of a beef with.
Once again, I was instructed to trick Thomas into another set-up, where he wasn’t supposed to know he was going on a show.
This time, I was told to inform Thomas that he had been picked to go on a TV talk show and offer his opinions about relationships.
On  the day of the shoot, we showed up at the studio to find that the producers had put a lot of work into pulling off this ruse. They had built a set for a cheesy TV dating show, complete with curtains, a logo, and a fake host.
The show within a show began with the host asking Thomas to join him on stage along with a female contestant (actually an actress who had been planted) for a lively discussion about dating in L.A.
I stood off to the sidelines and watched. The producers took me aside and said, “We find the show works best when it is just the hater and the celeb. If the hater knows his friend is standing nearby, it might change the way he acts.”
I told them I totally understood, as they ushered me backstage to a control room where the crew was watching the fake dating show on their monitors. While I was back there, I met the producer of the show, Mario Lopez, who gave me a very serious look and asked., “You didn’t tip him off, did you?“
I lied and told Mario I would never rat him out like that. Hey, what was I going to do, tell Mario the truth at that point?
Then I met the “star” of this episode, Miss Tila herself. (Actually, I should say I met her again, since I had already worked with the tiny Korean starlet a few months prior, when she was promoting her fake lesbian sex tape.)
Of course she didn’t remember me, which I guess was a good thing.
I filmed a quick segment with Mario and Tila where they asked me to predict how Thomas was going to react when Tila walked out on stage. I said, “This is gonna blow his mind. He is totally gonna freak out.” Then, with a nod to Miss Tila, I added, “He’s not a fan.”
At that point, Mario, Tila and I turned our attention back to the monitors, where things were getting very interesting on the fake dating show,
The conversation onstage was unscripted and very lively. Thomas may not have had any experience being on TV, but he carried himself very well. He wasn’t nervous at all; he was outspoken, and above all, honest.
The host steered the conversation toward various celebrities. He asked the “panel” what they thought about reality TV stars like Tila Tequila. Thomas was shot out of a cannon. He said he hated Tila Tequila, adding, “I don’t even like Oriental girls. I only date white girls. I’m not attracted to Oriental girls at all.”
Everyone backstage was shocked by this comment. First of all, we didn’t know anyone still used the word “Oriental.“ Weren’t we supposed to be calling them Asians now?
For another thing, to hear an “Oriental” guy saying he hated Oriental girls was so outrageous, it would definitely make for great TV.
No one was more stunned than Mario Lopez. He turned to the production crew and said, “What the fuck? He hates Oriental  girls? Does that mean he hates his mother?”
It was funny hearing squeaky-clean Mario Lopez curse. You definitely don’t expect that from the former star of SAVED BY THE BELL!
Back on stage, Thomas finished his rant against Miss Tila. It was time to spring the trap on him. That’s when Tila Tequila walked on stage and met her "hater" face to face.
Thomas was not surprised to see her, of course, but he played it off pretty well. He may not have had any acting experience, but he really didn’t need any to express his lack of fondness for the pint-sized sex goddess.
That’s when Mario Lopez popped out and revealed that this was actually an episode of H8ER. Mario asked if Thomas was willing to spend some time with Tila and see if she could get him to change his mind about her. Thomas said he was willing to give it a try.
And that is how young Thomas found himself on a TV date with the “Oriental” girl he hated the most in the world!
At this point, I was told that my part in the show was done and I was free to leave. I had planned on hanging around and watching the fireworks, but again, it was explained to me the show works better when the friend leaves and the hater is alone with the celeb. I totally understood, and besides, I was getting paid the same whether I stayed or left. I wished Thomas good luck and headed for home.
Thomas then went on his "dream" date with his least favorite celeb. Usually on H8ER, they would try to put the hater in a situation where they really get to see a different side of the celebrity -- observe their charity work, see them do some good deeds, even spend some time in the celeb’s actual  home.
But with Tila, it seems the only thing the writers could think of for her to do was to strip down to a bikini and act sexy.
I know she is famous for being a sex symbol, but you would think they could have used a  little more imagination! It’s like, “She’s hot -- let’s stick her in a hot tub!”
The date ended with Thomas and Tila in a swimming pool, kissing. Thomas told me later that Tila was the one slipping him the tongue.
He noted that Tila was the first “Oriental” girl that he ever kissed!
When the date was over, Thomas was asked if he still hated Tila. His feelings toward her hadn’t changed at all, despite the smooching session.
But the producers told him to say that he liked her now. It was a lie, but Thomas knew he was being paid well for this gig, so he played along.
This whole episode had started when Thomas and I lied about being friends, so it was somehow fitting that it end with a lie, too. I guess the lesson here is you can’t believe everything you see on reality TV.
And the lesson I learned for myself was this: when you are working  with Tila Tequila for the second time in a year, you are definitely doing way too much reality TV!

ADDENDUM: The TV series H8ER was one of the first casualties of the 2011 season. It was canceled after only three weeks, before our episode ever aired. Happily, we still got paid for both the Tito and the Tila episodes! You gotta  love show business!

ADDENDUM PART 2: Thomas still hates Tila Tequila. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

I SET SAIL ON A REAL LIFE LOVE BOAT Part Two: In which I lose and then reclaim my soul

(In Part One of this epic adventure, I was chosen to be one 10 people setting sale on a reality show set on a CRUISE SHIP! Now in Part Two, you get to find out if I really did find love (as most contestants on reality dating shows do!)

Day 3 started with the ship docking in Jamaica. All of the couples would be going ashore to have their island adventures filmed.
The two guys who didn’t get picked for dates -- myself and Eric the Boxer -- were free to go ashore and do as we pleased.
Eric told me his main goal that day was to eat some Jamaican jerk chicken. Beyond that, neither he nor I had any plans for our time ashore.
While riding the shuttle bus into town, we ran into two of our shipmates: a pair of hot Czech Republic girls who were planning to spend the day at the beach.
The shuttle bus arrived at the jerk chicken restaurant so Eric and I could get out. Here’s where Eric stepped up. He told the bus driver, “There’s been a change in plans. We’re going to the beach!”
Spending the day at the beach with these two hot bikini models sounded like fun to me, so I eagerly went along for the ride.
We spent the next few hours hanging out with Lucy and Simona, the two Czech cousins. The girls were friendly. Best of all, they actually seemed to enjoy our company -- unlike most of the girls on the TV show!
While Eric and I were splashing around in the warm waters of Jamaica with the two bikini babes, the rest of the contestants were enjoying their TV island dates. One of the couples went horseback riding. One climbed Dunn’s River Falls. Danielle and Guy wound up giving each other mud massages and then showering off together.
It was there that the producers finally got what they were dying for, as the couple kissed in an outdoor shower. (They were both wearing bathing suits.) This was the only hint of romance among all the contestants on the entire three-day cruise.
Danielle later confessed that she was surprised she had kissed guy, since he wasn’t exactly her type and she was not into PDA’s on national television. But she was having so much fun on her date, she had gotten caught up in the moment and just forgotten about the cameras for a  minute.
Around 2:00 PM, we all returned to the ship. Eric and I asked the Czech girls if they wanted to join us for dinner that night and they said yes. Awesome!
Eric went back to the cabin to take a nap. I wasn’t tired., so I headed out on deck to go for a swim and hit the hot tub. (I even grabbed a spare moment to climb the rock wall!)
All in all,  it was a very fun day. I got to do all then things you would normally want to do on a  cruise, and I didn’t have to do any work on the show.
Finally around 4PM, the cast and crew of the show started arriving back on the ship. A couple of crew-members saw me chilling in the hot tub and requested that I stick around so they could get my “hero shot.”
At the beginning of every episode of LOVE FOR SAIL, they planned to show scenes of the six guys looking all “handsome and manly.” One by one, each guy was filmed doing something active: swimming,  playing basketball, whatever made them look the most “heroic.”
For my hero scene, they wanted me climing out of the pool. I sucked in my stomach and held my breath as best I could. Ultimately, I think they were happier with a shot of me lounging in a chair by the pool. Compared to some of these younger guys in tip-top shape, I just didn’t look as impressive coming out of the pool.
After we finished our “hero shots,” the producers thought it would be funny if they showed Eric and I looking sad and moping, as if that was how we spent our day while everyone else was out on their Jamaica dates. One of the producers, a  very flamboyant man, thought it would be hilarious if Eric and I were showering together under the large outdoor shower by the pool. Eric and I both nixed that idea. It may have been funny to him, but it sounded really lame to us, and it in no way reflected how we actually spent our day, splashing around in the ocean with those two hot Czech girls.

The producers asked if we would be willing to lean against the ship’s railing and look contemplative. I knew they were trying to create a fake version of how we spent our day, but we agreed to go along with it because at least this version was much less humiliating than the “two guys showering together” version.
After that, it was time for more “confessional” footage of us guys talking about the girls. One by one, we were brought in front of a camera and asked to talk about how we felt about each girl. It was here that the producers really encouraged us to let it all hang out.
They were particularly interested in Eric and I trashing the girls, since they didn’t pick us.
I have to admit, at that point, I really didn’t care that we didn’t get picked for dates. We had just had an awesome day with the two Czech girls. It was true that none of the girls on the show wanted us -- so what? Who cared? At that point, we had found other girls we liked better.
But that didn’t fit the script of the show. The show was meant to be a fantasy from the woman’s point of view. It was four women picking the four guys they like best, and rejecting the two guys they didn’t like. If the two rejected guys went off and meet other hot girls and had a great time, that didn’t really fit the theme of the show, because then there were no “losers.”
The producers had noticed that the two blonde girls on the show had sort of formed their own little clique, and they decided to try to work this angle to get a rise out of me.
While being filmed for my interview, I was asked if I thought the blondes were too cliquish. I said yes. It did seem to me that they had broken away from the group to the exclusion of anyone else. I was asked if either of the two blondes had asked me a single question about myself.
I had to admit that neither of the two blondes had asked me any questions -- at least, none that I could recall.
They asked me if I thought the short blonde, Jen was “like the popular girl in high school who never grew up.” That thought had not occurred to me, but I could tell they wanted to stick a label on Jen and they were counting on me to do it. Like a mindless zombie, I repeated what they had just said: “I think Jen is like the popular girl in high school who never grew up.”
Then they asked me if I thought Jen was a bitch. I thought that was way too harsh. I really didn’t want to call anyone a bitch on national televisions. Just because a girl doesn’t want to date me, that doesn’t mean I think she's a bitch.
I muttered under my breath, “I guess she does have a little bit of a bitchy side…” But I really didn’t say it with any conviction. It wasn’t the strong condemnation they were looking for. I was hoping that they wouldn’t use it.
After I finished giving my assessment of all four girls, Eric had the idea that we should approach the producers and ask them if we could bring the Czech girls as our dates to the final dinner.
The producers pretended to consider our request, but really they hated it. It totally clashed with what they had in mind. Seemingly right on the spot, they concocted a very different plan for Eric and I to hatch our “revenge” on the girls who had “shunned” us.
Reality check time: I can’t stress enough that Eric and I had no interest at this point in attacking the four girls on the show. All we were thinking of at that point was spending more time with our two Czech bikini babes.
The executive producer sat us down and we had a little talk. He was so devious, he was like Machiavelli. He started off by telling us we could take the two Czech girls out to dinner, but he felt we still needed to confront the four girls on the show before that. He explained to us how the four girls on the show were so shallow and their standards so impossibly high that they would never really date any of the guys on the show. He told us how the girls were a huge disappointment to everyone, how they were so boring and so not fun, they were ruining the show.
He told us, “The audience is going to hate these girls. Now here’s your chance to come in and set them straight. Tell them what they’re doing wrong with their love lives. Really let them have it. Pull no punches. Tell them how you really feel. The audience will love it. You’ll be heroes!”
It occurred to me that the actions he was describing were more the types of things that a villain would do, not a hero.
Over the course of the cruise, I had kind of gotten used to the idea of me being the “Bad Guy,” the guy who trashes the girls behind their backs.
But this would be different. This would be trashing them to their faces.
I suddenly became very uncomfortable with the idea of being the “Villain.” But Eric was embracing it. He relished the idea to get some major screen time and really tell these girls how it felt to be ignored and shot down.
The producers were suddenly fired up. They felt they had a pretty boring show overall, but here was their chance to make things explode! But it had to happen now! The girls were busy getting ready for their big formal dinner date. This was the last chance for Eric and I to burst into their suite and really let them have it.
A camera crew was summoned. Eric and I were rushed into an elevator and up to the girls’ suite. The time for the final confrontation had arrived!
I felt very uncomfortable with the whole situation. As we knocked on their door, I really did not want to be there. This was the first time on the whole cruise that the producers had asked me to do something that was really against my grain.  At that moment, the girls were busy getting all dolled up in their most glamorous gowns. They were putting the finishing touches on their hair and make-up when Eric and I barged in.
Amy, the biracial girl, answered the door. She had no clue what was going on, at that point. She said that the other girls were not ready yet but that they would be out shortly.
One of the crew suggested that Eric should take Amy over to the couch and speak his mind. I knew that I was not needed for that conversation, so I chose to sit back and wait for the other girls to come out.
I was greatly relieved that I did not have to go first. I  was more than happy to stay far in the background while Eric did his thing. I have a natural aversion to confrontation of any sort, and I certainly don’t like getting into contrived confrontations where I’m supposed to rag on some girls for not picking me for a date.
The reality as, I didn’t feel that the girls deserved to be ragged on, any more than I would want them ragging on me. When you got right down to it, it really came down to the girls not being attracted to me or not feeling any chemistry with me. I’m supposed to rag on them for that?
All I could think of was that the girls were having a relaxing time, getting ready for one last date, and Eric and I had been sent in there to essentially ruin their night before it even started.
I wasn’t sure I could do that. At the same time, the producers were paying me to be there, and I did feel some obligation to do as I was told. The question was, could I give them the in-your-face confrontation they were pushing for?
Eric started off critiquing Amy, telling her how he thought she was a typical stuck-up L.A. girl.
Then Jen came out and walked toward me. Her first thought was, why weren’t Eric and I getting our tuxes on for the formal dinner?
I explained to Jen that Eric and I would not be attending the final dinner. She shot back, “I’m not okay with this. We all started this together and we’ll finish it together.”
Freeze frame for a second here. This was the girl I had spent the past three days saying bad things about. I really thought she hated me. Now here she was, defending me. I felt like the biggest jerk of all time.
She was ready to go to the producers and demand that Eric and I be allowed to attend the final dinner. I tried to explain to Jen that really, we were okay with not going to the dinner. I mean, really, why would two single guys want to tag along on a date with four couples any way? Especially when we had plans to meet up with our bikini models anyway?
I explained to Jen that Eric and I were cool with not going to the final dinner, because we had lost the competition. Jen fired back, “This wasn’t a competition!”
I thought that was a very odd statement coming from Jen, who had previously been on BIG BROTHER -- another reality competition show. I mean, I know we weren’t competing for a million dollars here, but there were still winners and losers.
Eric and I had lost. And now it was our turn to play “sore losers.”
Danielle came out of her bedroom and joined us. All the girls looked very beautiful in their glittery gowns. They really wanted to shine for their final night on the cruise. The two blondes and myself walked over and joined Eric and Amy on the couch.
Eric started ripping into the blondes, saying they had been  rude to him, they had ignored him, they had treated him like a second-class citizen. He was being honest with how he felt.
He was also embracing his role as the “villain” of the show. Between this outburst and his disrobing in the hot tub, he figured he would have the two most buzzed-about scenes in the episode.
The mood in the room got ugly real quick. The blondes did not appreciate Eric tearing into them like that. The girls felt this was not the time or place to have this discussion.
Danielle and Jen both excused themselves. They said they did not deal with drama well, and in the interests of maintaining their dignity, they would not continue this conversation. Both girls got up and went back to their bedroom.
At that point, Eric was done speaking. He said goodbye to Amy, and he headed out the door. As soon as Eric was gone, Danielle and Jen came back out to talk to me.
I knew I couldn’t do it the way Eric did it. Brutal honestly is not my forte, especially when it come to women. I really don’t enjoy hurting people’s feelings, and I know with women, in particular, you have to very careful about what you say. 
I was still thinking I could try to give the producers some of what they wanted -- maybe just a kinder, gentler version. I felt like a sniper who had been sent to assassinate the girls. It was as if I had a gun hidden in my pocket and they never saw it coming!
I thought to myself, “Great. Now the producers are expecting me to bring on Round Two.” I felt like an assassin who had a gun hidden under his jacket and was planning to come out shooting. And the girls never saw it coming!
Jen told me she was having a mini-panic attack. She said she had had similar reaction when she was on Big Brother, and that she just didn’t deal well with being ambushed like that.

I started off by giving the girls a little good-natured ribbing about them not picking me. All of the girls said they would have picked me if they had been given the chance to have one more date, which is one of things that is very nice to say, but kind of hard to prove.
Then I asked the girls why they had come on the cruise. 
The fourth girl, Rachel, had finished getting ready and joined the conversation. She said that she had been through a  break-up recently and thought she might be open to dating again, but over the course of the cruise, she had found she just wasn’t ready yet.
I asked the girls if there was anything they were looking for in man that they didn’t see in our group.
What I wanted to say was, “Women generally are attracted to really successful and powerful men and there weren’t any super-successful men in our group, but if there had been maybe you would have been more excited about the guys on the ship.”
But I couldn’t say that. After what Eric had said to the girls, I didn’t want to say anything else to upset them. I just didn’t feel like they deserved it.
The best I could do was to ask Jen how she could say she enjoys the single life if she hadn’t had a date in six months, and to ask Danielle if she would have been happier if one of the guys had been a tall baseball player.
In every case, the girls offered very logical, very well thought out explanations for why they were there and what they were looking for. Danielle argued that she wouldn’t automatically fall for a guy just because he was tall and played baseball. “He might be an ass,” she noted.
I spoke to the four girls for about 30 minutes. All along the producers were waiting for me to drop the bomb on them, the way Eric had. They slowly realized that Eric and I are two very different people, and that I was not capable of delivering the type of left hook that Eric the boxer had.
After suffering through 30 minutes of me chatting with the girls in my non-confrontational manner, the producers realized this was going nowhere. One of them came over and whispered to me, “You’re just interviewing the girls. Tell them how you really feel!”
How did I really feel at that moment? I felt like I had a great time hanging out with the Czech bikini models on the beach in Jamaica, and I wasn’t going to stay mad at these TV girls for not being into me.
If the producers had asked me to go in there and do a sarcastic“Top Ten Reasons Why You Should Have Picked Me,” I would have been happy to do that.
I mean, they had picked me to be on the show because they thought I was a funny guy in my audition. To ask me to be on a cruise because you like my personality and then to try to get me to be this bitter, angry guy on the cruise -- that just wasn’t my style.
I guess I’m really not the best person for this type of reality show, because I don’t want to fight with anyone.
Instead of ripping into the girls and giving them hell for not picking me, I ended the segment by wishing them all good luck, giving each one of them a hug, and then I was on my way.
Did I give the producers what they wanted? No. Not even close.  Did I make great TV? Nope. But I like to think of that as the moment that I regained my soul. I had been pushed to the brink of evil -- and I had passed the test.
(I like to think I am basically a decent person who sometimes is tempted to go over to the dark side but at the end of the day, I really don’t want to hurt anyone.)
I had walked into that suite as a hit man hired to do four character assassinations. But I walked out as a man who kept his conscience clean.
I had failed to pull the trigger, and I felt pretty good about that.
I went back to my cabin and found Eric there, getting ready to go out. I wondered if Eric felt bad about they way things had gone down between him and the girls. He told me his only regret was that the producers had not allowed him to change from his beach-wear into his nicer clothes before the big confrontation."If I had my suit on,I would have come across as being more authoritative," he said.
Eric and I grabbed a bite to eat, as the TV crew filmed the final dinner date with the four couples.
The Czech bikini models did not join us for dinner, unfortunately. But we did run into them later at a dance party out on the deck. I also caught up with Nicole, the cute girl from Pennsylvania I had been trying to hook up with the night before.
It was kind of a weird dynamic with me bouncing back and forth between the two Czech girls and the Nicolel. I kind of sensed that nothing was going to happen with the Czech girls. Even though they were prettier, I decided to focus most of my energy on the Pennsylvania girl.
At around midnight, Eric and I headed into the disco where we met up with the rest of the gang. I was worried there might be some tension between Eric and the girls, but Eric made his peace with the girls and they chose to forgive him.
I joined my cast-mates in the disco and found a lot of affection coming my way. Jen  told me they all felt bad that I had missed the final dinner with the gang, and that they had done a toast in my honor.
I couldn’t believe she was being so nice to me. This was the girl I had been sent to rip apart, and here she was giving a toast in my honor!
I really felt like a scumbag because I knew I had said some mean things about her on the days prior before my redemption. I knew I would have to take her aside at some point and apologize to her later and explain that I had been coerced into saying some things that I really didn't mean.
At one point, we all headed to the dance floor for a group dance scene. This was the most fun I had on the whole trip. It was just the ten of us, strutting our stuff on the dance floor.
The girls seemed to be going out of their way to be extra nice to me since they hadn’t picked me for the last date. Eric and I were delighted when the Czech girls showed up and joined us on the dance floor.
The Czech girls were very sweet, but you could kind of tell they weren’t looking to hook up with anyone. Then Nicole the Pennsylvania girl showed up. I really felt that she represented my best possible chance of hooking up on the ship on my final night.
At one point, I called Nicole over to the bar and bought her a drink. As were talking, a cameraman rushed over to capture our conversation on film. A production assistant ran over with a  release form for Nicole to sign so they could put her on the show.

As soon as she saw the camera, Nicole froze up. She agreed to sign the release form, but she confessed she was shocked to find out I been wearing a hidden microphone the whole time we had been talking. (All of the cast-members were miked for any scene where we would be talking on the show,)
Nicole acted like she had been betrayed, like I had tricked her into being on the show. I found her reaction bizarre. I had told her ahead of time that we were being filmed in the disco that night.
I guess she was upset because didn’t realize that the whole time she was talking to me that night, there was most likely someone on the production end listening to our conversation and deciding when to send the cameraman over. I apologized to Nicole and explained that I had not been trying to trick her or set her up. She stayed and hung out with me for the rest of the night, but she never really forgave me for what she perceived as a betrayal.
For the next few hours, me and all the other cast-members of the show hung out, drank heavily, and danced, along with the Czech girls and Nicole.
The night wound down, and the club started emptying out. As the bartender gave last call and the music stopped, I asked Nicole if I could walk her back to her cabin. (Nicole was probably the only girl on the whole ship who had her own cabin, so I figured we could have, er, ahem, some "private time."!)

Nicole and I strolled along the deck, stopping and looked out at the waves. The full moon shone bright over the water. This would normally be the part where the guy kisses the girl before heading back to her cabin.
Instead, Nicole thanked me for a good night and said she was going back to her cabin alone. I wasn’t sure what was happening. I mean, why would she hang out with me all night if she didn’t want to at least have a little smooching session at the end of the night?
Nicole explained that she was still mad about me having “tricked” her into being on TV. I thought she was being ridiculous, I hadn’t tricked her at all, I had been very honest about everything since we met.
But whatever. If she didn’t want to make out with me, I wasn’t going to force the issue. I said good night and went to bed.
It's funny. When you watch a reality dating show, all you see are couples hooking up. But there was no love to be found on the final night of this "love boat."
The next morning, three of the four girls on the show got up early and flew home.
The only girl who was left behind was Danielle, the tall blonde who I had found to be the prettiest girl on the show. I knew I would have to take a moment to apologize to her when I had a chance.
One by one, the remaining cast members and I filmed our exit interviews from the ship. The host of the show was busting my chips about me being a “dating expert” who struck out on the romance cruise.
I explained that you can’t force someone to like you. I didn’t have strong chemistry with the girls on the show, but I had met several other girls on the cruise and had a great time. In  retrospect, I think that was exactly how a “dating expert” should leave a show -- being realistic about his prospects and confident in his abilities at meeting women, whether they are on the show or not.
As we disembarked in Grand Cayman, me and the other guys met a couple of the girls who were boarding to film the next episode. Of course, we all fell in love with the next group of girls, convinced that we had been on the wrong episode, that we would have had much better luck with this next group instead of the ones that we had sailed with.
We saw the next group of guys waiting to board, as well.
All of them seemed to be in their mid-twenties. All of them had tanned skin and dark hair and muscular physiques. There was not a 47-year-old to be found among them.
We had to wonder if attempts were being made to sex up the show after our sexless episode. Were they going for younger guys, trouble-makers? Were they looking for girls who were more flirtatious?That certainly seemed to be the case.
All of the male cast-members on our episode, along with Danielle, would be flying home together. Over the course of the day, I tried making small-talk with Danielle, but she seemed to want nothing to do with me.
As we headed for the airport, Dave the bodybuilder admitted to Danielle that he had said some things about the girls on the show that he regretted. I took advantage of this opportunity to apologize to Danielle once again.
Danielle said she understood it was a reality show and that people can be manipulated. (She herself had been manipulated into kissing Guy, so she understood how the game was played.)
Still, one could hardly blame Danielle for basically avoiding Dave and I for the rest of the day. I mean, essentially, I had told her, “I will be nice to you to your face but I trash-talked you behind your back.” What girl is going to want to hang out with a guy who admits that?
Whenever someone acts like a total asshole on reality TV, they always blame the editing. I would say that my episode of  LOVE FOR SAIL was definitely a case where they could have chosen to portray me as a total jerk or they could have portrayed me as a sweet, funny guy.
It all depended on how they edited it.
But no matter how the show was edited, I knew the truth about what really happened -- how some manipulative TV producers tried to tempt me to become something I’m not, but in the end, I stayed true to myself and emerged as a decent, if flawed guy.
I hadn’t expected the cruise to be such a revelatory experience for me. It was a voyage of highs and lows, but overall, I’m glad I went. I actually kept in touch with most of the guys on the show and formed some enduring friendships. (Not so much with the girls!)
Finally I had lived my dream of getting paid to party on a TV reality show. It wasn’t anything like what I thought it would be -- I was expecting intense hot tub make-out sessions, but that didn't happen, and I didn’t get to use any of the condoms I had brought.
Because of the heavy-handed manipulation on the part of the producers, I came away feeling like I would never want to do a show like that again. But honestly, if the opportunity comes up again, I probably would.

EPILOGUE: About six months later I got the word that Lifetime had chosen not to air my episode of LOVE FOR SAIL. I think ultimately they decided that an episode of a reality dating show with no fights and no sex was just too boring. I think with some decent editing, they could have put together a semi-entertaining 44-minute show, but in the long run, it would not have given reality TV fans the drama they were looking for. The network actually canceled the entire series after airing only 2 episodes in prime-time. I guess a three-day cruise just isn't enough time for anyone to fall in love. Maybe they should have given us a full week!