I managed to catch some of the last season of the Discovery Channel’s weirdly good idea Naked and Afraid, and it struck me while watching that it reminded me of the job I do every day; or more accurately, the job that my clients are doing that I am helping them do, ie. get divorced.
The concept of the show is pretty simple: two people, a man and a woman, are dropped off in a wilderness location, and they have to survive for 21 days. They don’t have any food or shelter, and—the big kicker—they are butt-naked. This is where we are with reality TV in 2015: butt-naked survivalism. But I digress.
One reason among many is that once I watched the show I decided it was a fantastic metaphor for divorce. Another reason is that if I insist the show is about divorce, when I’m watching it later I can call it “research.” So, here you go, friends—here are the reasons why Naked and Afraid is exactly like your divorce.
- It’s a lot sexier for the people watching than it is for the people starring.
- You’re sharing a bed with someone you barely know.
- You find out who your partner REALLY is when you’re both under extreme stress and under a microscope.
- Having your dirty laundry discussed by strangers is a lot like being naked.
- People stop sharing. Like the lady who ate a whole coconut by herself and lied about it to her partner. …In my board room.
- The ongoing task calls upon all your skills of endurance and emotional control.
- At several points you wonder why you ever signed up for this. And then you remember what quitting would mean, so you keep going.
- When you get to the finish line, you are rewarded with a huge sense of freedom—breathe it in.
Although, in divorce you get off relatively easy on some counts. For example, you don’t have to poop naked. In front of a stranger. On camera. You do get to shower during divorce proceedings, and you also are unlikely to have to eat bugs, I mean if your divorce lawyer is any good at all.
The lesson I take out of Naked and Afraid (as well as participating in many divorces) is that you have to prepare yourself. And then when you’re prepared, you have to prepare a bit more. I’m the master of preparedness. For divorce, that is; I would never last beyond the first episode of the show. In terms of divorce only, I am the McGuyver that’s going to rip through the wilderness and build you a shopping mall using only a toothpick and my bare hands. And that, my friends, is the cue that my hyperbolic metaphors have all run out.
Let me know if you’re watching the show! I want to hear your thoughts.
James J. Sexton