‘Savage’ Advice In Action: Always Be Upfront And Honest

MTV’s newest resident sex and relationship guru Dan Savage is trekking across the country to enlighten America’s coeds and help them better understand the sexual culture that exists today. But what happens once Dan offers his pearls of wisdom to the eager undergrad? We usually don’t get to see the students put his advice into practice, but luckily our own MTV family members can show us all how it’s done. This week’s advice in action: Be upfront and honest.

So far on their cross-country campus tour, professors Dan and Lauren have addressed issues as persistent as the dating double standard, tackled problems as personal as sexual abuse and debunked myths as strange as the free-falling b***hole. Their “Savage U” lessons may be diverse, but they require only one thing of their pupils: honesty.

The theme of honesty was central in last week’s episode of “Savage U,” which found our esteemed educators back in Dan’s own hometown at the University Of Illinois at Chicago. After some quick interviews on campus, it became clear that U of I at C was known for three things: commuter students, diversity and skeletons in the closet. Along the way Dan met Alexis, a transgender woman looking for advice on how to nab a date.

When Alexis shared that she liked to be the pursue-e, and not the pursuer, our man Dan sensed a deeper issue lurking. He said that Alexis’ fear of rejection had kept her from making proactive moves, and that her prerogative should be to find someone who loves her and ALL of her experiences, including her unique journey to self discovery. When she does meet Mr. Right, and is ready to talk about her sexual identity, she should share it as a simple, neutral fact. Once she lays all her cards on the table, the responsibility falls to the other person. If they can’t deal with everything, she gets to reject them. Check out the clip:

We’re convinced that Alexis will find herself a solid guy sooner rather than later. She’s already had to overcome some big obstacles in her life, and who doesn’t find bravery and perseverance sexy?

Transgender issues are slowly making their way to television thanks to some important icons who’ve entered the mainstream and helped de-taboo-ize the Trans conversation. Before “Savage U” made its debut on MTV, another member of our family was unknowingly–or maybe not–taking Dan’s advice and trying to change the perceptions of seven strangers picked to live in a house.

On season 21 of “The Real World: Brooklyn,” we met Katelynn.  She was a native Floridian, an expert in martial arts and, oh yeah, she was born biologically male. Initially, Katelynn was hesitant to tell any of her new roommates about her transgender path. She wasn’t at all ashamed of who she was, but she couldn’t guarantee the same to be true of her new roomies. Still, Katelynn believed that any personal connection needed a strong foundation of honesty, trust and confidence. In the second episode of the season, she came out to Baya and Sarah while driving home from dance class, and this super nonchalant admission showed her new pals that a) it was totally NBD; b) she accepted herself; and c) it was their turn to do the same.

It takes more work to lie than it does to tell the truth. If you want to build strong relationships, you have to put all of your stuff out there. If you sit around twiddling your thumbs waiting for others to start a conversation, you lose the higher ground. Take action and say, “Hey, this is a different/weird/cool thing about me. You dig?” (Okay, you can probably cut out the last part and still get the job done.) If you are honest and upfront about the things that make you you, other people will naturally open up and together you can wave your freak flags high and proud.

+ Tune in for an all-new episode of “Savage U” tonight at 11/10c.

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