One of a series of actors’ reminiscences researched by Jack Tewkesbury
Look, I have no problem with twenty-five-year-old virgins. In another twenty-five years they’ll be fifty. Think of all the fun they’ve missed.
We have a very puritanical view of sex in this country. It’s time to evolve, to embrace sex as a cool thing. But you’re right. For a long time I wasn’t able to sustain a relationship with a woman, I was never really capable of viewing a woman as anything but sexual. If I didn’t look at her in a sexual way, my interest was nil.
The modern American male is socialized into his need for coquest. I was into having as many physical experiences as I could, but I changed. It started when I hired this lady as an assistant. We worked together for two-and-a-half years before anything romantic happened, which allowed us to become really, really good friends first.
Through her I was able to establish a great relationship with a woman that was completely non-sexual. It’s tough, really. Men aren’t programmed to have friendships with women. Even with men, it’s limited. Very often sports is our common interest. In every other area, we are competitive.
We compete for money, we compete for women. Women are better at friendship and relationship.
When I was young, I was kind of shy around women, so I thought I’d make up for it by becoming a total hedonist. I spent my first five years, while on Cheers, accomplishing that, but then I started to focus on my spirituality, so it’s been a process of balancing my physical, emotional, and spiritual lives.
I was kind of a troubled child. I have an enormous shadow, the so-called dark stuff in your life that you suppress or repress. People tell you you are bad from the time you are very young. You put in this bag and you carry it along with you. It gets bigger and bigger , it keeps growing. I have to deal with my shadow because it’s enormous. But it’s a good thing for me to confront my shadow.