Dear Amy: I'm 40. My husband and I have three children: 14, 10 and 5. We live in a lovely suburban area with wonderful neighbors who have become close friends. We've been on family trips with these friends, done projects together, had parties, etc.
For some time, we've talked about making a dramatic movie together and finally got serious: We began discussing a script, making plans, assigning parts. I was cast as the lead. One of the neighbors has a country cabin, and we decided to film it there. Our idea was to make an action-adventure movie with some slapstick, just for family and friends.
We really had a lot of fun. My big scenes involved getting kidnapped, bound, gagged and eventually escaping. I was gagged with a kerchief and spent the first 20 minutes in a chair watched over by the "bad guys" until the big escape scene. I had to stand up and (with my legs tied and my hands bound behind me) hop through the cabin and across the lawn, where my husband "rescued" me.
We arranged to have a "premiere" with our kids (who weren't there during filming). I felt utterly humiliated listening to my children laugh as I hopped around on the screen. The kids loved it, and now they want to see it again and again. I can't undo this, but I'd like to recover some dignity. I know this is a strange problem, but do you have any suggestions?
— Tied up
Dear Tied Up: It takes a certain kind of bravery to let yourself be seen in an unflattering way, especially in this era where even younger children stage manage their public profile through flattering "selfies" and demand the right to delete any photos/videos they deem insufficiently awesome.
My advice has been personally road-tested (I've tripped, slipped and fumbled my way through life, sometimes before large audiences).
You just have to own it. Even if you have to fake it, you take a deep bow and say (with a flourish), "Thank you. I'll be here all week." What a great lesson in humility.
Dear Amy: "Feeling Betrayed" was trying to pressure his/her 17-year-old son into not being gay. When I read the letter, I wondered if it was even real, but, regardless, your answer was very real.
Amy, thank you so much for offering the best argument against "gay by choice" thinking I have ever read.
— A fan
Dear Fan: I have no way of verifying letters, but the position "Feeling Betrayed" conveyed is all too common. Readers from around the world have responded, and I thank you all.
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