Wednesday, 4 August 2010

In which I consider what it takes to play by the rules

One of the advantages of a week off work in which one’s planned to do exceptionally little is that there’s plenty of time to have one’s hair cut mid-week, mid-afternoon.

Thus it was that I found myself sat in the hairdressers’ chair, tea to one hand and a whole rack of dodgy gossip magazines to the other. And, having read more than I cared to know about a whole variety of non-slebs (none of which I can remember, incidentally), I came across an article in this month’s Company magazine.

The basic premise of the piece was that, with the advent of digital technology, it’s becoming ever easier to cheat on our partners - and, as Ashley Cole and Vernon Kay would presumably find it hard to dispute, easier to get caught. But, the piece went on to consider, given that the boundaries between what’s acceptable behaviour and what’s not seem to have lapsed, what does constitute cheating?

There were varying opinions from several different women, ranging from pretty much “anything goes” to essentially the opposite.

One opinion given was that any behaviour you wouldn’t want your partner to know about constitutes unfaithfulness. As a general rule of thumb, I think it makes sense - whether it’s a few overly flirtatious emails or a full on dirty weekend away in a country hotel, if you know your partner wouldn’t be best pleased were they to discover the behaviour, then you probably shouldn’t be doing it.

(By the by, subscribing to this particular theory, apparently, according to the article, makes me a prude. It’s the first time that word’s ever been applied to me, but there’s clearly a first time for everything. I wonder how long it’s been that expecting a little fidelity made one a prude? I can see how one might acquire the label if objecting to a few dirty text messages from one’s other half, but surely wishing one’s other half not to send lascivious emails to other people is probably excusable?)

The question of cheating was one posed to me recently - another first, given that it was on a first date. I forget how we got there now but it came after several drinks, and in the last bar of the evening.

“So, have you ever cheated on anyone?”

I was slightly surprised by the question, but given we'd already covered excessive weekly alcohol consumption, families and exes, I figured that it was probably fair enough, and cast my mind over misdemeanours various.

“Yes, once.” He looked at me. “I’m not proud of it, but I ended up in bed with one guy at university, genuinely totally forgetting that I was seeing someone else. Not my finest hour. You?”

He shook his head. “No, never.”

Great, I thought. Now I look like a harlot - and a particularly dippy one at that.

But then again, maybe it’s not as bad as I fear: maybe he just has a different definition. Which, of course, is probably not ideal either...


jman said...

Can you cheat if you have amnesia? How does one forget that one is seeing someone else? That someone else must have one memorable someone else! Would you buy that excuse from someone else? Or would it make it incalculably worse the fact that you did forget? Of such things are ethics classes and knock down drag out rows made.

Chômage said...

I like jman's thinking. If one lacks capacity, or intention to cheat, is it still cheating. Of course, setting up a flattering photo of your nether bits, uploading it on to your computer / phone and then emailing them out would probably fall foul of plausible deniability but what about areas where it is not so clear cut.

One friend of mine forgave her boyfriend for cheating on her when that boyfriend's ex climbed into bed with him and rampant rumpy pumpy ensued. He claimed that he was so tired that he just assumed it was his real girlfriend.

In short, some people get away with murder.

Personally though, if you are prepared to risk hurting someone or know you have a propensity for weakness which may cause hurt and still go through with it regardless, the chances are that you are either quite selfish, quite dumb or both.

Blonde said...

Jman: No, I probably wouldn't buy the excuse from anyone else. It's a shocker of a thing to do. Which is why I called time on that particular dalliance as soon as it happened - it clearly had no long-term potential...

Chomage: Couldn't agree more - of course it's cheating, even if you don't mean to. I would argue that wilfully setting out to be unfaithful is worse, but then I'd also argue that none of us is blameless...

nuttycow said...

Hmmmm - I've also cheated once. I was going out with L, I was 16. We'd been going out a week (and were destined to last another week, at least) and I snogged another guy. Ok, so I make light of it but it's still cheating.

I think the point is that now, you wouldn't dream of it. You've made your mistake and you've moved on from it.

I think I sort of agree with your version of cheating - I'm all for flirting you see, as long as, at the end of the night, I go home with my best beloved (oh, and obviously don't do anything apart from flirt in the meantime!)

Chômage said...

Haha, this is wide expanse of minefields so I am treading carefully. I've noticed that (most) men have a completely different idea to (most) women of what is and is not "flirting" and when boundaries are crossed.

I play it safe and just repel all women as best I can.

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