Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Truth and Moral Dilemmas

A few years ago, when I was out of town, my husband had a few too many beers after work and made the decision not to drive home. He would have taken a cab but was offered a ride home by one of the very attractive waitresses who worked with him. She drove his car home with him in it and her boyfriend followed behind with her car and picked her up from my house. This is the story I got after much prodding for the truth.
I believe him. That isn't the problem.
The problem was it took about an hour for him to tell me the truth. I kind of understand why. When I met her before, I had said she was really pretty but not really bright but with an adorable personality nonetheless. I teased him about whether or not he would have found her attractive if he were single. My husband thinks I am more jealous that I am. In fact, when the truth did emerge, I told him "Do you want to know how I feel about what happened? I'm really glad someone sober drove you home and I trust you with a pretty girl in the car, even if you are all alone with her."
The reason he evaded the truth for so long was because what happened had looked bad, had the appearance of inappropriate, and he felt guilty for a number of reasons. And I get that.
It was a simple question. How did you get home?
And when he says things like 'why does it matter? why are you so nosy?' I know something is up. I hope that we get to the point where he just doesn't bother with how he thinks it might make me feel and just tells the truth.
I have never cheated on my husband, but I have thought about it. I have considered other men, gazed at their mouths and thought about kissing them. Ultimately, the act itself is not worth it to me but I have walked the line in my mind and played it through in my head.
And I've even been honest with him about feeling that way. He eludes to some similar feelings in vague terms but admits to nothing. I admit if he did, it might make me a little jealous.
I have always had male friends that I have a non sexual relationship with. In many circumstances, those male friends wanted to sleep with me and were honest about it. There are some I see from time to time and the sexual pressure never goes away and there are some I can happily sit across from and eat dinner with and am never made even remotely uncomfortable.
John once told me a story about when he was in high school and some girl walked up to him, practically sat in his lap and told him she wanted him. He laughed nervously and pretty much ran away in terror, thinking it must have been a joke. For a long time, he told me he was clueless to the advances of females.
I have observed human nature as long as I can remember, there were a lot of things I was naive about or clueless to but I can literally physically feel it when someone is attracted to me.
I've never missed it.
Which is why when someone is lying, I know it. People don't say what they mean but I know attraction.
It's fine that it exists, it's all what you do about it.
I mean, let's face it. If I was in the same room with Johnny Depp, I would probably want to lick his face. But you know, he's got a significant other and kids and all that. Take that down to a real level, and you know, someone you work with who you're attracted to and it's all about boundary crossing. And I consider it my responsibility to not make the other person uncomfortable by keeping my attraction in check. I have choices about my behavior, and I can choose to behave in a way that is honorable or not.
But when you have made it clear to someone that you are not available, not interested, not desirous of anything- where is the line?
I spent the whole day with a man who is a good friend where I shared a meal, shared intellectual conversation, shared intimate conversation and he bought dinner and not once did I feel uncomfortable or dirty and then by contrast I spent the day with a man who made me feel that way all day long. Uncomfortable, guilty, as if my behavior was completely inappropriate- but I wasn't lying or hiding anything and my intentions were pure.
Maybe the difference was that one man kept making attempts to touch me, and brushing them off as innocent- but I'm not an idiot, him telling me he was a touchy feely person- and not to take it like he was hitting on me- me telling him well, he wouldn't mind if I wasn't touchy/feely- then he made a feeble attempt to lead the conversation towards the cheating place...and at the end of the day with this guy, I felt oily and as if I had done something wrong. I felt like I had led him on, though I hadn't. I felt undressed, I felt like behavior was hoped for, if not exactly expected. I felt as if he wanted me to walk hand in hand with him and that I was supposed to do something with him.
None of this was ever spoken out loud but I felt it all day.
And it weighed on me.
I walked away wondering if I had done something wrong. Part of me knowing I hadn't done anything. My husband isn't jealous at all. If the roles were reversed, I would be fine with him spending the day with a female- that nonsense of traditional roles is ridiculous to me and I trust him. I don't think I worry about it, even though he probably thinks I would.
Maybe the difference is expectation or wishful thinking.
It's not the easiest thing to do to overcome our baser instincts but I really think if I met Johnny Depp, I could shake his hand politely and not crawl all over him.
Fidelity is important to me but you can't always help who you are attracted to. There are definitely lines that are difficult. I have had base feelings for people that I try to suppress. Part of me wants to forgive this guy for having the attraction and not exactly acting on it. This would all be great if I didn't know that the first guy I mentioned- he and I almost had sex many years ago. So I know there is an attraction there. Yet he managed to put it in a place that did not make me feel randomly guilty and uncomfortable.
It makes me ponder the difference between these two experiences. I don't know where the line is exactly and what my responsibility is in it. Didn't it end when I said that I don't cheat on my husband? Isn't it now his responsibility to behave better if he wants to be friends?
And if I choose to try and be friends with him, am I now leading him to believe there might be a future sex act?
Do other people feel that thick layer of attraction all over them? It's damn near impossible for me to ignore it. I just cannot help noticing such things. It really is like this built in thermometer I have that vibrates.
I wonder if other people give so much thought to these moral dilemmas.

1 comment:

Contra Yogini said...

I doubt other people give as much thought to these sorts of moral quandaries, but that is one of the many somewhat unique traits of yours that I very much admire :)