To my knowledge, there are two established forms of cheating: emotional cheating, and, you know, actual cheating – the one involving tongues and fingers and what not. The former generally leads to the latter; like, you usually start having feelings for another guy before you proceed to do something nasty with that said guy. Sure, relationships are a whole lot more complicated and subtle than that. And certain forms of questionable behavior…like visual undressing, sexting, and whatever else…may not be considered all that serious in some people’s minds. Yet despite all that, I think we can generally agree that all the aforementioned behaviors can be categorized, to varying degrees of severity, as infidelity.
But what about illusory cheating? Right, I believe I did just make up that term. So allow me to explain: what if you’re not actually falling for or hitting on or making out with someone else, but instead you fantasize about all that nasty shit with someone you’re attracted to?
Whilst scaling the formidable Hollywood Hills last Friday, my friend Cassandra and I had a enlightening exchange on this peculiar form of cheating (if it can be considered one). Here’s a snippet of it:
Cass: “Hey, do you think it’s considered cheating if you think about another dude when you’re having sex with your boyfriend?”
Me: “Is that ‘dude’ a hot celebrity or a mutual friend?”
Cass: “I dunno. Both. Either.”
Two things about this exchange stood out to me in particular: my immediate inquiry on the hotness and fame level of this “other dude” and her very specific word choice of “sex” rather than, say, “sexual activity” or “sexual relations” (a more general term that encompasses kissing, fondling, and necking etc.).
Let’s start with Cass’ decision to focus on “sex” rather than something more general and less intimate. I remember playing “Never Have I Ever” with a few friends earlier this summer, and this guy said, “Never have I ever hooked up with more than one person at a party.” My friend Dora immediately demanded that he define “hooked up,” to which he simply answered, “when you have sex with someone.” Over the years, I’ve heard multiple definitions of “hook up” – a few drew the line at french kissing, some said farther than second base (aka fondling), but most said third base (oral, man) or home run. Let’s just think broadly for the moment…if anything less than sex is not considered a “hook up,” does that make it a more acceptable form of cheating? Say, if I imagine making out rather than screwing a guy, is that less awful? Most importantly, what does this say about our young people’s standard for and expectations of a relationship? Are we expecting our partners to emotionally waver and cheat at least once at some point? It’s worth thinking about.
Now let’s move on to my stupid inquiry. I’ve been asking myself this question for the last few days, but I just can’t wrap my head around it. Why does it matter if you’re dream-fucking a celebrity or a friend? Neither is the one you should be wanting to fuck, right? But somehow, wanting to screw some dude you know instead of some dude you worship just seems so much worse. Dora, for example, has this frightening, pathological crush on Eminem. She has no trouble telling her boyfriend that she wants to fuck Eminem’s brains out. But what if she has the same pathological crush on a boy whom she and her boyfriend both know? Would she have still told him? And would he have still laughed so nonchalantly? Anyway, I’m digressing just a little bit. The point is, I still have no idea whether only thinking about something bad should be perceived in the same light as actually doing something bad. Or maybe thinking in itself is doing?
I honestly don’t have an answer to any of the absurd questions I asked, but I just thought it’s an interesting topic to think about. What have our standards of love and commitment become that we can’t even define a single term like hook up and cheating? Are we just inherently horny ass creatures that can’t be tamed into staying true to only one person? I really don’t fucking know.