Gillian Telling, author of the book Dirty Girls: The Naked Truth About Our Guilty Secrets (Unpretty, Unclean, and Utterly Horrifying), recently wrote that women “don’t consider drunk kissing cheating, as long as we’re the ones doing the drunk kissing. We consider sex with another man cheating.” This was number 19 on her list of “20 Things Men Don’t Know About Women,” which she wrote for this fine internet publication. As you can imagine, there was a strong reaction in the comments section to Gillian’s claim that women don’t count drunken make-outs as cheating. It was truly magical. There’s a scene in the beginning of the movie “Gladiator,” when Russell Crowe’s character Maximus is leading his Roman army in a battle against German barbarians. He turns to one of his lieutenants and growls, “On my mark, unleash hell.” It was like THAT in the comments.
But here’s the thing: Gillian is totally 100 percent right. Women don’t consider making out with vod-and-vom breath to be cheating, as long as they’re the ones vacuuming the saliva out of some dude’s mouth. If their man was drunkenly smooching, he’d get staked. Verily, he would meet the true death. When it comes to the exact definition of cheating, there’s a double standard. This is what Gillian gets right.
For those of you who’ve just joined us on the internet – yes, I am writing in generalities. You are a special, dainty crumpet with a heart full of secrets. But generally speaking, women are obsessed with their men cheating on them. What is my proof? Culture. Culture is my proof. All of it. Magazines, television shows, and websites relentlessly exploit this fear. I give dating and sex advice on another site, and I get all kinds of questions from women. Sometimes I get questions about time travel. I also get heartfelt questions about life and love. Mostly, I get the following question: “Is he cheating on me?” I actually get that question multiple times and I have given up answering it. I have to restrain myself from answering, “Yes. Yes he is.” That’s what they want to hear. The question I rarely get is: “Am I cheating?”
I dated a woman once who I caught kissing another guy at a party. Her excuse was that she wasn’t being unfaithful because the guy was gay. No, no, that was cheating. She was into it. The guy she was making out with was bemused. But she was getting her rocks polished. She held onto that excuse, and eventually got angry at me for not understanding that kissing a gay guy was not cheating. [True story: I don't think kissing a gay guy is cheating either, but my ex-boyfriend thought it definitely was. -- Editor Amelia] I asked her if she’d be upset if I started making out with a sexy lesbian. Of course, she’d be livid. It was an amazing example of cognitive dissonance.
I once had an argument with a lady friend because she was making out with an ex of hers behind a friend of mine’s back. First of all, I resented that she even told me and burdened me with the information. But we actually had a heated conversation that went something like this:
Lady Friend: Making out with exes isn’t cheating because we’ve already done it.
Me: It’s cheating.
Lady Friend: No it’s not.
Me: Yes, it is.
Lady Friend: How is it cheating?
Me: Because you’re sucking the tongue of some dude who isn’t the dude you’re dating.
Lady Friend: But we’ve done it before! Cheating is only cheating if it’s with someone new.
Me: It’s cheating!
This went on for what felt like hours, but was, in fact, days. Granted, she was incredibly unhappy with my friend. Eventually, she broke up with him. One must sometimes walk the path of the douche in order to find the garden of happiness (not a euphemism). And then there’s the chick I knew who was in a long-term relationship who told me that “finger blasting” wasn’t cheating, because a penis has to be involved for that. At least most guys who have cheated, myself included, are pretty aware we are cheating while we’re doing it. I’m sort of compelled right now to point out that oral sex is cheating. This means you, Mr. Rodham.
So bravo, Gillian, sex columnist for some magazine about geopolitics! The truth shall set you free! I’d like to add a number 21 to your list of things men don’t know about women. #21: Women will make up random rules about cheating that only apply to them, while simultaneously asking their man every five minutes “Who’s texting you?”
Follow my preening narcissism on Twitter.