Dating 101

To Cheat Or Not To Cheat?

By: Bradford Noble

"You're from where again? Buenos Aires?" I slurred over my third gay-bar pour. Thank God for generous homo bartenders or I'd go broke trying to cop a buzz.

"Well, I'm from Detroit, actually" he answered. "But I lived in New York for five years. Now I sort of divide my time between here and Buenos Aires."

"Oh that's right," I said, "You gave up your New York City apartment two years ago to move to Argentina for love. How romantic. So you're just here visiting, then?"

"More like taking care of a few things, business and stuff," he said, in a way one does when not willing to tell the whole story. I could tell he was hiding something by the way he was fidgeting.

"So where exactly do you stay when you're here, then?" I asked with skepticism. One doesn't give up a New York City apartment lightly, because no matter how much we love you, guests are like fish to New Yorkers -- three days tops. Maybe a week, but only if you're knockin' boots.

"Oh, here and there" came his elusive response. Obviously it wasn't a hotel.

"Couch surfing. Right. So it would have to be my place then, but let's talk about this first. Do you and your boyfriend have a 'cat's-away' clause? Or would you be cheating on him?"

"Well I wouldn't exactly call it cheating," he said.

"So you have an open relationship, then?" I asked.

"That's sort of a grey-zone topic; we really haven't really discussed it yet," he answered.

"But if you went home with someone from a bar, for instance me, would you tell him about it?" I asked.

"Maybe," he said, his brows furrowing slightly, "That would be a discussion that might have to take place at some point."

"OK, then," I said pointedly, rattling the ice in my empty plastic cup for effect. "In my book, having sex outside your relationship without predetermined rules of conduct and a 'possible conversation' afterward would be cheating. So as long as we are clear on this, I'll ask you -- hypothetically speaking, of course -- would you cheat on your boyfriend with me?"

He thought about it for a moment and said. "Well, if you put it that way, and at the risk of never seeing you again, I'm going to ask for a rain-check on that."

"Good answer," I said, "I wouldn't want my boyfriend cheating on me with some tipsy trollop, either, and as horny as I am, I'd much rather support you being faithful."

Truthfully, I was sort of relieved. The conversation was more interesting to me than some sloppy sex we might have had as the sun was rising. Now that I'm single, it made me realize how differently I think about relationship delineations. I value the trust factor more than I ever did while I was with all four of my long-term boyfriends. It may be that I'm so tired of playing the field that I would welcome the security of a monogamous relationship. It may also be that if I was in one, I might feel the need for exterior conquest. Oink, oink.

To be honest, I tell myself that I would be different in a relationship now, but who knows what would happen several years down the line. I'm no saint and certainly no Judge Judy when it comes to passing out the verdicts. If he had lied and said, "Yes, my boyfriend and I have an understanding," I would have jumped his bones. Or, had I not opened my big mouth and interrogated the poor guy, we might have had our own don't-ask-don't-tell and guiltlessly gone our separate ways.

As it turned out, I ran into him again two days later at a sex party and we ended up giving oral to each other in the V.I.P. lounge. This time there was no talk. We were both there to hook up, so why mince words? If not me, he would have gone with someone else -- or likely several someones, as we were at a sex party. So what the hell? The guy was out to get laid and had obviously made peace with cheating on his boyfriend.

As far as my own moral high ground: What moral high ground? We all have our private stories. He keeps his to himself unless grilled by a confrontational queen, and I share mine with a million gays on a website.

So, when I have a boyfriend, I'll ask myself the question: To cheat or not to cheat? Will you?


Tags: DATING 101