When Bill Clinton did not have sexual intercourse with that woman, and that woman merely Monicoddled his parts in her mouth, liberals and Democrats wanted to forgive him or at least look away from his indiscretions. We tried to separate the president from the husband, his cheating parts from the man. We wanted to say, “Yes, he’s a naughty, naughty boy, but look at what an effective leader he is. Surely we can’t condemn a man for one BJ.” We looked to Hills who stood by her man and his parts, and we followed her lead so we could stand by him, too.
It all made for fantastic conversations at cocktail parties-discussing cock and tail and the trouble they cause. World leaders and celebrities and artists continue to provide us with opportunities to discuss those cheating parts attached to otherwise seemingly good people. We talk about whom we are willing to forgive based on damage done, circumstances, contributions to society. We wonder if we are able to separate the sinner from the sin. Madonna. David Letterman. Princess Diana. Martin Luther King Jr.
All well and good to discuss naughty parts of those we don’t even know. But, what about when the adulterers are people you do know – when your friends are the ones putting parts where they don’t belong? Then it’s not so easy to draw lines. Things get a little sticky – in more ways than one. Ew.
I’m not talking about polyamory or open marriages where partners and spouses opt into a mutually agreed, non-monogamous set-up from the start. I am referring to those people who made monogamous promises, vows, commitments to partners who trusted them with their parts…and their hearts.
I’ve been trying to sift through all the unsolicited confessions and reports that have come to me recently from and about people I know, people I like. When I try to apply the same cocktail party criteria to my friends that I have for celebrities and politicians, I fall short. Some people hurt my friends, and I can’t find a way to forgive. And some friends are hurting people, and I don’t know what to do with that.
What does it all mean?
I know that lots of people cheat. Smart people cheat. Loving people cheat. Wonderful parents cheat. People who work in non-profit cheat. Yes, it’s true.
My favorite cheaters are the self-appointed moral leaders on Facebook who post rage filled statuses condemning racists, misogynists, anti-Semites, and homophobes and turn around and dehumanize their own partners so they can justify the psychological and emotional damage they do at home. Facebook is the perfect glass house for philanderers.
What does it mean that so many people cheat – even otherwise good people? It could mean that the institution of marriage and our understanding of human nature are outdated and unrealistic. I have no problem accepting that we are not a monogamous species – or that we are more likely serial monogamists rather than one partner for life monogamists. If you look at statistics (using heterosexual spouses), it just doesn’t seem that we are wired to play with one person’s parts for our entire adult life.
Clearly, lots of people cheat. But just because everyone jumps off the Sears Tower … (at which point she exposed her Midwestern roots and her refusal to accept Willis Tower as its new name).
We are all duped into believing in happily ever after only to wake up one day and realize that real lives look nothing like fairy tales. Real life is complicated and messy, and people, even the most benevolent, are flawed. But that can’t be an excuse to hurt people, right?
Separating the parts from the person
The first time a married mom friend confessed to me that she had been stepping out on her spouse, I asked, “How do you find the time?” I asked because it was all I could say instead of “I’ve seen this movie. Spoiler alert: It doesn’t end well for you.” Also, seriously, who has the time??
I tried not to judge. I knew that their marriage was broken and they both had played a part. I knew that they would split eventually, and I knew that divorce was a good thing for them. I couldn’t get passed the affair. I couldn’t sustain a close friendship with her knowing how much pain she had caused. Our relationship cooled considerably though we are still friendly. Suburban necessity.
Since then, more of my friends have confided in me that they are cheating on their spouses. I don’t know that I’m prepared to turn my back on them. I’m trying to separate the parts from the person. Just like cocktail parties past, I consider damage done, circumstances, contributions to society, and I also consider how much I love them, these friends some of whom are like family, these friends who are flawed. Maybe my role as a friend is to stand by them even when they cheat. Still, I wish they’d keep their parts to themselves.
Yeah, I know, this high horse totally makes my ass look big. And where’s the funny, right? Why aren’t I writing about vaginas like I usually do? Well, in a way, I am writing about vaginas. And penises. And all parts that have been neglected or betrayed. I’m writing about parts that are stepping out with other parts without thinking about how it’s all going to play out – without considering their part in the perfidiousness. I want 2015 to be a better year for parts. Think of me as the Lorax of Parts.
I am the Lorax. I speak for the parts
for the parts are connected to delicate hearts.
And while parts crave attention,
do not scratch the itch
because people are fragile,
and karma’s a bitch!The Lorax of Parts
I promise to get back to regularly scheduled fluff in the new year. I’d summon my fluffer to get me started, but she’s unavailable at present. And I’m a one-fluffer kind of gal.