I know people who whisper the words “situation” and cough around “circumstances.” They exhale excuses while they slice away their guilt along with their morning pound cake. “Growing apart,” “Travel,” “I know s/he isn’t the one.” “I’m waiting until after the holidays to end things.” It’s called having no goddamn stones. And I’ll throw ‘em all I’d like because my house is made of bricks and clicks, not glass.
I know women who have had affairs with married men. I’ve never knowingly been the other woman. I mean, someone might have weaved an intricate lie around me, letting me believe he was unattached, but I’ve never learned otherwise. I’ve never been involved with another girl’s boyfriend, never mind a husband.
I have, however, been accused of it by a married women. “You’re fcuking my husband aren’t you?”
“I’m sorry, what?” We’re at a nightclub. I couldn’t have heard right.
“Oh please, don’t bother denying it. I wouldn’t be surprised.” She said while she stirred her “on the rocks” drink with a thin red straw.
“You know my story. How could you think I would ever—he adores you.”
“Please honey, you’re just sounding more guilty by the minute.” That time she looked at me.
She went there. H.O.N.E.Y. It’s right up there with saying “I’m fine.” The dynamic changes when someone plays the honey card. Suddenly my make-up feels like war paint. I had to defend myself; I needed a strategy because honesty wasn’t working. But what do you do in that situation? In the hindsight seat, I’d be calm and dismissive; “I think you’d better speak with him about that. Clearly you’re going to believe what you want.” But it sounds cold, and she’s clearly in pain. I want to tell her to get counseling or get out. Clearly her problem is with her husband, not with me. Still, now I’m up on a stand, getting an oral examination, and not the good kind.
“Listen, I’m the last person you should be accusing of anything. Fact. He’s a flirt, and honey, if you are going to find an ally in anyone; it’s going to be me. I’m on the sidelines yelling at him when I see him flirt. So back off.” Okay, I don’t think I could have said anything worse. Passed her the honey card as if it were the black queen in Hearts. Now I was fuel.
Upon hearing “back off,” she did as she was told. She swiveled on the heels of her boots, and headed for her man. Then the screaming began. The married couple left in separate cabs that night. My date and I shared a cab to the upper west, shaking out heads. “Oh dear god, why do I have such a big mouth?”
“All the better to kiss me with…” he said as a wry smile spread across his face. And that was my fuel. Yum.