Playing with Fire
F*ck the sisterhood! Sometimes I think that. In my lonelier moments. When I'm trying to justify giving in to the ultimate temptation. "Close your legs to married men!" NeNe Leakes is in my head. Former stripper and sugar baby, current Rich Bitch and forever Mean Girl. I'm not sure how hers became the voice of my conscience, but I hear that mantra in her raspy sistah-girl voice as I play with fire.
Determined not to let it burst into a raging inferno, I light the match. Run my fingers across the flickering flame, inflicting no real pain. Flirty conversation. Harmless texts. A hug here or there. I have a line that I will not cross. A little to the left of right, the line expands and contracts. But it's there.
Still I worry.
If I get too close, could I slip and fall over it? Would the confluence of a strong gust of wind, too much alcohol and dangerously high heels trip me over the edge, into a place I swore I'd never go? I'd like to say, Never! I've been warned to never say never.
I can't help but think about smart, beautiful, accomplished Mary Jane Paul, the fictional character from the brilliant TV show, Being Mary Jane. Mary Jane is a serial sidepiece. While she lives in Atlanta, where the dating pool of straight men is admittedly shallow, she's surely the kind of woman who could have her pick of available men. In the heat of an argument with a disapproving friend, Mary Jane tells her, "The only reason you haven't slept with a married man is because you haven't met him yet!"
Damn. Is an affair with a married man as inevitable as the sun coming up each morning? If so, why run from it when it would feel so good to have its searing heat on my skin and greedily soak it in? I'm a good girl. At least that's what I've been telling Jason every time he makes an indecent proposal. I don't think he believes me. He thinks it's only a matter of time before I start soaking up his sun. Good girl gone bad. I say the word and I mean it.
My voice is firm, but I say it with a coquettish smile and an almost imperceptible eye wink. I do this because I'm scared. If Jason knows he has absolutely no shot, he'll move on. I'll lose the attention that I'm hungrily feasting on during a relationship famine. While I'm in-between relationships, I want to be reminded that I'm desirable. I need a little bit of physical contact. I deserve some attention.
I. I. I. Me. Me. Me.
So self-involved, it becomes easy to forget that it's not all about me. She's out there. Either painfully aware or blissfully unaware of what her husband is up to. I try to remind myself that she is real and not just a fringe character in my little soap opera. I reference her during our intimate conversations. I call her "wifey" or "the Mrs." Never by her name. Partially out of respect. Mostly because I need to make her real, but not fully-formed. If she becomes too real, then playtime with her husband is over.
And I'm not ready to pack up my toys and go home. So I begin to resent her, just a little for ruining my fun. I start to rationalize that everybody's doing it, so why shouldn't I. I assign her unflattering personality traits and tell myself that there has to be a reason why her man is pursuing me when he could be home with her. This is what "other women" do to justify their actions. Paint the wife as cold or cruel or incapable of filling her husband's most basic needs. We say trite things like, "You can't wreck a happy home", knowing that the truth is more complicated and praying that things like karma and irony have no place in our picture-perfect future.
Here's another trite saying. How you get 'em is how you lose 'em. I could only imagine how stupid I'd feel if my future husband cheated on me and shrugged his shoulders and said, "Hey, it's what I do. You should know that better than anybody."
Beyond irony and karma, I walk the (sometimes blurred) line because I don't want to inflict that kind of pain on another woman. Someone's mother, daughter, sister or friend. The Sisterhood. Whether I like it or not, I am a part of it. I can't conveniently walk away from it any more than I can step out of my own skin. If I say fuck the sisterhood, then I'm essentially saying fuck myself. I have too much self-respect to do that.
As I've been warned to never say never, I know that if or when I sleep with another woman's husband, it will be because I have lost respect for myself. Hopefully that day never comes.