Wednesday 19 November 2008

Eating The Forbidden Fruit- The First Infidelity

People always hold up losing their virginity as being something of earth shattering significance.
And maybe it is.
Or maybe not. I can't actually remember the name of the girl in question. The whole thing is somewhat blurred looking back. A quick embarrassing five minute fumble in a hotel laundry room. And to be honest, I was glad when it was over. I could call myself a man, that was it. Otherwise, I don't think I really wanted to look her in the eye.

What I think was far more significant in my life, was the first time I 'cheated'.
Because that had knock on effects for the rest of my life. That truly was a night everything changed forever. I changed. My views changed. The world changed.

It was a life changing experience.

I always say I went into the second year of university one person and came out another. It's true. I went in as the child I was brought up as, I came out of that year pretty much the person I still am. My views on many things have changed since then, but the person I am inside, the person who changed those opinions, was the person forged in that year.

Joanna was the first girl I ever loved. Maybe the only girl I've ever loved. Or let's say, been in a loving relationship where both of us actually were in love with eachother.
It was beautiful. What more can I say?

I don't think she was faithful. Well, in retrospect I know for a fact she wasn't, but at the time I kidded myself she was. I wanted to believe she was. Or at least, I subconsciously ignored the signs that maybe she wasn't.

Because it was bliss. The perfect relationship for a nineteen year old lad.
To say we were 'going out together' would be a blatant euphemism. We NEVER went out together- except to go to the video library. I went out with my friends of an evening, she went out with hers. It was the days we spent together, and the nights once we'd both got back.

Weekdays, of course, we were supposed to be at lectures. She DID go to hers and she was actually quite a positive influence in getting me to go to some of mine, but even so, a lot of the time I said I was at a lecture, I wasn't. I think she knew this. I think she could see the logic of the point I often made 'We live at the far end of town. The Campus is at the top of the hill. To get there I have to walk through town and up a hill. I pass a lot of houses on the way. Chances are, I'm going to drop in and visit someone on the way and get sidetracked'. Which was usually the odds on favorite as to what would happen when I left the house with my copy of 'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight', a notepad filled more with cartoons I had drawn than actual notes, and the best will in the world.

Still, she accepted it was my degree at the end of the day and as soon as we both got back at five-ish, we'd spend a couple of hours in bed till me and my mates went out. And we'd spend the entire weekend in bed, except, again, for the evenings.

It was a great way to while away the days, lieing there half-watching films, talking about anything and everything interspersed with a good bout of love making.

We actually didn't do anything else together except lie naked in eachother's arms. But we did a lot of that.
And it wasn't just about the sex- though certainly she really did educate me a lot on that front- it was about the intimacy. An intimate connection I've not felt before or since.
Just lieing there in her arms talking in babyspeak to eachother, most of it just nonsense talk really. Or just- stuff. I just felt totally at peace lieing there with her. And I wanted it to last forever.

She used to lie there sometimes and cry into my eyes. I remember that. Lie there pressing close to me, her head pressing against mine so it couldn't press any closer, and cry. Her tears used to drain down my face and I used to lick the salty moisture from my lips and taste the salt of her passion, while her hands furiously caressed my back like she could never let me go. And I didn't want her to. Ever.

And one day, I 'cheated'.

It had been coming for a while. It wasn't that things were bad between us, they weren't. It was the 'lads'. The jokes. The suggestions. 'You're pretty much a married man aren't you now?' 'You look like you're in with that one- or are women off bounds to you now?' or 'Not much point you coming out, is there?' or 'Rearrange this sentence. Under. Thumb. Is. The. Crushed.'

And when you'd be talking to some girl in a club and you walked off to a bar, a mate would be there going 'She's hot! Go on, go for it! Joanna won't know!'

And I had ALMOST succumbed. Almost.

Anyway, Joanna went away to see her sister at Bradford University. She was going to be away four days.
And I knew I was going to miss her.

And the bit I was going to miss most of all, was having someone to sleep with. And I know every woman reading this is shouting 'Lame excuse' and maybe it is, but that really was going through my mind. I didn't fancy having to go four nights sleeping alone without sex. Not after months of never sleeping alone and having sex several times a day.

So it would be true to say I went out that Friday night with the other lads not LOOKING to find someone to keep the bed warm, but certainly not diametrically opposed to the idea.
I was of two minds, shall we say. I'd never 'cheated' before and still kind of felt it would be wrong, but on the other hand, I was feeling lonely and- very horny.

In those days one of my main hobbies/sources of income was playing the Monopoly machines.
Monopoly machines aren't like fruit machines. The luck element is far less. You answer trivia questions to win properties, and a coloured set gives you a pay out.

Now the designers, didn't really think it through. The highest payout is for winning Mayfair and Park Lane. £20 payout. But actually, seeing as 'Go back through spaces' lands you on one of them, they're actually easy to win on a small number of right answers.
And I used to milk the machines. I'd win one in three attempts. It was a pound a go, so three pounds would usually yield twenty quid.

But this night, I'd been focused. I was trying to get her out of my head. I missed her so much and I really was finding it hard to deal with.

Basically, I won the jackpot first try and got a bonus game as well, which I also won, so I walked back to the lads waiting at the bar having made forty pounds for one pound in.

At which point Joanna's girlie mates showed up...
And they'd all been drinking.

Quite a bit.

They wanted to know what all the merriment and the freeflow of alcohol was all about.

I told them 'I'm getting a round in. Just took the Monopoly machine for a killing- What you having, ladies?'

There was one of Joanna's friends who wasn't really much of her friend. I don't think they liked eachother much. Liz was her name. And whilst she didn't like Joanna, I had picked up that she liked me. Quite a bit.
And now that the cat was away, this mouse wanted to play.

She was extra grateful for her Double Malibu and Coke and chose to hang right by my side from then onwards. And me, yes I kept the Double Malibus and Coke going her way. She was- interested. And blatantly so. And I couldn't help myself.

Anyway, when the pub shut, I suggested an impromptu house party back at ours. Well, go back and watch Blackadder the Third and smoke a few joints.

We hadn't been watching long when Liz said 'I feel SO tired. Don't think I can make it home'.
Quick as a flash I said 'No prob. Sleep here if you want. Sleep in my bed if you fancy it'.
At which point she just got into my bed fully dressed. And the rest of us just carried on watching Blackadder and chatting. Though my mind has already started to move on to other things...

After a while I made some yawning noises and said 'Ok, I need to go to sleep'.
One of Joanna's other friends asked where I planned to sleep. I pretended to think about that and said 'I've got a spare duvet. I'll be all right on the floor'.

Minutes later, once they had all moved outside to the hallway, I slipped in next to Liz.

Crushed: You still awake?
Liz: Mmmhmmm.
Crushed: You know, you can take your dress off if you want.

She didn't need to be asked twice. Seconds later she was naked. And so was I. And she was warm and cozy and she could have been Joanna but she wasn't.

At what point does it become deliberate and willful infidelity? I don't know. At this point, I didn't see it as such. I actually kind of thought that that was all we were going to do.
Minutes later I was convincing myself that oral sex was as far as it was going to go.

And then came the final point. The point where I consciously betrayed Joanna.

Liz: Don't you think maybe, you should put a condom on?

And I didn't even stop to think. I was reaching for the drawer as she said it.

It was actually pretty good. I hadn't realised 'cheating' could be this fun. I had expected to feel guilty, expected that sense of it NOT being Joanna to mean I couldn't really enjoy it. But she was soft, she was warm, and I remember she had a curious bump on her shoulder. And she smelt lovely. Like Talcum powder.
I remember thinking at the time that I wanted to be able to keep Joanna and still make love to Liz again.

When we'd finished the first bout, I whispered her to be quiet. I could still hear voices in the hallway. 'Back in a sec' I said, as I flung some clothes back on. Note the wording there.

I strolled down to where everyone else was still congregated in the stairwell. I nodded nonchalently and joined in the chitchat.

One of Joanna's friends asked how Liz was. I said, sound asleep. I explained I had tried to sleep in my clothes under a duvet in my armchair, but it wasn't comfortable.
Then one of her friends caught me out. 'So why are you wearing a different shirt, if you've not got undressed?'

I was just a little too slow...
'Oh, I took my shirt off. For a bit. But it was cold, so I put another on'.

No one believed me. No one cared either, I have to say. But I thought I'd take my mate into the kitchen for a briefing, just in case.

Mate: You haven't shagged Liz, have you?
Crushed: Kind of. Do you think everyone's twigged?
Mate: Well, I don't think they care too much. But yes.
Crushed: Will someone tell Joanna?
Mate: I don't think so. I doubt anyone will remember anyway.
Crushed: Ok, well, we need to think up a cover story. And you're going to need to back me up.
Mate: Ok, well, we'll talk about it tomorrow at Sunday lunch.
Crushed: Ok. Now I'm going back up there.
Mate: You're going to do it again?
Crushed: Why not? Seems stupid not to. Bit late for regrets now! In for a penny, in for a pound.

So yes, I went back.
And yes, we had sex two more times.
And we watched the sun come up over Aberystwyth castle from my windows, her sitting on my lap in my camouflage jacket.

Crushed: Do you want to do this again some time?
Liz: Yes.
Crushed: You know I'm with Joanna don't you? And I love her?
Liz: Yes.
Crushed: Are you Ok with that?
Liz: Yes.

Me and Joanna finished within the week. I'm not sure I ever quite knew why. Sometimes I think she found out. Sometimes I think she felt guilty because of the fact she had cheated herself in Bradford (as I later found out). She didn't tell me the reason. Ever.
I took it badly though.

I never slept with either Joanna or Liz again after that. One or two of Joanna's other friends, yes.

Losing Joanna turned me into a broken man- the night we finished I actually drank a whole two bottles of Jameson's Whiskey.
And the rest of the second year was one long binge. One long binge of sex, drugs and alcohol.

This was the year I ended up graduating into regular chemical usage. And regular casual sex with total strangers. This was the year I became hardened, bitter and cynical.

And the whole way I felt about sex, love, romance and women changed.

It was like losing my virginity, that first infidelity. From that point, I never entered a relationship really seeing fidelity as being on the cards. I knew it wasn't something made me feel guilty, knew that I always felt something different with a different woman, that no sex with any woman is ever the same as sex with any other.

But it was more than that. I found increasingly, I lOOKED to be unfaithful. That I found that being in a monogamous relationship intimidated me, that I WANTED to feel another woman's body wrapped in mine, just to know that no one woman had that hold over me.
I had cheated on the only woman I had ever loved- and to date, the only woman I've ever loved to that degree who has also loved me back.

I had eaten that forbidden fruit, and I had absorbed it's knowledge.
And I had enjoyed it. Enjoyed the sense it had given me.

And in time, infidelity started to become a pleasure in its own right. Sex started to feel BETTER if you knew it was with 'another' woman. More illicit, a risk, a stolen, guilty pleasure. A satisfying of lust that dare not speak its name.

I don't really know any other way to say it but this.
I have never felt it to be wrong, not really. Not the deed. Not the warm embrace, the caressing of bodies, the entwining of limbs. If it's two consenting adults finding mutual pleasure from eachother, then I can't, no matter how much I search my heart, feel it to be wrong.

I just don't feel Monogamy to be the normal, instinctive condition of Mankind.

Because it has never felt right to me.


Anonymous said...

You know me, I'm about as amoral as it's possible to be. But the loneliness of not committing to one person will get you in the end.

Anonymous said...

Shelly doesn't get it.

Insightful post, mate. I have been there, but on the other side: she cheated on me.

People aren't easily defined. We're complex creatures, and often we do things in opposition to what even we believe to be right, despite ourselves, and despite what we want (in the end) or think we ought to do. And sometimes we stick to what people think are the rules for really, REALLY bad reasons.

I appreciate your posts more all the time. You're not cutting corners.

And I dunno about Paul's sentiment - monogamy is a choice that hasn't worked out for most people. There is probably a good reason to think about that, but it remains a fact that more than 50% of couples divorce.

Perhaps our greatest task should be to understand ourselves?

Anonymous said...

It's not actually a proven fact that 50% of all marriages end in divorce. It's a guesstimate, experts are saying the stars are probably closer to 35-40%. But whatever.

The only thing that really matters here is if you are content with non-monogamous relationships and if the women you engage in relationships with are reciprocal.

I suspect you are making the animal testosterone argument to justify your inability to be accountable and have a mature relationship. But if you think never having that kind of connection is something you can easily live life without, you can declare me too high minded in my beliefs in the potential of humanity and tell me to go fuck myself. It's really not for me to say, but I have to wonder about your long emo-boy explanation of why you cheated and why it is likely and acceptable for you to do it again.

Anonymous said...

Oh Crushed!

Nothing wrong with intimacy, but there is with not sticking to an agreement, given or implied.

I guess the secret is making absolutely sure that everyone knows what has been agreed and that they are all happy to live with/by it.

Trouble is it happens people change. Especially in the years they become adults and move away from home like go to Uni.

Anonymous said...

And people should have a care for other people. Try not to hurt them, deliberately, or otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Well, you are honest and I enjoy reading honest and frank posts like these. Cool!

Anonymous said...

It shows a worrying lack of respect for the women you end up with if you are not looking to be faithful to them in the first place.

You often write about never actually hurting anyone, or that at least it was never your intent to cause hurt. But really is it?

You cannot walk into a relationship with no intentions of at least trying monogamy and not expect to hurt the other person's feelings.

You have to start being accountable for your own actions and stop blaming your levels of testosterone or the 'system'.

We make our own choices.

Anonymous said...

Paul- :)
Maybe, maybe.

I just find it hard. I don't seem to be cut out for these serious relationships- they get too much for me. The novelty wears off very quickly.

Martian- Well, I've been on both sides.
These days I see it differently. I'd nevr demand fidelity of a woman. I don't see who benefits. As long as she loves you to her full, what does who she has sexs with matter?

This obsession with identifying true love with sexual chastiy seems an anachronism to me.

I don't think we're meant to be monogamous. I think we're pretty much programmed like Bonobos.

Vicariousrising- This has always been the problem. I've often kind of fudged that bit.

I think I DO want that connection in some ways, but not the way its traditionally seen. I don't want someone holding onto my whole life like a lead weight.

I want the love to be- freed.

Moggs- Yes, these are the issues I wrestle with. Howe to find that Holy Grail of finding a perfect love that doesn't have a poisoned edge.
A love that can just be enjoyed for its own sake, without having elements of deceit or misery.

I do try not to hurt people, I do. But sometimes I can't stop them hurting themselves.

Kate- I'm surprised how well I remembered it...

It feels a lifetime ago, which, of course, it kind of was. But I still look back on that night. And I don't feel guilty, even now.

Joanna and I got back in communication years later and we never talked about it.

On the whole, I still think that night was one of the nights I started to grow up.

Bunny- Well, at least these days I'm honest. Or honest by default. I never promise fidelity, so if they think I'm likely to be, it's their fault for making assumptions :)
In fact, extra their fault because it's not like I disguise my beliefs.

I CAN walk into relationships with no intention of at least trying monogamy. I've done it for ten years.
I guess you say I could try it some day. True, but there's no guaranteeing it would work, even with the best will in the world.

When I was severely drunk I'd forget I was supposed to be being faithful. You well know I haven't a clue WHO I go to bed with quite often.

Deleted comment(s)

I'm going to say this once, because you seem to have real difficulty getting this.

I have finally made a statement to the appropriate authorities.

That's all I'm saying for now.

Don't make it worse for yourself.

Anonymous said...

I have never cheated in a relationship. Couldn't do it plain and simple. I like monogamy. I like knowing a person inside and out. Before I would ever get to the point where I thought I would be capable of hurting someone that way, I would break it off. To each their own I s'pose.

Anonymous said...

I never promise fidelity, so if they think I'm likely to be, it's their fault for making assumptions :)
In fact, extra their fault because it's not like I disguise my beliefs.

That's bollocks and you know it.