This just in! Tiger Woods cheats on his wife, then Gatorade, General Motors and Gillette take away his Fierce Wild Berry, car keys and razors. What a cheat. This just in! Sandra Bullock’s husband boffs tattoo model who nicknames him Vanilla Gorilla! Cheat, cheat, cheat. Stalker media catches everybody in the act.
I have a problem with the word “cheating” because it has become a misnomer. People often use it to refer to all non-monogamous sex, whether or not any betrayal is involved. It’s a language virus that inextricably fuses the concepts of fucking and lying.
Think I’m crazy? I dare you to Google the nonsensical phrase “She knows he cheats on her,” or any number of similar variations. (Um, if she knows, it’s not cheating…)
Maybe it’s akin to Cymothoa exigua, a parasite that attaches itself to the tongue of a spotted rose snapper fish, atrophies the tongue and then replaces it like a doppelganger. Likewise, the word “cheat” spreads through the vernacular, devouring its way into public consciousness, skewing meaning where convenient.
With this pandemic misuse, “cheat” sends out a series of connected messages: You’re a misanthrope if you have an open relationship. Nobody sane would actually let their partner sleep around. They must not love each other.
So, the attached but promiscuous often share little about their sex lives, choosing to shut up rather than expose themselves to judgment. Sometimes they can’t get laid because their potential one-nighters mistakenly assume something fishy is going on.
Entomologically speaking, Cymothoa exigua actually has two body parts: “cheat” and “infidelity” work harmoniously to make the world a less sexy place.
This just in! George Michael caught cavorting with rent boy on pleasure cruise! “There is no suggestion George, 46, actually hired him for their naked romp on a yacht in Australia,” reports News of the World. “But our revelation is likely to horrify the singer’s long-term partner, Kenny Goss.”
The writer, however, later admits that George and Kenny have an open relationship. What gives?
“Last night a source said: ‘Sleeping with a prostitute is quite a different matter. There are the obvious risks and it just looks very mucky.’”
Here, open relationships are again discredited, through a ridiculously inaccurate assumption: nobody would consent to their partner paying for sex. You’d think tabloids would know better. But the media machine is built to erase anything not newsworthy from view. When nobody’s smashing windshields with golf clubs, it’s boring. You’ll never see the paparazzi snap photos of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie giving each other the thumbs up as they slip into mutually exclusive hot tubs.
But why is “cheating” the only kind of relationship deceit that makes the news? Wouldn’t you perk up to the headline “Secretary of State Clinton reveals lifelong revulsion for husband’s foreign policy”?
Let’s tally things up. If the non-monogamous and polyamorous were making any kind of headway before Tigergate, it’s clear from Twitter trending topics that he has sunk us with a hole-in-one (well, we’ll never know the exact number of strokes.)
I devised a way to fight back: abolish golf altogether. You know, tear up the greens and such.
This is obviously a risky proposal, given the number of golfers ready to charge out and protect the fairway, directing their caddies to club intruders to death. I made the mistake of running this idea by David Rimmer, grand pooh-bah of Ottawa’s After Stonewall bookstore.
“You masquerade as being sex-positive and claim to be a libertine, Daniel, but your true Victorian colours are beginning to shine through! If not, why would you be pushing to eliminate the world’s most sexual sport? What other sport allows the players to polish their shafts in public and to wash their partners’ balls as a courtesy? Golfers routinely go out in twosomes, threesomes and foursomes. And what other sport allows you to stare at Camilo Villegas’s perfect ass?”
Point taken. Villegas has an awesome butt.
Instead, maybe we should focus our energies on creating the language we need to describe ourselves. English is now ripe for genetic modification; usage is the new authority. So, tinker with the D and the N and the A of what you’re trying to say. Rip the Cymothoa exigua out of your mouth, no matter how painful. Fill the hole with new words, at the risk of blowing your Twitter character limit.
Instead of “cheating,” what about making the concept more specific, with MUFF (Maliciously Undisclosed Fuck Fest)? Or BUMS (Bilaterally Understood Moan Session)? Any other ideas? I’m choking here. Maybe it’s my surrogate fish tongue.
We need to do something, because language parasites are killing orgasms all over the place.
Over my dead snapper body.