He and I had been friends in graduate school in New Orleans for seven months when we had sex for the first time. He was engaged at the time to someone else who lived in a different state. It was Mardi Gras, and the attraction he and I had for each other, combined with multiple beers, had exploded into consensual and sloppy intercourse.
Our mutual attraction had been evident for a while. Before Thanksgiving, we had walked along Lake Pontchartrain near my apartment and delicately talked around the issue. I took a submissive position; someone else had gotten to him first and there was nothing I could do about that. I would not try to break up his relationship.
But I told him as straightforwardly as I could that I had no moral objection to infidelity. That was the only way I could think to phrase it. Sex was just sex. I was basically communicating that if he wanted to have sex with me, I was going to enthusiastically approve.
I quickly mentioned that what did matter to me was his ability to take care of two women’s feelings at the same time. He looked down at his boots and said that he probably wouldn’t be able to do that.
Wrong answer, I thought.
But our attraction was so intense that we ignored the potential problems. We were already ignoring the fact that he was leaving the next day to go meet his fiancée. I reiterated my point about taking care of two women’s feelings, hoping he would understand it better and retroactively concur. Instead, he took it as me concluding that we should keep our pants on, and he closed the discussion.
“We shouldn’t,” he said.
Using the word “shouldn’t” instead of “can’t” or “won’t” only made our copulation seem more inevitable.