Sunday, 1 October 2006

"Affairs" published October 1, 2006

So, is everyone having affairs? Tell me, because I need to know. Are there really 20 illicit couplings going on in the Beehive? Are all my friends having affairs? Am I having an affair?
It would seem that the main take out of the activities of the unlikely Lothario Don Brash, is that everyone is doing it. It happens, it is part of the human condition to fall in love with another, to be torn between two lovers, to let the heart dictate where the dick doth dip. Apparently everyone is totally cool with it. Get over it Wendyl.
Gosh I had no idea. Every week I sit down to write this column feeling reasonably confident about my ability to lick the finger and feel which way the wind of social behaviour is blowing, but alas I have totally missed the boat on this one.
I can hardly look anyone in the eye now, for fear that I’ll realise they have in fact been having an affair with me for several months without me noticing. I feel like I’ve just landed in an episode of Big Love. Everyone’s rooting everyone else, in some new polygamistic take on modern marriage, and it’s normal and acceptable behaviour. I feel strangely uncool.
It is true that everyone thinks about having an affair at some stage in their life and few marriages get by without an incident. You’d be hard pressed to find a partner who hasn’t taken a sneaky peak at the cell phone Inbox, pondered carefully the mountains of new underwear coming into the house, or wondered why hilarious Nova at the office is featuring so heavily in conversation these days. But surely affairs are the exception not the norm? Perhaps not. In previous years secrecy and affairs have gone hand in hand, but now, just like abuse and alcoholism, we’re just talking about it more. Especially when it involves ageing, non sexy politicians.
Why am I surprised? Marriages end all the time these days, people move on, get happy.
But what I don’t understand is how come everyone has given up saying “no.” At what stage do you stand there thinking: “If I get stuck in now, I’ll then have to lie every day for the rest of my life, my marriage may split up, I’ll only see the kids on the weekends, my finances will be halved, my children will turn 16 and be totally screwed up, and hate me. I’ll spend a fortune in counselling and by the time all this happens I’ll probably be onto another affair with the potential to screw up another couple of kids and split my finances again. Oh be still my beating heart, you rule, drop those pants now.”
When has “no” not been a good word?
And at what stage do you not ask yourself the question: “Do I have better than this at home if I put the same amount of effort in?”
Most people would reply “yes.” And you can fart in front of them.
A friend of mine thinks that people who have lots of affairs are late virgins and simply can’t believe their luck when they reach a certain power level which attracts. This is a valid theory if you’re thinking along the lines of Don Brash. But perhaps it’s more about hedonism. The pure pleasure and head rush of attraction, something many marriages struggle to maintain once the nuts and bolts of mortgages, childbirth, weight gain, body odours and boredom are screwed tight. That and a teenage-like belief that you won’t get caught, which as Don will tell you, you always do.
My main concern is that now I know everyone is having an affair, will people think I am? I do have lunch with men occasionally at SPQR. And Don Brash was seen having lunch with a gossip columnist at SPQR recently, so is that a sign? Don’t lunch at SPQR or do lunch at SPQR? Is Prego a better option?
The grim reality is that no one ever asks me to have affairs these days. But if they did and I found myself unwilling to make use of the word “no,” the person asking was bigger and better than the one I have at home and I got caught up in a tidal wave of hedonism, at least I’d be safe in the knowledge that everyone will be down with it and totally cool. What a relief.

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