The timing of this year's New York magazine "sex" issue was serendipitous, what with an admitted whore monger running for New York City Comptroller and a married Mayoral candidate who gets off from sending indecent photos of himself to female admirers. While this "special issue" was not without its charms (an article about the inability to fully distance oneself from ex-lovers was particularly well done ), a rancid piece entitled There Is Such A Thing As Respectful Infidelity left me shaking my head.
The article's nauseating tone is set in the first two paragraphs, where the subject of the story  reminisces about his first time cheating. The "lucky" gal was "not attractive at all" but "wanted [him] really bad." While our plucky hero was not enthralled with the idea of bedding this woman, his roommate convinced him to "just do it" and so he did, dialing up the romance with nothing so much as a greeting when he entered her room, but rather, the simple instruction that she "take off [her] clothes." Be still my heart. Very kind of our anonymous Lothario to make her dreams of what was, I am sure, highly mediocre sex, come true because, you know, ugly.
For those who make it past this rather unsavory vignette of arrogance, cruelty, and borderline misogyny, you will be treated to a paint-by-numbers daisy chain of infidelity clichés that could have been lifted from any number of straight-to-DVD movies, dusty issues of Cosmo or the fevered imaginations of junior copy editors: oral sex? (too intimate.) always use a condom, and, if you don't, you're somehow more of an asshole. (you don't say.) his infidelity? (ok.) his fiancée's? (not ok.) and never, ever, spend the night, because some things must be "saved" for the person you care most about in the world. 
The torrent of self-deceit that flows from this gentleman's mouth is truly a sight to behold. Perhaps it comes from his environment, where, he advises us, his buddies are all "on the same page" when it comes to casual infidelity and he assuages what purported guilt he has by noting that he rarely initiates any flirtation, but hey, if someone's gonna bat an eye his way, he's only a MAN after all. When it comes to his poor fiancée, his fear is of getting caught, not what emotional tsunami will be unleashed on his soon-to-be wife. Thankfully, our Prince Charming is smart enough to come home from his dalliances AFTER his partner is asleep, therefore avoiding the need to kiss her until the next morning, but when he goes too long between episodes of infidelity, he gets bitter toward her because he's not allowing himself to "do what [he] need[s] to do." What a guy.
But what of our irresistible fella's future as a married man? Sadly for all those women in the greater New York City area hoping to experience the unique pleasure that comes from checking into a midday, by-the-hour hotel for a quickie with this gentleman, he's sworn off cheating since he's become engaged and looks forward to a life as a faithful husband and (god help us) father. But do not fear, he's anguished over this decision - no, not the one to get married and have kids, but to swear off the pleasure of strange flesh. After all, "cheating is part of what makes me me." (italics in original). As repugnant as the idea of honoring his marital vows is, he "hopes" to take one for the team, because he does love his fiancée and expects them to have a beautiful life together.
As a piece of journalistic troll bait, There Is Such A Thing As Respectful Infidelity is not even successful. This type of male privilege article is usually teed up and knocked 300 yards down the fairway on websites like Jezebel and Gawker, not to mention myriad blogs written by women (and men) who find this type of cavalier attitude noxious; however, it did not even rate much of a response. If the article is to be taken at face value - that is, that a human being uttered the words (not to mention has the mentality) transcribed and shaped by Alex Morris - it is a sad commentary on one person's amorality and another person's (the unsuspecting fiancée) future hell.
You see, there's nothing "respectful" about infidelity, no matter how many "rules" you put around it or how you attempt to justify it. Cheating removes you from your partner in every conceivable way while playing them for a fool. It violates that which bonds us to our spouses, significant others, girlfriends and boyfriends - trust - in ways that are utterly corrosive and horribly destructive. It is also an act of total and complete selfishness that, whether you see it as such in the moment or after the fact, speaks very poorly of a person's values, whether it is a one-off chance encounter or a serial condition like the one described in this magazine piece. The roads not taken - of examining why the subject of this article feels the need to cheat, of communicating his desires to his fiancée,  of being honest about his delusions and not diminishing his odious behavior simply because he has not had an affair once he got engaged, are absent.
And I am neither puritan nor moralizer on this topic - I was this guy, without the outward arrogance or lack of governor in sharing my story with others, but with all the self-justification and rationales that come with deciding to live a secret life. It was not until I looked at what I had done, to my wife, to myself, to those who participated in my affairs with me and what it said about me (spoiler alert: nothing good) that I was able to start getting honest with myself about who I was (again, spoiler alert: not a good man). It was not only a primary cause of the dissolution of my marriage, but left me feeling so guilty about having done it that I was incapable of intimacy with another woman for more than two years, and even then, the guilt nagged at me even when I was with my "Special Lady Friend."
This is not to pat myself on the back for becoming a more evolved human being who realizes that trust, communication and intimacy are critical ingredients in a relationship or that you simply do. not. cheat, but to say that the world portrayed in There Is Such A Thing As Respectful Infidelity is ugly, venal and self-absorbed. Sadly, one need not wonder whether this particular gentleman has even the modicum of self-awareness to realize that he is subjecting himself, and more importantly, his fiancée, to an enormous amount of pain and heartache in the future; to have articulated his entitlement in such a public way tells us all we need to know.
You can read the article here and judge for yourself:
2. The article is an "as told to" piece, not a first person narrative.
3. Allegedly, this person is the subject's betrothed, but judging from the level of narcissism he displays, it is clear the answer is "himself."
4. The alpha and omega for open communication in relationships, be it how to address disagreements about how to roll the toilet paper or discuss having an "open" arrangement is of course, the brilliant Dan Savage.