It’s Hard To Love Someone When You Know Everything They Are

Heather Havrilesky, who I hadn’t realized I missed this much until I started reading her again: 

Before you dredge up the image of every no-good cheater you’ve ever known, consider the many fallible individuals in the world who fall in love, get married, have children, and then find themselves questioning their sexuality, questioning their gender identity, or (less provocatively) simply questioning their lifelong choice of sexual partner. Maybe a spouse simply has a weak moment and makes a mistake. Sometimes people marry the wrong person. Sometimes people cheat and regret it immediately. Do we really want to indiscriminately drag every last one of these people into the middle of town and set their lives on fire for them?


The problem for me isn’t so much that we’re all vulnerable to hacking, as Heather goes on to say:

As easy as it is to chuckle at a bunch of douchebag dudes getting outed for cheating, consider for a minute the full scope of ramifications endemic to our new, easily hacked lives. Every last one of us is hopelessly vulnerable to hacking today, thanks to insecure smartphones; insecure databases; absurd, ever-changing, and increasingly invasive Terms of Service; and supposedly benevolent megacorporations that illegally suck private dataoff unsecured Wi-Fi systems and legally compile private information gleaned from multiple apps to sell it to data brokers like Experian who might, in turn, haplessly sell it to Vietnamese identity-theft crime rings. If that sounds like some kind of Orwellian paranoid fantasy, it may be time to wake up and smell your credit-card numbers hitting the Dark Web.

Problem for me is, you expose the cheater, you expose the person he cheated on. Who maybe was okay with it, and maybe wasn’t, and there’s no way to know. You expose the kids, the friends, the colleagues, the hapless assistant or intern who thought it was hot her boss was into her, etc. There’s a lot of collateral damage to this, which is why you don’t pull this gun out at a tennis match.

There are degrees to this that are easy, and most of them have to do with the definition of “private mistake” as distinct from “public hypocrisy.”

Politicians fucking around on their wives while they try to police the family lives of others? Fair game.

Some dude wanting a little strange on the side while he’s out of town for a conference? I dunno, what’s the conference about? Is it about how women are whores? Fuck that guy.

Is it about cleaning products marketed primarily to the prison and health care sectors? Or about the best way to frost cakes? The fuck do I care? (Though I do bristle at the idea that you slip, trip and stick your dick in someone. Do yourself and your two or three or twelve sex partners the credit of acknowledging that your actions are controllable.)

I don’t care about random dudes screwing people not their spouses. And it IS awfully scary to think that you could someday be subject to someone else’s moral judgments. If you knew everything I ingested and everything I thought about everyone, I’m pretty sure you’d burn this whole place down.


2 thoughts on “It’s Hard To Love Someone When You Know Everything They Are

  1. “There’s a lot of collateral damage to this, which is why you don’t pull this gun out at a tennis match.”


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