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"At 2 AM": Confessions of a Cheating Jerk
"At 2 AM": Confessions of a Cheating Jerk
by Dave Tangen - SGN Contributing Writer

I know what deceit tastes like. The memory of that taste is seared into my consciousness. For me, it's the taste of sex with an unremarkable man I don't particularly care for at all, after about the fifth time over a few months, even though I have a perfectly good boyfriend who I enjoy sex with very much. That taste, a lingering flavor of my dark secret, is exactly what deceit tastes like.

I never before considered myself to be the sort of person who would cheat on my boyfriend, much less regularly. I've held on my whole life to this belief that I am as worthy and capable of a loving, caring, mutually respecting, and faithful relationship as anyone else. I've sneered at those Gay couples who embrace promiscuity as a couple in "open relationships," insisting they are no more committed than roommates having sex. But the only difference between them and me at this point in time is that they are more honest with each other than I am with my boyfriend.

"We're all pigs," a friend once told me, "pigs with no conscience."

Like respectable men with secrets do, I laughed off his comment as nothing more than a shallow stereotype of the basest qualities of Gay men. Of course we can be something else, I tell myself, feeling quite convinced of it until the next night, when my dark side takes over and I race out into the night with a suspended conscience and a dirty thought.

It's kind of like having a super hero alter ego, except instead of doing anything constructive or helpful for the world, you spend your time and effort feeding this insatiable need to be embraced by the indifferent desire of someone you don't particularly like and can never see yourself with. You might tell yourself that in some way it's justified - that maybe we are all really pigs, that you are going to cheat less and less with time, or that you'll make it up to your boyfriend in little ways - but whatever you attempt to do to rationalize it, it's still very much exactly what it is.

I could rationalize it further by saying that my alter ego is filling a void I can't fill at home, that somehow the role I play once a month with a stranger makes up for the role I am thrown into at home, but like all the rest of it, it's only half true and masks the real reasons. At the end of the day, I know it more than anyone, that this is as much deceit to myself as to him.

I know the game I'm playing is a dangerous one. I know that the man who has everything and insists on risking it all for the half-second glance of a hot jerk isn't worthy of the things he has. And yet, here I am.

Like everyone else in the same situation, I know this can end badly. Maybe I will end up getting caught and suffer the price I was willing to pay when my boyfriend leaves me, regretting it for decades to come. Or maybe I will grow a pair of balls and suddenly realize the value of what I have, attempt to pay my personal penance and move forward. Or, maybe in a real fit of conscience, I'll follow the age-old footsteps of men before me and tearfully admit that I am a jerk and that I've lied all this time and hope, with all my heart, that the honesty of a single moment will make up for my lack of judgment for half a year.

Whatever happens, I'm more aware than anyone that who I am at this moment is exactly who I don't want to be. I know I am not as good a person as I thought I was or pretended to be, and worse, that I'm not yet man enough to put both my shortcomings and my strengths on the same face so that instead of two, I have one imperfect, but honest, face.

My story is not new. It isn't inspiring and it doesn't offer any solutions. It isn't helpful or constructive, and does nothing more than point out that I am both a coward and a liar; but at the very least, it will be a moment that I can look back on in the future and either appreciate deeply or despise endlessly whatever I do next, either to fix it or to make it worse.

That's the aftertaste.

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