That Cheating Man!
“Ladies, let me finish.” Gap Tooth Story Teller is holding court in Utopia. All are riveted by her oratory expertise and compelling relationships subject matter.
“I’m sorry, but I gotta go,” Super Swimmer Woman rises from the warm bench and heads out, limp and red.
“Wait a minute wait a minute you gotta hear this!”
SSW laughs, tired. “No, really, I gotta go. But these other ladies will stay. Am I right ladies?”
The little group nods, rapt.
How Bad can Your Man be?
PP wonders, as GTST continues, ranting about the Bad Man, aka The Cheating Man, what DL is thinking. Does she relate the Bad Man to her experience with Bad Women? Are Lesbians Bad too?
Probably. PP didn’t think it had anything to do with gender. One person cheats on another for a host of reasons: necessity, thrill-seeking, cruelty and payback (Yes, you all know how PP is obsessed with Soap Opera). It was kinda like when PP taught Death of a Salesman and she asked the class why Biff steals (or even broader—Why do people steal?) The answers are similar: necessity, risk-taking, thrill-seeking, revenge, insanity (PP always likes this one best—-she’s had some great discussions about Kleptomania)
But she digresses.
Today, in Utopia it’s about That Goddamn Cheating Man!
And nothing is worse than a Cheating Man. It’s unanimous. “Just tell me where I can find me a Good Man. That’s all I care about.” Sultry African American Princess leans against the wooden wall, worn out by it all.
“Just listen up,” GTST nods, “when I asked Leroy (name changed to protect this celebrity. Also PP can’t remember his name.) “if he ever cheated on his wife. You know what he said?”
The women all wait, wide-eyed, already knowing the answer. But it’ll sound better coming from GTST. “He said. Git this. He said, ‘I’ve been married for over 20 years.’”
“And I repeated my question, ‘Have you ever cheated on your wife?’”
“He said, “20 years is a very long time.”
All the women take this in. The 20 years. The long time of a marriage. The cheating.
“And you Ladies here understand, don’t you?” GTST paused for a moment, letting the drama of the moment build. . . .
PP and DL and SAAP all wait even though it’s high time to get outta Utopia and into the shower. “He did NOT answer the question!” GTST harrumphed. “I repeat. HE DID NOT answer the question! Now what does that tell you? I tell you what it tells me. He cheated in the past. He’s cheating right now. And he’s gonna continue to cheat in the future.”
“I just wanna find me a Good Man,” SAAP sighs, repeating her hopeless fantasy aloud again.
“You ain’t gonna find Him Girlfriend,” GTST asserts, rising with her hands on her wide hips, pointing her finger. “He ain’t on this planet. No, he’s not. So my advice to you is do what you gotta do for yourself. Don’t you ever let any man cheat on you! And if he does? You kick him to the curb! You hear me! You tell that Cheating Man that you won’t stand for his Cheating Ways!”
“It takes a cheating woman to cheat with the cheating man,” One Quiet Woman who’s been sitting in the dark corner finally pipes up.
“That’s a good point,” PP agrees.
“Yes it is. Yes it is,” GTST nods, “It does take two. But like I said, they don’t wanna admit it. They just wanna take what they can get and to Hell with their marriage, to Hell with their integrity to Hell with their marriage vows of lifelong commitment and fidelity till death do us part."
PP thinks this is the clincher. That Death do us Part bit. Who the hell can make such a commitment or predict the future to that degree?
Which is one of the many reasons PP has never gotten married.
The Loudspeaker harangues them all out of the Cheating Man Diatribe, “It is now 9:51 at the Downtown Oakland YMCA! Please finish whatever you are doing and make your way up to the Lobby and out. We will open again at 5 a.m. tomorrow morning. Have a good night and thanks for being members and guests of the Downtown Oakland YMCA.”
GTST rolls her eyes, blocks the door outta Utopia. “You’all gotta hear the end of this!” she pleads as the women pile past her.
But everyone’s heard enough. At least for now.
Though PP is sure that GTST will resume her storytelling next time: same Cheating Time, Same Cheating Channel, Same Cheating Man! (or Woman!)