New game! "What's more offensive?" The erotic beauty of you holding yourself (or two magnificent parts of yourself) or the "awww, but it seems like he really loved her!" forgiveness orgy for this pathological dumbshit dipshit shitfuck?
The John Edwards sex tape, or Tina Brown calling his dying fucking wife a crazy media whore?
Beholding the gross emails your husband sent to one woman, or to fucking five? The fact of the cheating, or the fact of him being an entirely different person in his emails to some woman sitting on the fucking beach reading fucking Alan Greenspan as the late capitalism he created implodes on itself who then has the audacity to call the hacking of her Hotmail account an "evil act" like, yeah, the invasion of your privacy is up there with North Korean labor prison! Or wait, the part where he blames it all on the fact that his wife had actually achieved shit in her life in contrast to his unemployed Stepford mother and her full fucking tank of light sweet crude "unconditional love," or how he used to work for Goldman Sachs, or the part where some cheesy ditz whose idea of banter is "You are so hot" also was not only the actual girlfriend but fucking muse of a celebrated American writer, and speaking of celebrated writers, what about how Dexter Filkins' ex-wife thanks him profusely and generously in the acknowledgements of her book when he was probably lying about not cheating on her because that is what men do but also there are about 976 names that come before hers in the acknowledgments of The Forever War?
Which is all by way of saying: look, if it is true that "the person who is brutally honest enjoys the brutality quite as much as the honesty, possibly more," as I read some witty dead person quoted by someone in my Facebook newsfeed the other day, then maybe it's just because we've had to learn to love the brutality. At least it is a little less insulting to our intelligence, right? And if a loved one's petty brutality gets your email posted to this blog, a Pyrrhic victory is the only kind you can really hope for with most dudes, right?
Which brings me finally to William* and Stephanie (also a pseudonym) who met in a class called "Shakespeare and Plutarch" - so she knew what she was getting into (and she never meant to get into it) - and one night about four years later got really drunk and woke up dating. They made big plans to move to New York and work in publishing (good thing it is so hard to be a pompous delusional alcohol-abusing permadolescent in this town!) but he fucked that up when he came in one night about four months in and refused to discuss what he'd been doing, which was Stephanie's "friend." William is still in Minneapolis according to MySpace, where she found the below a few afternoons later:
————————- Original Message ————————
From: Myles na gCopaleen [Seriously dude? -Ed.]
Date: Apr 16, 2007 5:17 PM
I haven't known what to say for too long already. But I did want to give you some air, some space from the bullshit. But let me say I'm not an insincere person. Despite the baldest lies, my feelings for you aren't phony, and so I'm sorry that I've shattered your trust. It was always good to be your companion and your lover and I care about you a lot. I'm sorry I wasn't honest about my need for non-monogamy, not to mention the times I flirted with it in your presence. I wanted things to stay as they were between us while I dated casually, which is naïve at best. That is, I wanted to date without anyone coming between us. Not being naïve, I was trying to keep what we had (which was almost all lovely) separate from ‘complicating' people. I didn't want to compete for you with others, and I didn't want you to feel like you had to compete for me. So I became a hider and a liar by degrees.
This isn't foreign to me, obviously. I've never completely broken from the cycle of behavior that formed in my teenage years with my parents, which consisted of intermittent rebellions in secret, justified as the only means to get what I wanted (and felt I deserved, more or less). Certainly, you're not controlling or smothering like my parents were, yet I still carry a self-justified ‘will to autonomy' that persuades me, ad hoc, to make compromises with honesty. Obviously, the means I use toward my ends nixes any real justification. It's a whole lot of barely-veiled denial.
You have always been generous and I regret that I returned your kindness more in words than actions. And my crankiness compounded by the lack of back massages in your direction. And all the gnarly outgrowths of my failed relationship with elizabeth that I refused to prune.
I miss your wake-up faces and your cheshire smile, sensibility, and rare abilities, if you catch that meaning. and I never felt like I was spending time with you, but sharing it. You've gone through a lot of hell lately and have a lot going for you simultaneously. I may have made it easier before I certainly made it worse; I think we have spark and potential yet, so I hope something can be salvaged. After all, it's springtime and there are walks to be had and picnics to attend to. Water and dappled spots to be found. The cinema, the stage, and this little city we live in. pictures I haven't seen yet. Stories I've already told you. Food to eat and philosophies to bleed. Biking, if I ever get one. I don't expect anything of you, because you obviously have every right to hate my guts and I don't want to fuck up your life. But remember, you were once a cheater too, and more importantly, I really could be part of your life without fucking it up. It's been made manifest that you needn't put up with anything from me so I'm at your mercy. Maybe distinct compromises need to be enunciated. when the time comes, Stephanie, things will be different by necessity and by will and from experience.
Call me, write me anytime, and anything I can do for you, I owe it to you. Not for any obligation, but for you,
*I named him after this guy, obviously.