This morning I met with a nearly stranger in order to tell her about a fling I had a few years ago.
To tell was the right thing to do for our community. I also wanted to do that for myself.
I did not share any private details, only the general timeline, social circumstances, approximate number of encounters, and a suggestion that the encounters might have been of “adult” nature. Nobody was hurt as a result of the fling; I was clear about that. Nobody was at risk of being hurt, except the man and me – just the regular risks of getting involved.
Still, the man would have wanted me to stay quiet. Like I was a shameful secret.
Allegedly, one can allow others to love her only as much as she loves herself. Can it be then that the people she allows to approach will be vaguely ashamed of her as much as she is ashamed of herself?
Most men I’ve seen over the years appeared to have been overall nice, decent people. And yet, several of them treated our respective relationships like shameful secrets.
There was one who would go to extended family holiday gatherings with his estranged wife, and then return to sleep with me. The estranged wife knew. The extended family would be supposedly scandalized by the knowledge of my existence.
There was one who I was seeing casually (that was OK; the relationship was clear), then asked me for “complete discretion” when he got closer to somebody more suitable for his affection. I said I didn’t intend to blabber, but refused to swear secrecy.
Then there was one who I was dating for a while overtly – I thought. Then he got weirdly annoyed when I displayed affection at a party. I later found out he had previously tried to (unsuccessfully) seduce one of the women there, a common acquaintance, while I was out of town. She hadn’t known of our relationship; I wasn’t expected to “advertise”.
How did I choose them? How did I let some of them mean the world to me at the time?