Monday, June 15, 2020

When Is a Kiss More Than a Kiss?

What would Monday morning be without some bad advice from Carolyn Hax. Even if the advice is a few days old.

The advice pertains to a kiss-and-tell story. It’s about a recent college grad who got drunk on a cruise and who--- OMG-- kissed  someone. You see, she had a boyfriend already, so the kiss counts as something like cheating. We do not know whether she kissed a male or a female. We do not know where she kissed the other person. The letter does not tell us whether or not she liked the kiss. We suspect that kiss is being used as a euphemism for something else. In a time of hookup culture, who cares about kisses any more. Now, guilt-ridden as she is, should she tell on herself.

To make the situation more complex, the kiss was witnessed by the offender’s cousin. Now, the question becomes: how high a risk is there that the cousin told or will tell anyone about the kiss?

Now, fast forward. The sister has been undergoing therapy to help her to get over her kiss. Naturally, it is not working. So she writes to Hax, who offers the typical therapy culture nonsense about being open and honest.

For now, take a gander at the letter:

My sister went on an extended vacation after she graduated from college, and while there she went out with our cousin, had too much to drink and ended up kissing someone. She had been with her boyfriend for maybe two or so years by then. Our cousin witnessed the kiss, and my sister asked her to please not say anything to anyone because she was really upset and ashamed.

She started therapy to deal with it, since it had been weighing terribly on her, but she still has not told her boyfriend. She thinks he will leave her.

That cousin is now getting married and my sister is getting really anxious about attending the wedding with her boyfriend. She thinks our cousin may have told other family members and one of them could bring it up in front of her boyfriend. I want to help her feel less anxious and have promised to run interference, but she's also thinking about emailing our cousin to make sure she hasn't told anyone/no one will bring it up. Is that the right thing to do?

— Telling

You have to wonder what kind of family members would usse a wedding to bring up the fact that this guilt-ridden woman kissed someone-- we don’t know where-- when she got blind drunk on a cruise several years ago.

As though this event is of cataclysmic importance.

Anyway, Hax suggests that she tell on herself, that she admit to her guilt and that she beg for her boyfriend’s mercy. It’s the kind of dumb advice that sabotages many a good relationship. 

Hax says:

The only way she will feel less anxious is if she gets out from under the weight of her secret, for good.

Either she tells her boyfriend; breaks up with him and thereby renders the secret moot; or finds a way to release herself of the guilt and just accept what she did as the kind of stupid thing humans do and forgive herself for it.

She continues:

Anyway. If you want to promote your sister’s emotional well-being, then please urge her to tell her boyfriend what happened, if she’s not able to forgive herself, or break up or otherwise move on. If he dumps her for the kiss or for the coverup, then that’s still better than her walking around knowing she’s one blab away from having everything blow up. That’s just no way to live.

Taking advice from the likes of Carolyn Hax is no way to live either. 

Consider this: if she tells on herself, the boyfriend might reasonably ask himself why she is telling him about something that happened, presumably, several years ago. I very much doubt that he will be able to come up with a good explanation. If she tells, she is implying that something momentous happened. Perhaps she cannot put it out of her mind because it felt so good. Perhaps she cannot forget it because the other person, man or woman, kisses better than her boyfriend. She is also inviting the boyfriend to think that something more than a kiss happened. He might start questioning her own commitment. He might even want to know the details.

Unless she wants to break up with her boyfriend or to cast a shadow over her relationship forever, she should keep her counsel. If he ever finds out and asks why she did not tell him, she should say that she was drunk out of her mind and did not know what she was doing. The kiss meant nothing, so she said nothing. If she had said something, her boyfriend would have assumed that it meant something. 

Anyway, the more I think about it, the more I think that kiss is a euphemism. Even so, better to be discreet than to sabotage her own relationship. How many relationships would survive an errant kiss, or even an errant glance, or an errant fantasy. One does have a right to privacy, don't you think?


urbane legend said...

You have to wonder what kind of family members would usse a wedding to bring up the fact that this guilt-ridden woman kissed someone-- we don’t know where-- when she got blind drunk on a cruise several years ago.


If no family member has brought the subject up by now, after several years, what would someone gain at the wedding? Tell your sister it is time to stop beating herself up, forget it, and do something constructive with the newfound freedom.

Anonymous said...

Have I fallen into a time machine and landed in 1780?

No, because even in 1780, people stole kisses. What concerns me is this young woman reasons this way. And asks the rest of the world to comply. She has much larger issues here.

Or, as Stuart suggests, that a kiss is her cover story, and that in her stupor, she did far more than that--and knows it. This is her way of lying to everyone about what really happened.
I have run into women of that type, who allow the alcohol to create a manufactured amnesia. Those are the types who make outrageous accusations after the fact.

The young man would be well served to break this off.