This past Sunday while we were recovering from our respective nights of partying (I at a bachelorette party, M at the respective bachelor party), M told me about a very intoxicated girl at the bar and admitted to feeling slightly guilty about the attentions she had directed toward him. I laughed in response. But it brought up an interesting question. Should M have felt guilty because a girl threw herself at him in a little bit of a – ahem – risqué manner? And, if not, where’s the line at which he should start feeling guilty? On the other hand, should I have felt guilty about talking for five minutes with a Nanotech 2nd-year baby who was trying really hard to be flirtatious? How do you party and interact with other partiers, especially of the kind of the opposite sex, when your significant other is absent for one reason or another?
Of course, if we had been together, there would be no question. My alternate personality would have finally reared her ugly head and punched said drunk chick out. And then get kicked out of the bar. More likely, said drunk chick would never have come to dirty dance all over my husband to begin with. No issue.
But we aren’t always together. And even though we never take off our rings, our bling isn’t big enough to attract that much attention. (I had a drunk guy with a bachelor party scold me once for not having big enough bling.) When we aren’t together, there’s nothing about us that, on first glance, blares MARRIED. (Even when we are together, people think M is my boyfriend. Maybe my bling really isn’t big enough…) So how should we handle it when we’re having a night out on the town without the other person and attract a little drunken attention? Is it enough that I’m the one he comes home to at night? Is it enough that he’s the one I text before falling asleep tipsy at a grown-up girls’-night slumber party?
I don’t think so.
There is a line. There is definitely a line. At the conclusion of M’s story, I laughed because he didn’t cross it. I laughed because he felt guilty. I laughed because he told me the story to begin with. I laughed because his reaction to the situation affirmed the trust I have in him to be careful with our relationship.
The next time this kind of thing happens to him or to me, I don’t think guilt needs to be involved. We just need to remember where that line is drawn and send the drunkards packing before even a toe touches it. And then, we need to go home and tell each other about it so that we can laugh. And maybe, just maybe, redraw the line.