Any cheaters here tonight?
I’m a cheater.
Do you hate me now?
I wouldn’t say I’m proud I cheated but...I certainly don’t regret it. If I was a character on one of your shows (‘stories’ for the more mature readers), you’d be tweeting, “She deserved it!”
I did deserve it.
But I’m not a character on your show and you don’t have the backstory or 4 seasons worth of episodes to look back on for context. So when it comes time to admit I cheated, the support is never as loud. I have jokes about cheating and as soon as I say the word ‘cheat’ on stage, the crowd tenses. The laughs subside. A random weirdo in the back woos.
I think it’s the word ‘cheat.’ That hard ‘t’ really sets people off. They think of all the other hard ‘t’ words: shit, hurt, cunt, slut, and the biggest offender of them all, moist.
I could switch it up. Maybe use the light and airy ‘affair’ but it wasn’t an affair (An affair is when you fly to have sex, right?).
So I don’t know. What do you call ‘having sex with someone else because you’re in an emotionally abusive relationship at the same time you’re beginning your sexual prime’?
The word that comes to mind is freedom.
One of the sessions a few weeks ago at the Southwest Love Fest started by sex educator Sara Connell asking us to think for a few moments about something that we used to believe about sex, relationships or intimacy that we don’t believe anymore. Many came to mind (sex equals immediately pregnant, casual sex will always lack intimacy, the concept of ‘losing ones virginity’) but a big one for me was that cheating makes you a terrible person. That cheating was the worst thing you can do.
I never imagined I’d be a cheater. Cheating was selfish. Cheating was something Carrie Bradshaw did not Carolyn Busa. So as I found myself moving closer and closer to becoming a cheater, I wondered if my decision to move into this new territory was simply for a cheap thrill. It’s taken me awhile to realize that, no, that decision of mine was so much more than just a lapse of judgement.
It’s impossible to give audiences the full rundown of what led to my cheating on my boyfriend of 4 years during my usual 8 minute sets. I have a lot of other things I want to talk about on stage (ie. my now healthy sex life). But I do wish people’s faces weren’t immediately soured by my admitting I cheated. No one knows the whole side of the story. For starters, he was a dj.
JK JK JK. I know djs aren’t bad people. Admittedly, I’d even like to be one! Why? Because djs are supposed to inspire you, make you want to dance, tease you with their bass not taunt you with their words. Words like those hard ‘t’ words above, some of which I went to bed hearing screamed at me. Or texted to me. I look at my pictures from that time and I can find an insult or unnecessary argument behind each one.
Like when I didn’t tell my boyfriend about a late night with an ex. At that point I was already quite familiar with my boyfriend’s temperament and didn’t want to wake the beast. I hadn’t seen my ex-boyfriend/friend in over a year. He never saw my act, he never met my dog. We caught up as we watched my dog tear up his bed. I told him about my shitty job. We said goodnight.
The night my boyfriend found out about this innocent reunion sits with me still today. My poor dog’s confusion at the yelling and stomping and Mommy curled up in a ball on the floor downstairs. The word ‘slut’ being screamed at me as he stood above. The panic that was inside me enough to call the police. It’s insane to think about. I can’t believe that was my life for even just a night.
I didn’t cheat on him until 6 months after that nightmare. That ‘t’ doesn’t seem so hard to me.
I have a couple that lives above me now. I know nothing about them except that they have a dog and they seem happy in the same way I seem happy in the photos above. But their floor is my ceiling. I hear the stomping, I hear the arguing, I hear the pitter patter of Marley likely running back and forth confused at who is right and who is wrong.
That will never be my life again.
So, one more time for those in the back: I cheated. I’m a cheater. And fuck yeah, I am free.
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