I often visit bars and coffee shops after a long day. I like going to bars alone because I enjoy solitary contemplation. However, after a few moments of thinking, I realize that I do not have as many thoughts as I thought I did. Upon realizing this, I make attempts to strike up conversations with girls who I think will not mind some company. Now I am not a very confident person, but that magic potion called scotch does wonders to my confidence.
If you are ever at a bar/club, you will notice a few different types of men. There are the creeps that try to dance with you without permission and rub up against you. Then there are the shy ones. These guys will scan the room, fall in love with almost every girl, but not make a move. Then there are these other guys who use their most valuable asset to attract girls, their brains.
They may or may not be hot, but they realize that their looks aren’t what will get them a girl’s phone number. I am a hybrid of the last two kinds of guys.
Once I introduce myself and ask them if they mind my joining them, I make some small talk, but not the kind of small talk that one may be familiar with. My small talk topics include life, death, happiness, religion, love, and infidelity, among other things. Even through small talk, I try to know as much as possible about the person.
“Will you indulge me in a philosophical conundrum that has been bothering me for weeks?” I ask.
“Sure” she says, usually hesitatingly.
“But before I start, for the benefit of this conundrum, I need to ask you if you are gay or straight.”
“That was not at all smooth. But I’m straight.”
“Thank you. And for my benefit, I need to ask you if you are single.”
“That was smoother, but I think you can do better. Yes, I am single.”
“Great. Imagine you have a boyfriend. If it helps, imagine I am your boyfriend. We are very happy together, which I think we could be, and want the relationship to last. However, one particular day, you cheat on me. Maybe you were drunk, maybe you weren’t. You know I will not be able to tolerate this behavior and if I find out about it, our relationship will end. But that is an outcome you do not desire. Given these conditions, will you tell me that you cheated on me?”
I have asked this question to a bunch of friends and strangers at bars, and most of them always say that they will tell, because honesty is very important to them.
They always say that they don’t see any point in the relationship existing if it is not built on the values that are important to them. I accept their answer and tell them that, if it were up to me, I would not tell. This usually infuriates them, even the random stranger who is now my girlfriend in our hypothetical situation.
“But you are depriving me of my right to the truth” she says to me. To this I answer, “Look at it this way. I find happiness, in the existence of this relationship with you. Given that revealing the truth of a mistake I made ends the relationship, why would I want to knowingly make myself sad?”
“But will you be able to live with that guilt?” is a question I often get after my explanation.
After a long pause which I don’t really need because my answer to this is rehearsed, I say, “I think I can.”
This entire conversation makes her a little sad. I can tell that she does not want to be my girlfriend, even in the hypothetical situation. However, that is just half of the philosophical conundrum.
I continue, “Now let us reverse the situation. Imagine you are in a very happy relationship, with me again. You do not want the relationship to end. However, you know that if I cheat on you, you cannot forgive me and you will end the relationship. Remember, you do not want the relationship to end. I cheat on you. Would you want to know about it?”
“Of course I would want to know. Why would anyone not want to know?”
“I would not want to know.”
“What? Why? You are absolutely crazy. So you are ok with living in denial?”
I always smile and reply, “If I do not know that you cheated on me, in my sense of reality, you have not cheated on me. We live in so many false realities already, what harm is one additional false reality going to do to me?”
“So if I cheat on you, you won’t want to know?”
“Nope.” After a long pause I wink at her and say, “Please don’t cheat on me.”
She usually smiles and says, “Don’t worry. I won’t.”
This person who was a stranger to me a few minutes ago, is already telling me she will not cheat on me. Which means, subconsciously, I am already her boyfriend. Game, set, and match.