The band was hot, playing some sort of Latin-Afro funk-world music groove that made it impossible not to shake your hips like Shakira.
Sara couldn’t help but notice the attractive middle-aged man on the dance floor.
“Kat, he’s cute, isn’t he?”
“Yeah, and he moves well. I think you should dance with him.”
“He might be here with someone.”
“Nah, he’s been dancing with a different woman every few songs. You don’t dance with other women if you’ve brought a date. Go for it!”
Sara started to work up her courage when she felt a hand on her shoulder. It was Mr. Dancer, who smiled, reached for her hand and began gently pulling out out onto the dance floor.
They stayed there for a long time, their bodies moving as smoothly as a “Dancing with the Stars” episode.
I was ready to go home, so I signaled her to come over.
“So?” I asked.
“God, it feels so good to be in a man’s arms again,” she sighed.
“I’m happy for you, but I’m tired. Can you get home OK?”
“I think I just might have a plan,” she said, winking at me as she headed back to the dance floor.
When the music stopped and the crowd at Servino’s started to thin, Sara didn’t want it to end so soon.
“I don’t live too far from here,” she said to Mr. Dancer. “Care for a nightcap?”
“I was thinking the same thing,” he said, as he took his hand and ran it slowly down the contour of her back. It sent tingles everywhere.
As they made their way to her home, Sara debated how the night might turn out. It had been a long time since she’d had sex—should she try to seduce him? Just the thought of that made her slightly intoxicated with desire. We’ll see, she thought.
Once inside, she poured them each a drink, lit a few candles and put on some music. He reached for her hand and pulled her close to dance with him and then started to slowly kiss her neck.
That’s when Sara decided, yep, he’d be spending the night.
And that’s when his cell phone rang.
There are only two people who call at 2 a.m.—your mother, because you’ve broken curfew, and your partner, wondering, “Where the hell are you?”
It was pretty clear to Sara it wasn’t mommy on the phone.
“You’re married?” a stunned Sara asked, sure that she’d looked at his left hand to see if he was wearing a ring or not.
“Well, yes, but I’m not happy,” Mr. Dancer said.
“And I’m not stupid,” Sara said, showing him the door. “Good night.”
“But, don’t you want to … ”
“If you want to screw your wife, go home, and do it the old-fashioned way, not like this, Okay?”
Sara was pissed, and rightfully so. Just a few weeks before that, she and a man from Match she’d been exchanging flirtatious and teasingly randy e-mails with decided to meet at a cute little restaurant on Belden Place. They had a great time, until they started talking about their summer plans and “my wife and I” slipped out of his mouth.
“You mean your ex?” she asked.
As it turned out, he meant his soon-to-be-ex—she just didn’t know that yet.
Despite the various ways of meeting people nowadays—online, speed-dating, Table for Six, lock-and-key-parties, text dating—there is one thing they share in common: a certain percentage will be married and more often than not, it will be a man.
In fact those who keep track of such things say as many as 40 percent of the men online aren’t being honest about their marital status, and even the ones you meet the old-fashioned way—like Sara did—head out for a night after slipping off their wedding bands. What’s a single girl to do?
That’s not to say that there aren’t married women looking for “discreet fun”—just go to Lonely Cheating Wives, Lonely Wives Affairs, and MILF Dating or any of the dozens of sites like that. But the men I know who’ve tried those sites say the women are mostly interested in a cyber-affair—not quite what they wanted.
Now, I’m not against married people looking, lusting and flirting. Back in the days when my girlfriends and I were married, we did our share of that as well. When we’d gather for a gal’s night, our animated conversation often attracted men, and we invited them to join in.
It was all in innocent fun, but it made us feel sexy and desirable. And, it felt safe, actually, because we had hubbies waiting for us at home. When we told them about our flirtatious evening as we slipped into bed next to them, sometimes we laughed. And sometimes, we got lucky.
But we’d never consider going out without our wedding bands, or not letting it be known that we were married and thus unavailable as soon as a man tried to chat us up. There were no phone number or e-mail exchanges, either.
Ironically, some single moms wear wedding rings to keep playboys and nosy co-workers away. So do some not-quite-open gays and lesbians, who want to avoid people trying to set them up with someone “perfect”—just the wrong gender. It’s a way to stop the inappropriate and judgmental questions that shouldn’t be asked anyway.
Like the time I ran into a married dad in the circle of Trent’s friends whom I barely knew beyond the occasional smile and “Nice day, isn’t it?” chitchat. Somehow he had heard of my split.
“So, I hear you’re getting a divorce. What happened?”
That was pretty forward, but I deflected it with a little humor—a single gal’s best friend besides confidence.
“Well, any time you want to talk,” he said with a lusty pseudo-sweetness into my ear, “I’m here for you.”
And then he put his hand on my butt—the first time a man other than the one I had bought underwear for had touched me so intimately. Sure, I had many fantasies of that moment, just not with him!
What would make a married man think that that was okay?
Of course, for some women it is okay. Some women want to bed married men; they fall for the whole mate copying thing—if she wants him, he must have something going on. Or they want a lover who comes and goes, a no-strings attached hookup. Sometimes, they just get off on feeling like they’re some bored, sex-deprived man’s fantasy.
For the rest of us, though, this epidemic of hubbies posing as unattached men-about-town has added a new, troublesome layer to dating. How do you know who’s available and who’s not? How do you know who’s interested in just some innocent flirting and who’s trying to make you?
If you’ve been flirting up a man you’ve just met and casually mention your husband/partner/boyfriend, and he hasn’t countered, you’re still not safe to assume he’s single. You have to weed it out of him cagily, just like you have to with a teenager who wants to go to a sleepover party: “Will the parents be in the house? Will the parents be in the house all night? Will the parents be in the house in the morning?”
But if you decide to bring him home anyway, you just can’t be too upset if you eventually find out he’s attached. He obviously doesn’t care too much that he is and evidently, you don’t, either.