Fidelity is a Four Letter Word

It gets harder to write lately.

Yea, that was a lie.

I suppose I just don’t know what to write about.

That was another.

The truth of the moment is that I’m just too lazy. And not even in a pleasantly complacent, blissfully ignorant sort of way. This laziness is the by-product of my scatter-brained, distraction-hunting, if-I-don’t-think-about-anything-then-it’s-not-real escapist tendencies.

It’s a mess all up in my head. And as much as role-playing thrills me, the mood to don a maid’s uniform and start cleaning up is yet to come.


I have been thinking about something. Nothing significant, just a little thing which caught my eye a couple of weeks ago. See, I was at Apollo Bar and Lounge for the opening party of QFF (Queer Film Festival), an annual event in Jakarta and several other cities showcasing LGBTQ-related films, exhibitions, and events. It was just another typical Friday night at a Jakarta gay club, with typical Eurotrashy music you can sing along to and typical men and boys standing and walking and dancing around trying to pull off looking inviting and aloof at the same time.

And of course, there were the gay couples.

Whether they were insta-couples who just hooked up or actual couples who have been at it for some time, a swivel of the head in any given direction granted a look at (depending on their degree of inebriation and inhibition, but not necessarily in this order) hugging, kissing, cuddling, making out, groping men. Which is all fine and good. Despite being single and undersexed, I’d like to think that I’m not as embittered as to envy other people their happiness.


In any case, they were interesting to watch. Or maybe the lack of any mind and/or mood altering substance from my system demanded that I be interested in something or risk death by boredom. Whatever. Point is, watch them I did. And it wasn’t long before I saw something that piqued my interest:

From time to time, I’d see this look. It was on their face, in their eyes and body language. A slight stretch of the neck. An almost imperceptible glint in their eyes. A glance or stare that lasted a few seconds too long. Even with a man/boy/hybrid in their arms, they were looking. Still. Whether it’s for their next great love or another hot body to explore or yet another pretty face to obsess over and fantasize about, they were definitely looking.

And it got me thinking.

Promiscuity is prevalent in the gay lifestyle, to the degree that it is not just accepted but expected. Yet at the same time, infidelity is one of the most common reasons for the demise of a relationship. Here lies the dilemma: What do gay men want?

“The thing with gay men is, we want everything.” Tara said over the phone. “We want it all. We want the relationship, but we’ll be damned if we let the opportunity of hooking up with a hotter, better-looking thing pass us by. It’s selfishness is what it is.”

“But that’s… pathetic. The concept of having it all is just so overrated and ultimately pointless.” I returned hotly.

“Of course it is. But that doesn’t change the fact that they’d still want it.”

And that pretty much says it all.

In a culture where men pretty much get to do whatever they want and freely set the norm for ‘acceptable’ sexual behaviour, the gay sub-culture consisting of only men takes it to new heights. As an acquaintance once said to me, “We can’t get married. And if we can, what’s the point? It’s not like we can make babies anyway. So why not just have fun?” He then elaborated on how fidelity and sexual exclusivity are values belonging to a heterosexual society and as I listened to him going on and on, I couldn’t help wondering if in our attempt to escape the confines of moral values that society imposes on us, we have somehow, somewhere decided to scrap them altogether.

What then, about love?

“What’s love?” Tara asked me between drags on his cigarette.

“Well, at least for me, when I love someone that means I want him to be happy and therefore I try not to do anything that might hurt him.” I replied carefully.

I could hear Tara inhaling and blowing cigarette smoke on the other side of the telephone. “Take W and M for example. During the last two months they have broken up four times. Four. All because W had action on the side and M found out. And yet they’ve gotten back together. W says he loves him.”

“How?” I incredulously inquired.

After a short silence, Tara said, “I don’t know. Maybe what they mean by love isn’t the same thing you do.”

And there you have it.

Apparently the road to happily ever after is not only long and winding, it’s also uphill.


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