Friday, July 6, 2007


…in the morning, there is media, there is more media, there is handling and being handled. There is trying to find something everyone can eat. There is unlikely to be a nap – no rest for the wicked. Day Off is not listed until Tuesday. There has not been a Day Off in two weeks. I’m glad to be coming back to the blog, though, an anchor in my day to rest with.

I have been thinking about the question of Code, starting to jot down what my own ethical/moral code might be, scribbling out questions that chart the edges.

How much is it one person’s responsibility to look out for the morals of another? If I deem myself a guardian of your relationship, is that an ethical obligation or an egotistical assumption?

Whose job is it to tell a cheated-on partner what’s going on? Is it anyone’s?

Is any greater good brought into the world through clandestine relationships? Does it matter? Should it matter?

How much are we responsible for what we inflict on others in pursuit of our own pleasure and fulfillment?

Hopefully a short post here and there, but I’ll warn you my brain is mush and my hands full until Day Off…


G said...

I wish you the best in navigating these questions Mandy. I love that you ask them. For me, part of creating any art worth making includes challenging who I am, asks me what I must do and where I'm going.

Good luck at the paycheck job until you are able to catch a break.

Mandy said...

I agree - and right now I am questioning the basic assumption that "being good to other people" is a primary/always goal that seems to keep being suggested. Not that I want to be horrible all the time, but I don't necessarily accept that assumption without examining it :)

Thanks also for your good wishes - as it happens, I am working my desired artistic job right now! I'm pretty lucky to be working full time (more than full time when the busy times are upon us) at a job I created and truly love doing, but it is very demanding at times. This is one of those times!

George said...

I think your questions can be answered different ways by different people with different beliefs. It's almost a 6 of one, half a dozen of another response ... you will find your own answers and I will find mine. Maybe we will have similar answers, maybe we won't. Don't be swayed into believing another's philosophy ... you are you.

Anonymous said...

the moral relativism involved in being part of the 'me' generation and the questions you ask regarding how responsible a person is to others are indeed subjective. however, there is somewhat of a difference between 'guardian of your relationship' and 'not fucking your husband/wife'. option 'a' seems an egotistical assumption. option 'b' might be a matter of compassion/human kindness. ultimately, the only people truly responsible for a relationship are the ones in it. however, we have both been on the receiving end of similar lack of compassion, and we both were pretty devastated by it, as i recall. just a thought. i know that in this day and age 'do unto others' just seems a trite little catch-phrase delivered by moralizing goody-goodies. however even aleister crowley added 'an it harm none' to his whole 'do what thou wilt' spiel. hmmm... me

Anonymous said...

one more thought, mandy. i am rather certain that you would never fuck my husband or lover unless i invited you to do so. you would not consider hurting me in such a way, and you would not risk our friendship with careless behavior. perhaps a fruitful area of moral exploration might be the dividing line between a relationship you would not risk damaging and a relationship that you would not care about, between people deserving of your respect and those not. what are the criteria involved and how would you discern? or perhaps i flatter myself? ;-)

Mandy said...

Glad you're back in the world, bg...

I think you've hit upon it - my relationship is with you, not your significant other. And since I prize it, no, I wouldn't want to damage it. Him, on the other hand, I would have less responsibility to and would consider you fair game...hee, hee...

With Secret Scientist - and indeed, all the men I fuck, my relationship is with them. If there is a significant other in the picture, I don't know her, so I don't feel responsible to her (rightly or wrongly) to not sleep with her fellow. However, I do feel a responsibilty to return him a little better than I found him, as a service to womankind, so to speak.

I'll write more on this in a post instead of a comment, but I do think there must be a sense of diminished responsibility as we get further emotionally from people, or we would be responsible to everyone and there would be no global warming because none of us could bear to hurt others in that way. So I draw the line of ceased responsibility perhaps more closely than others would, but I do recognize your overall point.

Criteria to come...and of course, irony, that it was the woman who slept with my husband who was the catalyst for him and me to have a much, much better relationship.

Emma Kelly said...

Hi Mandy,

Everything points to the right or wrong of it being relative...even insignificant.

As one who was once caught and never forgiven, I can say that everything looks different when your deceit results in outcomes you neither predicted nor desired.

Your partner and your partner's partner are also central to this game and their potential response, to the extent you know or don't know who they really are, should be considered.

They have a right to play or change the rules too, don't they?

It's not really an ethical/moral question but an issue of practicality. What are you willing to live with after?

My best wishes to you as you sort that out.

Mrs. Kelly's Playhouse

Lil-Lolita said...

Just wanted to know you inspired me!

Anonymous said...

I think beautifulgirl and Mandy have an excellent point about relationships but I think that it's a practical rather than an ideological distinction. Morally I believe that infidelity is in the actions of the person being unfaithful. I took a vow, and I broke that vow, and it was my choice to do so. My partner was incidental to my sin.

If I sleep with a married woman now I am not the one betraying a trust. If I sleep with the wife of a friend, however, there is a trust betrayed (and therefore sinful). I did not marry my ex-wife trusting society to keep hands off, but trusting her to police herself.


Tom Paine said...

While I don't visit her regularly any more, a link from Mrs. Kelly brought me to this post. It might seem ridiculous for a man who both tried cheating (and fortunately failed at it), and who encourages multiple partners with all his intimates to be surprised at some of the facile assumptions in some of the comments-- I know I shouldn't be, this is the impersonal Internet-- but still, I was and enough to generate these random thoughts:

What a lousy world we live in if there are relationships we respect, humans we respect, and those we don't.

You are you. I am me. George, that's too profound, ther's probably a self-help book in there somewhere.

"Being good to other people" isn't the same as "do no harm." Your equating the two sounds like you're scrambling for an escape hatch out of a difficult question. Your actions indicate that question doesn't trouble you a whole hell of a lot, but your looking at the question indicates it troubles you some.

I think it's a bit too much for me to imagine you returning a "borrowed" lover in better shape for the two of you cheating on his SO or spouse. But chutzpah is a necessary quality in your line of work. I'd be interested to know if the wife or girlfriend found him improved, or if it would be worth it knowing what the two of you did (since it takes two to tango and have adulterous or cheating sex).

Some things we avoid because it's just easier, including not fucking the wife of a man with a long gun and a short fuse. While practicality plays a role in our decision-making process, it really has no bearing on the ethics of the situation.

Ethics are a fucking pain in the ass, since they prevent us from doing things we otherwise would like to do, whether stealing, killing, lying, etc. Humans do all these things, so we can just as easily dismiss concerns about them as stupid and squeamish. And anyone who ascribes to be better is surely self-deluded and a hypocrite. The past 50 years have been about freeing ourselves from guilt and shame. The French have, yet again, an expression for it:

"Understand everything, forgive everything."

Not in a Christian sense of forgiveness, but in a Liberal she/he can't help herself sense.

We can help ourselves. You can say "no."

Mandy said...

Tom, I'm not sure why you're gunning for me this week. In the past, I have enjoyed our discussions, and I value your strong opinions, but I'm starting to feel just the wee-est bit attacked.

Yes, there are relationships I respect and relationships I don't. There are also people I respect and people I don't. I don't believe there is a "right" not to be deceived. I don't believe everyone is equally worthy of mr respect. I choose limits on how much I work for the good of strangers I don't know and how much I serve my own ends.

I prefer not to say no. I prefer to sleep with people I am attracted to. My strawberry is not your chocolate.

You've spent an interesting week, obliquely characterizing me as deceitful and dishonest on Livvy's blog (a comment you claimed not to recall when I brought it up on your blog, you have an awfully short memory for a self-appointed morality judge), deriding my sexual tastes (or rather, your assumption of my sexual tastes based on a not-too-thorough reading of my blog) on your own blog and here on mine, and assessing my writing as unworthy of my actions.

Fine. I'm a dishonest, immoral, unethical slut.

Fine. I'm a lousy writer and my work is the pathetic and sad self-justifications of an ego-maniac.

I have no idea why you - someone whom I respect and enjoy interacting with in this forum - are so set on bashing me, my work, my writing and my sex life.

If I continue to offend you, please feel free to discontinue reading. It's not worth the aggravation for you or for me.

cc'd to email

Anonymous said...

oh mandy, darlin'. sorry tom is being a (proverbial) pain (*snort*). it amuses me how people draw their lines, bearing in mind that from a social standpoint, we are all in the same immoral boat together(sorry tom, could that perverted behavior you wrote about possibly have referred to... da-dum... polyAMorous sex?!?! why, aren't we all going to hell now!!!). the subjectivity of these things is ever-so charming, don't you think?

hmmm, just because i find that i can't quite resist: dear tom. you might consider reading more thoroughly. ho-hum. (*grin*)

random thoughts, generated randomly in response to tom's randomness. ahem.

of course there are relationships that we respect and ones that we don't, just as there are truly (in the real world, not the sweet little holier-than-thou world of why-can't-we-just-all-get-along) people we respect and people we dont. there are those that have earned our respect and they are the ones we worry about. sorry tom, have you missed the fact that mandy is a prostitute!? the mere fact that she is concerned enough to even ask these questions is rather something, don't you suppose? *yawn*

'george' is too random to even elicit a comment.

it was i, not mandy, who brought up the idea of 'doing no harm' vs 'being good to'. it was myself that entertained this question and who might (according to you) be troubled about it. as mandy would tell you, had you asked, i am rather philosophical about this stuff, and have an extremely high (by just about anyone's yardstick, including yours, polyamorous boy) moral standard. i have advised her against many of her choices but the fact of it is that i DO NOT BELIEVE THAT IT IS FOR ME TO JUDGE. 'nuff said. yo.

i have to say that i, as someone who has been direct witness to these things, can say with perfect honesty that mandy has indeed returned her lovers better than they were when she found them (i have known several of them both before and after). if you can't quite wrap your brain around that, tom, maybe you need to explore that. it might be worth your examination,especially in the context of your proported preference for open relationships.

i have noticed your little tendency for polemic several times, but the fact of it is, tom, that you don't have a leg. sorry, man. work on that. while on the one hand i agree with you that there are certain ethical concerns that mandy does both toe and flaunt, when nip comes to tuck, she is not trying to have a polyamorous relationship, SHE IS A WHORE AND IS TAKING MONEY FROM MEN FOR SEX. this didn't disturb you earlier in your commentary, why does it now? what does that say about you and your perceptions? food for thought, tom.

all the best, bg

Emma Kelly said...

By the way, Mandy,

I really tip my hat to you for starting this tempest.


Mrs. Kelly's Playhouse

Emma Kelly said...

I mean this not as a jest or a confrontation but why would you post questions on your blog and then attack someone for taking the time to answer them? Did you think that everyone would have the same opinion as you?

You ask a fairly controversial questions. Why wouldn't you expect some people to disagree with you rather strongly?

Emma Kelly

Anonymous said...

eh, that was my bad, emma. mandy defended, i attacked. i get very protective, in an i-can-hit-my- little-sister-but-if-you-try-it- i'll-smack-you sort of way. *grin*

though i do feel that tom stepped outside of discourse and into the realm of polemic, where in the past he's nudged but not crossed that line. i also probably get alittle irritated with the whole 'tried infidelity but failed' bit that he wears like a boyscout badge. the closest i've ever come to infidelity was kissing another man (does this make me better than someone else? more validated?). this happened to be entirely outside of the bounds of my partner's and my agreement and threw me into total crisis. it also, incidentally, renewed my devotion to my partner in ways that i wouldn't have imagined. i did something wrong that had a positive effect. kant or mills? and should i mention it in all of my correspondences as a casual byline?

ooh, i shall stop myself from descending into a semi-hypocritical rant here! *rolls eyes at self*

(mandy my darling, i shall also stop hijacking your blog- if we'd gone to high school together i'd have pushed down all your bullies! tra-la-la!)

Emma Kelly said...

Hi Mandy,

Okay, I have to take back everything I said before because now the person in question has gone after me quite strongly and meanly, so do what you will with him.