Love, eh? Such a glorious thing. Ah, that moment when you meet that special someone and you want to hold them so tight, and never let them go. But then life intrudes, circumstances change and soon the difference between want and need opens up like a chasm that envelops the beauty of your affection. These circumstances, whether they be a collapse of the global economy, the unforeseen acquisition of wanderlust, or even an unexpected brush with the law, they can overtake your life and, though you fight it, you have to let your loved one go.
But what do you do? Can you so easily relinquish that love and just skip off to Japan? No, of course not. So, as you pack your bags and head to the other side of the world, you decide, locked in a weeping embrace, that your love, like an amorous Magellan, can conquer all, traversing the continents. If in days of yore, Crusaders searching for their holy war could maintain their relationships with nothing more than a boundless love and mutual trust (and the occasional chastity belt), then surely you can too. After all, with modern technology as it is, a long distance relationship should cause no problems. It’s not like the old days when a separated couple wanting to fan the flames of passion would live in fear of a nosey postman, or those searching immediate gratification, spending endless hours with their titillating
telegrams pondering the potential double meaning of please don’t stop please don’t stop. No, now you have email, Instant Messaging, mobile phones and Skype. Oh yes, there’s Skype, the most important tool in the long distance lover’s repertoire. Because if there is one thing that can break a relationship, it is the loss of intimacy, and now, armed with just a webcam and an Ethernet connection, you can get as intimate as you like.
Almost. It’s not quite the same. Sometimes you crave physical contact. It is then that you start to look around, take stock of your options and ask yourself, is it cheating if…?
From the moment the first Neanderthal man crushed berries and used the juice to scrawl a pair of rough, rudimentary boobs on his cave wall, man (and woman) has had a love affair with pornography. And now, on the Internet alone, a quick search will bring up 1.7 billion pornographic hits. That’s one hit for every 4 people on earth, people! But is it cheating? Oh, some religious types may have you think so, but let’s face it, relationship-wise, porn is nothing to worry about. Pornography even has a long and proud tradition of keeping couples together. Many a wife has slipped some mucky pictures into their husband’s belongings as they headed out on a long journey, admittedly with the occasional disastrous results. The wife of Captain Lawrence Oates was said to be inconsolable when she heard that, on the return leg of his Antarctic expedition, her husband had announced to his crew, art literature in hand “I’m just going outside and may be some time”. And perhaps, had the wife of Frederick Fleet not been concerned by the temptation of Kate Winslet types on board the Titanic, the lives of 1517 innocent souls may have been spared, with Fleet spending more time looking for icebergs than flicking through his copy of Jugs. So pornography. Dangerous, yes. Cheating, no.
Cheater Meter: 1/5
Blow Up Dolls
That masturbation is not cheating is beyond question for all those but the aforementioned religious types (though if you really are concerned about spilling your seed on the ground, surely some sort of bib-like device should do the trick), but what of masturbatory aids? Well, here in Japan, all kinds of ‘massagers’ and gadgets can be bought in your local pharmacy, so presumably they’re good for your health. But what about blow up dolls? On the face of it (an admittedly expressionless one), these dolls are created to be as lifelike as possible, meaning you are verging dangerously into cheating territory. Well, possibly. It all depends on how realistic your doll is. Here in Japan dolls can be custom-made to suit any specific requirements, and most popular are the fantasy anime dolls. Ever wanted to do Nami or Monkey D Luffy? Here’s your chance. Send a picture to the manufacturers and they can whip one up for you. And while getting jiggy with a cartoon character is pretty weird, surely it cannot be seen as a threat to your relationship. Mind you, if you have one made of the guy or girl who sits opposite you in the office, you’re on shaky ground.
Cheater Meter 2/5
Sooner or later you will end up in a Host or Hostess bar. If you live and work in Japan it is inevitable. There will be a night out with colleagues and, some time after the last subway has departed, your boss, tie around his head, or lipstick smeared across her face, will suggest hitting a host or hostess bar. And this is Japan. There’s no defying boss’ orders. But if you go along with it, will saving your job be tantamount to desecrating your relationship? Maybe not.
To western sensibilities, Host and Hostess bars give the impression of upper class knocking shops but, on the whole, this is well off the mark. As a matter of fact, most of these places operate on a no-touchy-touchy basis. If anything, they are seen as fantasy dating, giving you a risk and rejection free opportunity to flirt with members of the opposite sex who, let’s face it, are well out of your league. As long as you keep that in mind and see it as nothing more than harmless fun, then you’re fine. If you start thinking ‘I reckon I’m in here’, you could be in trouble.
Cheater Meter 3/5
The Subway Shuffle
For more than a week you have woken with the major horn. No amount of Skype sex or pornography can do it for you. You need something else. You need something real. You need a human touch. And then, there you are, rush hour on the train. It’s busy, you’re crammed in like sardines, and you feel it. A hip, a thigh, a rear end, a hand even. Whatever it is, it presses, in the crush of human flesh, against the place where the absence of your loved one is most keenly felt. What do you do? Do you push back? Do you… rub? Oh, they know what they’re doing, what they’re doing to you. They feel it, the excitement, the eroticism. They know exactly how you feel each and every time they push against that spot as the train lurches from station to station, as they press their body to yours under the guise of letting other passengers off and on. And if they happen to get you off, fully clothed as you do nothing but stand there rigidly allowing this anonymous flesh to send you into spasms of oft-remembered, but long-denied joy, it surely can’t be a betrayal of your love, can it? Of course it bloody well can. Not only is it cheating, it’s illegal. You need to stop that right now and have a cold shower before you end up in the beast wing of a Japanese prison.
Cheater Meter 4/5
Different Time Zones
It doesn’t count if you’re in different time zones, does it? What she don’t know, won’t hurt her. They meant nothing to me, I was thinking of him the whole time. I’m a man, I have needs. I’m a woman, I have needs. Dress it up as you want, sleeping around is still sleeping around, no matter how you rationalise it with yourself. You’re a love rat, a slag, a disgrace! You’re a cheater of a despicable magnitude! How do you even sleep at night? In sweaty, post-cotial bliss? Oh.
Cheater Meter 5/5