Sex and relationships intersect with ethics quite often. This is a complicated issue and as a result, the discussion that’s taken place on this site over the years is quite long and in-depth. The basic issue is this: is having sex with someone when it may have negative repercussions on their life (they’re married, they’re drunk, etc.) always wrong? Is there a line that you can cross? If so, where is it?
The discussion is set up with a story from one of my night’s out in May 2008.
It was a friend’s birthday last night, so a bunch of us were out for him. The place was actually the slowest I’ve ever seen it. It probably was no coincidence that there were literally 15-20 lair guys there too. I think we’re becoming the plague of night life around here. Perhaps we should find a way to ration how many guys go to which venue each week because this is the third really good venue that we’re killing off just in the last six months.
Anyway, I digress. Did some warm up sets, until I see a bachelorette party. They’re really easy to spot: 8-10 girls all at one table, no guys, and one girl has a veil or a tiara or some other crap on her head. Bachelorette parties are a ton of fun. They’re usually huge sets, but they almost always blow wide open.
I approach them with something simple like, “Who’s the bride to be?” I tell her congratulations and then ask her why she’s about to ruin her life (kind of ironic foreshadowing actually). The girls laugh and I’m in.
A lot of bachelorette parties carry around a list with them when they go out, and it’s a list of things the bride has to do that night. It includes a bunch of silly crap like “write on a guy’s chest” and “do a body shot off a guy.” She signed my chest. And then rubbed it (I’ve been working out a lot). It’s almost knee-jerk reaction: “Hands off the merchandise.” The girls erupt in laughter. They love it. The bride thinks I’m hilarious. Then her friend says she has to do a body shot off me. So off we go to the bar and she does a body shot off me, bites the lime out of my mouth and then makes out with me a bit.
Another item on her list was “Make out with a guy named Matt”. It so happened that my friend whose birthday it was was named “Matt”. So I tell her my friend has that name and it’s his birthday, so she has to make out with him. She does so. He gets a kick out of it. You’re welcome…
So this monstrous group of 10 girls is at the bar with me, and the other guys from our group all start coming in to wing. The bride’s definitely the hottest, but there are a couple other cute girls in the group, so I decide to pick one since they I’m pretty much “in” with the group at this point. I pick a cute girl out and start hitting on her. Things go well for a few minutes, she’s definitely flirty, even have some touching going then I ask her, “How do you know the bride?” She says, “I’m dating her brother.” OK… NEXT!
Talk to next hottest girl. Ten minutes later. She’s engaged. NEXT!
Go to the third hottest, who is borderline caliber for my standards. She’s into me, but has the personality of a doornail. Everything I say she giggles, says, “Yeah” and then shrugs. I couldn’t get anything out of her. Talk about boring. So I move on.
Approach some other women with some guys and then come back to check on the bachelorette party. One of the girls grabs me and says, “We want you to hang out with us!” Looks like I’m their boy-toy for the night. Cool…
I’m now social-proofed out the ass, as I’ve hit on four out of the 10 girls with good responses and the last one I talked to wants to hook up with me. The bride comes over and asks if I want to hook up with her friend, that she can set me up. I give a vague answer like, “She’s cool, we’ll see what happens.” In my experience when girls try to play matchmaker, they end up doing more harm than good, and on top of that, I wasn’t sure how into the girl I was.
But there was something different about the bride. She was leaning way into me, I had my arm around her. She told me she wanted to hook me up with one of her friends. “All of the ones I talked to were already taken. What’s with that? And you’re taken too. You’re about to be taken forever.”
She leans way in to talk straight into my ear: “Yeah, but if I wasn’t getting married, I’d totally hook up with you. I think you’re really hot.”
I’m still not thinking about hitting on her. I sit down with her group and she sits on my lap and pulls my arms around her. Sometimes girls, even though they don’t intend on hooking up with you, they still like you to touch them, hold them — they trust you and they like you, etc.
We start talking about her fiance, how long she’s known him. She talks about how she’s actually old-fashioned, she wants to be a stay-at-home mom and she loves to take care of her man. I tell her good, because I love being pampered (it’s true) and not enough women pamper their man anymore.
Somehow, (I wish I remembered, they were buying me shots by this point), this got onto the topic of her being crazy in bed. I told her: you spoil your man both in the kitchen and the bedroom? She nodded. She was getting really worked up and did a bit of a false-takeaway. When she came back, I could feel that the sexual tension was through the roof. I think the friends were starting to notice it too. I decided to diffuse the situation.
I grabbed her, put my mouth to her ear, and whispered, “Look X, I find you incredibly sexy and wish we could have met under other circumstances, but I realize nothing can ever happen between us, so have a great night and I wish you the best of luck.”
This was said completely genuinely, with no ulterior motive or ill intentions and it COMPLETELY backfired. I started to walk off, and before I know it she’s following me, grabbing my hand and taking me back to the other lounge.
We get there and bridesmaids are following her. They know what’s up. We congregate by the bar and I start pulling every friend I see into the group. Sorry, but she was hot. I was turned on. She was turned on. She wanted it. I tried to diffuse but Jesus… fuck it. I’m going for it.
With like 3-4 guys in the monster group, we get a moment isolated again and this time she grabs me and we walk into the other room. we go back into a dark corner with some seats. I sit down and she immediately climbs on top of me and straddles me. We start going at it fucking porno-style. I’m pulling her hair and biting her lip. I can practically SEE her panties getting wet just from her facial expressions. She tells me she’s turned on. She’s grinding her pussy against my jeans. her dress is pulled up so her thong is showing. I tell her she’s a fucking dirty girl and that I’m going to do awful things to her.
Bridesmaids swoop in, like seven of them. Before I even know it she’s gone and taken into the bathroom.
I take the chance to piss as well. My roommate and main wing man comes in with me and tells me that there’s no logistical way to do anything else in the club, I have to pull somehow. I agree, but I tell him there are just way too many friends. He says he’s trying his best, but guys aren’t hanging in there.
We go back and forth for a bit. I tell him I can pull her if I can get her alone but I need more wing men, I need him to occupy more chicks. He’s screaming that there simply aren’t enough guys to distract them all. Right then, some random guy in the bathroom steps up and says, “Hey man, I’ll take one for the team.” It was hilarious. We’re like, “All right, just buy me a couple minutes”. Then another guy steps up and says, “you got cock blocks? I’ll help a brother out.” It was so fucking awesome. I loved it. Random club dudes just stepping up for wing-duty. I’m going back into this group with a the fucking cavalry.
We wait outside the bathrooms. The girls come back out — seemingly 200 of them at once. The guys go in, I go straight for the bride. She’s so happy to see me.
It’s a complete clusterfuck, but I manage to get a minute alone with her in the chaos. She gives me all of her hotel information, her phone number, tells me to come to her room. Tells me she’ll wait for me and to promise to come.
Finally the cock blocks break through. Her friend looks me dead in the eye: “She’s getting married. Just walk away… please.”
My main wing hit his limit as well. “Dude, you’re about to ruin this girl’s life. Stop.”
Pick up and ethics often intersect and this was the mother of situations. I’ve had girls cheat on guys with me, but not in such an intense scenario. I had no idea what to do. I was drunk and horny, honestly had no concern for her fiance, but thought she may regret it. It really is fucking with someone’s life, but at the same time, don’t they have that responsibility to their life and not me?
Here are the factors:
- She was drunk, but not incapacitated.
- I didn’t particularly have any deep feelings or connection with the girl.
- I don’t think there was any doubt that this wouldn’t be a one night stand. I really think she was having some freak moment where she realized, “I’m never going to be able to do this again,” and really wanted to do it one more time.
- I wouldn’t have stayed the night there, because the morning would have been potential drama bomb.
- I know nothing about the husband nor really care.
So what would you do?
What happened? I went for it. I gave her an ample 10-15 minutes to get back and gave her a call. Her hotel was way across town and I’d be stranded a good $30 cab from home, so I wanted to make sure she made it back and was set to go before I dropped that kind of money and resigned myself to being up until dawn to get home (I would NOT have slept over there, but taken the 30 minute cab ride home).
I called her and the answer was a garbled mess, girls fighting in the background — screaming at each other — all that was distinguishable was, “NO! I DON’T GIVE A SHIT” and then a click. Called back, nothing. Called back, nothing. Wait two minutes, called back, phone is turned off.
So I had the decision to make: should I just show up at the hotel and bang on her door? A couple things prevented me from doing this:
1. The fact that I was still likely to get cockblocked HARD even when I got there. And for good reason.
2. The logistical fact of where the hotel was and relative to my apartment — the fact that I’d be up until 6AM and and dropping $50+ on cab rides. The logistical fact that I may not even be able to get into the hotel, and the fact that she may not even let me in if I did get there. All in all, the chances of success of just showing up and trying were very low.
3. The moral ambiguity of the situation really wasn’t helping. My conscience was beginning to gnaw at me. I felt like my roommate may be right.
So I called it a night and went home. Could have I still laid her? Maybe. But I don’t think the odds were in my favor at that point.
Why did I do it? I agree with the majority of responses I’ve gotten to this: that ultimately, her life is HER responsibility and I can’t or shouldn’t be held accountable for the decisions that she makes. I’ve never had moral qualms with fucking a girl who’s cheating on somebody else, and even in this more extreme situation, ultimately, I figured she knew herself, her desires, and her life better than anybody else, so who am I to choose for her? Cheating on her fiance and calling off the wedding could have ended up being the best decision of her life. How am I to know?
But ultimately, in hindsight, pursuing her was wrong. In the end, you cannot escape the abundance argument. There are millions of beautiful women out there who are not engaged or married. So there is no excuse for investing in one who is other than to gratify one’s ego.
Everything above occurred and was written the Summer of 2008. This topic resurfaced about a year later in another situation presented by a reader of mine. My official stance is presented below.
My Official Stance on this Issue:
I used to homewreck. It’s kind of a thrill and you get a bit of a power trip out of it. But these days I avoid sleeping with a girl who’s taken or being pursued by a friend if I can. The reason is because I’ve done it enough to see the repercussions it causes: lost friendships, pissed ex-boyfriends punching you, girls spiraling into a depression and calling you crying — all sorts of drama that I really don’t need to be a part of anymore.
My official stance on it these days is this: If I KNOW for a fact that hooking up with a girl will cause pain and problems for someone, then I won’t do it.
This basically means the following: I won’t hook up with girls my friends are pursuing (unless they explicitly give me the OK); I won’t hook up with girls who have boyfriends, fiances or husbands.
The ONLY exception here is when it appears to me that my actions and hooking up won’t cause any damage that wouldn’t/isn’t caused anyway. For instance, a married woman in Vegas who wants to go home with me after an hour, a woman who I’ll never see again. At that point, she has to deal with the consequences and I don’t, so the decision is on her. Or if a girl is miserable in her relationship and wanting to get out of it, and adamant that she’s fine cheating, then I’m OK with it.
But if there’s ANY doubt that she may regret it, then I don’t do it.
Another example of this exception was when one of my very close female friends (former fuck buddy) found out her boyfriend — who I always thought was a scumbag — was cheating on her. At that point, neither she or I had any qualms sleeping together again. The relationship soon ended and she was better for it.
The Two Arguments: The first argument is the following: women are just as responsible for their infidelity, if not more, than us. Because of that, if they choose to cheat on their significant other, or ditch our friend to hit on us, then it’s their choice and their mind is made up.
This is the “innocent bystander” argument, which I used for years to justify this stuff. I know it well, and it does carry a lot of weight.
The flaw with this argument is that yes, responsibility is shared between both you and the girl — but it’s just that, SHARED. If you stand by and let it happen, you’re just as responsible as the instigator because you have the ability to stop it.
The second argument is that since you KNOW causing a girl to cheat on her boyfriend, or stealing a girl from your friend/wingman is going to cause problems, then you should never do it.
Well, the flaw in this argument is that you never actually KNOW 100% if you’re causing a net loss or gain in a girl’s life by hooking up with her (or allowing her to hook up with you). For instance, I slept with a girl who was engaged some years ago. Her engagement fell apart, she tried to start a relationship with me, but I told her I wasn’t in love with her. She became a mess and blamed me severely for much of it. Over a year later, I ran into her again and she said that getting out of that engagement was the best decision she ever made and actually thanked me for being there. Did I do the right thing? Could I have achieved the same long-term outcome without causing all the short-term pain?
The truth is, our knowledge is always limited, so we can never define and know these things for sure.
The best summation of Ethics and Pick Up that I know of: When I originally posted the bachelorette story on the on my local forum, it caused a shitstorm of debate. The thread had more than 100 replies and 2,000 views — and this is on a message board of about 50 active people. To this day it is by far the most read and replied thread in that board’s five year history.
In all of that ruckus, a friend of mine who went by the name Smallville, a Harvard Law graduate wrote what I consider, to this day, the best summation of the sticky moral issue at hand. There’s nothing more I could say that he doesn’t say here twice as eloquently or concisely. So, I leave you with this:
So basically, we have two moral positions being asserted in this thread. One is a libertarian argument: people are ethically responsible for their own decisions, and so Mark isn’t morally responsible insofar as the girl had free choice in the matter. All the points about drunkenness and the mind-controlling power of pickup and whatnot are basically wrinkles in that libertarian argument, asking how “free” her will really was and how “free” it had to be in order to “count.” People might even argue that it would be paternalistic and wrong for Mark to presume that he knows what’s best and constrain the woman’s freedom of choice.
The other position is roughly utilitarian: what matters in the end is human well-being. If Mark knew that his actions would hurt the woman and he went ahead anyway, then he’s wrong and the woman’s ability to put a stop to things herself doesn’t exonerate him. There are wrinkles for this one too – maybe in the end she’ll be better off, etc., etc. People might further argue that since Mark lives a lifestyle of sexual abundance, it’s extra-wrong for him to hurt this woman when it’s not even necessary for his own happiness.
You guys are basically arguing past each other by pushing one of these positions or the other as the main consideration. People whose moral intuitions support the first position will largely agree that Mark did nothing wrong, and people attuned with the second position will probably feel that he may well have acted immorally. You’ll never convince each other. Neither position is objectively right, or at least we have no way of knowing, so let’s call the whole thing off. The best anyone can do is live by his own code thoughtfully and well, while recognizing that his personal morals are just that: personal. Peace out.