The venom clamours of a
Poisons more deeply
Than a mad dog's tooth.
— Shakespeare, The Comedy of Errors V, 1
People are jealous for various reasons, with the most common one being that their partner is showing interest in somebody else. This can be real or imagined, for truth be told, some people are just jealous; because they want to be jealous, it's in their nature, and even Shakespeare alluded to the fact when he said, "Jealous souls will not be answered so, they are not ever jealous for the cause, but jealous for they are jealous." Othello 111,4.
In other words, they just can't help themselves. But jealousy along with its evil twin, insecurity, is a terrible monster and is fed by many a foolish, fickle, fraudulent fodder. When there is reason to be jealous it's bad enough, for no one likes to know that they are sharing affections with someone else.
But when it's plucked out of thin air, created by some imp of insecurity and gremlin of low self-esteem, with little rhyme or reason to it, then that's another matter.
A few weeks ago when I wrote about a week of terror, it struck a chord with many readers; some of whom identified with it, saying that they were experiencing it, while others chastised those women who were incensed and outraged that their husbands kept contact with past and distant lovers.
But there are also some women who saw nothing wrong with it, saying that the men were cheating — even though it was not in the physical sense. It was more like emotional infidelity, which we'll explore right after these letters.
Your column, 'Our Father Where Art Thou?" really touched a nerve in me. I grew up without a father and have spent my entire life trying to find him. My mother says that he left to do farm work in Canada but never returned.
All my attempts to make contact have been futile. My childhood was left wanting, and even now I remember feeling jealous of my schoolmates who could boast of their fathers, even the ones who only visited occasionally. At least they could put a face to their fathers. I had none, and it has hurt me.
You wrote about fathers where art thou, but in some cases children are better off without a father. Mine was an abusive, wife-beating drunkard who made our lives a living hell. Because of him, I swore off all men and thought that they were all wicked and evil. That was my experience of having a father and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. I hope he's burning in hell.
Regarding your KC footnote, I agree with you, brother. I never went to Kingston College, but the pride of that school fascinates me. I wish others would emulate it instead of fearing it.
I seem to have opened a can of worms, or more like a Pandora's box, when I wrote about a week of terror that many women inflicted on their men because of their indiscretions, real or imagined, past or present, current or futuristic. One main reason for the angst of these women, was that the men kept contact with their past lovers, even though those romances took place decades ago, the ex lives half-way across the world, and everything has now cooled like a dormant volcano.
It still upset them to know that they still remained friends. "It does not matter, the fact that they are still in contact means that there are still emotional ties, and that's infidelity." Women are interesting. For in a man's case, as long as there is no sex involved, then it's no big thing.
But a woman uses emotions as her main criterion for infidelity, and sex or no sex, if emotions are involved, then that counts as infidelity. There is a line in the Bible that says, 'So a man thinketh, he doeth,' or in other words the thought is equal to the deed.
If that's the case, then we're all doomed, for our thoughts take us all over the place. In the twinkling of a nanosecond, you've jumped from your wife to another man's woman then back again, often without your having any control over it. But if your woman asks you, "What are you thinking, Honey... a penny for your thoughts, Dear?" It may cost you more than a penny if you reveal what's in your head.
Can you dare tell her that you thought for a split second about someone else? That, my friend, would be classified as emotional suicide and emotional infidelity, even though you never left the house, or the room for that matter. You dare not fantasise and let your partner know, for she'll say that you're cheating. "I know what you're thinking, you brute, you're thinking about that tramp again, you wretch."
Listen, even a parson has lurid thoughts, so forgive yourself if you do. Just don't admit them to your woman. I find that more women think this way than men, for when a woman has a man, she wants every part of him; his body, his mind and his soul. They even want them to erase their past — as those men who suffer from weeks of terror have told me.
Men have told me that they made the mistake of telling their women about their dreams that included other women, and the war that broke out because of it. You would think that the dream was a reality. "So, you're dreaming about other women, that mean say you want other women," said the wives. But it goes even further than just dreams; ex-lovers who live thousands of miles away, or fantasies can spark a week of terror.
Many women see emotional infidelity in other activities too. One area is the workplace, and many women do not take too kindly to the relationship that a man has with his secretary or assistant. The mere fact that the secretary knows so much about her boss; his likes, dislikes, moods, daily schedules, birthday and such, is enough to send the wife into a tizzy.
It doesn't matter that the secretary is a big, fat, swarthy woman, the fact that she's so intimately connected to her husband is enough to send her into a rage. It's much worse, of course, if the secretary is attractive, for she will know for sure that her husband is involved with her, even though he's not.
For this very reason, many office functions do not allow spouses to attend. Most times the wives, and sometimes the husbands, do not understand or appreciate the relationship between the staff members. As one lady told me, "I know that there's nothing physical going on between them, but I should be the only one who's so close to him... I am his wife." So she feels threatened and sees it as emotional infidelity on his part.
They take it further, even into cyberspace. How often have we seen letters from women to the advice columns, complaining that their husbands love to watch porn on the Internet and that it constitutes infidelity?! Even though the porn is only on the screen or on DVDs and the actresses are in a different country, and will never have any contact with her husband, the mere fact that he's paying her attention is grounds for divorce. Well, maybe not divorce, but a week or more of sheer hell.
It's infidelity, it's cheating, even though he's never left the house, and it makes her mad. Apart from porn, if a man even has female friends on the Internet it's classed as emotional infidelity. More anon.
I also know women who come down hard on their husbands if they dare to mention that they like some movie stars. "Boy, that J-Lo is some woman, and Halle Berry is my dream girl." Wrong thing to say, for that drives some women into a fit, a conniption, a rage, even though there is absolutely no chance that those movie stars would ever have contact with their fat, pot-bellied husbands. Just the fact that he has them in his head is enough to send her crazy; for he's cheating on her emotionally.
Some women even get miffed if their men are involved with hobbies, jobs or the Internet social networks. Oh yes, let's not forget Facebook or Twitter and all those emotional distractions that are the bane of many a wife who resents the fact that hubby has so many female Facebook friends. "You and this damn Facebook and the time you spend on it. What happen to my face, you can't book that too?" That, too, is classed as emotional infidelity, for as far as she's concerned, he's cheating on her with all those ladies on Facebook and Twitter.
What is interesting, though, is that some women will tolerate their men having a fling, as long as there are no emotions involved. I know of women who turn a blind eye to their men buying prostitutes or visiting massage parlours, for they know that no emotions are involved. "Oh, it's just sex that he goes for, there are no feelings." So clearly, emotional commitment is vitally important to women.
Believe it or not, and wise up if you don't, some women even set up their men with their female friends, just so he can get a sexual release, knowing that no emotions will come into play. The danger lies, though, in when the man starts to feel something but that's another story. Wife swapping and threesomes can attest to that, but the experts say that they usually end in emotional disaster.
So try and remember, infidelity does not have to be tangible, you do not have to go out and have a physical affair, or get involved with someone else, and have a fling. As long as your thoughts or emotions drift in the general direction away from her to the past, present or future, then it's emotional infidelity. So don't even think about it.
Footnote: I know that this is the era of globalisation, but I am all for buying Jamaican wherever our products are available. Our fruits rank among the best in the world and my foreign visitors cannot get enough of them and marvel at the taste.
I love nothing more than to indulge in our juicy mangoes, papayas, apples, sugarloaf pineapples, sweetsop, soursop and ripe bananas. How anyone could choose foreign fruits over ours is beyond me, and the irony is, foreigners come here and revel in out fruits more than some of us do.
How many Jamaican children eat our fruits? Just ask around and you'd be amazed. I blame the parents and their foreign mind. All they want is junk, packaged in pretty plastic bags. One great idea was that of Jamaica Producers having vendors on our streets selling ripe bananas, neatly packaged in bags. Because of this I'm eating more bananas, which is a very healthy habit. Let's support our own.