Stripes of a Tiger

Tiger Stripe Beads

Image by atypically_me via Flickr

A while ago I read a fascinating piece in Vogue Australia by Tony Parsons. He posits that men are torn between two essentially conflicting desires, neatly identified as “stay” vs “stray”.

Poor men stray because of opportunity,  he reckons, while rich men stray due to a sense of entitlement. Greed. Like Tiger Woods, they seem to have everything, but aren’t satisfied. They have a fabulous family, great wife and great kids – yet their mistresses are never in the same league. Think porn stars and strippers.

Parsons himself had a failed marriage. Ideally you would get the straying out of your system before getting married, but he didn’t.

Almost all the male friends I’ve ever had, oddly, have been the committed type. They’re good guys, which I suppose is why we’re friends in the first place. On the other hand, I’ve had some hellish flatmates who can’t seem to keep it in their pants. Like the one who had two girls at once – who apparently even knew about each other. If an opportunity presented itself, well…after all, it’s not like they really had much going for them aside from being semi-good looking.

As someone who’s only been in two real relationships, and has been spoken for almost constantly since the age of about 16, occasionally I wonder what it would be like to be in the dating pool. Exciting, perhaps. But probably also exhausting more than anything else. I never know what to say to single girlfriends who wonder if they’re ever going to find someone (but you’re still so young! Give it time is true, but not much comfort.). And even then, how does one know – with no experience – how to spot a good one? How do you avoid becoming one of the victims – the sad hearts – discarded by a compulsive strayer?

8 thoughts on “Stripes of a Tiger

  • Reply Amanda January 17, 2011 at 01:02

    Having not read the article myself, the premise itself seems somewhat flawed – are men really the only ones to stray when in a relationship?

    I have cheated on all my previous boyfriends before, and lines have been blurred in my current relationship. Opportunity or sense of entitlement? A mix of both – I see, I want, he wants, I take. I recognise that I have a distinct lack of self-control when it comes to primal instincts…ideally I should probably be in an open/polyamorous relationship.

    • Reply eemusings January 17, 2011 at 10:45

      Are men the only ones who cheat? No, and that’s not what he’s saying, but he IS male and it’s a piece about men who cheat – that’s the perspective he knows and the one that he’s writing about.

  • Reply Amanda January 17, 2011 at 03:04

    That’s interesting… but I would be more on par with what other-Amanda is saying. Minus the cheating on boyfriends part. I’ve had serious issues with commitment (you could argue that maybe I’ve just never met someone I’m into enough to want to fully commit, etc, perhaps? And timing issues…), but I’m pretty open about what the “situation” is. These things are tricky…

  • Reply FB @ FabulouslyBroke.com January 17, 2011 at 04:36

    I’ve never had a cheating disposition for my relationships. But I do like being in a committed relationship over one that I’m not sure about, or multiple guys at once.

    I think with guys that stray or stay, you can see it in their actions (and for girls too).

  • Reply gem January 17, 2011 at 05:08

    Yeah, it’s definitely not just men who stray. My biggest issue with staying is that I’m terrified of the idea that I’m settling. I’ve seen so many friends settle that I’m convinced that’s what I’m doing. Nobody is good enough for me. I feel entitled as all else, I guess. But I think it’s simplistic to say that it’s just entitlement that makes me do it. Also, I don’t actually commit to any of the men, I just have fleeting flings, over and over, trying guys on and realizing yet again they’re not The One. How else can I find him?

  • Reply youngandthrifty January 17, 2011 at 14:41

    I’ve been in a committed relationship for 5.5 years now and I’m happy with being monogomous. I did have a blip where I almost got involved with another guy, but it was during a time when BF and I’s relationship was very tumultuous.

    I don’t understand people who feel the need to cheat though…

  • Reply Melissa January 17, 2011 at 15:37

    Until recently, I was really close friends with a guy who was regularly cheating on his girlfriend. She knew something was up but would convince herself that everything was fine, again and again and again. I was his friend, not hers, so I didn’t get involved and always wished she would just trust her instincts. Unfortunately, she didn’t figure it out until he decided to come clean. Even then, she considered staying with him. Some women, honestly.

  • Reply Well Heeled Blog January 18, 2011 at 15:04

    I am quite conflicted over this. I think the urge to give in to temptation can exist in anyone, and the key is to never put yourself in a situation that will tempt you. Sometimes it’s better not to overestimate your self-control.

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