Down through the ages, men have forsaken their possessions, ideals, and nobility for lust. The David who slew the mighty giant was felled by Bathsheba; Antony’s heart was enslaved to Cleopatra. The long list of horny toads continues until the present day. It includes such clods as former New York Governor Spitzer, actor Charlie Sheen, and the Uncrowned King of All Cheaters, Tiger Woods.
When harmless flirtations grow into uncontrollable desires, a man’s logic flies out the window, leaving temporary or permanent insanity in its wake. Men of wealth and power, including heads of State, act upon the credo that “to the victor go the spoils.” But men in lower economic strata are just as guilty as their more fortunate brethren of sticking their … noses … where they don’t belong. So why do they do it? Why risk everything for instant gratification?
Obviously, physical attraction plays a role in a man’s infidelity. Loneliness and unhappiness with one’s current mate are also contributing factors. But the fallout is profound, for women are equipped with radar far keener than ours. Just ask any teenager who, from hard experience, knows that his mother has eyes in the back of her head. Women never fail to read the warning signs of a cheater. These are not limited to excuses for not showing up on holidays or other special occasions, a sudden inclination to work out at the gym, or the urge to touch up their grays with Just for Men.
Once nailed, married players can lose their wives, their children, and depending upon which States they call home, their property. On top of this comes the legal necessity to shell out alimony and child support. Single men who step out risk losing their original partners and compromising their new (cheating) relationships. But not even these potentialities stop them from sleeping around.
While the most intelligent minds of our society have failed to uncover the reason that men cheat, a fictional character in the movie Moonstruck may have provided the answer. In the film, Mrs. Castorini, played by Olympia Dukakis, asked Johnny Cammareri (Danny Aiello) why men need more than one woman. Johnny explained, “When God made woman, he took a rib from Adam and made Eve. That left a big hole where that rib was, and man would never feel complete until he got it back.” Mrs. Castori then asked, “Why then, would a man need more than one woman?” His response was “I don’t know. Maybe it’s because he fears death.” She cracked, “That’s it? Thank you for answering my question!”
Although Dukakis’ character was frustrated by this answer, Aiello’s character may have hit upon the underlying cause of male fidelity. If men are afraid of dying, they want to leave something behind them, something that is truly theirs. And nothing says “truly theirs” as much as a child. So if one child fits the bill, imagine the benefits of multiple children. Since women usually carry one child at a time, the wider the farmland, so to speak, in which a man sows his oats, the more children he’s likely to produce. They may not carry his name, but they will carry his genes: that which makes him unique. So. Is it fear, after all, or is it ego that compels us to cheat?
And if it is fear or ego that drives men, what does this say about women?
Does it suggest that women are stronger than us, emotionally stronger? I think it does. Women carry, birth, and for the most part, rear the babies; no small feat. If the ladies do their job well, the babies grow up to propagate our species. Therefore, as in the animal kingdom, females have to be stronger, faster, and smarter than males. Our very survival depends upon this.
If women are stronger, faster, and smarter than we are, why do they put up with us at all? Are they, in the final analysis, just baby-making machines? And is this why we cheat: to search for some meaning to our lives beyond our biology? If man is the most intelligent creature on the planet, why do we emulate the hamster on the ever-spinning wheel? Why do we run in place, make the same mistakes over and over again, and alienate the most beautiful and desirable thing that God ever created: woman?