Z: When our friend P suggested we write about the Anthony Weiner kerfuffle, I thought, “Pass.”
She: There’s been way too much comedy already done. What could we do that Jon Stewart hasn’t?
Z: I did think it might be challenging to write an entire column without any double entendres.
She: Way too hard. I mean, way too difficult.
Z: And then it turned out that we did find something to talk about: is what he did cheating?
She: I have the answer. Yes. That was a short column. Should we talk about the new airport terminal now?
Z: I don’t know. I think we should look at the whole spectrum.
She: OK. There’s cheating and there’s not cheating. He cheated. A slightly longer column, but thanks for joining us.
Z: Let’s start with porn. Is porn cheating?
She: Fine, I’ll play along. No. There’s only one of you. I’ll give you porn, under specific circumstances, in small doses.
Z: How about interactive porn? Like one of those call lines, or paid video chat?
She: Is that what you do in your office in the garage?
Z: No. I’m watching HGTV videos on home improvement, but quickly switch to porn when you come in so you won’t think I’m weird.
She: If only … I’m not sure about that one.
Z: OK, a gray area. So now we move on to a live person on the other end of the phone or the computer who isn’t being paid.
She: Now you’re moving into cheating.
She: It’s tricky to define, but like Justice Potter Stewart said, I know it when I see it.
Z: But let’s say that there’s never any contact with the other person, that they live in another state and you never even meet them. I think this is basically the Weiner case.
Z: So it’s a little freaky, but it’s private. It’s between these two people.
She: One of whom is not his wife.
Z: But they never meet. They never touch. There’s no actual sex, or even a kiss.
She: But there’s an actual other person. They’re exchanging intimacies, no matter how absurd-seeming to me. Honestly, there’s not a man in the world who would turn me on by sending me a picture of his penis.
Z: Excuse me for a moment. I have to, uh, check my email.
She: Anyway, the tweeting thing, aside from being weird and not sexy, definitely feels like a breach of trust with his wife.
Z: What if technology wasn’t an issue? What if they were sending each other letters instead of texts or tweets?
She: Probably worse. Letters feel almost romantic.
Z: Unless they were writing the same dirty things they sexted to each other, and he sketched a picture of his penis. Old school.
She: Less romantic, but still cheating.
Z: I think we’ve already found the dividing line for you, but let’s just make sure. A kiss?
She: A romantic kiss, absolutely cheating. And everything beyond. Why? Where do you draw the line?
Z: It turns out that this is a tricky conversation to have with your wife.
She: Do you have a confession?
Z: Not even a little one. It turns out that I draw the line the same place you do, although maybe for different reasons.
She: Oh, really.
Z: I think it has to do with the marriage. I wouldn’t want to do anything that would hurt you, and knowing it would hurt you if I tweeted a picture of my penis to a stripper in Vegas is the sole thing that prevents me from doing that. Otherwise, that would pretty much be me, every night.
Z: Yes, dear.