For the past few months, it seems that every week is marked by the emergence of a woman almost proudly recounting her affair with famous, attached man. Reggie Bush’s other “check other” girl did a YouTube video tour of his home (he picks some classy broads, no?). Tiger Woods had what someone brilliantly described as a “mistress clown car”, filled with enough waitresses to staff ten Applebees’, plus a porn actress to boot. Shaquille O’neal, who CLEARLY has a taste for women who kiss and tell, dated a woman who revealed that the hooper was supposed to finance her “rap” career. The most horrifying of all the “side chick” tales, in my opinion, is that of Rielle Hunter and John Edwards; the disgraced ex-politico and his videographer made a baby…and a sex tape…as his wife battled terminal cancer.

These revelations have all been followed by commentary regarding “side chick rules”. Men and women both have expressed their contempt for women who don’t “know their lane”. I decided to go on and make the only list of rules “the other woman” should ever need. Feel free to share it with friends.

1) Don’t be one.

2) Don’t be one.

3) No really, honey…don’t be one.

There is no other code that a “side chick” should be expected to follow and I take issue with all the suggestions for men vetting their mistresses better or keeping their “hoes” in check. You see, it’s not that I wanna give the other woman a pass, not by any means. I have a high level of contempt for women who deal with someone else’s man. However, I resent the notion of a special moral code being imposed upon just one half of an illicit partnership. If YOU don’t respect your own marital vows or commitment to your partner, how can you rightly demand that of someone else? Yeah, she might have told you she can handle it and keep her mouth shut…she may have been LYING. Just as you lie to your wife about where you are and who you’re with.

I’m not naïve or judgmental enough to pretend that monogamy is easy. Relationships are a lot of work and even the most well-intentioned partner can fall short. But for someone to maintain a long-term affair, that takes a lot of effort as well. If you’re working that hard outside of your primary situation, you can’t get high and mighty when your co-conspirator turns snitch. There is no honor amongst thieves. If you decide to step out of your situation, YOU and you alone have invited a new party into your relationship. And if that person brings with them disease, malady, distemper or any other 19th century sounding bad things, then that’s on you.

What really blows me are the number of women I hear talking about men who can’t ‘keep their hoes in check’. Really? Please remember that many of these affairs go deeper than sex. People maintain actual relationships outside their primary ones. The notion that there is some class of women that is supposed to have the capacity to occupy second tier status forever without ever getting caught up by their emotions is laughable. Furthermore, what kind of trust can you REALLY put in someone who willingly participates in the breaking of a marriage vow or promise of monogamy? I find it troubling how easy for it is for some of us to constantly blame the woman in any situation. It takes two to horizontal tango (or 16, if you’re Tiger Woods) and if you’re the cheater, you’re the only one who made a promise to your partner.

That said, it is completely disgusting to see these women taking pride in revealing their affairs. You see the contempt they often harbor for the wife or girlfriend: “How dare she have that life, when I’m stuck in the shadows?” When you choose that situation for yourself, you aren’t showing the universe that you are worth a healthy relationship of your own; rather, your greed, insecurity, low self-esteem and/or a number of other issues make themselves known. Whether the man in question is a ball player or a math teacher, there is something extremely cruel about making his official girl feel the shame of everyone knowing what her man was doing. It’s fair that these trifling men are getting aired out, but it’s so unfortunate to see the women and children who have to watch their lives scandalized because someone who shouldn’t have had a role in the first place decided she needed a little more shine.

Could it be that we are moving toward a new day? Will men have to abandon the expectation that they can have both a beautiful family or a loving girlfriend and a second relationship on the side without worrying that their worlds will collide? I sure hope so. Perhaps the media attention to these relationships will make men think twice about stepping out on their commitments. Famous men aren’t the only ones susceptible, and why should they be? Let this be a warning: don’t think you can trust your side chick anymore than your woman can trust you.

51 Comments

  1. Casey B

    Monogamy can be a beautiful thing, if it’s agreed upon and healthy, but I don’t think that it should be a normalized standard and I don’t think people who aren’t interested in it should be marginalized for it, particularly women who often get more negative consequences for non-monogamy than men. If people want to see multiple partners, and they’re honest (which is something I have an issue with when it comes to “side chicks” and “mistresses” or “boy toys”- that and the gendered names for them as Aisha said), I really don’t see what issue is. I do not think having a relationship with someone who is in another relationship–be it honest or dishonest automatically makes someone disrespectful of themselves or not think they deserve a monogamous love-relationship. I think we should stop psychologizing this issue too. Dishonesty is a problem, particularly when it is hurtful, but the assertion that women who are in relationships (honest or dishonest) with men who are in other relationships don’t deserve an exclusive love relationship needs backup. Also, why should the only model for a relationship people seek be an exclusive, hetero, love-based relationship? I agree that it is problematic for both parties involved to lie, but I don’t agree with the suggestions that monogamous, hetero, love-based relationships should be normalized.

  2. ebwriter

    Very good article! You make some valid points.

  3. so fly to see Jamilah Lemieux (the beautifulstruggler/sistatoldja) on clutch.
    she has such a fresh POV…and as these comments illustrate, her voice and point of entry on an issue pushes buttons and gets people thinking, talking and laughing.
    good look.
    as always in closing, I HEART clutch…

    Shine,
    MAD

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