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This Phoenix Speaks

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Kissing, the Movies, and Permissible Infidelity

This might be a crazy random thought, but I was watching a movie the other night and I saw Tom Cruise kissing Cameron Diaz in Knight and Day (side note: it is a bizarre yet entertaining movie if you're in a bizarre mood) and the whole concept of permissible infidelity flashed before my eyes. 

So, I totally do not know either of these individuals personally, but I do know that Tom Cruise is married with children and just because he got paid a ton of money to be in a movie somehow it should be wildly romantic or even hot to watch him lovin' all over someone other than his wife. I guess we call that acting, yet I wonder if a great deal of the inability to stay married or even wanting to get married among Hollywoodites and spread throughout our media-charged society can be partly attributed to this permissible infidelity factor, as I call it.

I am certain that I could never watch a movie with my significant other kissing someone else, let alone pretend love-making. Wow.  Can you imagine it?!  Sitting at the theater next to your partner for life and viewing him/her appearing to be madly in love with someone else, touching all (or almost all) over them, and actually kissing them on the mouth; then, go home, eat dinner and be all happy and chatty and hop into bed together like you didn't just witness an infidel on the screen (albeit feigned). Madness would totally set in for me. I could not deal with it. Could you?

And we go to the movies all the time wherein actors (aka real live people with feelings, aspirations, children, etc.) experience this scenario, or something similar, continually on a grand scale.  The entire movie-going public witnesses these empty touches and kisses and such. I believe the pressure of it all gets to be quite burdensome for many of these actors and they succumb to it and begin living an over-romanticized drama of a life and can no longer taste what love really is.

Then there is the clincher—the feigned love appears to be so attractive, sexy, and adventurous when compared with the day to day love that requires one hundred percent fidelity. Why would anyone want the drudgery of absolute emotional, romantic, and physical loyalty to one person for forever?

The answer comes in the fact that when love life has this quality of complete fidelity, it is amazingly good and not just good for a little while. I am talking about good forever

The term permissible infidelity is an oxymoron of the highest degree, yet I am certain I own a decent amount of films that have married to- or seriously dating- other-people-than-the person-they-just-did-stuff-with actors and actresses. I just don't know exactly which ones.  And to be completely honest, is any of that for me to know? I don't know. Do we just close one eye and pretend that it isn't infidelity if they don't mean it or are getting paid a million dollars to do it? Or if it doesn't cause that marriage to get ripped apart? Is permissible infidelity a creation for the sake of art? My curiosity is piqued.

So many questions . . . I would completely love to hear what you think of all this can of worms I have been opening up and playing around with.

What do you think of the concept of permissible infidelity and its implications within our society?
My inquiring mind really wants to know.


  1. Great Post and Great Questions!!! My wife and I have been together happily for 11 years, 5 of which married. You're right in that I don't think I could sit through a movie watching her feign attraction to someone else then go home and say everything was ok. My wife and I both respect our marriage, but treat it as something intangible. There will always be flirting, or someone trying to get the attention of your partner. My wife and I just take each situation as it comes and talk about it. If some guy comes in a flirts with my wife, she tells me.....and vice versa. I would have to say some of these Hollywood actors have to have a pretty strong relationship for it to survive their movies. It makes you wonder if a lot of the relationships are just publicity stunts.......you know? Love the post.

  2. I love this post. This thought has crossed my mind (in not so many words) probably a million times. I have often thought how much I would even like to be an actress...but the lifestyle just wouldn't agree with me. Like you said, I too can't imagine Zach having a job in which he went off to kiss other women. I mean, I have always felt that he and I are pretty confident in our relationship. We trust each other 100% and have no reason not to. I just can't imagine it would be this way if one of us were off kissing and being intimate with other people for a living. I think the point you made wherein you said that maybe this is one of the causes for so many hollywood divorces. I think because these people are human too, it's hard to watch their significant other on screen being intimate with another person. Acting or not, it looks pretty darn real. I mean, look what happened with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolee. A marriage was ended over their on-screen "acting." My mom and I have always loved George Strait because of the fact that he refused to kiss his co-star in Pure Country. He was (and as far as I know, still is) a happily married man and chose not to pretend otherwise for the sake of making a movie. But yeah...It's one of our favorite movies...and highly romantic...and the permissible infidelity, as you so brilliantly put it, wasn't necessary or present. I don't know....I have never forgotten that about him.

    Anyway, I am just thankful that I have an incredibly loving, respectful husband...and that there are no circumstances in our relationship where I have to feel insecure about our marriage. It's one of the blessings of being married to a man with integrity. :)

  3. okay, so shannon you win a prize for calling my writing brilliant. well, not really but you know what I mean :)
    Glad to see some concurring opinions. Thanks for the comments. It brings even more clarity to the issue when reading your insights as well.

  4. Yes, I agree with you. Pretending to have sex with someone else and actually having sex with someone else are not different enough for this not to be considered infidelity. My question is, where do you draw the line? What about sitcom stars, where there's no pretend sex but there is pretending to be married to someone who's not your spouse on a daily basis, and there is usually some light kissing and inuendo? Is that too far? My husband is an elementary school teacher (assistant principal now, actually) and he works almost exclusively with women. Sometimes he even has a teaching partner that he trades students with partway through the day. On work days he sees and talks to some of these women more than he talks to me, but I honestly don't spend my days worrying about losing him to one of them. We are open with our passwords and our phone message logs. We've both been known to pick up the other's phone and peruse a conversation, not to "check up" but just because we are interested in the snippet we saw. In conclusion, I think I could live with being married to a sitcom star. After all, men and women can have amicable working relationships without cheating. However, I could not be married to a movie star who accepted jobs wherein he pretended to sleep with some other woman. I think there's no such thing as permissible infidelity. I also believe that is the responsibility of the actor and not the viewing audience.

    1. Your comments speak to me! So many excellent real life examples. Permissible infidelity is most certainly a fallacy.


Your comments are appreciated!