I know, I know. You're a wonderful person. You help old ladies across the street, donate regularly to charities, perhaps even volunteer at a soup kitchen. Naturally you'd never, ever, ever steal candy from a baby. Yet can you say with the same certainty you'd never steal another woman's man, stand up a blind date or lead an admirer on?
Not so fast. Not even Ms. Morals herself should say ''never'' in this case. It's just not that simple. Everyone has personal dating commandments they try to live by , such as ''Thou shalt not take the term commitment in vain'' or ''Thou shalt not abuse Caller ID,'' but it doesn't always work. It's okay to let the machine pick up a message from a guy you met at a party and don't want to date, but it's not okay to keep dodging the calls from someone you've dated several times in hopes that he will eventually get the message that he's history. Of course you know this, but sometimes the itch of insecurity, animal attraction or even boredom gets the best of us. Three very different emotions, one result: hurt feelings for him.
People do crazy things in the name of love. But people also do immoral (or at least unfeeling) things as well. Sleeping with a guy (out of horniness, loneliness, etc.), then not even taking his phone call falls into that category. So does snooping through a lover's personal items when he's out of the room. Or lying to the person you're closest to in all the world. Or cheating on him. Or breaking up with him in a cruel manner (telling him he never really turned you on rather than making an effort to be kind and flattering).
It's easy to bask in the moral high ground of absolutes and nevers when life is fun and easy. But when intense temptation comes our way, look out. On Sex and the City, Carrie knew her affair with Big was a double wrong -- unfair to her boyfriend and to Big's wife Natasha. Carrie hated herself but continued double dipping until Natasha practically caught her in the act , chased Carrie down the stairs, tripped and wound up in the hospital. Causing mental and physical injury to the wife of the man she was shtupping wasn't something even a made-for-TV woman could shrug off with a sip of a cosmopolitan or the purchase of expensive new shoes. What we do in our lives has impact on other lives, not just our own. I'm not trying to tell you what to do, but I do have a suggestion. Consider doing the honorable thing not just when it comes to old ladies who need help crossing the street but when it comes to people upon whose lives you have lasting impact. You know, people with whom you regularly swap spit.
Still a bit confused about how to judge a potential unethical action? Then close your eyes, take a deep breath and ask yourself how you'll feel about your behavior the next day -- that is, after the heat of the moment has passed (yes, it will) and you're once again a sane, highly principled human being. Will you regret having indulged your baser self? Or will you think, ''Heck, sometimes a gal's just gotta have fun" ? The key is to have fun and do no harm -- or at least cause no bodies to tumble down the stairs.
Do you have a dating question? Ask Sherry on her message board.