I cheated on a girlfriend once, in high school. And she loved me to pieces. It was a tragedy. I sat next to—I think the most accurate description is: a hussy—in the back of the bus on the way home from some marching band competition. It started out as cuddling, but soon I was going from first to third on a hit-and-run. I wasn’t thinking about my girlfriend at the time. I was thinking about the pleasures of the flesh.
I read all your substacks and subscribe to all your newsletters. I must say this essay is the best thing I have read from you. It's almost like you're describing my life experiences, and I'm eight years older than you. Well done.
I am friends with a 26 yo lobbyist who has the abortion (pro) lobby as a client and I am anti-abortion, although also against some abortion restrictions for reasons of personal autonomy. She is such a sane outlier that she has connections on Mike Lee's staff. We worked on a common cause political campaign together and I have known her since she was 13. All that is required is respect and tolerance to maintain these types of friendships which is rare in her generation especially among very political people.
In 9th grade a guy asked me to "go with him". I said yes because I believed no one else would ever ask me out. The next day a guy I had liked for years asked me out. I said no because I was attached, broke up the next day, and was not attached again until I met my husband. I decided I would not get attached until there was no one else I would want to be with. This has worked out splendidly, we just had our 35th anniversary and if anything happened to him I would stay single.
I ran into the guy I had rejected in college and explained what had happened. He told me that even though it had been years, it made him feel much better. I was grateful we never dated and ruined the friendship. Those were my very crazy years.
I loved your latest book. I started laughing before I got through the chapter titles.
Good read. Great closing line.