Is 'But I was drunk!' ever an excuse for cheating?

Drinking while cheating doesn't provide an excuse

Drinking while cheating doesn't provide an excuse (Spencer Platt / Getty Images / February 15, 2013)

Dear Anna,

Solve a debate between me and my boyfriend: If your partner cheats on you while under a heavy influence of alcohol or drugs, is that an acceptable excuse? Like, what if they were blacked out? —DUI

Dear DUI,

Acceptable in what sense? Like the cheated party isn’t allowed to be mad at the cheater because they were too drunk to remember it happening? That’s absurd. To use your sign-off as an example, cops aren’t more lenient on drunk drivers because their judgment was impaired and they “didn’t see that cement median.” So why should a partner cut you slack because you didn’t see that cement median coming at your vagina? Put another way, in what universe does blacking out ever make things better except perhaps in instances where you are “partying” with a den of hungry, flesh-starved hyenas?

If we’re gonna split hairs, however, I suppose it depends on what you mean by cheating. Are we talking about a relatively benign dance-floor kiss, or a night of unprotected sex with a stranger? The latter carries more risks, whereas in the former scenario, we’re mostly dealing with bad judgment and perhaps, if the incident wasn’t an isolated one, a budding trust issue. Either way, pulling the drunk card is not going to garner you any sympathy. So, no, booze and drugs don’t get you off the hook. The cheater made a slew of not-great choices and must suffer the consequences of those choices.

I will say, however, that if you drink too much and shit your pants, then you have my permission to claim alcohol as the reason it happened. But it doesn’t excuse the fact that you are an adult person who shit your pants.

Dear Anna,

I’m a poor college student. Where can I take a girl on a good yet cheap date? —Cheapskate

Dear Cheapskate,

Are you kidding? Chicago in the summer is a cheap dater’s wet dream! There are 26 miles of public beaches where you can pack a picnic, play volleyball, go swimming, or make s’mores on the grill (only in designated areas, please). Take a bike ride in one of the city’s 552 parks (Rent one of those adorable tandem bikes! I’ve never done it but am 100 percent sure it’s amazing), or attend a free movie or concert in the park. There are farmers’ markets, the Garfield Park Conservatory, walking tours, and free museum days. The Playground does cheap comedy shows ($5-$10) and some nights are BYOB. Go see a poetry slam at the Green Mill (or jazz if you don’t want to talk to your date). Go to one of the Chicago Public Library’s many readings, lectures, workshops, or events (they’re pretty much always free), or choose a neighborhood you don’t know well, grab an ice cream cone or flask to share and explore on foot.