Pages

Sunday, February 05, 2006

A KISS IS JUST A KISS?

In a recent episode of the television series "Lost," one of the characters, a surgeon named Jack, is shown in a flashback scene. The flashback finds him in a hospital parking lot with the daughter of a patient he has operated on. The daughter moves in and plants a substantial kiss on Jack's lips. After a moment Jack pulls away, even though he appears to enjoy the kiss, and tells her that this is wrong and cannot happen.

When he gets home that evening, Jack is shown in the kitchen with his wife. Given that he rejected the attentions of his patient's daughter, should he tell his wife about her advance?

Post your thoughts below by clicking on "COMMENTS" or send them to rightthing@nytimes.com. Please include your name and hometown. Readers' comments may appear in an upcoming column.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

A kiss can be just a kiss! However, giving someone a lingering kiss is unacceptable. Perhaps the young lady got carried away, and if so, the surgeon should have pulled away immediately. As for telling the wife about the incident, that depends on his wife. Only the surgeon knows that answer. You know the saying..."What you don't know will not hurt you!" I think there is never a need to tell everything that goes on in day1

LillyDog said...

Wait, let's go back to that thing about the stripper . . . [She jests.] Hello Dr. Seglin, Anna from Madison here, saying that a kiss is never just a kiss unless it's an air kiss (m'wah! m'wah!) between socialites. This is such a thorny, deceptively simple, question.

Should revelation be predicated on level of enjoyment? Your description of the scene, that the sawbones thrilled to the illicit lip lock even as he nobly spurned it (kudos to him). If he didn't find it stimulating, just gross, or annoying, or weird, or troubling, then there wouldn't be much of an issue. He'd simply say "Oh god, honey, the vilest thing happened in the parking lot at work," and tell the tale.

Or would he? As A Nonny Mouse remarks it depends on the wife, or, perhaps more accurately, on the wife, the husband, and their marriage. If they had a strong, healthy union, they could talk about what happened, their feelings, and how they wanted to approach similar situations in the future. If not, then, all of a sudden, the dancing starts and the music's always wrong.

In the kind of relationship I think many of us seek to cultivate, the person would and should reveal the interchange regardless of the level of hormonal surge it induced. My beloved grandmother, god rest her soul, used to say "You only show your husband half your ass."; but that sort of relationship has limitations that often lead to the whole package being shown to somebody else. To speak, to share, is to demystify. To hide, to hoard, is to seek experience alone when a far more desirable alternative is to seek it together.

Honesty is almost always better. It's also almost always harder up front. In the, er, "end," however, it's uniformly simpler.

Anonymous said...

Good heavens! Not all of us women would want to know. If it was vile and he wants to make a joke, sure; don't tell me that you enjoyed it and then make me analyze feelings. Surprise, the husband finds other women attractive. Great, he pulled away. In reality, there's nothing to tell.
BUT: If he tells, does it mean that he felt guilty even though it's not his fault?(He was going to kiss her but she moved first?) That he wants to appear open because he has something else to hide? (Did they keep going?)Too many what-ifs.
So when that well-intentioned friend tells the wife what she saw...then let him tell the truth: Oh yeah, that did happen but it wasn't important.

cstraus said...

Why SHOULD he tell her? what would the purpose be? So he feels better? How will she feel? If he feels guily he just wan ts to dumpo his bad feelings onto her, a TERRIBLE reason to speak up. (But a common one!)

Unless they are a couple so close and so mature they tell each other everything that affects their psycho-spiritual life, then there is no purpose i can imagune for him to blurt this out.

if they share everything then there is no issue.

Anonymous said...

Who are the stakeholders?
-The Patient
-Daughter
-Wife
-Jack
-Jack's Kids?
-Jack's Other Patients

What are stakeholder requirements & expectations?

G Diddy in Madison wants to know!

Maglaw said...

If life has taught me anything, it is that Murphy's Law rules the universe. That means that whether or not he enjoyed the kiss, someone who knows his wife will have seen it and word will get back to her. The fact that he didn't tell her himself gives him double explaining to do. He should just tell the truth - the woman kissed him, it took him by surprise, and he pulled away.

Anonymous said...

Lilly Dog from Madison, that was just about the most articulate and well thought out answer re: kissing. You should be if you are not already, a professional writer.
animal lover from S. Jersey.