Listen: My dilemma is, I think, somewhat unique. A few weeks ago I attended an out of town party with a friend of mine. My friend knew the hosts and some of the other guests, but I only knew her and basically just went along for the weekend trip. Anyway, the hosts, a newly married couple we’ll call Mark and Melissa, went out of their way to make me feel welcome and I had a wonderful time until Mark kissed me. It wasn’t like I wanted to kiss him, in fact I ended it as soon as it started, but it was not the kind of kiss that could be mistaken for a friendly peck. As the weekend progressed I realized that Melissa not only knew that Mark was interested in me, but that she was actually encouraging his interest. The friend that I went to the party with later confided in me that Melissa is bisexual and that she and Mark might be trying to lure me into a menage a trois. Needless to say, I felt bad about the whole kiss thing because I am seriously involved with a man who I love deeply. But, honestly, at the same time the three way offer was really tempting. Mark and Melissa are both extremely attractive and a lot of fun to be around and if I’m ever going to have a three way, I want it to be with people I don’t know and won’t see again. To thicken the plot my same friend is planning a summer trip with M&M ,and a few others, and has invited me to go with them. Melissa called me yesterday to personally extend an invitation. Part of me really wants to go through with it - I’ve never done that sort of thing and I know I’ll never again have such an attractive offer. But on the other hand, I really do love my boyfriend and don’t want to cheat on him. So here’s my question: If I join in with Mark and Melissa, and I cheating my boyfriend? Or if I don’t join in, am I cheating myself? Signed, I Want It All Okay: You know, I feel a little bad for men. They’re the ones who seem to really yearn for the triple play, yet they rarely are asked to be the extra wheel. So then they have to go inside their relationship, ask their girlfriend to give them “the Gift,” set it all up, establish the ground rules and, really, does it ever end well? You, however, are in a unique position (if you pardon the pun). You’ve been presented with the equivalent of a one-time only, no-strings attached gettin’ busy “Gift” certificate. You don’t know either party very well, they’re both attractive and, most importantly, this isn’t part of your relationship. It sounds perfect. Except that you’re in a relationship. I guess my first thought is whether or not your boyfriend is going on this summer trip with you. If so, I think it’s a definite no-go. You’re going to have a three-way, but deprive the man you love of “the Gift”? Knowing most guys, he’d be just as upset to know that you had a three-way without him as he would to know that you’ve cheated. Maybe even more so. But if he’s not going, you’re right; there’s a chance for you to have your cake and eat it, too. It seems to me that in modern life sometimes monogamy has man-made boundaries; whether that’s right or wrong, I can’t say. What I will say is that some people think cheating doesn’t count if you leave the country or the state or, heaven forbid, just cross over the county line. And you always hear people talk about that one celebrity they’re allowed to sleep with should the unlikely opportunity arise. So you’re not alone in your rationale that something that may never happen again is fair game. If you’re okay with a casual encounter and all the risks it implies -- some people aren’t, you know -- then I think it’s something you should do. It sounds like an adventure you should seize while you can, like climbing Mt. Everest before you are too old to do so or riding the roller coaster at the Magic Kingdom because you know you’ll never be able to afford to go back. Plus, it doesn’t sound like it will mean anything more to you than that rollercoaster ride. I think your man -- really any man -- will understand better than a woman would how a sexual encounter can lack meaning. All that said, no matter what boundaries you set up, cheating is cheating. So if you decide to go through with it, look on it as something you did for you. A guilty indulgence. But I wouldn’t mention it to your guy. There’s no reason to hurt him for a once-in-a-lifetime thing. Besides, you’ve said you only want a menage with people you won’t see again; bear in mind that if he ever finds out about the three-way, you’ll be hard pressed to explain why you won’t find an extra playmate for the two of you. And then you’ll have taken the Gift that keeps on Giving. Listen: I am friends with this very attractive young lady. We grew up together -- literally next door to each other -- although I am a good four years older than she is. But I’ve always found her very cute and sweet, a person I could date were it not for the age difference (when I was a high school senior, she was in 8th grade, etc.). She was always just a little too young. Our parents, as well as my aunt and uncle, are close friends; they go on a cruise together every spring and regularly get together for football games and dinners. I hadn’t seen my friend in years, probably since my college graduation three years ago, but I wasn’t surprised to see her at my parents’ Christmas party last December (she was home from college). What did surprise me was how incredible she looked, definitely all grown up. So she gave me her number and we went to a few Grizzlies’ games together. I’ll admit, I had some fantasies when I was younger. I thought she was a person I could date if she was my age. I was wrong. It’s just not there. Here’s the problem. The first time we went out, she was very forward. This wasn’t like she put her head on my shoulder or gave me one of those satisfied kitten looks girls seem to know from birth. It was much more than that. Before the game was over, I took her back to my place. I thought we both knew the rules of the game before we started to play. I had told her early on I wasn’t looking for anything long term, but when I tried to give her my standard let’s-still-be-friends schtick a few days later, she went crazy. Then she threatened to tell my mom! I haven’t completely broken it off with her, but I want to. But if I do, I know all our close family friends will find out about it and assume I took advantage of her. What do you think? Signed, All in the Family Okay: So you’re feeling like the older cad robbing the cradle ... you swooped in, took a young heart and then broke it ... all before the final buzzer. Maybe you feel a little guilty, but my guess is you’re more upset about getting caught. You didn’t mind stealing the baby’s candy, you just don’t want anyone to know you did so. But the baby in this case isn’t really one. From my calculations, she’s what? A junior in college? Maybe a sophomore? It’s not like she’s some 13-year-old Lolita; she’s old enough to vote, old enough to serve in the armed forces and probably old enough to drink. Which means she’s old enough to hold onto her candy and old enough to make her own decisions, even if they’re bad ones. Then again, so are you. No matter how many satisfied kitten faces she tossed at you, getting on a family friend on the first date probably wasn’t the best idea. It’s not like we’re in a society where defiling someone’s daughter means instant death, but ... when you go and do her and dump her, well, that’s just no good. It’s like double dipping with chips. If you’re by yourself, who cares? But if other people are involved, you dip once, and that’s it. It’s not wrong that you jumped into bed with her; it’s that when you two jumped in, your family and hers were sort of tangled up in the sheets. Unfortunately, you can’t keep seeing the woman. And unfortunately, your parents’ friendship with hers will probably never be the same. Because if she’s willing to tell your mother, I’m sure she’s going to tell hers. My advice would be to tell your parents about the entire sordid affair (as tastefully as possible) before you tell your little Lolita goodbye. That way, if she does blab to the world (and keep in mind, she might not tell the entire truth), they at least heard it from you first. And honestly, it might be an empty threat; I wouldn't bet on it, but there’s always a chance she’s bluffing and won’t tell anyone parental at all. And next time you’re with the girl who used to babysit you or is your mother’s cousin’s friend, just keep your hands away from their candy. (Gotta problem? Wanna make it my business? Write cashiola@memphisflyer.com.)

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