So I’m at work the other day and a colleague said something supremely annoying to me. It was one of those comments that was a pseudo compliment but with a dose of backstabbing buried within. Kind of like when you stuff your dog’s pill into his food hoping it’ll disguise the nasty med. Maybe she was having a bad day. Perhaps she had a fight with her spouse, maybe she has money issues, maybe her hair dye came out wrong. Whatever the reason, her comment was damn rude and I was tempted to tell her where she could go with it. But I resisted the urge. I didn’t want to sink to that level, it would have been professionally a bad move, my mother raised me better, etc. etc. I can justify why I stopped myself but damn, was I ever tempted.
This whole experience got me thinking about temptation in general. I did a quick Google search on “denying temptations” and got a boatload of religious references, beginning with “The 3 temptations of Jesus.” Um, yeah. Not what I was looking for. But after a few more searches I hit pay dirt. Scottish novelist A.L. Kennedy wrote an article about why we’re tempted to do naughty things when no one’s looking. A-ha! Now we’re talking.
Her article points out that the influencers of good behavior, such as positive leadership, collaborative support, and moral guidelines can have the opposite effect and tempt people into bad actions when the oversight is removed. So when you know no one’s looking, for example, you might be tempted to swipe goods from a store or have an illicit affair. If we think we’re not going to get caught, the temptation to indulge where we ought not to proves – to some – irresistible. If you knew with absolutely, positively 100% foolproof certainty that you would never get caught, what would you be tempted to do? Would you be bad? Really, really bad?
I admit that the possibility of getting caught may have contributed to my holding back on that colleague. If I’d said something and my words had been made known to someone with influence over me it could have had a detrimental effect on my career. Or at least on my upcoming performance review. But what about if I had known with 100% certainty that I could fully speak my mind and it would never, ever be known to anyone aside from the two of us. Would I have said something? Part of me says, hell yeah. Let that biatch have it. But another part of me, a bigger part of me, would still have kept mum because I just don’t want to be that kind of person. Tempting as it was.
The other aspect of temptation that I find fascinating is why we’re not tempted toward the good and wise, as in, “I’m so tempted to exercise every day!” “I’m so tempted to be knowledgeable about the stock market!” Is it because being good is a lot more work and not very fun?
My story in our anthology that was released last week, The Lady Smut Book of Dark Desires, explores the temptation of having anything and everything you want – for a sky high price. I’m fascinated by the idea of how far people will go in order to get what they want. My character is a struggling documentary filmmaker who’s been surviving on hard work and crossed fingers for as long as she can remember. She can turn it all around in a single evening, but she can never get back what she has to give up. Will the temptation of having it all be too much to resist? Hopefully I’ve tempted you to read and find out.
In the meantime, come one, come all and join our Facebook release party tomorrow! We’ve got fabulous authors joining us! We’ve got giveaways! You’ll definitely want to be there, so click here and join the fun. C’mon, give in to the temptation.