IT'S a familiar scene that crops up in books and B-list movies every day -- the image of a tear-stricken woman crying on her best friend's shoulder after discovering that her partner has cheated on her. Cliched? Sure, but then feminism has taught us that we women must stick together in the face of insults from the lesser sex.
In the Noughties, Sex And The City advanced the notion that women should look to one another for soul mates while treating men as playthings.
Yet for all its taboo-breaking, SATC never examined the carnage that ensues when the sisterhood breaks down and one woman finds herself betrayed by another.
Perhaps the script writers should have a chat with one Dr Lynn Arcara, a North Carolina native who got even with her cheating friend in spectacular fashion.
Dr Arcara was heavily pregnant when she invited close pal Susan Pecoraro to stay in her home and help decorate her nursery. Obliging Susan certainly helped with the DIY, but then helped herself to her friend's husband by starting an affair with him.
The canny Dr Arcara didn't get mad, she got even. After ending the marriage, she took her ex-best friend to court and sued under a centuries-old "alienation of affection" law.
The result? This week she walked away with €4.5m in compensation from her former pal, the amount she claims she would have earned if she had remained married.
Over on this side of the pond, we generally like to ridicule the wacky laws in some US states. North Carolina definitely has its fair share, including the law that makes it illegal to sing off-key (clearly a no-go area for Jedward) or for cats and dogs to fight.
But nobody's laughing now at the "alienation of affection" law which put one calculating mistress firmly in her place.
Luckily for back-stabbing women everywhere else, this law isn't about to be introduced in other countries. Yet in light of this week's ruling, I'm beginning to think it should be. After all, rightly or wrongly, women still cling to a perception that the fairer sex should always band together against men.
Of course it works both ways, and for every woman who cheats there's usually a willing man at the other end of the deal.
That's why I'm all for the possibility of suing for "alienation of affection", a law that should be invoked whenever anyone, male or female, knowingly participates in a deception that is detrimental to an existing relationship.
Perhaps some of Tiger Woods's busty blondes would have thought twice about bedding the sports star if they feared legal action for their part in the affairs that destroyed his marriage.
And maybe the women who allegedly offered "services" to Wayne Rooney might have reconsidered if it meant a potential blow to the wallet.
Okay, so maybe a cheating penalty is a bit far-fetched in our sex-obsessed world where affairs are a way of life, but we can always dream.
And we can take heart from the fact that at least there's one woman in North Carolina flying the flag for those who don't take betrayal lying down.