I overplan on occasion. Sometimes this goes too far, like when I make plans for things that will likely never happen. Then again, considering the abundance of news stories advising viewers on what to do when they win the powerball it seems extremely likely that I'm not the only one doing this.
But fuck it; Trump got elected the other day, so I say it's time to start planning for things that are only msrginally more likely than the lottery. Like what you would do if you're caught cheating. Haphazard estimates of infidelity say around 13% of people have extramarital sex.
Full disclosure: I've been working on this problem for years. This game began as a fun little hypothetical. "Hey Carl, imagine your wife walked in on you in bed with Jeanine from HR. What do you say to her right then to prevent her from divorcing your sorry ass?" This type of scenario became more real when I discovered the reality TV show Cheaters. For those of you not familiar with the show's premise, it's a bit like Jerry Springer with spy cameras - a man or woman who suspects their significant other of infidelity enlists Cheaters' cadre of equally suspect investigators, who proceed to invade the suspect's privacy for a week or so, until they've collected definitive evidence of infidelity. Typically, the show's host coordinates breaking the bad news with an impromptu opportunity for the victim to have a confrontation with the philanderer, often while en flagrante delicto. This recipe allowed the world to watch cheaters squirm under direct questioning and - in my case, at least - note what they did right and wrong.
The confrontations are always hilarious (to the audience) and violent (for the participants). The philanderer (usually it's a guy, but not always) is caught flat-footed as he/she is accosted by the wronged significant other, the host, and a dozen or so film crew members. Between the anger of the victim, the delightfully heavy-handed remarks from host and the invasion of privacy, there's often a scuffle and chase of some sort. Compelling drama.
Watching failure after failure, I asked myself - could I do better if placed in the same situation?
I believe so. Over the years, I have accumulated a couple of strategies for slipping the blame. Now, when it comes to cheating on Susan my wick is dry, but I can confidently say the following: if I channeled the same effort into research as I have into infidelity, we'd have a pill for that (infidelity) by now.
Begin by observing an average gentleman fail miserably during one Cheaters confrontation:
This is just a horrible performance by the cheater. He runs away, gets trapped in a men's room stall, then claims he was drunk. His cardio is also apparently terrible, as he was unable to escape either of his rotund lovers (one of whom stops to get a doggy bag!).
The video underscores a common set of mistakes virtually every guy makes when confronted. Most egregious among the mistakes is the rapid attempt at reconciliation. He realizes he's busted and immediately tries to "fix" things at the moment the aggrieved woman is least receptive to such entreaties. This is akin to trying to dismantle a bomb that's in the process of exploding. Instead, I suggest cheating lads attempt to redirect the anger onto a different entity, namely the woman they're cheating with.
A Bad Scenario
I've noticed a lot of women react to the actions of their boyfriend/husband with an unknowing female by attacking the stranger as though they are the cause of their current relationship problem. If your goal is to stick with the woman your cheating on (why you would is beyond me, but that's for you), the key is to echo the blame of your scorned lover onto your side action girl. Yell out somehing like, "yeah, what the hell you trying to pull here???" at the side girl. Act as though you're coming out from under a spell. The messge that must be conveyed is that you are the victim of an evil, evil woman who used her powers to helplessly seduce you to the dark side. It also keeps her punching another girl, expending precious emotional and physical energy that can no longer be brought to bear on your cheating ass.
Sometimes, though, the targeting system of the aggrieved woman is dead-on, and you have no choice but to face the music. What then?
A Worse Scenario
Let's say you're out on a date with your side girl and you're caught by your wife AND the camera crew from Cheaters. You consider the "heap the blame on the new girl" maneuver discussed above, but you can see that all the focus is on you. By employing the first strategy, you run the additional risk looking like an asshole on TV. That's a cancer that's gonna follow you for a long time. You need a different strategy.
As we've already discussed, denying is not really an option. Guys invariably try to reconcile with their regular girlfriend, saying 'she doesn't mean anything' or 'it's not what it looks like' (this last argument is blown apart when the host helpfully shows them the video of their antics), claims which enrage the already-pissed GF AND the side girl, who is now both embarassed and dissed. Result: man loses both girls, looks terrible, and is now a minor viral video.
Solution: Cut bait. It's an unusual tactic, but hear me out: You're with affair girl (Girl #2) when Girl #1 and a camera crew runs out.
Girl #1: How dare you cheat on me! You bastard!
Smarmy host: What do you have to say for yourself?
Guy: (to Girl #1) Do I know you?
Girl #1: What do you mean? I'm your girlfriend!
Guy: I don't think so/we broke up/not anymore (depending on how much evidence you think they have). This (motion to Girl #2) is my girl.
In this situation, you've just lied to a girl who is going to leave you anyway. Realistically, there was nothing you could do to keep her. Instead of apologizing, you just complete the jump to Girl #2 and paint Girl #1 as a jealous ex and/or random psycho. Moreover, it's the only way you're walking away with anyone. This tactic has an added advantage of applying a little verbal ju-jitsu to the show. Remember, the host is ready to prove you're having an affair with girl #2. When you say, "sure we're on a date here - she's my girlfriend," there's just nothing to say. Plus, it's not good TV. Maybe it makes the Cheaters crew look incompetent or leads them to doubt Girl #1's claims enough that the episode never airs.
After writing this, I stumbled upon this video (skip to the confrontation at 4:45) where the gentleman in question employs a very similar strategy, claiming that the side girl is an ex-girlfriend. He does a good-not-great job of execution in my opinion. Then things fall apart. His initial reaction is rock solid, but he fails to fully commit to his story that she is a long-past ex girlfriend. People can smell that fakery, yo. Of course, there's also footage of him with a third girl, which is undoubtedly damaging to his protestations of innocence. Things unravel completely at the nine minute mark when he backslides and attempts a reproachment with the original jilted lover. Like most participants in the show, disappointment ensues as a sobbing woman drives away in an aging Buick Skylark.
Advanced Maneuvers (Only for use in emergencies)
The Worst-Case Scenario
You're caught in bed with another woman by your wife. How can you save it?
This is obviously one of the most difficult (and unlikely) situations to recover from. The first, mst immediate problem is that you're naked. You need a distracton, and a good one at that.
Solution: Fake a heart attack from the surprise of being caught. It's a long shot, but if she leaves the room to call 911, you can get some pants on while creating enough confusion for your side girl to escape. I believe it was Sun Tzu who wrote that, 'negotiation is best never undertaken while engorged'?
Now that you have pants on comes the tricky part - talking your way out of it. Here there are a variety of options.
You can claim it wasn't you (like the Shaggy song) and spin a little revisionist history. Yeah, it probably won't work, but you've got a better shot at sweet-talking her a week later than right then and there. You could also claim that you were betrayed/seduced, as mentioned above. Really though, the basic tactic is throw a whole bunch of shit up and see if any of it sticks. If it does, follow that line.
Your goal at this point is not to fix things, rather just to prevent her from leaving you. After a week goes by comes the second part of the plan: tell her that you've realized that you've been living in a world of sin and need to get right with god (use these words). Then you become religious for a while, making her go to church with you until she tires of it and you lapse, but with relationship intact. The religion card is really only good once, and I've got nothing else up my sleeve, so make it count.
*It goes without saying that they've made many other mistakes. These include: loving unwisely, aligning themselves with someone dumb enough to turn to reality television and leaving enough telltale signs of cheating to elicit said person's scrunity.
Noah's Inner Monologue
Scribblings of a man who can barely operate an idiotproof website.