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Because, in the end, being bad doesn’t get better by itself.
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How to Cheat
EUGENE, SIR: I’ve been happily married since a little bit after college. So make that about 21 years to a wonderful man and great father. So this is not about that. This is about me only having had five sexual partners outside of him, and when I think about the rest of my life I start to feel sort of sad to know that there will be no more other than him. So I want to have a lover. Or at least sex with a few more people. But I do not want an affair. I do not need someone to be in love with. I have that covered. I do want someone to have sex with. I can’t use any of these Web apps since we have a family plan for the phone and share a credit card. None of our friends would make sense. I don’t have time and can’t hang around bars. I don’t want to ask any of my friends because no one can keep a secret. It really seems impossible to do what others seem to do so easily. Help. —NM
Dear Trapped in a Living Hell of Perfection: Easily?!?! Haha … your travails would seem to be proof positive that a person thinking clearly about infidelity, which is what we’re talking about really, will have discovered that it’s not easy at all if you’re trying to avoid discovery. But having affairs seems a lot like murder. Most murderers are caught because they’re connected to the murdered in a web of social contact that makes it easy to track them back to the scene of the crime.
Carried forward into the future, the murder with the greatest chance of going undiscovered is one where the principals are not connected to each other at all. Of course, then motivations for killing them start to dissipate as well. So to drop the more grisly analogy, the question seems to be how do you have sex with a total stranger, have it be good, not get killed or get a disease, or run the risk — and it’s there — that one of you falls in love? Or put another way, how do you have a mindless affair when you’re way too mindful to be able to trick yourself into doing something stupid(er)?
Carefully. First: You’re aswirl in a sea of possibilities. Men at the store, in the street, places where, if you watch carefully, you’ll catch what anthropologists call “the copulatory gaze.” Plus if you’re watching carefully, you’ll learn a lot: married or not, sane or not (maybe), bad taste in music is preceded by bad taste in clothing, and so on. If you’re meeting/seeing each other in the same place, no need for emails or phone calls. If he’s seeing you looking he’ll approach before too long. Then you Last Tango in Paris it by meeting at a neutral hotel location where he can pay or you pay with cash. Then? Never ever return to that supermarket again.
It’s risky, but probably just as risky as your husband catching you on Tinder. Wait. What’s HE doing on Tinder?
EUGENE, SIR: I’m having an affair. It’s hot, which it’s supposed to be. I have no problem with that. To minimize the paper trail, though, we’re not using hotels or motels, but having sex in cars, strange places. Like being teenagers again, so this is cool. But recently my hair got so messed up I had to have it cut before I went home. My husband was slightly suspicious but doesn’t think about things like hair all that much. My question, though, is if two married people are having an affair, where do they have it that does not increase their chances of being caught? —Name withheld by request
Dear Mrs. Tom Bodett: These are deep-water questions and apropos of the query right above this one asking me how to get away with murder. Or rather, aid, abet and enable behaviors that I’ll pass no judgment on, as they may actually be IMPROVING the quality of all of your lives, and I am sure you all have your reasons anyway. But, you know, if I help, I may not really be helping from an ethical standpoint, and if I don’t help I’m poorly suited for the job at hand, so I’ll say this — and I believe I have said it before: If you’re OK with public acts of sex, I’d suggest a sex club. Most cities have them and most that have them have beds you can rope off so you get no interlopers, and for a meager $20 for couples, you can scoot in, do your business, in view of a crowd, and then zip out when done.
The $20 is not missed, anyone you know who might see you there would be crazy to bring it up again and, best of all, you don’t end up with brambles, leaves, cigarette butts or whatever caused the problem originally in your hair. Good luck! With all of that cheating and sneaking around and lying to everyone you love, haha …
Just kidding. I have no problem with affairs. I just have a problem with stupid ones, and you’re well on the way to fixing what was stupid about yours, it seems.