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"The Fine Art of Being Unfaithful"

by R. Fred Arnold



Vol. 1, No. 2,  1957

          Being unfaithful, like petit-point or harpooning, is an art that required great skill and much practice. One does not simply decide to be unfaithful and then proceed to do it; one must first work, study, plan and diligently practice.
     Any attempt to be unfaithful without sufficient preparation is doomed to failure. Assume, for one light-hearted moment, that you are married and working at it. You've never cheated or dilly-dallied or anything. Suddenly, the blonde at the lunch counter gets very friendly and you think about it for a few days and sound her out with a few exploratory remarks and gestures and the whole thing seems like a lead-pipe cinch.
     So, you tell your wife at breakfast, out of the clear blue scrambled eggs, that you're terribly sorry but the boss want s you to do some extra work at the office and you'll be late. Maybe even be better if you stayed overnight at the office. And so forth.
     You, my friend, have got a fat chance. You haven't--if you'll pardon the expression--laid the groundwork for your escapade. You've never worked late at the office before; chances are you've even told your wife, "If that blankety-blank boss of mine ever asks me to do a thing extra, I'll tell him to stuff it up his filing cabinet." Now, all of a sudden, you expect her to smile and say, "That's a good loyal employee; you stay and work your arms off." Not on you hot little hands, she won't.
     A wife, like a lawn mover or a deck of cards, must be broken in. She must be conditioned over the years, so that when something like a receptive blonde turns up, she's putty in your sly old hands.
     The best time to begin preparing for these eventualities is during the courtship period. Explain your work to her. Tell her that you have ambition, you want to get somewhere, you don't want to be an office drudge (or a  store drudge or a livery stable drudge or a factory drudge) all of your life. And, as part of your laudable campaign to get somewhere, you quite frequently take on extra work in the evenings. Oh, not too much--not enough so it gets to be a nuisance. Maybe once or twice a month; just enough so you can show the boss you're in there pitching.
     And then, all the rest of your married life, take that night off once in a while. Take it, even though nothing in the way of a blonde or redhead or brunette shows up. Take it, even though you just sneak around the back yard and read a book for three hours. Then, when you really need that night sometimes, there are no questions asked.
     Or perhaps you prefer some other story, something besides working late at the office. Maybe a sick friend--but he'd better be real sick and he'd better be producible together with a notarized report from his physician--or a sick parakeet or an uncle that needs being read to every third Thursday. Or some successful unfaithfuls use the "After you, my dear Gwendolyn" routine. This works on the premise that the wife in the case likes a night off once in a while, too. So every third Thursday you say, "Gwendolyn, you're looking a wee bit peaked. The bloom on your cheeks is getting moldy. What you need is a night away from me and the house. Why don't you go over to your mother's (or your sister's or your Aunt Mabel's) for the night? Do you a world of good." She will jump at the chance and you'll be free for the night.
     But it cannot be emphasized too strongly--do this on a regular basis, and start early in life, even when you think you'll never feel like cheating. It's just like insurance or a savings account--you may never have to use it, but it's nice to know it's there. So you prepare you alibi years before you have to use it; thus, when the time comes, your night-out excuse is ready made. It's a comforting feeling.
     However, suppose you're stuck. No excuse. No habit, built over many years of painstaking trouble, of a night off once in a while. Yet here's this panting blonde at the lunch counter. Should you just skip the whole thing?
     By no means. It isn't easy and you must decide in your own mind if it's worth the trouble. If it is, here's a simplified, infallible method:
     1. Develop a sudden illness. Yellow Jaundice is good, and required merely equal parts of mustard, corn starch and mashed bananas, plus the juice of three lemons and the white of an egg. Apply liberally to face and exposed portions of the body. Or there is another variety called Orange Jaundice, with orange juice instead of lemon juice.
     2. Wake up one morning with this malady. Tell your wife you are ill. But no doctor. You say, simply, "I know what this is. I got it during the war. Doctors can't do anything. It'll go away by itself in two days."
     3. Stay home all day. Moan and groan regularly. Suffer.
     4. Around 8 P.M. (assuming your date is for 9) suddenly sit up in bed and scream. And tell your wife you must go out and walk this off. "That's what we did during the war. Walk around for five, six hours in the night air. It's the only thing that brings relief. Night air and walking."
     5. Get up, get dressed, go out. Act feverish.
     6. Come home, say around midnight, all cured. (Be sure to throw the yellow-jaundiced-soaked handkerchief in the incinerator.)
     7. Act a little weak the next day. This will probably come easy.
     That is one quick and easy method for getting out. Another that has also been time-tested and works like a charm is the voodoo method.
     1. You are eating supper with your wife. Suddenly let a cry of anguish escape from your lips and clap your hands to your breast. "I has a sudden pain, like a very deep pin prick," you say. "But it's all gone now. My, that was strange!"
     2. In a minute or so, the same thing. Only this time in your leg. Then, one right after another, the same thing occurs again and again in other parts of your body.
     3. Gradually, you seem to become numb. Your frantic wife tells you to lie down but it doesn't help. You bounce up and down as these sharp pains occur.
    4. Then it becomes clear to you. "I know--ouch--what it is," you say. "It's voodoo--ooooh--that's what it is. Eeek! I made enemies with a--ouch--voodoo high priest when I was in the Navy--gasp--and he said he'd get even. I bet he's--wow--made a doll and he's voodooing me."
     5. Quite suddenly you jump up and rush to get your hat and coat.
     6. "Where are you going?" your wife says.
     7. "I'm going to get relief. I just--ouch--remembered. The only thing to do when you're cursed like this is to go out to the ocean and throw three--gasp--dead rats and a thimble full of spider dust into the water. I have to go get some rats and spider duct."
     8. Ten minutes later, you telephone home. "Got the rats," you say, "but they're all out of--eek--spider dust. I'll have to go to the factory. I should be home by--wow--midnight. Don't wait up."
     9. Midnight you come home, all cured.
     All the foregoing has been about getting out of the house. There is more to infidelity than that.
     The mental attitude AFTERWARDS is vital. SOme of the true geniuses in the field insist, indeed, that your actions afterwards are even more important than those before. Never, under any circumstances, come back with a gift for your wife. There is nothing that is so sure to give you away, unless it be some lipstick on the tip of your nose.
     The best thing to do is to come home surly. Snap at your wife. Bark at the kids. Growl at the pussy-cat. When you're so mean and miserable, nobody would ever think that you've been having yourself a ball. It's only when you're happy and sweet that perhaps your wife may suspect something's amiss, or amistress.
     Equally important is the fine art of disguise. Bartenders and movie ushers and waitresses and suchlike are very fond of coming up and saying, "Good evening, Mr. Smith, how's your wife?" Don't let anybody tell you that bartenders are good listeners; they talk too much.
     So one has to make sure one is unobserved. The best laid plans--the perfect excuse and prepared exit--will come to naught if your wife's best friend sees you hand-in-hand with another woman.
     Perhaps the perfect disguise is not to be seen. Take a bus--never drive your own car--and sit in the back behind a newspaper. When you get off, walk in the shadows. Go up a back way, or go in a window, or climb down a chimney--but never get involved with doormen or elevator operators or boarding house owners. And, if possible, don't go out again--bring your own booze and glasses and ice cubes (in a fiberglass-insulated pocket of your suit; see what we mean by preparation?) and cold cuts and mustard. Stay there, if you can get away with it.
     If the blonde insists on stepping out, take the train to another city. Or go by cab to some nightspot far away from your own section of town. If you know a guy with a rocket to the moon, hop on.
     When you get there, tell the headwaiter ($5 will do) that you want a quiet little table about half-way between the bass drum and Spokane, Wash. Sit with your back to the most people. Order one, maybe two drinks. Do not get plastered because everybody notices a drunk. And there's bound to be somebody there you know, or somebody who knows you. Dance as little as possible, and , when you do dance, don't show off your terrific mambo. Stay in the center of the floor, camouflaged by people.
     Don't tip too little or too much. Don't make a scene. Don't order anything fancy or anything too plain. Be an average guy. Average guys never get anywhere in the world, but they never get noticed either.
     When you leave, don't pinch the hatcheck girl. Save that for another day.
     Don't make a pass at another girl, or get in a fight, or wreck the car, or spill a drink down the chick's dress to see if the ice cubes melt, or argue about the check, or forget your wallet--don't do anything at all that's out of the ordinary.
     Just be an average, run-of-the-mill, unfaithful husband. Then you've merely one among thousands and you'll have no trouble. Live it up.

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