By: Jenny Foughner 

By now we know each other fairly well, so it shouldn’t surprise you to hear that if there’s one thing I dislike more than a cheater, it’s a sloppy cheater. Sure, you can grope your way drowsily through a number of tawdry mistresses, but an affair should be a thing of beauty, and, as Cary Grant taught us, a thing to remember. Here, a quick guide to being a stylish and sneaky scoundrel… and not getting caught.

Cash Only

This is the cardinal rule of stepping out on your baby, because if there’s one thing women know, it’s credit cards (and deception, and mistrust, but we’ll get to that later). Leaving a paper trail is an absolute no-no. Just don’t do it! You’re a big baller who can handle two (or more!) women at the same time, so you should have no problem forking over bills in order to avoid getting caught because of them.

Watch the Wedding Ring

You’ll need to remove your wedding ring while trolling for extracurricular activities, but did you remember to tan without it? I’m betting you didn’t. Women are like truffle-sniffing piglets when it comes to sussing out a man’s marital status, so if you don’t want your side dish to know you’re Mr. Somebody-Else’s-Husband, then don’t leave any sign of it anywhere on your person. When you remove the ring, however, you’d better keep it in a safe place, because the minute you return home claiming you lost it while washing your hands is the minute your affair-having ass is exposed.

Double Gifts

I’m sure you remember the scene in Love Actually where Emma Thompson finds a lovely necklace in her husband/cad-of-the-year Liam Neeson’s pocket that she assumes is meant for her, only to discover that he bought it for his mistress (and gave Emma stationery instead. Really, Liam? Really?). In order to avoid such an amateur gaffe, always purchase (in cash, of course) two of each bauble you buy for your sweetie on the side, even if you never end up giving the double to your wife. You can always return it; American stores have terribly liberal exchange policies. And keep your mistress trinkets hidden in a safe (non-coat-pocket) place, for god’s sake.

Trust Your Wife Implicitly

Guys who cheat tend to assume their wives are cheating too, but wives whose husbands cheat know this. If you start accusing your wife of infidelity just because you’re feeling guilty, then she will quickly figure out that it’s you who’s actually doing the dirty deeds. Stick to being glad that you’re getting away with marital murder instead of trying to calm your nerves by shifting blame to your spouse.

No Emails

“Don’t leave a paper trail” is the motto of the accomplished infidel. Do NOT use your personal or work email to converse with your mistress(es) unless you’re interested in having your poorly-written smut paraded all around a courtroom moments before 2/3 of your fortune is awarded to your soon-to-be ex-wife. Create a fake email address if you must (have you hear of this Gmail thing? It’s cake), but make sure it can’t be traced back to you (ie, don’t use your dog’s name as your password for the one-millionth time).

Disposable Cell Phone

It turns out crime shows really are good for something, because they’ve taught me that every call can be traced, even after the fact, unless you’re using a disposable phone. Buy a prepaid cell so you don’t have to open any new accounts (let’s all say it together: no paper trail), and if you think you’re about to be found out, dispose of it somewhere it will never be found (as in, not in your kitchen garbage can). If you refuse to leave your real phone at home or at the office, turn it off while out with your mistress; technology is great for a great many reasons, but it’s a bitch when it comes to staying under the (GPS) radar. Everything can be traced. Everything.

No Friends

Forgive my language, but you don’t need to be pooping where you eat, so keep friends (and friends-of-friends) out of the mix. Opt instead for anonymity; you’ll thank me when the “relationship” inevitably sours and you go running back to your none-the-wiser wife. And while we’re on the subject:

No Escorts

Keep it classy, keep it discreet, and keep it (moderately) free. The stakes are high enough already; no need to pay extra for additional services.

Hide Your Real Identity

I’ve given you a number of ways to hide your affair from your wife, but it’s just as important to hide your wife from your affair. Just because you’re crazy for your courtesan does not mean she’s not certifiably insane; in fact, there’s a high probability she is a total loon if she’s willing to be kept on the side like soggy mashed potatoes to your big hunky mansteak. Do not, under pain of death/dismemberment, tell this woman your last name, your address, your birthday, or your children’s names. Don’t even tell her you have a dog. Unless, of course, you look forward to the day you open the front door of your happy home to find a baby and a note that says “thanks for everything, see you in hell”.

Most Importantly

Happy April, fool. Don’t be a douche. Do you really think you can have an affair without getting caught? Ladies are basically super-spies who’ve learned how to hide their secret savvy by batting their eyelashes. Even if you think you’re getting away with something, you aren’t; she’s probably just biding her time until she gathers enough evidence to screw you six ways from Sunday in divorce court. You made a commitment till something-do-you-part, so if marital bliss is eluding you, then suck it up and figure it out instead of playing ostrich and hiding your head in someone else’s sand. Leave the cheating to the questionably clad and gratuitously tattooed guys of the world.