“Where The Hell Were You?”
An alibi is the proof that you did do what you didn’t do so that others will think you didn’t do what you did.
A love affair takes up time. Sooner or later, there will come to someone an awareness that all of the hours of the day do not seem to have been accounted for. First of all, it is wise never to start the habit of accounting for all of your time. If you are known to wander in art galleries, then you wander in art galleries until you are all wandered out, however long that takes.
Second, you make a point of keeping those time commitments that you do make. Ordinarily, you might come home on a working day anytime between five and seven, which as the French know are the prime times for various kinds of assignations. However, if you say you will be home at five for some reason, then on that day (and that day only), you should be.
Third, when your alibi is in doubt, you do not offer an explanation unasked, but you do offer substantiating evidence. A woman who goes shopping comes home with things she has bought. Sometimes, they were bought three days in advance, in which case she is careful with the sales slips. A woman who has seen a movie has seen a movie, but perhaps, it was on Tuesday afternoon rather than Thursday.
GOLLY, HOW THE TRUTH WILL OUT
The best laid schemes o’mice and men Gang aft a-gley.
—Robert Burns, “To a Mouse”
And women too, however they were laid.
Even with exquisite care and planning, accidental revelations do happen. A husband who is away on a three-day business trip never leaves town because of a problem with the plane’s engine. A busy executive who is never home before seven comes home at three with a migraine. When you should not have been missed, you find that everyone has been frantic to reach you because your mother is ill. A water main bursts in the basement, but you don’t notice because you are not there when you ordinarily should have been, and you return to find that the entire basement is completely flooded and you have no explanation for your absence.
If you are going to have an affair, you must realize that no matter how discreet you are, it is always possible for an unforeseen circumstance to lead to an inadvertent exposure of your activities.
MISTAKES, MISFORTUNES, AND DEAD GIVEAWAYS
Beware the man with Lover’s eyes.
He knows your heart; he feels your cries; He seeks the guile in your disguise
Then strips your soul and sees your lies; They never close, those Lover’s eyes.
—Jadah Vaughn, “Lover’s Eyes”
With a little thought and planning, being discreet enough to deceive most of the people most of the time is not difficult. Being discreet enough to deceive a really attentive man or a lover’s incessantly suspicious wife may be almost impossible.
One consequence of being in love is a passionate interest in the other person and in all of the details about that man or woman. A man who is in love with you really looks at you, studies you, memorizes you. All of the little details about you are of consuming interest, which is all very nice but which in the end can be very difficult.
There was once a young lady who was having an affair with her boss and who, like many before her, found a long lunch hour a perfect occasion for what they called a matinee. In the same office was a smitten coworker who had amorous aspirations of his own but who had not been successful.
One day, she came back from lunch on time—cool, poised, and well- groomed—and he looked at her with a significant look and stomped out of the room in a huff. It was only much later that she uncovered how her admirer could “know” about her matinee with such certainty. This was the era before panty hose. Before lunch, a small run was to be seen in her left stocking; after lunch, the little run had mysteriously run to the right leg.
One wife who had assembled herself in haste out of a state of dishabille was chagrined to notice her husband noticing her slip—which just happened to be on inside out.
One young husband rummaged in his wife’s purse for a package of matches. He found, to his mortification, a package of condoms: Trojans, to be precise. Since he had gotten a vasectomy the previous year, he was not amused. Her attempts to explain away the evidence were rather thin.
The best protection from such incriminating mistakes is the protection of time and distance. Anyone involved in an extramarital affair is in most danger when the tryst is in too close proximity to the domestic scene. It is best to set aside or leave enough time to have a shower and change clothes before resuming the daily round.
Alas, this is a luxury which may mean that you see your lover on fewer occasions.