Vintage Advice For Cheaters

vintage illustration man, woman, car

Vintage illustration from Aeros Willy Car Ad 1950s

For generations Valentines Day presented a quagmire for cheating spouses.

Not anymore.

There may not be Hallmark cards for this holiday but February 13 is known as Mistress Day, the day wandering husbands and cheating boyfriends set aside for the other woman since they’re spending actual Valentines day with their wife or girlfriend. Not surprisingly florists and restaurants are as busy that day as for Valentines day.

Your Cheating Heart

Although on line dating sites for married people like ( “when monogamy becomes monotony “) which sets up extramarital trysts have made cheating more accessible, electronic tracking devices  from e mail to EZ passes have made straying trickier.

You would think that before the advent of cell phones, texting, computers, credit cards, ATMs and other tracking devices, cheating would be a breeze.

But apparently for an earlier generation a book was needed to help the straying spouse with a wandering eye navigate the slippery slope of cheating.

Mister & Mistress

vintage ad sex manual 1940s

Like Stolen Love this book thrills you!
Vintage ad for “Mister & Mistress: A Guide to the Etiquette of off the Record Romance” 1949 Denis Book Company

For the low price of $1.98 post war cheaters wanting to finagle romance could send away for a book Mister and Mistress:  A Guide to the Etiquette of Off the Record Romance

Advertised in the back of men’s magazines next to sex guides and marriage manuals, this book from 1949 taught  the tricks of two timing: “Know How to do the ‘Wrong’ Thing The Right Way”

Things intimate…personal things the neighbors mustn’t know

vintage illustration cartoon couple checking into hotel

Mr & Mrs Smith
Vintage illustration from ad for “Mister & Mistress: A Guide to the Etiquette of off the Record Romance” 1949 Denis Book Company

Its authors Edith Sheldon and Dayton James explained to the prospective reader: “We have outlined numerous situations, in any one of which you may find yourself sooner or later. We think you will agree that our rules for handling these situations are based on sound sense and good taste. But if  you do not agree you have only to follow the opposite course.”

“And see where that lands you.”

Mister and Mistress lets you in on many secrets. “Here is a book you will cherish. Its technique will amaze you. Its frankness will startle you! The Simon pure will raise their eyebrows!”

sexist cartoon secretary wife  1951“I’m your husbands secretary. I think I can help you understand him.”

It’s hilarious! It’s helpful. It’s hep!

Have you… Were You…. Did you?

Posing a series of questions to the would-be-cheater they ask:

Ever talk in your sleep?

Ever find it hard to explain?

Ever keep a “Stud Book”?

Ever have a “Blind Date”?

Ever pay with I.O.U.’s or try to?

vintage illustration cartoon sex manual 1940s

Vintage Illustration from ad for “Mister & Mistress: A Guide to the Etiquette of off the Record Romance” 1949 Denis Book Company

Ever hire an Escort?

Ever gather “Forbidden Fruit”?

Ever walk back from a “Joy Ride”?

Ever been a “Fall Guy”?

Ever argue with a bootlegger?

Ever “Fumble” for the luncheon check?

Ever play “Mr and Mrs,”?

Ever been a correspondent?

vintage illustration cartoon sex manual 1940s

Vintage illustration from ad for “Mister & Mistress: A Guide to the Etiquette of off the Record Romance” 1949 Denis Book Company

Ever curious about sexual matters and has your curiosity led you into strange adventures?

Ever “Lost Your Head” in an emergency?

Ever wish you had learned the manners and social graces needed to mix with others on many levels?

Ever play with fire?

“If you answer NO to all of these questions,” the ad firmly states  “do NOT send for this book, SEND FOR THE UNDERTAKER!”

Copyright (©) 2014 Sally Edelstein All Rights Reserved

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A Vintage Valentines Dilemma Do’s and Don’ts



  1. …and President Hollande had to come stag to the state dinner in his honor at the White House! Oh well, even the French ban smoking in public places these days, so perhaps it’s only natural they are less blase about mistresses now, too.

    This was a disturbing post, not for the fact of infidelity in mid 20th Century, but that there actually was a “how to” manual published to help the bastards who would ignore their marital vows do it!

    I hope there was one, too, for the wife to use when she took up residence in Reno to prepare to take all her cheating spouse’s earthly goods in a quickie divorce.


  2. Pingback: The Frigid Woman in the Cold War | Envisioning The American Dream

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