Having an affair ain’t what it used to be.
Now that Ashley Madison client base has been hacked, the world’s leading on-line dating service for married people has sent many a cheating spouse scrambling.
It’s a heart breaker for those who ascribe to the website’s belief “Life is Short. Have an Affair.”
Your Cheating Heart
Although the 14 year old service AshleyMadison.com ( “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
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
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!”
“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?
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?
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 (©) 2015 Sally Edelstein All Rights Reserved
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Good eye and good commentary, Sally. Things change; things remain the same over 66 years.
What I hear in my work (Jesuit priest) is the fear, resentment, and unaddressed wounds of a life time in the stories of men and women who search for “love in all the wrong places.” I think it’s more about distracting themselves/ourselves from the pain of life.
Keep up the fine work! –roc,sj
Thank you for your keen observations. We all muck about in unaddressed wounds, the challenge and the hope is to share them with a primary other in the hopes of some sort of healing. Distraction never works.
Cheating also takes place in the animal kingdom – birds who seem to be the very paragon of virtue and romantic love – several species cheat. The explanation for cheating is that it must have had a purpose in the evolution – or it would have been sorted out during all those thousands of years. If a woman gets impregnated by another male, her offspring will have a greater genetic diversity, and with a variation in her kids’ genes, there are a better chance that at least one of them survives diseases, Also, inherited illnesses won’t manifest itself in every child.
For the man it is different – like the cuckoo bird, he lets others raise his children. He is increasing chances for his genome to survive and be passed on into the future. If he is wiped out along with his family, his genome will still live on.
But in our days, it is a no longer useful instinct, similar to women s attraction to violent men and psychopaths. There are no longer any giant cave bears or saber-toothed tigers around, trying to eat your kids. So having a berserk for man is as counterproductive as using a battle tank driving to the shopping mall.
When I was a child, I was taught at a rather early age about the perils of inbreeding. But since a couple of decennials, it is a dead silence. The whole subject is suddenly strictly taboo Why? Sweden has a mass immigration by people from the Middle East and North Africa – and there they have married cousins and other close relatives for thousands of years. In Denmark, where the freedom of expression is considerably greater than in Sweden, doctors have published figures and statistics that show that children from the ME – NA is vastly over-represented regarding birth defects and inherited illness. I’ve seen figures like 4 or 6 times compared to native Danes, and immigrant children dominate in nursing homes for children. But the families try to hide the fact that they have a child with special needs – in Muslim cultures it is a disgrace for the family, and it is also thought of as a punishment from Allah.
So, instead of informing the immigrants, it is kept a secret. Besides decreasing suffering in the children, the information could have helped young girls, so they wouldn’t had been obliged to marry a relative. Very few girls at 15, all over the globe, are longing to marry a cousin of 45. Information could help them to avoid forced marriages so they would be allowed to choose their partner themselves. (Some experiments suggest that women can decide from the body odor of a male how different his genes are.)
$100 was a lot of money in 1928 – so, if your girlfriend buys you a $100 suit, you should at least try to be faithful and true. She may have spent all her money in her purse on you, but as we all know – women carries anything and everything in their purses. Sometimes a -44 Colt revolver…
Frankie was a good girl everybody know
She pay one hundred dollars for our one suit of clothes
He’s a man and he done me wrong.
Frankie went down to the corner saloon, didn’t go to be gone long
She peek through one of the keyholes and spied Albert in Alice’s arms
He’s my man and he done me wrong.//
Frankie – Mississippi John Hurt [OKeh 8560] – 1928
The blind New Orleans street singer Fird Eaglin sings a song about a unfaithful female partner – and plays a 12-string guitar.
Alberta, Alberta, where did you stay last night? x2
When you come home this morning,
Clothes ain’t fitting you right
Snooks Eaglin – Alberta (1960)
A movie I saw more than 40 years ago illustrated it in a smart way;
The man and his wife are dressing in the morning to go to work, and the man notices that his wife has a little hole in her left stocking.
The same day, they undress to go to bed, and he sees that the hole now is on her right stocking..
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How did I miss this book? Gee, I only read the ads in all those men’s magazines. I must have been completely clueless. ‘Course I still am but that is beside the point. By the way, I put sex in a whole new perspective in my post, “The Rediscovery of Sex”.
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Will have to check out your perspective
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I am absolutely gob smacked. Just no. Great article. Thanks for exposing me to something that I can only think, just no.
You can’t make this stuff up!
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Absolutely LOVED this post Sally! Excellent share; thank you!
I have always found it peculiar as to WHY couples cannot be brutally honest and open with each other in the first place about their own intimate needs/desires and learn their partner’s. Truly, HOW HARD IS IT to communicate them? Which really begs the question — since most all humans are biologically designed to be (very?) sexual — what is the REAL issue? It isn’t really promiscuous sex since it can be had a’plenty. “Things that make you go… Hmmmm.” 😉
I suspect fear is the culprite, which is an imaginary gorilla, a wicked Wizard of Oz if you will. If you don’t conquer it, you become a slave to it, right?
I hadn’t heard that Ashley Madison had been hacked. That is hilarious; a Keystone Cops running around of scared adulters! LOL!
Delightful post Sally!
So glad you enjoyed it! The absurdity of a site devoted to cheating is satire enough, the idea of it being hacked is irresistible. I agree with you that an affair is a red flag for something that isn’t being addressed in their primary relationship that begs for communication, but is being kept dormant because of fear.
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“We think you will agree that our rules for handling these situations are based on sound sense and good taste.” Oh really? A guide to cheating with sound sense and good taste? Well, a fool and his money are soon parted.