IT HAS BEEN SAID THAT BASEBALL is America’s favorite pastime. I would argue that another sport that involves bats, balls, pitching, catching, stealing, hot pretzels, grass on the field, and ejaculate: Infidelity. Yes, dear Headshotters, we here at HS HQ feel that the act of adultery has overtaken baseball as America’s favorite activity. And like any American activity of note, it requires a national scandal in order to be claim its place atop the country’s list of loves. That moment has arrived.
General David Petraeus, former CIA director, is caught up in a scandal of cuckoldry! According to numerous sources Petraeus had an affair with Paula Broadwell, the author of his biography, All In: The Education of General David Petraeus. (Immediately, that becomes the BEST BIOGRAPHY TITLE EVER!) The story has all the benchmarks of a tabloid sensation: The armed forces, the government, hot uniforms, Florida socialites, Chuck Klosterman, nasty emails, intrigue and espionage. The film will no doubt be mesmerizing, and the porn versions even better.
(Writer’s note: Don’t all the players in this affair sound like they already have porn names? Paula Broadwell, Jill Kelley, James R. Clapper, Eric Holder, Holly Petraeus… I’ve got a halfer just reading those names.)
What surprises us most — despite our contention that getting a tugger from a stranger in a alley behind the bar while your partner waits inside for your appetizers is now the American equivalent to singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” during the seventh inning stretch — is the fact that Petraeus got caught. As the head of the CIA, we’d expect him to be a little more stealthy, and certainly be able to escape the dull minds at the FBI. Headshots’ third wife once carried on a three-year affair with a series of our interns, and we were none the wiser, though we’ve never been asked to oversee a country’s clandestine service. We finally realized of our wife’s infidelity when we caught her with an intern’s wrist deep in her, uh, mitt. Her mistake was carrying on the affair the next room over from my office. Inspired, today Headshots makes note of five ways you’re definitely going to get caught cheating on your partner.
1. Cheating on Your Partner
Quite simply put, if you’re going to cheat on your partner you’re going to get caught. Most people are idiots. That’s an scientific fact. Science! Nothing else need here. And if you’re still not convinced, then please, read on…
2. Listening to Your Genitals
Here’s the problem with the penis and vagina regions: They make bad decisions. My penis once convinced me to give up a scholarship to the University of Florida in order to take a position as an unpaid editor/slave in the winter hell that is Eastern Canada. Another time, it convinced me to enter a woman named Tiffany. Or maybe it was Crystal. Or Steve. Another time it convinced me to cover it in chia seeds and go to a Halloween party as Adam. Another time it convinced me to let a dude named Randy hold it in his teeth. Another time it convinced me to put it in a hot cup of coffee for twenty minutes. I swear to God it’s still a slightly darker hue. The lesson here is that the penis is your dumbest muscle, so to listen to it is folly. While I have no empirical evidence, I can only assume that the vagina (or perhaps the clitoris is in charge down there — I’m still not entirely sure) is just as dumb as the penis, if only based on the forty-two-and-a half that I’ve been in.
3. Being a Man
Men are idiots. This is undeniable. If you’re a man, you’re born halfway to infidelity. The fact that a man could even crawl out from the primordial slime from which he was born and then become the head of the CIA is unfathomable. As mostly a man myself, I can only surmise from my thirty-six years of manly experience (thirty-five if you don’t include 2008) that the entire historical plight of women is a long con, a grand plan for a utopic future in which the vaginas rule us all. Seriously. We’re ridiculous.
Lesbians, on the other hand, must be super-stealthy adulterers. Super-stealthy. Almost like secret agents. If a lesbian had been the head of the CIA, she could have been mowing every lawn from Kaesong to Sayyidah Zaynab and no one would have been the wiser.
Perhaps it’s the fault of the CSI franchise, but when committing adultery there will inevitably be semen left at the scene of the crime, and the issue therein is that it is the red-handed cookie jar of infidelity. Semen has a distinct odor, consistency, and aesthetic, and it has the staining ability of wet grass crossed with beet juice. It’s Tide’s worst fear, as well as that of the cheating population. And the stuff has a tendency to get everywhere. After an afternoon of loving followed by an evening of some light housekeeping, Headshots once found a specimen on the underside of a ceiling fan perched twenty feet above our kitchen. If there’s cheating going on, a bit of neglected semen is close by.
One of the twentieth century’s foremost thinkers once opined of alcohol that it was, “The cause of… and solution to… all of life’s problems.” Ninety-one percent of all acts of infidelity involve some measure of alcohol. If you’re physically separated from your partner, and have a drink in your hand, you’re already halfway to cheating. Alcohol is a powerful agent, and has the ability to make the Buster and Dave’s clientele attractive. And while alcohol does not inevitably lead to cheating, it does lead to getting caught. When you show up at home at five in the morning, smelling like discount strippers and Jägermeister, a half-bucket of fried chicken in hand, your lady is not going to buy your slurred defense of a late meeting with Chuck from accounting — especially given the fact you’re unemployed.
The lesson here? Don’t cheat. If you want to be promiscuous, led around by your junk, claiming manhood, leaving semen everywhere, drunk, then do what a responsible adult would do: Go teach at a college. And stay single.
Mike Spry is the author of JACK (Snare Books, 2008), which was shortlisted for the 2009 QWF’s A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry, and he was longlisted for the 2010 Journey Prize. His most recent work is Distillery Songs (Insomniac Press, 2011).
Related on The Smoking Jacket:
Headshots: The Undecided Voter
Headshots: Zombies! Zombies! Zombies!
Headshots: Strange Bed Etiquette: 5 Rules of Engagement