"I nailed it!!!"
Why do men cheat? Why does anybody cheat? Well, to quote me, the answer is very simple. Here’s the beginning of a scene from a play I wrote a few years back called Donna Paradise. It tells you all you need to know about adultery:
[SCENE FIVE: HAWTHORNE'S. ED IS SITTING ON A BAR STOOL STAGE RIGHT; JOYCE IS SITTING ON A STOOL NEXT TO HIM.]
ED: So you’re a divorce lawyer.
JOYCE: Guilty as charged.
ED: So tell me. Why do people get divorced?
JOYCE: Because they get married.
ED: Why do they get married?
JOYCE: Because they’re stupid enough to believe that you can get happiness by pushing a button. “We just got married! [SHE MAKES A BUZZER NOISE] Now we’re happy!” Well it doesn’t happen like that, it’s work, and nobody tells you it’s work. Nobody ever tells you how much work you have to do just to keep it alive. It’s a lot more exciting to chase after someone than to live with him. Which is why married couples who don’t do the work end up chasing after anybody they can’t get their hands on.
ED: You think that’s why people cheat on each other?
JOYCE: Sure. Bottom line? It’s exciting. Marriage is not exciting. Marriage is cleaning up the kitchen and doing the dishes after you’ve cooked the meal. Adultery is take-out. Marriage is playing three rounds of golf and hitting into sand traps. Adultery is an instant hole-in-one. Marriage is going to the dentist’s and hating it. Adultery is getting drilled and loving it.
ED: You ever been married?
JOYCE: No, but I’ve had a root canal.
ED: So how do you know why people cheat on each other?
JOYCE: Because I see it every day, and believe me, it’s not just the excitement. It’s because you can never get one hundred percent of what you want out of another human being.
ED: Sure you can.
JOYCE: No you can’t. Think about it for a second. How do you share someone’s alone time?
ED: [BEAT] You can’t.
JOYCE: Or the time he spends with his wife.
ED: Or the time she spends with her husband?
JOYCE: Exactly. I think of it this way. Human beings are like twelve-inch rulers. You and I meet; we hit it off. What does that mean? It means our rulers overlap. If they overlap more than six inches, there’s something special there. If it’s close to eleven inches, we’re made for each other. But that means there’s an inch on my side that you don’t touch, and an inch on your side that I don’t touch. There’s always some piece of us that never connects with the ones we love. Which means it can always connect with someone else. And when that happens, because it always does, it’s exciting and it’s thrilling, it’s intoxicating -– why? Because that untouched piece of you is like an erogenous zone. Once it gets stroked, you have to decide whether you want to give up the seven inches you have for the five you don't. Or the nine for the three; or the eleven for the one. That’s why people cheat. Because they think what they’re not getting is more important than what they are.
That’s my own personal theory, by the way. (I should probably copyright it; now that it’s on the web? It’s everybody’s theory.) So, given that brilliant explanation, the question is not, “Why do men cheat?” Men are always going to cheat. So are women. The question is, who do men who cheat always want to get caught? Because they do.
This one's totally up for grabs.
Take Tiger. This is a guy who obviously likes to booty text. Does he buy a pay-as-you go phone and never let it out of his sight? Does he set up a clean e-mail ID and use a netbook he keeps locked up in his golf bag? Hell, no. He hands out his real cell number and waits for his wife to scroll through the un-erased messages (un-erased messages!!!) to see all the par 3 blondes he’s been holing in one. (Okay, I know, totally not true. Technically they’re brunettes.) The point being, when you don’t even delete some skank’s text to you, are you not asking your wife to come after you with a nine-iron? (Great mental picture, though, huh?
ELIN: [swinging away] From where I'm standing, your head's a par one!
Just imagine if Guy Ritchie had gone after Madonna with a nine-iron for nailing one of her bimbeau tour dancers. Every single tabloid in the world would have the same headline: "GUY RITCHIE PLAYS GOLF?!?")
But of course, when your wife holds up your cell phone and says "Who the fuck is 'Rachel'?" you get to play the wronged one. (Guys love to play this one.) You get to say, "You went scrolling through my texts? I can't believe this. You trust me that little?!?"
ELIN: [swinging away] That calls for a driver!
There are two other pertinent aspects of the whole Tiger’s Woodie media storm. One of them is what I like to call Letterman’s Law. Letterman’s Law says, “If you’re being chased by a dog, always throw red meat.” Or in other words, if you’re about to become tabloid fodder, divulge everything. This is because the Tabloid Hive Mind is consumed by two questions: (1) Where’s the hole in the story? and (2) Who can fill in the hole in the story? Letterman, savvy son of a bitch that he is, went the TMI route when his scandal was about to hit. And it was a big story for what, a week maybe? But now? Ancient history. The Tabloid Hive Mind said, “No story there,” meaning “No hole we can start excavating in that story,” and moved on. Because Tiger went NEI* instead of TMI, the tabs are having a field day, and every adipose-enlarged
*Not Enough Information.
"Sorry; I must be off my stroke."
And the other aspect? Not to get all Aristotelian on Tiger’s ass, but he brought this on himself. From all accounts, before he got married, he was something of a hound when it came to the ladies. But when he got all those endorsement deals, he chose to become a squeaky-clean role model. So he had to stop being the Tramp, totally content with scarfing down sloppy seconds in gutters, and start being an afghan or a whippet or (insert favorite champion breed here) and dining off the spotless china. His every public and commercial move said, “I am perfect.” And now that all his imperfections are showing up in string bikinis on the cover of the New York Post? Sorry, dude. You want us to judge you by the spotless china? Then don’t chow down from a garbage can.
Gutter sweet gutter.