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The inexorable course of illicit affairs

(Article published in the Aug 19, 2009 issue of Manila Standard Today) 

“Love is blind and lovers cannot see the petty follies that themselves commit,” thus has Shakespeare put in the mouth of Jessica, daughter of Shylock, in the play Merchant of Venice, words of timeless significance.  Not much have changed since the sixteenth century and present Romeos continue to find it necessary, because of the blinding effect of love, to give detailed instructions to their Juliets on how to conduct themselves in the course of their covert operation.  To those Romeos who have neither wit nor words nor worth to do their thing, here is how, I was made to understand, that the experts instruct their women.

The first thing is, I was told, to make sure that, if the counterpart is an office mate, the files she carries around do not contain any tale-tell signs of  the unofficial relationship.  Thus, all office folders and envelops that are taken out of the place of work or, specially, brought home from work must be reviewed and evaluated in the eyes of the partner being betrayed.

The labels on the office folders should be innocuous and the contents should be sanitized.  Not that they should not include pictures of the illicit partner.  Only that the pictures must be fairly innocent.  In fact, modern adulterers do plant evidence. They deliberately put their work folders in pictures of the family of the lover to show that the amours are good friends.  This, what we lawyers say, lays the basis for what can be the central justification of why the lovers see each other often.

Being “just good friends” is central to the face the girl has to show the public.  The girl, I am told, must say to the world that cares to ask, nay even to those who just might seem curious but are nevertheless smart enough to suspect something is amiss, that “we are good friends.”


But delivery is very important. The cheating woman must say it seriously.  Don’t joke about it.  After all, everyone has a good friend.  And at this point of the apologia, she must mention as many colleagues and friends as she might have, if officemates all the better, who are “just good friends.” 

The best defense is a good offense.  Hence, the woman adulterer should show that she is irritated with the insinuations that are per se imbedded in the question about why she and her paramour  are seen together often.  The indignant reply to such innuendos is to ask whether the man’s position in the organization, CEO for instance, per se deprives him of having a best friend, or, even just a smoking buddy.  Such a bellicose attitude is bound to intimidate the merely curious, and, in due time, they will back off. 

The cell phone is a recent phenomenon and therefore its use should be, I am told, carefully studied.  At the very least, the name in the phone book that is assigned to the woman’s paramour must not be the real name of the male lover.  Texting should not be done early in the morning because, at that time, the son or even husband (or, in fact, any of the paramour’s legitimate family) who may have access to the phone of the woman, might be alerted.  After all, even if the name is not the Romeo’s, the paramour’s family just might wonder who is sending texts regularly and so early.  That is enough to make them suspicious.

The preferred choice of name necessarily must be a common name.  “Baby” is a good one, since in this country every other girl is named “Baby” just as every one of three boys is named “Boy.”  Also good are the gender neutral ones, like “Bambi”. At any rate, the better strategy is to change the assigned name every so often so they will not notice the names.

It is important that energy is not expended by the adulterers in worrying about people talking.  It is a given that people will talk.  What is essential is that for as long as possible the public does not see that anything is amiss. 

Extra care, though, I was told, should be taken with respect to behavior outside the work place, be it at the bank or at the park or at an hotel or a serviced condominium, or any other.  If the place of work is in a building housing the offices of several companies, the lovers’ guard should not be let down simply because they are no longer in the floor where office is.  They must remember that that, as the Tagalog saying goes, the ground has ears and news have wings.  They should be careful at all times, especially of those stolen kisses in the lift. 

Marriage of the woman ought not deter the man, I was told, from professing his undying love.  A modern Romeo is on record as telling his Juliet, on the eve of her marriage, that “as you make your vows…I make my own vow to you…I will love you for the rest of my life…I will love you until the life in me is gone and until we are together again.”  In other words, never say die is the modern Romeo’s slogan.

But, like all good things, adulterous relationships must end.  And end up in  court they often do.  “All too often”, says Justice Flerida Ruth Romero in Lim v. Court of Appeals, 270 SCRA 2, “immature men who allow their emotions to hold sway over their rational minds come to grief when their passions cool off, but not before inflicting irreparable psychic and spiritual damage on their victims and fruits of their wanton acts…when the inevitable confrontation explodes and they are helpless extricate themselves from the messy situation arising from their own wrongdoing, eventually they invoke the help of the courts as their final arbiter.

Going to court, of course, is not something modern Romeos want.  And so, to them, I suggest, what you cannot change, you must endure.