In the hurly burly world of political affairs, love lasts even shorter than the ANC Youth League’s support for the ruling party’s presidents, and your hanky panky can end up as powerful ammunition in the guns from the other faction (just ask sports minister Fikile Mbalula). CARIEN DU PLESSIS has some advice for high-flyers* on how not to land in sheet street.
1. Keep the pants zipped up when at official functions or some such or, even better, wear a chastity belt. You have a country to govern and flings are time-consuming and need energy. If you can’t contain yourself, then make sure you never, ever, occupy a, er, position where you are in charge of shouting slogans like “one boyfriend, one girlfriend” or “abstain, be faithful, condomise”. It will give even high-brow newspapers ammo to out you for the hypocrite that you really are.
2. If women throw themselves at you and your ego isn’t inflated enough by being in a powerful position, meaning you really, really have to play away, make sure you steer clear from women who have nothing to lose. These would include celebrities, models, or wannabes, whose careers are boosted by making front-page headlines. If they’re stunningly beautiful and you’re ugly, it’s a dead giveaway, and a big age gap can also be hazardous. Rather go for those in high positions (fellow politicians, for instance, perhaps even from the opposition, or women who are happily married too, because they wouldn’t want their husbands to find out either), more or less your age, and who have their own money. Also, listen to your friends when they claim she’s an extortionist. Safe sex in your profession involves more than just wearing a condom.
3. If you do use a condom, which you should really always do with a mistress out of respect for your wife, make sure it stays whole by using a large enough one (import some from Nigeria, if you must) and don’t let things run dry or get too rough. Then flush it away in the toilet yourself, or burn it (this is a bit more difficult). If the woman insists that she’ll dispose of it, it’s time to worry. If she puts it in the mini-bar fridge to preserve as evidence, you’re bust. If an immaculate conception does take place and you arrange for a “friend” to accompany her to the abortion clinic, make sure that it’s not “too far” for him to go, and make sure his name isn’t Julius Malema.
4. Don’t do anything that could be interpreted as rape, and don’t sleep with anyone young enough to be your daughter, or a comrade’s daughter, especially not if she calls you “umalume”. Blame as much of the encounter as you can on culture and on good manners (walking away from a woman in a state of excitement is plain rude).
5. Stay away from electronic communications and SMSes. This is not the kind of staying in touch you want for an affair – it’s evidence and makes for riveting reading when published raw in a newspaper. Pick up the phone and call her, like in the old days, but not too often because it will show up on your bill and be questioned by whoever your bill is sold to or worse, your wife/wives, or you might be tapped by spooks and/or cowboys from another faction.
6. Succession battles hath no fury like a woman scorned, and if your wife/wives find you out, she’ll/they’ll bust your ass. She might even tell a friendly journo, thus creating a crisis for you, through which she will angelically and stoically stand by your side until you ride out the storm and learn to keep the family jewels exclusively for her – at which point her revenge will start and you’ll be dealt with in proportion to your transgression, which you’ll remember for many, many years to come.
7. If the story breaks, best not say the temptress is a Jezebel, because it will make you look weak and easily swayed. We know you can’t help yourself, but don’t lie if you suspect that the truth might come out. Not only will you be branded a hypocrite for having shagged around, but also a liar, and the story will get legs as people analyse these lies. Take responsibility and apologise, and you might even get praised for it, as the ANC Youth League has done, first President Jacob Zuma, and recently, sports minister Fikile Mbalula (this, miraculously, despite their “one boyfriend one girlfriend” campaign, which really illustrates that sorry is not only the hardest, but one of the politically most profitable words).
8. If you’re the other woman, remember easy come, easy go. It also counts for you. Don’t make a fuss, unless you have nothing to lose and everything to gain from the publicity, in which case, ignore this advice below. But if you’re looking for a keeper, you should be more visionary than to go for a (married) politician. They have work schedules worse than travelling salesmen, and they’ll only be in power as long as they’re flavour of the month – in which case some of them would be sulking soon, feeling impotent, and therefore no fun to be with either.
9. If you’re the prim and proper type, don’t fall for it if he says he’s separated from his wife or going through a bad patch. Insist on evidence, like divorce papers or verify it from a second source (his best friend or worst enemy don’t count). In fact, don’t believe anything he tells you, ever. He’s a politician after all.
10. If you run to the papers, make sure they have stunning pictures of you, and make sure you look like a victim, and not the vixen. And don’t make a habit of it so that someone can say “she did worse things to me”. You’ll give us gals a bad name.
* Although anecdotal evidence suggests that married female politicians also stray, this advice is aimed at the guys because they seem to need it the most. DM
"The soul is known by its acts" ~ Thomas Aquinas