Liar, liar, pants on fire.

A beautiful rainy Monday morning, my favourite kind.

Hope everyone had a lovely weekend. Here’s yesterday’s Sunday Times column. it’s about the ins and outs of cheating.

Hope you enjoy.


I can proudly say that in all my years dating and being in relationships, I’ve never cheated on anyone. Not once ever. Less because I’m such a fine, morally upstanding citizen, and more because I just don’t think I could be bothered.

Just being in a relationship with one person is complicated and time consuming enough. You have to remember all their likes and dislikes; which side of the bed they prefer, how much sugar they take in their tea. And memorise all their email addresses, and family members. Then there are all the numbers to recall; anniversaries, birthdays and phone numbers – for home, work and cell. The thought of having to manage all that admin with more than one person at a time blows my mind. And over and above that, who’s got the time? So that’s why I suspect my brain just isn’t big enough to be a douche bag.

I bet half the people who get caught cheating must be secretly relieved, at least they no longer have to maintain the ruse. Who you said what to, when. Where you went, with whom. The upkeep and maintenance on lies is phenomenal and exponential. They are like Pringles or shoes, there’s no having just one.

Although clearly a lot of people think they can get away with it. In October last year, the wife of a DSTV installer in Bloemfontein received a series of telephone calls and SMSes to say that her husband had been hijacked by armed men at gunpoint, and then kidnapped for a ransom of R400 000. The man was later tracked down and arrested with his ex-girlfriend at a bank in Richard’s Bay.

He’s lucky all he got was jail time. A woman in Australia (where else) set her husband’s cahones on fire after she saw him hug another woman, leading her to believe he was cheating on her. Brings new meaning to the term bunny boiler.

And those women’s reactions were civilised in comparison to what was happening back in the early 1930s. The Afghan women of the Afridi Tribe were known to execute their cheating husbands, prisoners of war, and other assorted baddies, by drowning them in the women’s urine. Hell really, truly, seriously hath no fury…

I was going to talk you through the urine-torture technique, but the details are so barbaric and gruesome I figure you’d rather chop off your own hand than read about it. Which ironically was another form of punishment meted out to adulterers in some ancient cultures.

Studies show that men are more likely to cheat than women, and one theory to explain why is based on the cold hard facts of biology. Men produce many millions of sperm in their lifetime, whilst women produce considerably fewer eggs, probably closer to four hundred. It’s no excuse, but perhaps that’s why men tend to be a little more liberal and generous with the distribution of their seed.

Let’s not get too angry about it, women aren’t entirely innocent here either. New studies are now revealing that there has been a major increase in the cheatress statistics over the last ten years, and the ladies are starting to catch up to the men. International studies show that around 20% of men cheat, versus a steadily climbing 15% of women.

But just because men are more likely to cheat, doesn’t mean they’re any good at it. Further studies show that men are also more likely to get caught than women. Women are well-known for their ability to multi-task, which not only means they can play tennis, roast a chicken, and help the kids with their homework, all while driving, but it also means we’re naturally better at being duplicitous too.

A few years ago, after finding a bunch of incriminating text messages on her husband’s cell phone, a woman in Washington DC made her husband stand on one of the busiest intersections in the city in the middle of summer, wearing a sandwich board with the words; ‘I CHEATED, THIS IS MY PUNISHMENT’ printed on it, front and back. After a week spent standing there for nine hours a day, the man said he was waiting for a text from his wife to say he could go back home again. It worked out perfectly for the wife. With her hubby out of the house for a week she had way more time to get it on with the neighbour.

2 responses to “Liar, liar, pants on fire.”

  1. I’ve never been big on the cheating thing, a mixture of dog like loyalty & apathy I suppose. And then there’s this..

    “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”
    ― Mark Twain

  2. Oo no Paige, I can’t cheat either. Now I think of it, probably for the same reasons as you! I think as many women as men cheat, I think you’re right – they are just better at it so less get discovered. Sobering thought though, I’d hope once a couple settle down they’ve got all that out of their systems. WAY too complicated a life for me!

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