(Yeah, I can hear it now: Why does a software engineer, of all people, have anything to do with AOL? Answer: None of your business. But inertia has a lot to do with it.)
This means that when we want to check our email, the first thing we have to do is browse over to the AOL portal to log in. And of course, the AOL portal has lots of other cute little stories and pictures all over saying "Click me! Click me!"
Well, a couple of days ago, there was a teaser along the lines of "Signs That He's Cheating On You." I couldn't resist. I decided I wanted to prove to my wife (as though she needed any proof at all) that I wasn't cheating.
So I clicked over there and we started reading it together.
As expected, I passed with flying colors. But... it was actually a little embarrassing.
First Sign He's Cheating: he starts to update his wardrobe and dress nicely. Um... Nope. I haven't updated my wardrobe in years. And when I wear out my old clothes, I typically get more of the same. I have a job where I don't have to dress up, and by golly, I don't. I sometimes remember to shave....
Second Sign He's Cheating: he decides to start working out, getting back in shape, so he can look good. Er... Tonya's safe on this one too.
Third Sign He's Cheating: he spends lots of free time texting people, but not letting on about who he's texting. Well, my wife and I both have a strong Luddite streak. We recognize the utility of cell phones, but we've never particularly felt the need to get them ourselves. They're too much like electronic leashes. If you have one, your company expects to be able to call you any time, any place. When we're not at our places of employment, Tonya and I prefer to be free. No cell phones.
Fourth Sign He's Cheating: he starts spending longer and longer hours "at work," or "in meetings"--especially if it's always on the same day(s) of the week. I don't do this; if I come home late, that means I just have to wait that much longer to get fed. Food is important to me.
Fifth Sign He's Cheating: he starts hiding the money trail from his significant other. Me, I'm content to let Tonya handle the finances in our marriage. She's much more thorough than I am, and procrastinates less, to boot. She's also the one who handles most of the spending decisions. She generally knows much better than I do how much we have at any given time.
Judging from the above evidence, it would appear that I'm not cheating. However...
Suppose I decided to get with the program, as it were. Suppose I suddenly decided that I needed to get back in shape--which I really need to do. Suppose I decided that y'know, flannel shirts and jeans are so early eighties and I decided to get something that looked nice. Suppose that I decided that I would start helping out more with taking care of the finances. Suppose I decided that, if I wished to advance more in my career, I needed to start putting in longer hours and perhaps carry a cell-phone or pager. What would all this mean?
Well, it may appear to some that I was starting to cheat.
Or it may appear that I was just trying to stop being a slob. You know, I think my wife would actually like it if I did most of the things on this list (although perhaps not the ones involving the electronic leash or the longer hours). My doing these things wouldn't make her suspicious, they would make her happy.
Of course, this says something about these five-part (or ten-part or hundred-part) "tests" that you occasionally see in publications of dubious literary merit. Is your husband a _______? Well, has AOL (or anyone else) evaluated this test to see how many false positives are indicated? How about false negatives? Is it possible, or likely, that someone could do all of the above for completely innocent reasons?
You know what I might do if I were trying to spice up my relationship with my wife? I might:
- Start working out.
- Do a bit more of the work around the house, so she didn't have to. This might well involve handling more of the finances....
- Start dressing more nicely. She's said several times that she thinks I'm handsome--but usually, only when I'm wearing something with a tie and/or collar.
I think the take-away from this, is that I need to spend less time on the AOL website. :-)