In the digital age, juggling more than one girl at a time is far more complicated than just worrying about a few incriminating traces of lipstick on the collar. With the advent of cell phones, text messages, and IMing, the danger of your lovelies finding out about one another-and messing up your winning streak-has never been greater. To stay in the game, you need to empty out your playbook.
You don't have to be sprinting back and forth between two restaurants like Jack Tripper in an episode of Three's Company to risk "Ms. Right" finding out about "Ms. Right Now." All you need to do is make one technological slipup. Here are our suggestions for staying in the clear...
Danger Zone 1: Social-networking sites (such as MySpace or Facebook)
You can assume any girl you date will check out your page at some point to see who's left you messages and vice versa.
Game plan: Be discerning when allowing girls to post comments. When it comes to "adding" people, it's best if you go all or nothing. If you're "friends" with all the naked sluts under the sun, you'll desensitize her and she'll assume you just want to seem popular. Also remember, no matter how your relationship progresses, to keep your profile status set to "swinger," never "single" or "in a relationship"; it adds an air of mystery and privacy. If she asks, just tell her it's a joke.
Damage control: She offhandedly asks you how you know that smiling redhead with the enormous tits. "Opt for the crazy-ex-girlfriend excuse-I just tell girls that my ex is still hung up on me and is always harassing me about all the other women on my page," says Barry, 24.
Danger Zone 2: Texting
Your cell isn't just a phone, it's a relationship journal, delineating every covert move you make.
Game plan: Whatever you do, don't ever leave your phone unattended or unlocked, especially if she has the chance to snag it. Text in front of her as little as possible; unless it's an emergency, save it for when you visit the can. Or, if you must text when she's in the room, keep your answers brief-one word or even a single letter is ideal. And remember, when you say you are texting your mom a "happy birthday" message, she is making a mental note to check if your mother's birthday really is today. Finally: Delete, delete, delete.
Damage control: She backs you into a corner, smoke coming out of her ears, and asks about "Dana." Roll your eyes and laugh. "Richie Dana," you explain. "It's not his fault his last name is Dana-give me a break." Another out: "I make sure I create male aliases for the girls who tend to blow up my phone the most," says Jordan, 29. "Like Amy becomes Aaron and so on." Initials work in a pinch as well.
Danger Zone 3: E-mail
Many a player's lifestyle has been marred by a failure to log out.
Game plan: A girl who doesn't trust you will make it her life's work to hack into your e-mail. So instead of using your dog's name or the street you grew up on as the password, use creative passwords that are combinations of letters and numbers that only you could know (and 123456 isn't one of them). You should also disable the cookies and cache on your computer so the machine never tries to remember your access codes for you. Or, even better, if your girl absolutely has to use your machine to check her e-mail, try setting up individual, password-protected accounts for both you and her. This protects not only your e-mail but also necessities such as the links to porn in your Web-browser favorites. If she asks what's up with the codes, play dumb and tell her you don't know how to turn them off.
Damage control: Since the worst that can happen is that she'll access your e-mail archive, don't make it easy for her to bust you if she breaks in. Move potentially incriminating messages from your bulk e-mail tray into specially labeled folders with the most boring-sounding names you can think of: "work," "term paper research," "fantasy football league," or whatever you think she'll be least likely to open if she is trying to see what you've been up to. Or just set up multiple e-mail accounts, and use a different one to woo each of your women. That way, should she get into the only e-mail account she knows about, the only messages she'll see are the ones you've sent her.
Her classic plays will get you every time, unless you follow our special precautions.
The Friday Night Fake-Out
It's Friday night and all three of your girls are calling you for the plan. Manage your time correctly, though, and you can still keep all of them happy. "Break up your dates according to the rating you assign your girls," says Matt Titus, a matchmaking pro and founder of mytextinthecity.com. For instance, from 5:00 to 7:30, plan to hang with the chatty, social girl you have fun with but might not know that well. Then designate the 8:30 to 11:30 time slot for the girl who ranks highest on your list. She's the one you care about the most, and you'll benefit the most from paying your dues with her. Prepare her for your eventual departure early on, though, telling her you have to get home early to spend time on a big project for work. You'll win points for making time for her despite your hectic schedule. Finally, set up a meeting with the "Sure Thing" for the hours just after midnight. This should be the chick you're more interested in bagging than keeping around for the long haul. Plus, by this time of the night, she's bound to be liquored up and ready to play.
If you're having trouble breaking away from one of the girls, assign one of your most trusted wingmen to text you with an emergency. Titus recommends the no-fail message, "Dude, the toilet flooded the bathroom, HELP!" Once you repeat the message aloud, she'll happily send you away without tagging along. Buddies not as reliable as you'd like? Send yourself an automated message-or several, set to come just a couple of minutes apart-from a site like ohdontforget.com. Just be sure to test out the service first, and save the e-mail address the test message is sent from under a buddy's name so your incoming crisis looks authentic.
The Liar's Loophole
You told Sara you were out with Jason last night when you were really with Kelly at the movies, and when she saw him at the store, your supposed wingman blew your cover. Busted! Just as in poker, there are various "tells" that will have a woman eyeing you suspiciously. "Men who have done wrong have a tendency to transmit guilt," says Greg Dillon, M.D., a psychiatrist and assistant professor at New York Weill Cornell Medical Center. "Stuttering or hesitating before answering questions or going into long-winded explanations are the moves that are most likely to give them away."
To stay in the clear, always make sure your buddy knows your plan, and have him cover for you at all costs. And come up with a plan B just in case, so-if confronted-you can still remain cool and collected. If all else fails, remain deadpan and cling feverishly to technicalities (repeat, "I did not sleep with that woman"), or just state that she misunderstood. ("Are you sure it wasn't Jason's brother, Carl? They're really hard to tell apart.")
The Evidence Eraser
Stray hairs, candid photos, and wrapper shreds are the three biggest potential deal-breakers every player needs to keep tabs on. If your brunette finds a long, blond hair, find an immediate out: Blame your cleaning lady or your landlord, or just throw the indiscretion back at her. Shrug and say, "How do I know you aren't dating Fabio on the side and didn't bring it in yourself? You can't be serious." Steer clear of potential paparazzi mishaps as well. Make sure all pictures you pose for-especially at parties-are in a group, never one-on-one. That way, if she sees the pic at a friend's house and asks about it, you can always say, "She's with the guy next to her."
As far as "protection," we commend you for being responsible and keeping jimmies on hand. But those suckers can be smoking guns if you're not careful. Your girl is definitely taking inventory, so replenish what you take-or pony up for a few boxes at once, and leave one at each girl's place so you always have them. And yes, if you give her more than a second to look at it, she will recognize that microscopic piece of gold-and-black foil as part of a Trojan Magnum. Tell her it's the wrapper from a peanut butter cup. Then distract her, pronto.
The Sleepover Switcheroo
When it comes to her spending the night at your place, Titus' advice is simple: "Divide your women into two categories: the TFS girls (or Thursday, Friday, Saturday) and the Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday girls," he says. "The TFS girls are the ones you want to spend quality time with, while the latter group are the girls you're just getting to know." Either way, make sure you change your sheets as often as you do your girls.
Don't forget to vacuum and set aside fresh towels, either. A misplaced towel she's used to using or the lingering scent of another woman's perfume on the pillow is all the proof she needs to kick you to the curb.
And in the case of a double booking, never underestimate the value of a family engagement-tell her she can't stay because Grandma's coming over in the morning to take you to brunch. She won't argue with you for fear of coming off as a bratty bitch.
When it comes down to it, managing a bevy of hotties can be time-consuming and exhausting. But who says you can't have it all? If you aim to keep her satisfied, she'll never need a reason to doubt you.