After my blog earlier this week, I got to thinking about some of the relationships I know of – the ones that involve high profile industry men and women, with at least one of each couple very married, yet only a handful of people even know they are having a torrid affair, or even speculate it. And there was definitely some Twitter chatter about how some people get caught, and others don’t even have a whisper of speculation – there have been some affairs going on for years, yet hardly anyone really knows if it is or isn’t.
We have Search Engine Strategies AND Affiliate Summit all happening next week, here’s some tips so you don’t become the person we all talk about when you get caught out by your fellow SEOs 🙂 Well, unless you are an attention whore, and then do all the opposite so we DO have someone to gossip about over beers at the bar later!
Both have something to lose
If both people are married, both are at equal risk to lose something if the affair gets out. One incident that has become legend in the industry (although it happened many, many years ago, it is still brought up when people are talking about who is sneaking around with who) ended with a very public spat between the single girl who wanted to continue hooking up with the attached guy who was no longer interested. If you are the married one and the other person is single, well, the last thing you want is someone going all Fatal Attraction. If they were both married, chances are slim it would have happened. And if you are the single one, the married one will rarely leave the marriage to make the affair more permanent – although there have been several who have left their spouses for their SEO industry hookup, so maybe there is a higher chance in this industry?
Choose your hookup wisely
It is much safer to hookup with someone you have known for a while (whether they are married or single) than someone you just met at Search Bash 8 drinks in. Why? If you know the person well enough, you know if they are someone you can trust not to blab and to be discreet about it. Would you trust this person knowing your link network? Then he or she is probably a safe bet to not go gossiping about the fact the two of you were getting it on. Plus, it can get awkward if it ends badly and you end up on a panel together somewhere down the road.
Don’t flaunt it
You don’t have to spend every second of the conference together, especially if you aren’t already well known as being long time good friends – and yes, there are actually plenty of platonic guy-girl relationships where they really are just good friends and nothing more (at least not yet!). Sitting and eating together at a conference won’t get noticed, but we WILL notice the body language you give off. There has been a lot of speculation in this industry about certain couples hooking up based only on the fact they are always together and the vibe they give off each other and the smouldering looks filled with innuendo. And yes, we’ve seen some of these guys and girls look at each other like they are in the throws of puppy love. If everyone is thinking you need to get a room, everyone already knows you’re an item.
There is no such thing as a romantic dinner at a conference
Think you can sneak away to a romantic candlelit restaurant 5 miles away? You are pretty much guaranteed that someone else in the industry will also happen to go to that restaurant too. More than a few affairs have been busted in exactly this way – and it is awkward for everyone who sees it, and if the others don’t realize there is something going on, you are pretty much guaranteed to say something, even something as benign as “At ___ Restaurant and ran into @marriedguy @marriedtosomeoneelsegirl”. And that really isn’t a tweet you want your spouse to see when they do a Twitter search for your handle 🙂
While you might think another hotel is the way to go for more privacy, it actually isn’t. When both people leave the hotel bar where everyone is hanging out to go to ANOTHER hotel, we all will talk about it, even when there is absolutely nothing going on. People stay at the conference hotel for a reason. Besides, it won’t be nearly as obvious when you ride up the elevator together with a group of people, because chances are good the two of you won’t be the only ones getting off on that floor. Just don’t walk into the same room together late at night, but play it super safe it is way easier to just leave the bar at separate times to keep the tongues from wagging. And while adjoining rooms might seem perfect, people will note the “coincidence” that you have rooms right next to each other in a 40 story hotel. But ALWAYS get separate rooms, you never know when you won’t be able to talk your way out of a friend saying “Can I dump my laptop bag in your room” and then having to explain why your clothes aren’t the only ones in the room. Awkward and yes, this is exactly how at least one married guy got busted. And getting two room keys when you check in will save you those awkward 2am moments of requesting a second room key for your lady love to be who will sneak into your room after changing out of her Search Bash dress.
The more the merrier
Over the years there has definitely been some larger groups getting it on. Some have been married couples, other times it has been singles. This type of action always tends to eventually get out, and yes, in at least one case there was photographic evidence. So weigh the pros and cons wisely 🙂
Be a safety girl (or guy)
I feel like an old maid for saying this, but I will anyway 🙂 I shouldn’t need reminding anyone that if you are hooking up with a married guy or girl, chances are he has done it with others than you (once a cheater, always a cheater – if they say you are the only one, call BS). Buy them at the airport if you need to hide them from someone, but don’t be caught without your gumboots!
If you are single, you might want to just follow these tips so you don’t get the reputation that you will sleep around with anyone – and yes, there are more than a few guys and girls that everyone knows will be taking someone back to their rooms and there have even been bets placed on who those people will end up taking back. If you are married, play it smart – and you might also want to read up on some place like Ashley Madison about how not to tip off your spouse, because these tips will really only help you not becoming the target of the next round of “Who is sleeping with who at SES/AS/SMX/ad-Tech”.
As a final note, I totally don’t condone guys or girls cheating on their spouses, but I have definitely seen a lot of it happen at all kinds of industry conferences. And I imagine there were quite a few of you reading with red faces wondering if I was going to allude to an incident about you (and boy, did I want to include way more specifics, but I didn’t want to make it too obvious who the guilty parties were). But if anyone outside of the two of you know about it, it will eventually get out, so be warned!