It is a truth universally acknowledged that a married man in possession of the good fortune of going on Strictly, must be in want of an affair.

That (mis)quote is from Pride And Prejudice rather than Sense And Sensibility, the film on which Emma Thompson and her husband Greg Wise met, but you get the drift.

Strictly is back… and therefore, so is The Curse Of Strictly. Watch out, partners of the non-dancing variety! Be afraid, be very afraid!

Emma, however, has chosen to deal with it in a slightly different way. “I have put a packet of Durex into Greg’s good luck card,” she revealed at the weekend.

Presumably she was joking – although can’t tell you how much I hope not – but this black humour attitude to The Curse, to fidelity in general, is to be applauded.

If someone’s going to cheat on you, they’re going to cheat on you. You can delay it, make it more logistically difficult, but you can never stop it.

Emma and Greg have been together for nearly 30 years, and with that obviously comes a level of security, but still... So she can either spend the next few months of her life anxious, scared, and paranoid, grilling her husband, checking up on him, searching his face and phone for clues at every opportunity. Or she can laugh off The Curse, and trust him, until he gives her reason not to. He’s going to do whatever he’s going to do, her behaviour will make no difference.

The 2021 contestants on Strictly - (L/R) Greg Wise, Katie McGlynn, Dan Walker, AJ Odudu, Rhys Stephenson, Tilly Ramsay, Tom Fletcher, Judi Love, Adam Peaty, Rose Ayling-Ellis, Robert Webb, John Waite, Nina Wadia, Ugo Monye, Sara Davies (

Image:

BBC)

People are capable of acting out of character in extreme circumstances, but I think fundamentally you’re either a cheater or you’re not, simple as that. And sometimes you don’t really know which you are until you give it a go.

I tried to be unfaithful once, in my very early twenties.

It was a somewhat doomed mission from the off, because if I ever attempt anything even in the vague realm of dishonesty I’m always rumbled immediately.

This was a simpler time though, before everyone had a phone in their pocket, when you could get away with anything.

I still got caught, not even in the act – before it. I’d chosen a pub for the rendezvous specifically because no-one I knew ever went there, so of course someone I knew went there, saw me, then moved on to another pub, where my boyfriend happened to be, and you can guess the rest.

The Other Man and I were still at the flirty banter stage of the evening, so it wasn’t even coitus interruptus so much as flanter interruptus. Neither bloke knew about the other.

It was such an excruciatingly uncomfortable situation that it will surely eventually be funny, perhaps the day after I get my telegram from the Queen.

If I’d been intrinsically a cheater, I’d have learnt from my mistakes, not been so sloppy the next time. Instead I’ve never even considered being unfaithful again.

You need nerves of steel to pull it off, clearly… which my boyfriend apparently had, as it later came to light he’d been cheating
on me repeatedly for the entirety of our relationship.

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