It’s too late—you’ve already done the deed.
You were minding your own business, getting your typical Saturday night drink and dance on at the club when suddenly, thanks to a friend of a friend, you were swept into the VIP section and into the toned, tanned arms of a celebrity, who for some ungodly reason found the story of your life scintillating. Well, one thing led to another and pretty soon you were the booty call on his or her speed dial.
Sure, the sexting was mundane but what if it actually worked out?! So what if she’s married? Who cares if he has kids? You were chosen, you were The One, and for a brief moment (without your underwear) you got a taste of that “good life” everyone’s always talking about.
But right at this very moment there’s a pack of paparazzi and news trucks camped out in your front yard, blocking your driveway, and just waiting to pounce. You’d go out the back way if there wasn’t a ninja paparazzo rappelling down from the palm trees. What now?! Your face is plastered on every blog in creation, your name is a “Trending Topic” on Twitter, and trashy magazines everywhere are going to print with an especially unflattering, grainy shot of your last trip to Cabo, swiped off your Facebook page.
You didn’t ask for this! You just wanted to get laid for goodness sakes!
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Relax: here’s a handy guide to handling scandal:
1. Google yourself and try to clean up some of the undesirable or incriminating search results yourself by…
2. … cleaning up your MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites. Lock down your profile so your drunken pictures don't end up on Fox News. Or, in extreme cases and if you don’t mind losing the content, delete them entirely.
3. Get yourself a huge pair of sunglasses, a small dog and cultivate a few inexplicable eccentricities. Keep the paps on their toes! When you go to Starbucks, walk out with more than one drink. It’ll drive them mad wondering whose nonfat, chai latte you’re toting.
4. "Anonymous sources" are going to start crawling out of the woodwork so you need to snoop out which of your friends are ratting you out and cease all contact. Un-friend and un-tag!
5. Call your parents and have them immediately un-list their phone numbers.
6. Try to also give your employer the heads-up. The conversation could start something like, “Hey, you like movies? Cool. I'm about to be in one!"
7. Sit-ups = no “bump alert.” Try Spanx.
8. Most news cycles don't last longer than a week, so don't stress out thinking that your life’s over. It'll be over with soon enough (the media storm, not your life).
9. Don't argue with people who are talking smack about you on blogs or in discussion forums.
10. Press will be nearby so always dress your best and keep your makeup and hair tidy.
11. Tinted windows are your friend. So are Botox, caller ID, APX Alarm, and a quick call to Metro to clear your yard of the scummy paps.
12. The morning the story breaks, local media affiliates will likely have your home address and the deployed out-of-state ones will follow soon enough. Pack a bag, and stay somewhere else. Good hotels require room keys and have better security than your friend Bob. Unless of course Bob is ex-military, in which case it’s off to Bob’s house you go.
13. Bored hiding out in your hotel? Count the number of times your name is paired with “allegedly,” “reportedly,” and “rumored.”
14. If Nancy Grace calls, drop the phone and run.
15. Always wear panties. Ah, ah, ah—always.
16. Printed magazines don’t need permission to use all the photos they find of you. So rather than have them use a hungover one your roommate snapped after a particularly bad night, appoint a trusted friend as an emissary to sell them the ones you like of yourself for $200-$500 apiece.
17. To clear your name, only give interviews to major and respected media outlets. Think CNN, not The Enquirer. Don't sell your exclusive story/first interview to the first offer you get. And when you do, think $100K and higher.
18. You'll need to pepper your official statement with a snazzy word to accurately and apologetically describe your misgivings. Sorry, "transgressions" is taken.
19. If nothing else, shop it around for a reality TV show so America can get to know “the real you.”
20. Two words: Redthink Media.