Okay, so I went to the doctor this morning. I’d been feeling lousy for so long I thought something must be seriously amiss. Not so! After a phalanx of tests — boy, did I get my $20 worth! — the very nice man told me that although he was trying his best, he simply couldn’t find anything wrong with me. Oh, there is plenty wrong with me. But apparently I am incredibly healthy! He assured me that whatever was plaguing me was no doubt viral and that it would soon disappear. And he told me to schedule a colonoscopy. Ah the joys of being over 50!
While I was in the waiting room, I watched Hoda and Kathie Lee do a piece on AshleyMadison, a site with the (original) intent of assisting married people with having affairs. Or, as the reporter so aptly put it, “for aspiring adulterers.” Their guests were Jeff Gardere, a pyschologist, and Editor-in-Chief of Redbook, Jill Herzig.
Gardere finds the site “morally reprehensible” and I’m not going to even bother weighing in on the virtue of any web site since the internet is, and always has been, essentially one enormous singles’ bar. Especially since I got home and immediately joined the site!
I was given the option of selecting “Attached female seeking males” or “Single female seeking males,” quickly putting lie to the talk show hostesses’ claim that “you must be in a committed relationship” to become a “member.” Within an hour I’d received over a dozen “winks” and more than 50 emails, including many “Access to Private Showcase” keys, some of which included, yes, photos of penises. Sigh. In what universe do women actually find this enticing? Is it just me? What happened to the mystery and the magic? If I’m gonna conduct an affair with someone, can’t his cock be a surprise? I digress…
There are also, not surprisingly, loads of bare chest portraits. I suppose if you’re cheating on your wife, it’s best not to put your face right out there. But those oh-so-easily ogle-able “private showcase” shots aren’t what I’d call discreet. If you had even an inkling that your husband — or wife — were on AshleyMadison, it wouldn’t be very hard to find them.
Herzig expressed surprise that so many men seemed to be searching for “a connection,” for that initial thrill of the new, that “passing notes in class” excitement. Really. Now what on earth would make anyone want romance and passion and new and exciting? No idea. Yeah, gimme some more of that no-thanks-honey, roll over and fart, the thrill is gone, will ya please! Holy shit! Is she kidding? How does she think romance novels, womens’ magazines (like her own, for instance), porn publications and countless advice columnists have managed to stay in business for so many decades? Not to mention sex toy shops! If someone figured out how to bottle that “passing notes in class” passion, they’d be rich!
But back to the site and my potential suitors. Succumbing to a last-minute ethical panic attack, I’d decided not to lie about my marital status and signed on as a “single female,” but the assumption is, I suppose, that most of the men on the site are attached. And lemme tell ya, for good reason! Every guy who has emailed me — or at least as many as I’ve managed to view so far — is over 6′ tall and handsome as hell! Even the distinguished older gentleman who I gently rejected wore his tuxedo well.
Though not everyone posts pix and without the benefit of photos, I am leery about the veracity of the mens’ stats when so many of them claim to be 6’2″ and 210 pounds. Um, why all so similar? But let’s not burst my fantasy bubble too quickly! And it wouldn’t be a hook-up site without the unbeatable treat of some lame-ass 18-year-old offering to show me a good time: “Im steve and well i could show you a couple of things …maybe some butt smacking hair pulling or whatever your into , reply if interested” [sic] Yeah, so much for fantasy…
Getting back to my ethical quandary: Do I date these married dudes? Is it bad karma to be “the other woman?” On TODAY, the reporter interviewed a newly-married couple who’d met on, yes, Ashley Madison! Well, why not? At the time they were both unhappily married to other people but now they’ve found marital bliss with each other. For the time being, at least… What if I should sit down for one of those mythical discreet dinners with some sad sack married man who subsequently falls madly in love with me? Would being a home wrecker be so bad if it meant eternal happiness for me, me, ME? I can’t say it would keep me up at night.
And given that the original purpose of the site was to, basically, facilitate lying, who’s to say that any of this is true? All these guys could be single and looking for NSA flings where they have an “excuse” to never introduce you to their friends, spend holidays with you or take you home at night. Not a bad deal if all you want in return is potential candlelit dinners, sexy lingerie shopping sprees and bedpost-slammin’ sex.
I actually know someone who has been on Ashley Madison for a while. She cheated on her (very handsome and talented and perfectly lovely) husband for years with all manner of strange men and wore her scandalously expensive lingerie as a badge of honor. They are now separated and I’m not sure if she’s still shopping…for boudoir ensembles or men. But I’ll admit, the idea of someone taking me to Agent Provocateur for a pair of lacy panties sounds like a damn good time to me! And I couldn’t blame this woman for her infidelity. The heart (and, obviously, the genitals) wants what it (they) want!
Noel Biderman, President of Ashley Madison, was part of the TODAY piece and his opinion that monogamy is on the wane is debatable. I certainly know dozens of people who are living what most would consider “alt” lifestyles. But is marriage a thing of the past? I think not. At least not yet.
I realize this topic — or topics, actually — cannot be encapsulated, especially in this somewhat sprawling blog post. It is a juicy one, though! And it’s really all just further fodder for my online dating odyssey. Okay, I’ve got some emails to answer! Stay tuned!