I am one of the least shock-able people I know. I mean I have to be, I see myself in the mirror first thing in the morning so I am well used to shocks. But when I looked up ashleymadison.com I was at least slightly taken aback. Not that I am particularly conservative (not at all actually) or old fashioned, or any more moral than the next man and so on, but a website that is specifically there so that married folk can find a partner for an affair. I mean, is that right?
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Bet your bottom dollar it’s right – I concluded. (And these are my personal reactions and thoughts which are not necessarily the same as those of the good people who host this site etc. etc.)
So why is it right – or at least not wrong – to have a website that encourages people to have affairs, that is, cheat on their partners? Well, it makes it all so much easier for one thing. And safer. And quicker. And more honest. And less hassle… Wait there! Did you say honest? How can it be honest?
Ok calm down and let’s look at Ashley Madison for a moment. This is a social networking site specifically for anyone who wants to cheat on their partner. So the site is honest about it, unlike many other hook up sites that assume that everyone who is using them to find a bit of nookie is single. The people behind the site put up an advertisement in Times Square, New York, I am told, saying ‘Life is short, have an affair’ which rather upset a few people and ended up on Fox News.
Actually I read a very good article at SF Weekly, where the author pointed out something that I would not have been able to discover without actually signing up for the site, Ashley Madison: The fact that it works on a kind of pay as you flirt basis. You sign up for free but you pay to send messages to other members. So, as in this author’s case, as a female you can expect to find loads of messages coming your way which you can then choose to ignore, and these cost the sender around $2.75 each. I put it that way as, looking through some other research, it seems that these kind of sites (there are others) are male dominated in that the majority of the members are men. So this either means that ladies don’t go in for affairs (can’t believe that) or that they don’t need to go online to do it (much more likely). It also means that there are disproportionately more guys out there flirting with thin air than ladies. So why not send them over to Gaydar or somewhere where they will have no trouble finding a partner to have an affair with. He will be a guy of course, but if you are that desperate the cheat… But I digress.
Yes, you can now log on, for free, set up a profile, add a photo if you want – but apparently not many people do – and then find someone to have an affair with in your area right now. I guess we’ve been talking straight men here, us guy guys don’t seem to have the need to sign up for ‘affair sites’ as most gay hook up ones take it as read that the guys will meet and fuck whether married, in a relationship or single – excepting those who join hook up sites simply for friendship and email chat of course.
I’ll leave you with a word from the president of Ashley Madison, Noel Biderman who writes on the site: “Ashley Madison is the world’s largest dating service of its kind catering for men and women how are currently in relationships but are looking for more. Over two and a half million of you have joined our service, so rest assured, you are not alone.”
Two and a half million people actually inching for infidelity, honestly, openly, online… And someone is making a fortune out of it, I’m in the wrong job.