The image featured below is Heart of Erzulie by the artist Killy.
For a long time, on my way to the office, I kept noticing a billboard that read: Ashley Madison. Life is short. Have an affair. What could it be, I wondered? Could it actually be promoting affairs? By married people? Aren't we a nation filled with puritans who would find this kind of advertising vile and evil? (Notice how those two words are made up of the same letters?) Why hadn't I heard of loud protests? One day, too curious to ignore it any longer, I scribbled the website on a piece of paper, and then forgot about it for months. But, I recently read a piece about the "agency" in the Los Angeles Times, and it turns out the [male] owner was on Dr. Phil's show not too long ago. He apparently got a lot of shit from the host and its audience members, who are mostly women.
So, what do you think about a site that makes it easy to find people interested in having affairs? I'm thinking this is not geared to the younger set, but to aging boomers who may be in fine, loving relationships in which the, ahem, juice has gone the way of the dried powdered kind, as in Tang--remember Tang? Just add water! Frankly, I didn't know what to think of it. I believe in monogamy and have been in a monogamous marriage for 20 years. I like it that way. I also believe that affairs happen every single day between people who revere monogamy -- it's just that they get kidnapped by what I call the crotch directive. Affairs, once discovered, usually have disastrous consequences, with that element of trust all but gone with the wind of loyalty, and forever set in the stone of suspicion. However, many relationships survive affairs, become stronger for it and move into forever after land. It's very tempting to toss this thing into a category called: yeah, I bet men love it. But, guess who is having all those affairs with men? Unless they're gay, it's willing women--often, of the married variety. (If you're in a long-term gay relationship, obviously the same parameters apply).
So, I logged on to AshleyMadison.com to check it out for myself, and get this, it started in 2002 and there are already two and a half million members on it. It costs $249 to sign up--refundable if you don't have an affair within three months -- and "you must reply to at least 20 unique AshleyMadison.com members each month." Damn, that seems like a lot of work. My good girl sensibilities feel outraged and disgusted. My rational side just keeps scratching its head. In a world where dating sites proliferate like viruses because people want lifelong partners; and in a world where same-sex couples demanding the right to marry has become one of the most contentious issues of the day; into that same world comes a site that actively encourages infidelity. I know it takes all kinds to make a world, but I'm just wondering what in the world is going on, here?