Lovely Monday morning to ya. So after a couple of week’s break, here’s my first Conch column from yesterday’s Sunday Times. I’ll be there on the first Sunday of every month for now. Hope you enjoy.
8 MARCH 2015
THE AFRICAN CHEETAH – By Paige Nick
I am not smart or stupid enough to be a cheater. Nothing about me is subtle, and I’m a bit bumbly, so I’d probably send an SMS to the wrong guy or call out the wrong name in bed. Plus I feel guilty at the drop of a hat. Really, if I ever dropped your hat I’d feel awful about it. I suppose when your longest relationships only last a few months, you’re never with anyone long enough to get bored of their willy. So I haven’t actually cheated before.
But I’m in the minority. In 2002, a sleazebag named Noel Biderman created a dating website called AshleyMadison.com, for married people looking for affairs. It’s had a lot of press so you’ve probably heard of it. In fact, with over 30 million users around the world, and over 255 000 users in SA alone, chances are you’re already on it.
Cheating is big business. There’s even a TV show called Cheaters.
Every week suspicious Americans join the show’s detectives who follow their partners (generally not very far or for very long) until they find them in flagrante. Which literally translated means, ‘getting a disease elsewhere’. Then the spouse confronts them with their pants down. It makes for appalling television with lots of bleeping and the odd gunshot. The current host of the show is Clark Gable the third, late Clark Gable’s grandson. Old Clark must be turning in his grave like a rotisserie chicken.
Despite the moral iffiness of Ashley Madison, their subscriptions are through the roof, with major surges in January and February. Maybe because couples have been forced to spend excessive amounts of time together over Christmas and New Year, reminding them how little they like each other.
Research shows that more than fifty percent of people will have an extramarital affair at some point. Why go through the expense and trauma of divorce if you can get a little no-strings attached Ashley Madison action on the side? It sure beats alimony.
I wonder if anyone has ever unintentionally hooked up with their existing partner on there? Most daters blur out their faces in their pictures or post shadowy profile pictures and use pseudonyms, so it could happen. You sign up (probably while your spouse is watching telly in the next room). Someone starts to chat you up; they’re also looking for a bit of attention and excitement, they say their partner is always on the computer in the next room. They sound like someone you might like. You hook up in the bar of a dodgy hotel just outside of town, only to discover you already know them in the biblical sense. Wait, if you cheat on your spouse with your spouse, is that still cheating?
The site’s pay off line is ‘Life is short, have an affair.’ What they failed to add is the next part, ‘just don’t get caught, ‘cos then life is even shorter.’