You can never accuse me of being too familiar with popular culture. Mention a television show, and the chances are I’ve never heard of it, never mind seen it. And as games go into The World Series, Superbowl, or NBA Finals, I often have to ask who’s playing. And so I recently stumbled upon a couple social networks for adulterers, a good ten or twelve years after their inception.
It came across my desk in a curious manner: by way of poll results among their cheating members. Illicit Encounters, which operates out of the UK, found the Audi to be the most owned car, followed by BMW and Mecedes. “Cars can reveal a lot about their owners,” suggests Mike Taylor, spokesman for Illicit Encounters. “All the cars in the top 5 represent our members; they are typically successful, motivated, high achievers who are less likely to settle for something they find unsatisfying, be it a car or a relationship.” Not surprisingly, the website’s poll also found that “72% of Illicit Encounters members were likely to change cars within three years to refresh to a newer brand or model.”
Ashley Madison, the online dating site out of Canada for married cheaters, discovered that most of its female members shop at Banana Republic. Furthermore, a third of the women surveyed stated that they had doubled their spending on appearance since they started cheating, according to a report in The Huffington Post.
Top dining preferences were Morton’s and Ruth Chris. “Chain restaurants are larger and less conspicuous,” explains Ashley Madison CEO Noel Biderman. “Steak houses are always a popular affair destination since they’re not only dimly lit but also commonly found in business districts, close to hotels where these types of dates typically end.”
According to Ashley Madison, a new member signs up every nine seconds. “Next to Facebook, we’re probably going to be the fastest growing social network on the planet,” boasts Noel Biderman. With 19 million anonymous users in 27 countries, Ashley Madison has a translation engine for those interested in hooking up internationally. “America is the largest market for adultery,” says Biderman, but he fully anticipates that the next largest market will be Japan.
“I did not invent adultery. Along with marriage there is infidelity. I am merely trying to create a near perfect affair,” explains Noel Biderman.
As a former sports agent and sports attorney, Biderman estimated that “90% of my work dealt with adultery. So I thought starting a site in which married people could communicate would be profitable.” And when he read that nearly a third of the users of internet dating services were married people pretending to be single, he knew he had found a niche.
But even in the course of researching for this blog post, my hands felt a little dirty. And I wondered, why are we listening to him? The man who states “Monogamy, in my opinion, is a failed experiment,” is married and claims to be monogamous himself. “It is interesting,” writes Ilana Angel on Jewish Journal.com, that Biderman “is ‘allowing people to be honest,’ when the honesty is with strangers, not the person they exchanged vows with.”
Amanda Biderman, the person he exchanged vows with ten years ago, has her own issues with it. “I would be devastated if Noel cheated on me,” Amanda Biderman said on The View, “but I would not blame it on a website. It’s servicing a need out there, and unfortunately it exists. It’s sad.”
And she adds, “Cheating is destructive.”
Nevertheless the slogan for Ashley Madison reads, “Life is short. Have an affair.” Amanda’s face is the corporate model. Seems like an awfully nice woman to find herself in the middle of a cyber pimping business.
Audis, Banana Republic, and Morton’s. What is it I resent in the results of these polls? Why, it’s what it implies: that the rest of us, the monogamous, are driving around in Fords and Chevys, wearing L.L. Bean apparel, and eating at Olive Garden.
I hope not.