Monthly Archives: July 2013

Social Media Off-Roading

What-are-the-Factors-of-Cheating-in-a-Relationship1You 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.

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Wish You Were Here (or 911)

dogs-playing-pokerTruth be known, there are currently more dogs than children in Seattle. At last count, 45 pet- friendly hotels, 38 pet-friendly attractions, and 150 pet-friendly restaurants. You say you want to go out to the San Juan Islands this summer? No problem. Dogs are seated like passengers on Kenmore Air Seaplanes. All of this puts Seattle in one of the top twenty destinations for travel with a dog.

I am not at all surprised. I live here. In our neighborhood in Queen Anne the local pet store, All the Best, is nestled between two popular watering holes for humans, The Parragon and Hilltop Ale House. The first time I walked in I was taken back by all the dog furniture and dog clothing (rain gear and fleece jackets) on display.

Oh, I get it, I thought. Dogs are the new American Girl Doll!

Some of us spoiled our daughters in that sense, and now we can spoil our dogs. And we do, even as they sleep in our beds and wear their own fur coats.

Dog people meet dog people, and often learn the dogs’ names long before we learn each other’s. Thus I knew Max and Millie (Teacup Yorkies) before befriending Sandra and George, and Callie (a Yorkie-Shitzu mix) before becoming Teri and Dan’s friend. However, six years later I am still “Coco’s mom” to many on the hill.

So at a time when some dogs have their own facebook accounts, why was I surprised to hear from Callie, the Yorkie-Shitzu, while visiting Whistler in B.C. Canada? She was staying at the Westin and posted a photograph of the hotel’s monogrammed doggy bed, bowls and snacks. (Teri and Dan presumably had their own).

And there you have it, the blog post I was going to write. Oh the places we were going to go, and the fun we were going to have! Doggy lattes and biscotti at dog bakeries. Dog cake mixes, dog birthday cakes, dog party hats and treat boxes. Homemade ice cream for dogs. Dog cards. Dog houses: cottage style, log cabin, Mediterranean or modern. Four poster beds with a Simmons Beauty Rest mattress for dogs (coil spring, covered in fleece). Waterproof fleece dog jackets, raincoats, cooling coats, goose-down filled coats, and faux fur lined “dreamcoats.” Dog shoes, dog boots, boot liners. And doggie doorbells that hang low enough from door knobs for pets to reach…. you can see where this was going.

Then my daughter in San Francisco phoned, waking me from my reverie. Suddenly the blog post title changed from Wish You Here Here to 911. Dogs, it seems, are under siege in San Francisco. Have you heard? Tainted meatballs poisoned with strychnine have been discarded on city streets in various neighborhoods including Twin Peaks, Lower Haight, Cole Valley, Hayes Valley, Bernal Heights, and Diamond Heights—dog frequented neighborhoods all. Community members have found and picked up hundreds of these tainted meatballs. Pet owners such as my daughter, need be vigilant on walks.

Last week a Park Police Station Inspector told a community meeting that the tainted meatballs may have been planted by someone afraid of dogs. Others suggest that the perpetrator detests dogs. That this individual has mental health issues is as clear as gun laws in Florida are flawed. Oskar, a much loved dachshund, was killed. No one wants to lose any more.  For we are now the dogs’ best friend, and it’s our job to protect them–if only from the worst of us.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call (415) 554 9400.

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