‘Faithful guy’ or ‘honest’ hook-up?

Every time I go online to check the latest headlines, an ad for a dating service pops up on the computer screen with a picture of a smiling middle-aged woman and the caption, “No games. Just real women looking for a faithful guy.”

Everybody’s looking for love in the post-modern “hook-up” culture, but these women seem different because they’re looking for “faithful guys.” Did some marketing guru think a slogan with the word “faithful” would attract subscribers? Fidelity, after all, is a rare commodity nowadays. (Strange that I’ve never seen pictures of middle-aged guys with the caption, “Just real men looking for a faithful gal.”)

The middle-aged woman had what was once called that “come hither look” and was dressed in an outfit more suited for a 30-year-old about to go clubbing in Manhattan’s meat-packing district.

“Click to see pics of local women,” the ad said, and you could select an age bracket, 40 to 49, 50 to 59, 60 to 69, and 70-plus. The site also asked you to choose your preferred category: “Man seeking women” or “Woman seeking men” or “Man seeking men” or Woman seeking women.” (I want to make it clear I wasn’t “seeking” anyone, but doing research in my capacity as an investigative humorist.)

I have to wonder whether we, as a society, are really looking for “faithful” partners. The day before, I read an opinion piece by a fellow who thought he was the reincarnation of Jean-Paul Sartre but had the metaphysical depth of Donald Duck. He concluded that cheating is an act of honesty in a society that’s tired of monogamy. Is that what our problem is?

He said we live according to “restrictive norms that were established centuries ago, norms that speak to the sanctity of relationships without considering the happiness and freedom of the individuals involved.” In our modern era, “happiness” and “freedom” have become two meaningless concepts that generally translate to “I’m going to do what I want, no matter what.”

Wouldn’t it be better — and I’m no Sartre either — just to end the relationship if you’re that miserable or work harder to save it, rather than go skulking around like a sexual bottom-feeder?

Adultery is an increasingly popular pastime, with anywhere from 20 to 35 percent of adults admitting to having an affair. The Internet and social media make infidelity available to the masses in much the same way pornography sites have fostered a global epidemic of filth.

Consider the popular website for married cheaters, “Ashley Madison,” which has 36 million subscribers. The site, whose motto is “Life is short. Have an affair,” was recently hacked by a band of cyber-renegades threatening to release confidential information of the adulterers, including names, credit cards and nude photos. (The hackers, I suspect, were also acting on their constitutionally guaranteed right to be free and happy.)

Ashley Madison, which has users in 46 countries, is especially popular in its hometown of Ottawa, where 20 percent of the city’s residents are members. No wonder little work gets done in Canada’s capital.

The owner was about to launch an IPO before the hackers threatened to bring down the house. A few years ago, he even made an offer to get the naming rights to the Meadowlands Stadium, which were eventually purchased by MetLife. Who would have thought infidelity could be such a profitable business?

“Moral progressives” are also advancing the notion of “ethical cheating.” According to a piece in the New York Times, a visionary entrepreneur has launched a website called “OpenMinded.com” for people who want to commit adultery and “be honest” about it — or engage in group adultery, along with their spouse. Let’s be really HONEST, the idea of “honest cheating” is a classic oxymoron. This is how we reason in a decadent society when what was traditionally known as “sin” becomes institutionalized … and proves lucrative.

The good news is that most people still can distinguish right from wrong, and 90 percent of adults believe cheating is morally wrong. They realize it destroys families and leaves people hurt, emotionally wounded and betrayed. To suggest it should be socially acceptable only points to the deeper problem that we treat people like commodities in the so-called “hooking up” culture.

A society that redefines “right and wrong” by basing morality on personal slogans like “Do your own thing” and “I can do what I want regardless of the consequences” eventually becomes a victim of those consequences.

Contact Joe Pisani at joefpisani [at] yahoo.com.

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