Writer defends adulterers, calls the rest of us "holier than thou"

photo via venetia_joubert_sarah_oosterveld

If you’ve listened to Howard Stern even once over the past decade (that’d be Em, not Lo), then you know that one of his most loyal advertisers is the Ashley Madison Agency — the online dating site that caters to married people with the tagline “Life is short. Have an affair.” Charming. On and off over the years, we’ve thought about reporting on Ashley Madison, but every time we did, steam would come out of our ears and we’d realize that our entire article would consist of seven words, most likely typed in all caps: “Stop cheating you slimeball pieces of shit.” Just because the site sounds like it was named by Nora Roberts, as Jezebel so brilliantly notes, doesn’t mean it’s any less sleazy, immoral, unethical, or just plain wrong.

Fortunately not everyone is as “narrow-minded” as we are; Melanie Berliet, a writer for Vanity Fair recently investigated the site to find out why men cheat, which involved interviewing men who said things like “I’m a big believer in monogamy through adultery.” That’s deep, man. “Narrow-minded” would be Berliet’s term, as in, “I don’t wish to champion adultery, but the notion that strict monogamy is the right path for everyone strikes me as narrow-minded, even holier than thou.” The reason we know that Berliet is not narrow-minded is because she admits in the opening paragraphs of the piece that she had a two-year affair with a married man. Oh so worldly and broad-minded! (We guess it’s true what they say about a man’s wedding band being the ultimate pick-up tool.) In other words, she’s not one of those people who believes that good citizenship demands that you respect the boundaries of other people’s relationships, and not just the boundaries of your own. It’s about being a decent human being and contributing to world peace and harmony, or so we like to believe. We’re narrow-minded and holier-than-thou like that.

Speaking of: last we checked, adultery wasn’t the only alternative to strict monogamy, though we do understand — and have said so on our site — that open relationships aren’t for everyone either. Which means that if you’re in a sexless (but not loveless) marriage that you don’t want to leave because of kids, and if talking about an open relationship is even less realistic than talking about an affair (one of the men Berliet meets says that his wife thinks that even porn is cheating), then you’re kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place. But, hey, isn’t that the whole point of in sickness and in health? Also, if nobody ever talks about sanctioned, open affairs, then how are we ever going to get out of that whole between a rock and a hard place situation? Ah…now we’re starting to understand how this whole Ashley Madison Agency got its start.