“Like the Answer to My Prayers.”


That’s how Jackie, a guest on The Tyra Banks Show last week, described discovering the Ashley Madison Agency, a dating site uniquely designed for married people who want to discretely step out of their relationships and into sexual ones with over 2 million other, similarly motivated people. (The company’s motto: “Life is Short. Have an Affair.”)

Jackie was sure bursting with drive. (As it turned out, she’d had sex with over 150 different men from the site—a sum, Tyra pointed out, almost equal to the average number in her studio audience. Plus Jackie’s enjoyed a marathon, 15-hour session with her current lover, Ernesto. However, I’m guessing, as the Jenny Craig small print says, her results were not typical.)

But what caught my ear / eye was a) the blasphemous notion of God blessing Jackie with a $49 adultery site membership, and b) Ashley Madison’s ace commercials, like the one, above, opening with a floor-level shot some DP surely stole from a much better movie.

>barf!<As expected for such a service, the ad is pretty soft-porny, and only aired after 11 pm. But Ashley Madison wanted mainstream appeal, so, the second time, they took another approach.

In their better-produced, more aggressive followup piece, right, as opposed to tempting males adulterers with a generic, sexy temptress, like the kind that closes the first ad, they took the completely opposite route.

In the bit, a man wakes up next to a loudly snoring, corpulent coyote. He briefly spies the bottle of scotch that gave him his booze goggles, and decides to get the hell out. As he grabs his clothes, sneaking away without waking her, the V.O. intones: “Most of us can recover from a one-night stand with the wrong woman.”

The guy backs out the bedroom, closes the door, sneaks down the stairs, then stops dead at the sight of someone. (Her boyfriend?)

The announcer sneers: “But not when it’s every night…for the rest of our lives!

Then the close-up: A wedding picture of the two, below. She’s his wife, apparently as gross on their special day as she is now. He’s not having a tryst. He’s looking for one. The coup de grace: “Isn’t it time…for AshleyMadison.com?”

I’m kind of in awe of these commercials’ evil genius, particularly the second one. Needless to say, a number of people have found them offensive. But that one’s partner has grown slovenly or unattractive over time is, certainly, the Congratulations!means to all kinds of even ancient humor about wedded bliss. Using this as a punchline when commodifying infidelity, however, is stabbing at the union’s soft underbelly. It’s putting a bold and robust revolution on the absolutely worst way to treat your spouse.

During the Tyra episode, Noel Biderman, AshleyMadison.com’s CEO/founder, and his wife were interviewed as he briefly explained why he’d created the comapny. Then, in the subsequent segment, they watched as a woman who’d used his service was confronted by her spouse, a massively overweight man.

Instead of the disrespected husband being a tough guy, threatening and yelling, he basically pined for his wife on national TV, telling her how much his heart was breaking because of her desertion, begging and pleading for her to stop being unfaithful, repeatedly asking that she come back to him and their children, all of whom, he said, he was now taking care of by himself..

Quick shots of the CEO showed him looking distinctly uncomfortable, and his wife’s somewhat neutral expression had become obviously pained. Perhaps they were recalling an earlier exchange between Noel and an interviewer:

Ashley Madison satisfied clientWould you be okay with your wife using your service?

No. If my wife were using my service, or any dating service, or if I even found her on Facebook chatting with former boyfriends and not telling me about it, I would be emotionally hurt beyond belief, and would feel that our relationship had severe problems. To me, a healthy relationship is one where there is communication and honesty and emotional and physical connectivity. I would hope that that is what is going on in my current relationship, and if not, I’d have to look at myself, and my responsibilities. But if my wife were engaging in such a service, then clearly our relationship would be in trouble.

And hell to watch.

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1 comment so far ↓

#1 FindNewPassion.com on 06.23.10 at 9:01 pm

Is it realistic to make a promise “I will love you until death do us part”? Famous Russian writer Leo Tolstoy who is considered an expert in understanding human feelings and relationships between people in general and man and woman in specific, in his novella “The Kreutzer Sonata” said: “To say that you can love one person all your life is just like saying that one candle will continue burning as long as you live”.

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