19 August 2015
papersquare 010: Oh, Ashley!
"Life is short. Have an affair."
Oh, how seductive the siren call of the website! A call to all those restless men who think, yes, they could lead a suave and sophisticated double life. And how simple it seemed, to simply sign up, with the promise that their details would be kept secret.
How could I resist such a captive audience? I don't remember who gave me the advice, but someone did; that in a relationship you should never be the one who has the most to lose if it ends. I did some checking out of the site, browsing there, and talking to my computer literate friends. Well, online acquaintances really, although I am sure I would be a friend to many of them if I ever met them in person. It seems that over ninety percent of the subscribers are male, and with those odds, there's got to be a chance for me. And something between ten and twenty percent of men leave their wives.
The website told me to "get started by telling us your relationship status." Well I knew I shouldn't put single, everyone would assume I was a bunny boiler or something. Something, I'm, not sure what, I'd like to think I just have a few commitment issues, but if I was totally honest with myself, there was probably more to it than that. My screen name, Scarlett, suited the photo I'd chosen for myself.
Within hours of creating the profile, I had messages in my inbox. Men begging me for a chance to meet up and do something naughty. Men sharing, with very little provocation, pictures of their private parts. I was flushed with success and admiration. I specified restaurants, wine, and boutique hotels as a condition of meeting. I bought a gold band as camouflage, to ever so discreetly slip back on my finger when leaving the hotel bed. I refused all second dates, no matter how tempting, and oh, how tempting was Ashley, blond and verging on butch, but with the most infectious smile I had ever seen.
I was careless one day, a new profile looked exciting and enticing and somehow familiar; and so he was. My willpower was too weak to refuse him a third date, but I needed to keep my heart in one piece. It was the only thing I could do, to be safe, to leave the website, for if I set up another profile he would track me down.
I didn't know there was a cost to leave. It was more than I could afford, and the principle was rotten. My internet friend arranged it all. What I felt like though, on seeing Ashley's face in the paper, was not righteous revenge on unprincipled businesspeople. I should have recognised him first off, and known that he was no "typical" adulterer (if there is such a thing). Another chance gone begging.