Dan: I fell in love with her, Alice.
Alice: Oh, as if you had no choice? There’s a moment, there’s always a moment, “I can do this, I can give into this, or I can resist it”, and I don’t know when your moment was, but I bet you there was one.
– “Closer”

During my morning commute I often find myself reading over the person’s shoulder who sits next to me. Nine times out of 10, my subway neighbor is reading AMNY or Metro, one of the ubiquitous free newspapers.

Last week, an ad on the back of one of the papers caught my eye – an ad for a company called Ashley Madison. The company, whose slogan is “Life is short. Have an affair,” is an online personals site “aimed at facilitating extramarital affairs.”

Needless to say, I was disgusted.

Yes, I know that Craiglist definitely delves into shady encounters. I know that plenty of people probably lie both online (and in real life) and that plenty of people surely have affairs. It just bothered me fundamentally that a company would exist for this sole purpose – to help married people cheat.

I remember years ago, seeing the movie “Closer” with my friend Brad. If my memory can be trusted, the movie trailer did not indicate that the film was about cheating. I simply remember that it looked like a unique relationship movie – and the fact that the trailer featured a favorite Damien Rice song didn’t hurt, either.

Much like my reaction to the Ashley Madison ad/concept, “Closer” left me feeling not only sick to my stomach, but sad. It was too real.

I felt disenchanted, as if all of my hopes for the future were really futile. I was left thinking that fidelity is an illusion, that people lie to suit their own desires.

I never wanted to believe that this is what people are really about. Conversely, I wanted back my (possibly naive) belief that true, traditional love does exist – and that people work to keep relationships and families together.

And then on my morning commute, I was reminded of the dark side. That people give up. That people are selfish. That people don’t consider the consequences of their actions.

The popular argument is that Ashley Madison isn’t changing the playing field; it is merely giving people another avenue to find a way to cheat. Perhaps this is the case. But a back page ad advertising this ideology is never want I want to see.

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