So I’m driving carpool this morning with a van full of sleepy teens when a catchy radio jingle starts singing and wakes everyone up. We look at each other with amused eyes but we’re all dumbfounded.
Beebop, shoobop, tralalala- Life is short, Have an affair…
Funny. Kind of. Not so much. It’s like the silent-but-deadly fart. We laugh, we giggle, we snort, all in awkward unison. Then, a creeped-out hush.
In that parenting moment, I know I should address what’s just happened but I’m not going anywhere the topic. Until later. Until the scene replays in my head long enough that I have to – lest the kids get right and wrong all mixed up in their growing brains.
From day one, the homewrecker business Ashley Madison has been out to normalize the oh-so-popular and oh-so-family-crushing midlife affair. Newsflash: Just because we’re calling this the Age of the Sugar Daddy doesn’t make cheating new, and it’s still not OK. Just watch Don Draper try to keep it in his pants for an episode as he tiptoes back and forth between apartments. Now consider whether JFK or Bill Clinton were better known for their politics or their zippers. They did, however, have the good sense to hide their double dipping from their kids.
For a company that bills itself as “the world’s leading married dating service for discreet encounters”, what we’ve got here is a blatant discretion problem with secret indiscretions.
And what about the radio station that allows this ad to be broadcast, particularly when it just happens to be the one the teen punches every time he’s in the passenger seat?
Ashley Madison doesn’t need to hustle over the airwaves. Midlife crises have reached crisis proportions. We all know that people pretending to be committed are there for the taking, often with the push of cellphone buttons. True or not, its website boasts more than 18 million anonymous members.
Still, the attention-starved company just can’t stop sleazing. Although many of its commercials have been banned, it’s got print ads in magazines and newspapers (pretty slutty ones) and a YouTube channel designed to lure you from your marital bed. But to see those, you have to make a move – flip a page or click a link. They don’t blast out of nowhere when you’re trapped in your car with young impressionable ears.
I’m not judging here (OK, sure I am). You want to cheat, lie and behave like a horny teen who hasn’t yet learned the meaning of the words commitment, love and faith? Enjoy. But please don’t pimp your lack of ethics to my kids who are learning to form meaningful relationships with others. Especially when they’re just trying to enjoy a little music on the way to school.