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He wants to meet; he doesn't know I ran into him just last week. The more careful among them don't post pictures directly to the site, but they send a key that grants me access to a "private showcase" of images.
But most have taken their pictures recently and surreptitiously.
To get started, I create a profile with a fake name and a dark picture of myself and chart a plan. Then I'll meet a few of them for a drink, but there will be no drunkenness. I say I'm scared to live the rest of my life with unexplored desire. But my jaw hits the ground anyway when I realize whom I'm looking at. One man takes a picture in front of his 1987 Camaro, parked outside of a diner.
For my own safety, I won't reveal what I'm really doing. In my profile, I say that I'm married, because in addition to avoiding escorts, many of the men on the site don't want the complications of seeing a single woman. The rest of what I say is mostly true, and to weed out the more aggressive guys, my tone comes off as exploratory, not sexual. One man has his arm across the shoulders of a young Jon Bon Jovi.
Ashley Madison's president, Noel Biderman, certainly does. "They're saying, 'I want a type of intimacy my partner's not giving me,'" he says.
"This is about It's true that one of the first men I meet fits that profile perfectly. tells me he can't have the kind of sex he wants to have with his wife because she's unwilling, and, on some level, he doesn't want to do those sorts of things with her.
He joined Ashley Madison because that encounter left him wanting more. "Everything about her consumed my thoughts, and that's when I first signed up.
By definition, Ashley Madison, a dating site for cheaters, is a disreputable place. Your first impulse may be to throw your arms up in rage and condemn its members, the ones trawling for an affair or the chance to talk dirty in an instant message. I set out to ask married men on the site not only why they cheat, but why they do it so boldly, admitting their recklessness and confessing their betrayals on the Internet as though their morality and fidelity were items up for auction on e Bay. One of the men has a tagline on his profile that reads, "At your cervix, madam." Within moments of signing in, instant messages flush my screen, emails and winks from muscular men and men much older than me and young ones and proud fathers and one gray grandfather, worming out like monsters from the baseboards. Maybe I shouldn't be surprised: 68 percent of the site's members are men, and their average age is 44 — right in his demographic. Some wax their chests and others are darkly forested.
When he is standing on the soccer field and children are moving around in a blur, he says, he slips out of the game and thinks of me, and if his Black Berry vibrates in his pocket, he hopes that it is me.