Cheater’s dating site Ashley Madison periodically spams bloggers with press releases about its users, revealing, for example, which New York neighborhood is the most adulterous and sowing panic among the faithful. But there’s always something unsatisfying and incredible about their data. No one we know will admit to using Ashley Madison, after all: That’s the whole point of Ashley Madison. In GQ this month, novelist Teddy Wayne delved into the network in order to bring us a more fully drawn portrait of the Ashley Madison adulteress. And she looks a lot more like Don Draper than Hester Prynne.
Wayne suspects that with “greater professional equality between the genders and third-wave-feminist sexual liberation,” women are now “cheating for the same reason that men have throughout history ... to sate their sex drives and gratify their egos.” And the women he meets more or less fit his thesis. There’s a high-powered politico who “nearly ended up in Obama’s administration” and feels like “a dirty old man trapped in a woman’s body”; an early-thirties professional who sees herself as "more of the controller" in her marriage ("I earn more. I repair everything. I fixed up the house"); and the corporate woman who gets off on arranging affairs from her office as she “orders a secretary who has entered her office not to interrupt her conference call.”
Is it more proof women are the new men? Wayne’s story would make good “end of men” fodder, if the rise of the cheating, alpha female corresponded with a new class of young, virtuous beta males waiting to be seduced. Instead, the women of Ashley Madison meet fellow alphas: “publishers of magazines, CEOs, politicians, managing partners at law or investment firms” according to one, late-forties user. This phenomenon might be better filed under “absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Most Viewed Stories
It’s Finally Possible to Understand What Happened to Amanda Knox
The Very Uncomfortable Experience of Rewatching Election in 2016
Rob Kardashian and Blac Chyna Reportedly Broke Up
Trump Campaign Manager Accidentally Refers to His ‘Abuse’ of Women on Live TV
Ask a Boss: My Co-worker Wants Everyone to Call Her Boyfriend Her ‘Master’!
Ask Polly: Should I Try to Help My Alcoholic Friend?
Outrageous Party Photos From Andy Warhol’s Factory Days
22 Intimate Lost Photos of Marilyn Monroe
Chelsea Clinton Says She Didn’t Initially Know Her Mom Had Pneumonia Because She Was Trying to Power Through It
YogaToes Cured My Lifelong Fear of Bunions
From Our Partners
The Zoe Report
Who What Wear
powered by PubExchange
The Cut’s Latest Love and War FeaturesThe Novelist Disguised As a Housewife
Shirley Jackson wrote 17 books while raising four children — and she couldn't have had a successful career without them.Ava DuVernay on Hollywood Racism, Modern-Day Slavery, and Why She’s Still an Optimist
The director, whose new documentary The 13th chronicles America’s history of racial subjugation, talks to Rebecca Traister about Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, and the modern criminal-justice system.What No One Tells Couples Trying to Conceive
It helps to be rich.The Hidden Black Women Who Helped Win the Space Race
A segregated unit of mathematicians born of desperation during World War II became the secret to NASA’s success.Slut-Shaming Squids Are Everywhere
The “Bermuda Square” comic strip is back.Santigold’s New Video Is the Result of a Spontaneous Run-in With Kara Walker
The collaboration that dreams are made of.Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield Spotted Together Again, Love Might Be Real
They could be back together ahh!Teen, Forced to Go on Vacation With Her Family, Calls 911
The logical decision.Report: Hearst Fired Seventeen EIC Michelle Tan During Her Maternity Leave
Tan had been at the magazine for about two years.Good Morning America Host Amy Robach Apologizes for Saying ‘Colored People’ on Air
She quickly apologized.
That’s one way to do it.Don’t Mess This Up, Mischa Barton
Marissa Cooper is poised for a comeback ... maybe.California Votes to Remove Time Limit on Prosecuting Rape Cases
In light of the Bill Cosby case.Beyoncé’s Behind-the-Scenes Lemonade Photos Belong in a Museum
She had the "Boycott Beyoncé" sign already in formation on set.The Rise of the Male Celebrity Full-Frontal
An ex-publicist explains.Gabby Douglas Will Be a Miss America Judge
The gold-medal gymnast will help choose the 2017 pageant winner.Camille Becerra’s Photo Diary of Rockaway Beach
An ideal trip to add and cross off your summer bucket list.Sorry Nerds, Ian McKellen Won’t Officiate Your Expensive Lord of the Rings–Themed Wedding
Not even for $1.5 million.Miles Teller Is Still Upset About Being Called a Dick
He wants to set the record straight.Why Parents Shouldn’t Talk About Weight With Their Teens
New guidelines seek to banish weight talk.