Monday, May 13, 2013

W19: Affairs

With a bold red title on a sensual background with a hint of mystery, the first glance told me everything I needed to know about this week’s Biblio-Mat book. If there was any book to judge by its cover, this one would be it.

Exactly what it advertises.
Affairs by Mary Anne Wollison, was an interesting book. One part sociological exploration, two parts instructional, and three parts smut, it seemed to be a 178 page handbook on everything one would want to know about affairs from a woman’s perspective. Published in 1982, it still had a very contemporary feel to it and the content did not date itself at all. Then again, erotic literature does tend to transcend time rather well.

The book began with an introduction on why women have affairs along with a brief history of adultery. Seemingly written by a woman for women, it gave fascinating insight into how affairs come about. It presented both positive and negative arguments to extramarital affairs but seemed to lean a bit more on the former. With an interview with Dr. Thomas, a psychologist and marriage counsellor, the book took on the stance that affairs are natural and while they might hurt a marriage, they don’t necessarily mean the end of one.

The face of a woman educated in affairs.
The next hundred pages were filled with stories from twenty different women of all walks of life recounting their sexual affairs. In explicit detail. Passed off as anecdotes and insights into the female mind, it was really more of a slightly toned down version of “Dear Penthouse”. After reading books on plane engines and book collecting for the past few weeks, this came as a nice change of pace. There were two main interesting things about this section. The first being that almost none of the women regret having their affairs. In fact, they were proud of them and any remorse they felt came from them either not doing it more or contracting some sort of venereal disease. The second thing of interest was that a great deal of the women were located in Toronto. Seeing how this book was published in Toronto and the author resided here at the time, it made sense but it also became a bit disheartening to know that infidelity runs this rampant here.

Most disturbing How-To guide I've read.
The last part of the book was the most shocking. With a chapter titled ‘The Art of an Affair’, the book became an instructional guide on how to conduct an affair down to personality quizzes to find out what would work best for you, guides on what kind of men you should pick up, and where to do it. To be fair, it does have a section on the consequences of these actions, but this section seemed to be glossed over quickly with advice such as resisting the urge to confess and if you really have to confess, confess to a friend instead of your spouse.

Everyone loves quizzes.
While I’m against affairs and the thought of cheating on a significant other bothers me greatly (being on the receiving end of this is probably the worst feeling in the world), I felt that I had to at least try to approach this subject with an open mind and dig deeper into this aspect of relationships. Registering for an account at AshleyMadison.com, a site for married people to hook up with other people, I attempted to get some first-hand information on why affairs happen from women actively seeking them. 

Perhaps I should have selected more categories.
Suffice to say that going on such a forum for meaningful conversation did not go well. There were a few propositions, a handful of explicit photos, but most replies were along the lines of ‘sex or GTFO’. Turns out this subculture does indeed exist and it disturbs me like nothing else.

Book rating: 8.5/10 (Despite me not agreeing with the subject matter, it was well written and insightful)

Random quote: “I’ve never been mixed up with a married man. It’s bad enough if one of you is married. If both of you are married it’s really a problem.” (Advice to cheat by?)

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