Breaking news: People are still cheating, even in quarantine. Cheaters are gonna cheat. Duh. But the ability to start and have an affair while cooped up inside with your significant other 24/7 for months on end sounds like an art form not many can pull off. And honestly?? I don’t know if I’m more impressed or appalled. Ashley Madison, the leading married dating site that literally says “Life is short, get an affair” on their homepage, recently released its COVID-19 edition of Top 20 Cheating Cities Per Capita list, which compiles the US cities with the most accounts created since the beginning of March on a per person basis, and the results are… interesting. And weird.
Let’s kick things off with perhaps the wildest data of the bunch. If you’re wondering how many people are actually cheating during quarantine right now, buckle up because the answer is A LOT. The company saw a giant spike in the number of sign-ups between March 1 and April 25. How giant? Like, we’re talking more than 17,000 sign ups PER DAY. 17,000+. How TF is that even possible??? SO many people every. single. day. are successfully finding a way to sign up for a cheating site even though they’re constantly within 500 square feet of their partner. Imagine giving zero f*cks and having that level of audacity? Lmao. Unreal.
Anyway, without further ado, it’s time to
make fun of analyze this data with the help of Ashley Madison’s very own chief strategy officer, Paul Keable. So who TF made this VIP list?
- Miami, FL
- Orlando, FL
- Washington D.C.
- Cincinnati, OH
- Anchorage, AK
- Atlanta, GA
- St. Louis, MO
- Las Vegas, NV
- Tampa, FL
- Richmond, VA
- Minneapolis, MN
- Sacramento, CA
- St. Paul, MN
- Spokane, WA
- Buffalo, NY
- Pittsburgh, PA
- Denver, CO
- Baton Rouge, LA
- Colorado Springs, CO
- Cleveland, OH
Oooookay, this is a lot to take in. For starters, 15% of it is dominated by Florida, with Miami claiming the #1 spot, Orlando ranking #2, and Tampa #9. Classic Florida!
“With Florida, we found it interesting that they had such a dominant presence on the list considering they were antagonized by the media for not taking the lockdown seriously enough, and they’ve gone through with plans to reopen fairly early in comparison to some other areas,” says Keable. LOL. For real. Leave it to the Sunshine State, full of old people and bath salt-consuming cannibals, to ignore health and safety precautions and come in hot with three of the top 10 cheating cities on the list. Congrats! I should call my grandpa who lives down there to share the good news.
Next up, we have Washington, DC clocking in at #3, followed by unexpected Cincinnati, Ohio, Anchorage, Alaska, Atlanta, Georgia, and St. Louis, Missouri. Ugh, with the exception of Atlanta, the Sugar Daddy capital of the US, I’m so confused. Scroll a little bit further down the list and we have Buffalo, NY ranked as city #15. This one is worth mentioning because it hits near and dear to my heart as that’s where my ex, who kissed a dude right in front of me once (yep, long story for another day), is from. I guess it’s true that that city really is home to a bunch of cheating idiots. But I digress. I’m frankly both shocked and impressed that New York, NY did not make this list, but I guess when you share a shoebox with someone, there really is no room to cheat.
TBH, I feel like there’s no rhyme or reason to the places on this list. At all. Like, they’re all located somewhere in Bumblef*ck scattered across the country. I don’t get why, so I asked Keable for an explanation. “We ranked the top US cities list based on signups to our site from March 1 to April 25 on a per capita basis, which explains why you’re seeing smaller cities like Buffalo and Anchorage over bigger metropolitans. Had we based the list strictly on signups, cities like New York and Los Angeles would’ve been at the top.” So don’t get too cocky, New Yorkers—you’re no models of fidelity either.
For our next trick, here’s a sweet hypothesis that I think is designed to help bring us all together? “There’s quite a variety of cities on the list from across the country, and that just goes to show how ubiquitous cheating really is,” says Keable. “Infidelity can’t be pinpointed to one type of person, place, culture, etc.” Yeah, I feel like this data didn’t teach me anything except all of this boils down to the fact that cheating doesn’t discriminate against anyone. To prove that fact, the report shows that each of the top cities on this list voted Democrat in the 2016 Election, although the majority of Ashley Madison’s user base identifies as Republican. Aha! Finally. One thing the Right and the Left have in common. No matter your political affiliation, you, too, can cheat on your spouse during a pandemic! SMH. Hide your kids, hide your wives, friends.
But as a college Psych minor and ~hopeless romantic~ who believes that everyone has feelings deep down in their cold little hearts, I wanted to learn more about these cheaters’ intentions. What’s causing almost 20,000 people a day to resort to extramarital affairs during this temporary quarantine period? Does being around their partners this often right now truly suck so much that they need to sneak around behind—uhh, actually, wait, right in front of—their backs? Or is something more serious going on? I need answers. WE need answers.
According to Keable, the site sees a lot of new signups following long periods of family time and heightened stress, like during the December holiday season. “This is a more intense version of this scenario, in that people are completely confined to their houses with their spouse,” says Keable. “Whether they’re in a happy or unhappy marriage, there’s going to be tension and it’s going to be amplified. Marriage isn’t designed to be a 24/7 thing and truthfully, this is probably the most time some married couples have ever spent together.” I mean, I can’t help but think that you should still be faithful to your partner even through trying times like these (for better or for worse, anybody?), but to each their own.
He continues, “What was once your spouse’s tolerable quirk has likely now become an insufferable quality, and all this forced time together and the added stress of what’s going on outside is revealing cracks in monogamous relationships. Having someone to talk to who’s experiencing similar feelings is going to be a huge relief, whether or not that turns into a virtually sexual relationship or it’s just someone to talk to when you can’t or don’t want to talk to your spouse.” Basically, what he’s saying is that people are out here finding flaws in their marriage during quarantine and are trying to fill those voids in secret to avoid causing bigger issues. So instead of communicating with your partner, you can just go behind your spouse’s back and find someone better on the internet! Smart. That way you don’t risk destroying your relationship—except I feel like talking through your problems will probably result in a better chance of improving it? But you do you, boos. *stares in judgment*
Anddd behold, Keable must’ve known I’m judging hard, so he elaborated on that point. “When options like divorce or couples therapy exist, people wonder, and often judge, why so many turn to Ashley Madison,” he says. (Not sure if that was a personal attack, but I’ll pretend I’m not offended.) “We’ve asked our members about those potential solutions and they say they come to us because those conversations don’t result in action and they don’t want to part ways with their partner. These days when the going gets rough, you’re expected to either bow to fate or end your marriage, but we offer a third path.” Enter: Infidelity! The Ashley Madison team has found that their members consider cheating on their spouse before they consider leaving them. I mean, I guess that’s inspirational if you consider trying every possible way to fix your relationship before ending it.
“Outsourcing an unmet need to them is more viable than expecting to get every need met by one person, which is the current expectation placed upon modern marriage. And when you love your partner, you love your family, and you’re emotionally and financially invested in your marriage, why would you want to put yourself through a costly and strenuous divorce when it’s just one thing that isn’t working?” He notes that most of the time, that one darn thing that ain’t cuttin’ it is physical intimacy. Fair, but still. IDK. Whatever helps y’all sleep at night.
“Ultimately, we’re hoping when the dust settles, the divorce lines are a bit shorter than we’ve seen in other countries that have reopened, and we were able to provide our members with a discreet coping strategy to get through this, without completely upending their life,” says Keable. “Our site offers a unique, albeit controversial, option so people can have their needs met without sacrificing the home life they value.” Well, if you think about it like that, this news doesn’t seem thhhaatttttt tragic. These people are just cheating because they don’t want to “hurt their partner,” even though what they’re doing would absolutely 100% hurt their partner if they ever found out!
But I understand. Kinda. Not really, actually. I’d never cheat on my boyfriend so I can’t relate—and as someone who’s currently quarantined with their partner, I have no idea how TF these people are even pulling this sh*t off. HOW DO YOU FIND THE TIME OR SPACE? IDK. I’m not married with kids, so I don’t have to find a secret coping mechanism if I’m unhappy in my relationship. If you’re not as fortunate as I am, then godspeed. I hope everyone finds the outlet that works best for them and their relationship so we all get out of this quarantine alive and well, whether that means you gotta let go of the person you don’t love anymore or you gotta find someone on the internet to distract you from your problems until further notice. Tomayto, tomahto, I guess.
Images: Pexels, GIPHY (3)
In these trying times, when we can’t turn on the news without feeling like we’re living in a waking nightmare, it can be hard to feel anything other than a constant, impending sense of doom. Whether it’s the spread of coronavirus or our political landscape which seems to get bleaker by the millisecond, you may be wondering whether there’s any reason to keep going. Well, my friends, I’m here to tell you that there most certainly is, because the good folks over at Ashley Madison, the website for people looking to cheat on their partners, have released a list of the most common code words used by cheaters its users, and it’s all I can think about now. According to the Ashley Madison team, “introducing a secret language into the secret world of infidelity can result in even more discretion while navigating affairs.” Which, no sh*t. What I couldn’t have seen coming, however, was just how ridiculous some of these cheating code words are.
The Ashley Madison survey defines this as the avoidance of “catching or developing emotional feelings for an affair partner.” I’m confused. For a list that purports to aid users in carrying on their affairs discreetly, how is this a helpful term? It seems like more effort to use the word “tinmanning” than it does to just reference the concept of not catching feelings. I’m also struggling to think of an instance in which you’d even need to use this word. Not only is it a verb that no one would ever use in everyday conversation and that would immediately set off red flags to the unsuspecting, its meaning is totally conspicuous. If we’re speaking in Wizard of Oz-missing-attribute-parlance, are the users of Ashley Madison scarecrowing with this sh*t?
I’m sure I don’t have to tell you what this one means, but for those a little slow on the uptake, this is a vacation taken with an affair partner. Subtle. I can just picture the poor schmuck texting his side piece saying, “Hey, u up 4 a straycation in April?” and chuckling to himself, thinking he’s really smooth, only to have his dreams nuts shattered by a baseball bat wielded by his wife who saw the text and immediately caught on. You can go shave your back now, Bill.
Actual footage of Bill after sending this text:
3. Silver Spoon
This term apparently refers to the act of beginning or engaging in an affair in which both parties are senior citizens. While slightly less obvious than the previous two terms, I find this one to be a bit ageist. Are we really to believe that seniors are only down to cuddle? Judging by the rising prevalence of STDs in nursing homes, I beg to differ. In fact, I think our older friends would prefer some silver forking over some silver spooning, if ya know what I mean. Get it, grandma.
4. Fling Bling
Seriously, Ashley Madison users? This is the best you could come up with to refer to jewelry exchanged by affair partners? It’s like you want to get caught or something. I’m not one to condone cheating, but if you’re going to do it, then at least try to be careful. According to Ashley Madison, using cheating code words like this is useful because “t’s covert, it’s relevant, and it’s sure to keep the people around you none the wiser.” Sure, if the people around you are Jax and Brittany from Vanderpump Rules not at all wise to begin with. Literally what else could “fling bling” possibly refer to? This isn’t even a euphemism. Anyone who uses this term and thinks they’re being clever deserves to get caught.
5. The First Coming
Continuing the theme of blatantly obvious cheating terms, this time with a side of may-make-you-lose-your-lunch-on-your-work-desk, is The First Coming, defined as “the first orgasm outside of one’s marriage.” Not only is this once again not fooling anybody, the religious undertones are…troubling. I’m a Jew, but I’m pretty sure that no one wants to evoke the image of the return of Jesus after his ascension to heaven while talking about their orgasm. Also, the capitalization is a little melodramatic for people who claim they just want to tinman.
6. Alarm Cock
This refers to “a person who enjoys waking their affair partner up with sex.” First of all, morning sex is a well-established concept, so I don’t see why it has to be reserved for cheaters. Second of all, again, I ask, HOW IS THIS COVERT? And more importantly, WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE? If my husband so much as tried to poke me before I got my full 10.5 8 hours of sleep, he’d end up on the floor concussed (love ya, babe!). All I get from this is that cheaters are morning people, which is just one more reason not to associate with them. Enjoy your alarm cock, Karen!
I hope this absurd list of cheating code words brightened your week as much as it did mine. If you’re ever feeling low, just remember there are people out there cheating on their partners, using these terms and thinking they won’t get caught. LOL! What was your favorite “code word”? Let me know in the comments!
Images: Jae Park / Unsplash; Giphy (6)
As I mention in my personal manifesto, and of course, every single article I write for this site, I believe that most men are cheating piles of trash just waiting for the chance to serenade their way into a new woman’s sparkly hotpants (looking at you, Jed). And today is the day I’ve been waiting for, because now I have the data to prove it. *cues evil laugh*. That’s right, the kind folks over at Ashley Madison, the world’s leading married dating website, have supplied me with a “Cheating Hotlist” which looks at last summer’s signup data, and then determined the top 20 most unfaithful cities in the USA. See, math can be fun!
Before we get to the goods, let me explain a little more. Ashley Madison created this list because, “Traditionally, we see our membership begin to swell as the warmer weather arrives and cuffing season is over.” They note, “It’s not unusual for people to be more uninhibited during the summer months since the energy feels more carefree and there are increased social opportunities that get people off their couch. The concept of a summer fling wasn’t created for no reason!” Cool. So to sum it up, in the summer, people like to get drunk and bang strangers while their spouses sit at home unaware. Got it. Now let’s take a look at the cities where people are the most “uninhibited,” or “carefree,” or any other euphemism we can come up for “f*cking around”.
Orlando, Florida, you saucy little minx! Who would have guessed it? Certainly not one single person that I posed this question to in my office. And believe me, these dudes know cheating. To be honest, I find the fact that Orlando is number one on the “Cheating Hotlist” to be disconcerting. Who even lives in Orlando other than people that work at Disney World? You are basically telling me that every single dude at your daughter’s birthday character breakfast just threw that suit on after an illicit rendezvous with his mistress at the local Holiday Inn. For shame, Mickey, for shame! (Also, please get that suit dry cleaned.)
I hope that you’ll notice that of the 20 cities in the “Cheating Hotlist,” FOUR of them are located in Florida. It’s Britney, Betch and I were just thinking we might have been too hard on Florida, and perhaps we should stop saying things like “It’s not a state, it’s just a cesspool filled with meth that has people floating around in it,” but now I know we spoke too soon. Florida, you’re back on my list, and you deserve all the publicity you get for those meme-able mugshots, bar fights with potatoes, residents kicking swans in the head, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc.
The people over at Ashley Madison also kindly pointed out that, “While certain states like Florida stood out…, the variety we see on this list shows that infidelity can happen anywhere. It’s not just happening in booming metropolitan areas, it’s happening in towns big and small involving all walks of life.” Funny, that was also the voiceover at the beginning of last week’s Dateline episode. But if we really look at the map, to me, the midwest looks pretty safe, right? I say that as a question because my geography skills are subpar and for all I know the middle of this country could be called Hogsmeade. Whatever it’s called, I’m moving there because it appears no one is living that Tiger Woods life. Sure, it could be because no one actually lives there, but I made peace with the fact that I’ll be dying alone in my apartment while my body is feasted on by my dogs long ago.
The other cities that made the list include Newark, NJ (shout out to my fellow Jersey peeps, I always knew you were garbage! I still love you though, you overly tanned sons of bitches), St. Louis, MO; Pittsburgh, PA; Freemont, CA; Atlanta, GA; Cincinnati, OH; Las Vegas, NV; Tampa, FL; Gilbert, AZ; Hialeah, FL; Cleveland, OH; Garland, TX; St. Petersburg, FL; Plano, TX; Seattle, WA; Boston, MA; Sacramento, CA; Anaheim, CA; and Arlington, TX.
At first I was shocked that NYC wasn’t on this list, but then it occurred to me that this is a city where 53-year-old men say things like, “I’m ready to settle down, but I can’t date someone my age because they’re not fertile anymore, and THAT’s why I go for younger girls, you know?”. You can’t really be a cheater if your deep-seated commitment issues and impossible standards kept you from ever getting married in the first place.
Now that we’ve arrived at the end of this article, I have a confession to make. I used this data to fit my own “men are trash” agenda, and have kept something to myself. According to the data that Ashley Madison collected they said, “It’s also not just men cheating—another Hollywood narrative we’ve been sold time and time again. Women are cheating just as much as their male counterparts and this is evidenced by our current global sign up ratio of 1 active paid male for every 1.11 active females.” So it turns out that we are all trash. We are, in fact, a dumpster full of trash, sitting in a Walmart parking lot, in Orlando, Florida. I hope you all enjoy your summers, now go forth and philander!
Images: Ashley Madison; Giphy (2)
Okay, look, I’m sorry for all the Friends references lately, but at the same time, not really. If you don’t like Friends, then I don’t like you. Anyway, we all remember the famous post-letter “Once a cheater, always a cheater” moment between Ross and Rachel. Well it turns out Rachel’s mom may have been right: a new study found cheaters will cheat again, depsite everything your lying, cheating fuckboy tells you otherwise. The short version is that every time a
man person lies, they feel less guilty about doing it the second time. Which explains how Sean Spicer is still doing his job and has managed not to spontaneously combust at this point.
This study, published in Nature—which I absolutely did not read in its entirety because it was 18 pages in a PDF (not front and back, though—TG for small miracles), got together a bunch of people. They were split into two groups and shown a picture of a jar with coins in it. One set of images was clear and the other was blurry Riveting, I know. Bear with me. So the group who got the clear image was asked to help their blurry counterparts guess how many coins were in the jar. All was chill, nothing to see there. Then, in an Are You The One: Second Chances-esque twist, the clear group was told they would get money if their partners overestimated the amount of coins in the jar. Shockingly, when money was involved, the people with the clear images lied to their partners. And they lied more with repetition. So basically, every time your FWB lies that he wasn’t at the bar you very clearly saw him at, and you continue to fuck him anyway, it just makes him do it more.
At the same time (or maybe like, slightly after? Unclear), participants got also hooked up to a functional MRI. They looked at amygdala activity—which, if you paid attention at all in your AP Psych class, you’ll know is the region of the brain that’s involved with feeling emotions. You know, those things you don’t feel? So if you’re a decent person, when you lie a bunch of signals get sent to your amygdala and just light that shit up. But the study showed that each time you lie, your amygdala gets less and less sensitive to lies. In other words, you feel less bad. They also found that “the extent of reduced amygdala sensitivity to dishonesty on a present decision relative to the previous one predicts the magnitude of escalation of self-serving dishonesty on the next decision,” a sentence I have read 15 times now and still am just confused as the first time. If anybody can translate that sentence into English, please LMK. But what I THINK it means is that you can predict how much someone’s going to lie and fuck you over by looking at the last time they did that and then just increasing that. In purely scientific terms, it means TRUST NO FUCKBOY.
The scientists said all this points to a “slippery slope” effect that could help explain repeated infidelity. Basically, once you cheat and get away with it the first time, you’ll feel less and less bad each time. Which is literally what everyone on the r/relationships subreddit says, and they didn’t even need a fancy grant for that. So as far as you’re concerned, the second some asshole cheats on you, DUMP THEM. They will do it again, they won’t feel bad about it, and you can’t even blame it on their being a sociopath because they’re probably just a regular run-of-the-mill lyin’ ass hoe. And yes, that was the term the scientists used.
Unfortunately, while the scientists did determine the above hypothesis to be true, they have yet to reach a consensus as to whether or not Ross and Rachel were, in fact, on a break.
It’s like, the first rule of feminism to trust no fuckboy, but there’s a difference between having a healthy sense of paranoia and literally branding your hubby’s marital status into his skin. For psychopaths with no sense of boundaries, there’s an anti-cheating wedding ring that does exactly that, because I guess chastity belts are frowned upon these days.
Here’s the idea, according to Refinery 29:
“A jeweler called Jason of Beverly Hills has designed a wedding ring embossed with the word ‘married’ on the inside, so that when you take it off, the word stays imprinted on your finger.”
Stepping up that ring game #branded #jasonofbh #cheatersbeware pic.twitter.com/zzxsr20Zvp
— Çoëuřs (@Coeurs_Noirs) January 5, 2017
I don’t even know where to begin with how fucked up this is. Yes, some people (not just dudes) take off their wedding rings so they can hide their cheating, douchebag ways from the people they hit on. But if you’re suspicious that your partner might cheat on you, what are you doing with them in the first place? There are two options here. 1) You’re putting up with a cheater because you have no self-esteem, in which case you should dump their ass and crowdfund a post-breakup solo trip through Europe. 2) They’re putting up with your paranoia because they have no self-esteem, and you could both use some therapy.
When Refinery 29 asked for comment, the company apparently responded, “Jason would like to think the design of the ring contributes to successful marriages. The ring is a symbol of a union between two people who love each other and should be viewed as that.”
Can someone please explain to me how branding “MARRIED” on your partner’s finger contributes to “successful marriages”? I think we can all agree it’s not a symbol of a romantic union, it’s a symbol of a lack of trust at best and sheer craziness at worst. Plus, as an anti-cheating tool, it’s super ineffective—cheaters can totally just take off the ring a few hours (minutes?) before and wait for the mark to fade. It’s not rocket science.
The company claimed that the jeweler got the idea from his wife, who “wished the ring would leave a mark on him if he was going to keep taking it off.” Aka a lesson in not letting your psychopath spouse have any say in your business decisions.
Basically, if you’re going to get a body modification in the name of true love (vom), just jump on the matching tattoo bandwagon like everyone else.