The Wired and the Restless

Ottawa XPress, Shotgun, November 18, 2004

Bored and unsatisfied with your current partner? Spark fading but you still love ’em? Well, why leave when you can just cheat?

Thanks to the Internet, restless couples and singles have a glut of opportunities to connect with strangers via chat rooms, online dating sources like Lavalife, or liaison services such as It’s the Age of Instant Gratification where you have a husband and kids in Ottawa and technology allows you to carry on with your sexy e-mail lover in the Yukon.

There’s nothing like the invigorating rush of meeting people online – a guilty pleasure. If you come back to your partner rejuvenated from a bit of cyber sex and willing to put out in the flesh for them, then where’s the harm? Engaging in titillating exchanges over the computer with someone besides your Faithful Other isn’t really cheating. Or is it?

Just innocent fun, you say? So tell your partner about it.

According to The Monogamy Myth and the Prevalence of Affairs by Peggy Vaughan on the Ashley Madison website (their slogan: When Monogamy Becomes Monotony®), “a belief in monogamy as an ideal doesn’t prevent large numbers of people from having extramarital affairs.” So what does? What prevents you from engaging in activities that your partner feels rattles your bond?

In my opinion, whether you’re shagging someone else on a computer screen or in physical reality, if your partner doesn’t know about it and didn’t agree to it, then you’re a Class A Chickenshit.

Think about it.

People who cheat are too afraid to let go of the security provided by their unsuspecting partner. Lucky for the chickenshits, some people are forgiving, and would sooner rectify the problem that drove the partner into the cheap motel than cut them out altogether.

What about single people who are unattached but engaged in a ring of flirtations with a variety of potential partners? That’s more than window shopping, my friend – you’re trying out all the goods. Still it appears that, while stylin’ more than one person in the flesh is being unfaithful or dishonest, it is considered acceptable to have several e-mail partners simultaneously on the go.

The best defence for getting an account with Lavalife came from a single person who said that finding true love is all about numbers. Why not “up” your chances of finding Mrs. Right by dating a bunch o’ Miss Might Be’s? As well, you may minimize what some think of as “wasting time.”

But isn’t meeting someone all about taking time? Isn’t old-fashioned dating about the anticipation, the thrill of uncertainty and victory in the conquest? I guess taking time equals “pissing away time” in a society that is go, go, go.

You tell me: Is Internet dating not producing a whack of impatient, fidgety, thrill-seekers who jump from one person to the next? And is there anything wrong with that?

Online dating gives you an “in” with persons you either don’t have the time to bump into, or shouldn’t be talking to at all. And isn’t that a sign? I mean, if you’re not meeting the outdoorsy type, maybe it’s because you’re not up at Vorlage.

It used to seem that Internet lovers were built up in our minds based on a few blurry photos and a fantasy of what we want them to be, rather than seeing them for who they are. But enter web cams – now the visuals of online dating at least are more immediate. But are they doing all the work for us while replacing human interfacing with technology?

I don’t get it. Call me traditional – or maybe just dated.


Want to meet that special someone live and in person? Try, coming to Ottawa this month! This option is hailed as the Fast, Fun and Guaranteed way for single people to meet. Your mission: eight one-on-one dates that last eight minutes each. For single professionals aged 25-35, show up for your date on November 23 at Helsinki Lounge and Disco at 15 George Street. For those between 30-40, see you December 6 at Vineyards, 54 York Street. Registration is $40 at Happy dating!


Shotgun raises a pint to avid pub-goers who wrote on-line about last week’s column … lest we forget The Manx Pub and the Barley Mow! Thanks to Roisin McCaffrey who championed The Manx – cozy for the cool; cheers to Rob Harbic who penned a pub tour of Ottawa; and here’s to Mr. James Harbinson with balls to name-call me an old coot pining for the good ol’ days. When it comes to voting for your favourite watering hole, what criteria do you apply? Write Shotgun!


Looking for an unusual Christmas gift? Check out Babes on Beechwood November 19 to 21 at 137 Beechwood (in Dale Smith Gallery building, New Edinburgh). Organizer Jessica Thomas promises, “The event will be one kick-ass craft show like no other in town,” featuring paintings, sculpture, ceramic ware, home furnishings and jewelry. Noon to 8 p.m. Friday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday and Saturday.

– Sylvie Hill