Within seconds of joining the 1.01 million “genuine” users of for “investigation”, I have nine new messages from potential suitors and 25 profile views.
As a new user, my profile is given prime place in the gallery of fresh young meat for the taking. A few are from the same persistent man, who tells me he “just wants to talk to me” because “it’s refreshing to see a genuine person on here and not some troller”.
One user in his forties and working in finance says he wants to whisk me away for a weekend by the sea.
While I um and ah about forking out another wedge, the messages start to arrive.
One is old enough to be my mother and has a username that, without giving too much away, is an instruction to engage part of my mouth with a baked good she has in her possession.
Chat-up lines range from “one woman’s fresh meat is another’s stale smorgasboard [sic]” to “are you a tea or a coffee person?
” An unnerving number advertise themselves as “clean” and phrases such as “weekends are a no-go” are casually dropped in as a cold reminder of unknowing families who sit waiting for daddy to come home on Friday night.
Testing if the experience is gender-specific, I coax a female colleague (see right) into signing up to a rival site. On a separate account, posing as a woman, I get chatting to a male user.
She emails me moments later: “I haven’t even finished setting up my bio and I’ve been ‘favourited’ twice.”I vow to get proactive. ” and take an indiscriminate copy-and-paste approach. I reveal I’m a journalist and he is happy to discuss his experiences.
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While it has been assumed that the scandal would sound the site’s death knell, it has also generated a vast amount of free publicity – and led even those of us who would never dream of cheating, less still giving away our personal details to a website to do so, wondering what it would be like to enter an online den of marital cheaters.
Priming myself not to lie or deceive, I set up a profile.
Which, it transpires, involves taking out my credit card. He’s been a member for three months and has parted with £350.