Guess what? Infidelity is still not funny.
Yesterday I posted my opinion of a travel article featured on MSNBC promoting the best hotels for conducting an extramarital affair. In the comments, I mentioned a poster on a forum I sometimes read had written to the author of the hotel piece, explaining how very painful and unfunny it is to be betrayed by your spouse. This is the e-mail my fellow forum member sent to author Danielle Pergament, and the alleged response she received. (Note that I say alleged only because the e-mail was not sent directly to me, not because I doubt its veracity.)
It is unfortunate that you actually put your name on the article that appeared on concierge.com “Best Hotels for an Affair.” You and the editors who accepted it for publication should be ashamed.
Infidelity has become a joke, something to gossip about and laugh about – until it happens to you. I hope it never happens to you. I hope you do not have a significant other who would sneak off to a hotel – any hotel – to have a quick little romantic romp while plotting your demise. I especially hope you don’t have children who would become devastated by being discarded by a parent.
In the event your life is ever touched by such a heinous betrayal, please visit us at (name of site removed by request). We will be there to help you pick up the pieces of your devastated life. In fact, come visit us anyway. We would welcome the opportunity to show you just how horrible this is and what it does to people – not just the one who has been betrayed, but to the betrayer as well as the friends and family in their lives.
And the flip and defensive response she received from the author:
In fact, infidelity has been a part of my life – several times and to several degrees of horribleness. I find it unfortunate – and ridiculous – that you would presume to know anything about me. That you think the article was in any way ernest when it discussed “plotting your spouse’s untimely demise” is frankly absurd. I was no more advocating infidelity than I was first degree murder. It was clearly intended to be a joke. I’m sorry you didn’t take it that way.
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T
Well, Ms. Pergament as someone who has recent experience with this particular sort of horribleness, I would welcome some advice from you on where to find the humor in the situation. I would also love to hear more about your particular experience with infidelity, specifically what makes you qualified to be so rude and dismissive in your response to a reader who reached out to you, obviously still in pain. Assuming you have already been compensated for your work, would it have killed you to have shown your outraged readers a shred of compassion?
In case you have fabricated or exaggerated your own experiences with infidelity,or perhaps you’re approaching this issue from the point of view of the Other Woman, let me assure you that betrayal of the my-ex-boyfriend-kissed-another-girl-and-he-liked itvariety pales in comparison to the pain suffered by spouses who learn after years, and often decades, of marriage, that the person they love and trust most in the world has gone out for some extramarital fun.
Frankly, I do not see how anyone who has ever looked at their small child and wondered how they can forgive that same small child’s unfaithful parent, could find your riff on cheat suites amusing. Nor could a 70 year-old who just learned his wife of 40+ years has conducted a decades long affair with another married man. Or maybe the woman who learns her husband has been sleeping with her sister might find your pithy write up worthy of a chuckle?
When you sat down at your desk, wondering how to repackage the information on several high end hotels languishing in your research file, combing the current headlines for inspiration, what convinced you that pairing these properties with Elliot Spitzer’s dalliances and infidelity would make a great pitch? Who was your target audience?
That you Ms. Pergament, would claim to understand the horribleness of infidelity, strikes me as ridiculous.
Let me reiterate: Infidelity is not funny. Your joke is in extremely poor taste and your readers deserve an apology.