Celebrating ‘Manogamy’ on Valentine’s Day
“It’s the day that straying husbands and boyfriends set aside for the ‘other woman’,” says LifeStyles V.P. Carol Carrozza.
“Most cheaters devote the day before Valentine’s to keeping their mistresses happy, since waiting until the day after makes them seem like an afterthought,” explains Nicole Lyn Pesce in the New York Daily News.
“It might not be a nationally celebrated day, but it’s at least a day to practice your ‘mistress retention’ skills,” says Noel Biderman, president of AshleyMadison.com, which sets up extramarital trysts for “when monogamy becomes monotony” and boasts 2 million registered members.
It’s the kind of holiday that infuriates Jarrod, the founder of “Manogamy,” a movement to encourage men to be faithful in their relationships. “Who knew? Maybe I’m lazy, but I can barely keep up with Valentine’s Day for one person…,” writes Jarrod, a 25-year-old law student at the University of Georgia, on the Manogamy blog.
Jarrod fears that all the news coverage of men being promiscuous encourages others to see cheating as inevitable. “Even the president of the U.S. got caught cheating on his wife,” he told me. After the Tiger Woods mistress meltdown, Jarrod decided he wanted to do something to promote fidelity. He launched the Manogamy website in December:
We know how to spell monogamy. That’s why our theme is “Misspelled with a Purpose.” The Manogamy Movement is a grassroots effort started by men for men. We are not psychologists and do not have formal training in the subject. We are just concerned men that want to make a change in society.
Our goal is to reform thought processes and behaviors. We want men to know that it is okay to remain faithful to your significant other. We aim to serve as a support system for men that want to be monogamous. Through sharing advice and having discussions on the topic, we aim to eliminate one of the biggest threats to relationships.
On his website, he keeps track of technology that enables cheating and tales of the unfaithful — his site background is a collage of photos including David Duchovny, Jude Law, Eliot Spitzer, Bill Clinton and Jesse Jackson — but also notes and celebrates monogamy: like the couple married for 85 years who hold the Guinness world record for longest marriage and science that explains our tendency toward fidelity.
Do we need someone to tell us it’s okay to be faithful?
Jarrod thinks so. “It’s time to take a stand,” he said. “People look at infidelity as inevitable. That’s not going to stop or slow down unless we work against that assumption.”
Though in a 2006 Gallup Poll, only 4% of those surveyed said it was morally acceptable to have an affair. (When you break it down by gender, 6% of men okayed affairs while only 2% of women do). Though the percentages of people who admit to infidelity in surveys tend to be much higher.
Tiger Woods was the last straw for Jarrod. Too often, he thinks the media supports the idea that it’s impossible for men not to cheat. And companies like AshleyMadison.com — a dating website for the married, basically a Match.com for wannabe cuckolds — portray fidelity as boring. Their tagline is “Life is short. Have an affair.”
Jarrod wants men to think more about the consequences of cheating. “Do a simple cost-benefit analysis,” he told me. “The benefit of cheating is the thrill. But there are so many more costs: paying for someone on the side, and the costs to your family and reputation if you get caught.”
(Which can be especially high if your mistress can afford billboards.)
I think a secular movement on behalf of monogamy, or manogamy, is pretty cool, but I asked Jarrod what it really means. What is he going to do beyond starting conversations?
“It’s about promoting these values in your social circle,” he said. “If my best friend is cheating on his girlfriend, I feel responsible – people need to have accountability.”
So would he rat out his best friend to his cuckolded girlfriend?
“No, at the end of the day, the decision to be monogamous is a private decision,” he said.
Hmmm, I’d be more impressed if the movement were a militant let’s-out-the-cheaters one. Like the anonymous Brazilian blogger who rocked his or her small town by posting a Cuckold’s List. But I think it’s a step in the right direction.
So what does he have planned for his grassroots movement?
“I’m recruiting people and getting the word out right now,” he said. “I’d like to try to partner with Off The Market.” Off The Market is an organization started by the wives of NFL players who want to keep their groupie-attracting husbands on the straight and narrow.
And he wants to make t-shirts. One slogan he’s thought of: “My wife is hotter than your mistress.”