Today's Daily Mail, the paper we love to hate, has a story about "modern mistresses." Frances Jackson is a 28 year old publicist who loved having an affair with a married man. "Being a mistress fitted perfectly into my life," she says. "I liked having a lover, dinners and dates and spending the night at my house together once a week. But I also loved it that Andrew couldn't spend every minute with me. It meant I could still socialize with my three girl friends." The story claims that Frances and her three friends "swap breathless secrets of adulterous affairs, stolen sex with married men and lavish lies fed to the unknowing victims of their actions." Frances would turn to her friends for advice. "We reasoned that as long as the affair was on my terms and I didn't get hurt then I should just enjoy it." But although the paper paints these single women as dangerous man-eaters, only Frances knowingly had an affair with a married man.
Holly, 26, met a guy in a bar and, after they'd been seeing each other for two months, found out that he'd been married for three years. Emma, 29, cheated on her boyfriend, Sam, but felt "horribly guilty" about it. Ruth also cheated on her boyfriend and not only felt "terrible" about it, but was "anxious about being caught." Although the article's author, Sadie Nicholas, would have us believe that this posse of women are cocktail-swilling homewreckers, aren't they actually just representative of the rough conditions in any urban dating pool? Since when are married men willing to cheat on their wives victims? And while cheating on a boyfriend isn't ideal behavior, at least the women didn't enter the legally binding contract of marriage and then have an affair. Since the climate around them is such that trust is hard to come by and promises mean little, is it so shocking that these women are a product of their environment? The article's headline asks the questions: "Liberated feminists? Or selfish and deluded?" We think the answer actually "Neither".