Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Is Adultery OK In France?

First, a quick note to my wife, Leïla: don't read this post. I'm not French and it clearly does not apply to me. It's not a problem. Really. The title is simply bait to get people to find this blog!

Lefebvre, Odalisque
Jules Joseph Lefebvre - Odalisque
Photo of painting by leo.jeje
Now that I know I'm going to have a very interesting conversation with my wife later, I present you with Why it really is OK to stray in France. From the article: is a website that was set up for married people to meet others who want an uncomplicated romantic tryst. It already has 500,000 members in France alone and almost a million worldwide.

Hélène Antier, a spokeswoman for Gleeden, says many French people prefer to avoid divorce by finding a few “moments of adventure” outside their marriage. It may be working. Divorce rates in France are certainly lower than many of the country’s European neighbours, including the UK, Germany, Belgium and Sweden.
The article is more than just a puff piece for It goes on a bit about the cultural attitudes the French have vis-a-vis adultery and I must say that it's a very strange cultural shift. I've overheard French women discussing when cheating is OK, the entire Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky debacle simply couldn't have happened over here, and the French really don't give a damn if politicians are discretely unfaithful (I suspect flaunting it would be a different story).

Even more curious, the article claims that the French don't commit adultery more than the neighboring countries: they're just less judgmental about it and their lower divorce rates (the USA is about 50% higher per capita according to WolframAlpha) suggests that their different views on morality are not causing their society to collapse.