Reporting From Desolation Row...

Watching “Mad Men” reminds me that divorce carried such a powerful stigma until the late 1960s that it could disqualify someone from being elected President (see Nelson Rockefeller). And the negative social consequences of divorce on women were almost impossible to overcome.

Adultery was not far behind, although (as Mad Men demonstrates so well) it was probably no less common (at least among men) than it is now, because back then it was privately tolerated (or suffered if you were a woman).

I mention this because I recently heard some national bloviator go on about how hypocritical it was of what he called “The Right” to rail against abortion, and not against divorce and adultery.

But values really got scrambled in the 1970s – so much so that now we read about young women across all social strata thinking they need to incorporate aspects of the porn world into the way they present themselves. This is because guys, they think, spend all their free time (when not watching sports, or gaming online) watching porn, and they perceive this as the competition.

While marriage may still be their objective, there is a tacit assumption that divorce and adultery are always options for them in the “futures” market.

“The Rules” have certainly changed.

So it wasn’t surprising to read this morning that, which appears to be an eHarmony for adulterers, has begun advertising its services on mainsteam media outlets, with little or no objection.

"'The agency was drawn to advertise here [Boston]," Biderman said, because many Bay Staters were seeking out his Web site, and because Boston is “a heck of a sports town” and "male fans are a target demographic.'"

"Biderman said his agency has more than 2.7 million members - 70 percent men and 30 percent women. The average male member is in his mid- to late-30s or early 40s and has been married five to 10 years."

While the membership numbers may be suspect, and how different this may be from an "Escort Service" is certainly debatable, and the advertising rollout may still catch a lot of flack, it would appear that a mainstream market may in fact exist for this kind of service.

You don't need to lean your head out too far from Desolation Row to know which way the wind blows (sorry, Bob).