Are affairs more difficult in the internet age?

9 April 2012

There are those who mourn the art of letter-writing or the fax machine, but Joan Bakewell has suggested a more serious casualty of the internet age: the discreet extra-marital affair. Between 1962 and 1969, despite both being married and famous, Bakewell and the playwright Harold Pinter spent seven "wonderful" years as one another's secret bits on the side. "You couldn't do it today," she said in an interview on Sky Arts. "People presumably still have affairs … But how do they manage it with [emails] and mobile phones and with spouses and partners asking: 'Where are you?'"

Now, I have no special knowledge on the subject but I'm sure that people have not lost their ability to lie. Camera-phones make it harder for famous adulterers to escape attention, but if you stay indoors, isn't anything still possible? Indeed, aren't there now more ways to contact your lover, without relying on the kitchen telephone? And, when you tire of one, there has surely never been an easier time to find a replacement. Bakewell or Pinter might have to be more crafty these days, but when the mood struck them I'm sure they'd find an internet full of volunteers. © Guardian News and Media 2012

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