Endorsing Adultery For $12 an Hour

I was paid $12 an hour to break up marriages.

Well, at least that's what some of my friends accused me of when I worked as a chat hostess for a local dating service, which I've dubbed, "Homewreckers."

I actually hadn't thought of my days there - all 30 of them - until new commercials for the adulterous web site recently started airing again, usually during Blind Date late at night. A few years ago, I was at my wits end working at HMV, barely making above minimum wage. So I figured any job that paid better was worth checking out.

I saw in the back of NOW an ad looking for chat hostesses. It wasn't under the adult classifieds, so I made a call and was soon given an interview at a midtown office building.

It just so happened I just ceased being a camgirl and that kind of "chatting experience" was exactly what this company was looking for. That, and the ability to type over 75 words a minute.

I was nervous on my first day. I wasn't sure what to expect, really. Would there be a bunch of hot sexy college girls typing dirty to a bunch of dirty married dudes? Instead, I was greeted by women in their 20s to 40s. Some were snacking on chips, others making small talk with each other between lines of script.

My job description entailed using the 10 or so fake profiles provided to me to create pseudo-real identities. Pictures of random women were taken off the Web, and the profile box was set to "private chat only" so there was no suggestion of ever meeting up. Then married guys messaged me under the premise that they were chatting with the woman in the picture. There was a notepad on the side of each profile so us chat hosts could keep track of the details of the imaginary woman (what her kinks were, what kind of relationship she was in, hobbies, etc.)

These profiles were of women only from anywhere in North America. We were instructed by management to check the weather and time of the profiles were used before logging in to create a sense of authenticity. We were to spend about an hour in each profile before logging on to the next. In some cases, the guys wanted only to bitch about their wives or girlfriends; in other cases, they came looking for dirty chat.

We also had to do "quality control" of profiles, reporting any penetration or obscene private photos, which for the most part consisted of penises and in some disturbing cases, family portraits. I think that part grossed me out most of all - if you're going to cheat, leave your family photos out of it.

There often would be overnight shifts for $2 more an hour. I did one of those with about two other women. It was probably the most fun shift I had during my time there - the three of us discussed the weirdos that came online during 5 a.m. and compared the worst profile photos. One guy was walking along a dock with two cases of beer under his arms while another showed his wang surrounded by several American dollar bills and various change. High roller. Seriously, if your wife isn't turned on by that, what makes you think women seeking relationships outside their own marriage would be? They're still women with a list of standards.

I overheard management talk to a young girl who ended up quitting after a few days. She was a fairly religious girl and just couldn't handle talking dirty to a bunch of cheating husbands. It was a moral boundary she couldn't continue to cross. It's definitely not for the weak hearted, that's for sure.

There's been lots of debate surrounding the morality of this site, but this post isn't about that. To me, it was always about a job to pay the bills and a way to express some of my exhibitionistic side. My then-boyfriend was actually concerned that working for the Web site might encourage me to leave him, but in fact, it was the complete opposite. I was thankful he wasn't like those guys I chatted with online.

I can see how critics can point the finger at the company, calling them dishonest and sucking the change from cheaters, but at the same time, isn't it their just dessert that they're getting screwed over, talking to some chick that doesn't really exist? I understand cheating isn't black and white, though. And that there is always two sides to every story.

That question was brought up to our boss, and his answer was always, "They're paying for private chat only, and they're getting that from the hosts," so it isn't wrong.

The same guys would visit me repeatedly, even under different profiles. They all said the same things. I wonder if they just had a script written out in Word and they're just doing a quick CTRL V.

I've heard other online dating companies do this sort of thing, too. I'm sure they have real people on there, but you just never know.

I handed in my resignation letter after my first staff meeting. At the time, the company president talked of adding a virtual Vegas option where men can court women chatters in an online casino and using their credit cards, purchase gambling chips. If you're lucky, you may just score a pretty penny from a high roller.

But I'm sure it won't belong to that dude whose wang was surrounded by nickels and pennies.

Image of "sex sells" belongs to Sony Playstation 2.

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