Adultery is a strange word.
As I understand the concept, you make promises in front of a priest, rabbi or, perhaps, a retired bartender in Las Vegas, and then you decide that maybe those promises were made to the wrong person. Or, perhaps, that it was the wrong person making those promises. A little like, well, a recalcitrant 5-year-old.
So I struggle with finding the "adult" part of adultery.
However, I have been enlightened by Reuters that one of the contributory factors to cheating on your betrothed may be snow.
You see, the wire service's Oddly Enough blog and others tell me that the Brits have been buried in snow beyond their navels this week. This cold snap means they speak with lips that move even more imperceptibly than normal. It also means that they appear to be using their computing equipment to seek extra-marital company more than normal.
The IllicitEncounters.com site, constructed for the very purpose of non-judgmentally bringing like married minds together, reports that Wednesday it received a one-day record number of new proposals. I am sorry, I mean new profiles.
And more than 2,500 people reportedly signed up for an explicit encounter during just six days of difficult weather, suggesting that January will be its busiest month ever. The site boasts some 350,000 members in Britain.
Please imagine. There were all these Brits, shivering in their freezing houses, starved of the hope of a peck on the cheek from their promised ones, leaping online for a little love.
How can one possibly blame the lily white snow? Well, IllicitEncounters helpfully revealed that the majority of those new profiles came from areas that were the most heavily blanketed.
IllicitEncounters knows an opportunity when it sees it (unlike quite a few British men). When you go to the site, you see these moving words: "Married but feeling neglected? In need of some excitement?"
Well, if you are holed up in a chilly British home, knowing that public transport won't function for at least a month, wouldn't you love a little excitement? However, the site's spokeswoman, Sara Hartley, stretched her mirth a little further when she told Reuters: "I'd be interested to see how much work those 'working from home' have actually done."
I suppose it depends on what you call "working."
I remain slightly skeptical whether the snow is, indeed, sowing all the seeds for the sowing of wild oats.
The areas IllicitEncounters says are leaning the most heavily towards broadening their horizons are Hampshire, Berkshire, and the West Country. These are places from which many public-school-educated types, male and female, commute into the so-called city of London in order to commit some kind of financial jiggery-pokery.
I simply believe that these people, addled with champagne and snowy excuses, went to work Monday and have not returned home. Their spouses are therefore acting accordingly.