Commentary

Saunders: Raleigh, where women keep a close eye on their mates

bsaunders@newsobserver.comJuly 22, 2013 

Forget Obama; you’d better worry about your baby’s mama.

You know how everyone is livid over revelations that President Obama is snooping in their trash, listening in on their phone calls, looking over their shoulders at their computer screens? (I know: there’ve been no such revelations, but play along and keep the paranoiacs sweating, OK?)

Turns out the real snoop doggy dogs may be living right there in the crib with you. If you believe a survey conducted by the dating site SeekingArrangement.com, 55 percent of Americans spy or have spied on their mates.

Seventy-three percent of women in the survey said they have spied on husbands, boyfriends or partners, while 27 percent of men said they have. Now what can we glean from those figures?

Yep, that we men are more trusting – or bigger liars, even on an anonymous survey. I prefer to believe the former.

Nutella with eyes

The snooping involves, among other things, checking text messages and e-mails, listening in on telephone calls or actually following their untrusted betrothed. Aha! Remember that day you were at the Piggly Wiggly and it seemed as though that jar of Nutella had eyes?

Maybe it did.

When Sting sang so ominously “I’ll be watching you” in “Every Breath You Take,” it appears he could’ve been talking about Raleigh women, according to the survey, to which 22,000 people responded anonymously.

SeekingArrangement.com said 65 percent of women in Raleigh admitted to checking up surreptitiously on their partner. That figure is enough for Raleigh women to rank fifth nationally, behind their sisters-in-snooping in Richmond, Va.; Denver; Tampa, Fla.; and Columbus, Ohio.

Don’t expect city officials to break out the bubbly or to tout that lofty ranking in its tourism or economic development brochures, though. Somehow, “Raleigh: City of Oaks & Suspicious Women” doesn’t convey the civic spirit a chamber of commerce wants to sell.

The survey said only 4 percent of the snoopers admitted employing a private detective, which falls in line with what Durham private dick McDonald Vick told me. Vick, who runs the Arrington Detective Agency, said about 20 percent of his investigations involve checking out spouses or mates suspected of philandering. “Most of my work is insurance fraud, assisting attorneys with investigations and checking out people who meet in online dating,” Vick said.

Following husbands

Of the 20 percent who do enlist his services about mates, he said, 98 percent are women. “They want me to follow their husbands and find out if they’re seeing someone. In 90 percent of the cases, they already know the answer, but they just want verification,” he said.

Vick said few callers to his office follow through. “The biggest thing is they can’t afford to have someone on stakeout or doing surveillance for a long time,” he said. “That can really add up.”

Checking up on that astronaut/brain surgeon you met at lonelypeople.com is not the same as snooping. That’s just prudent.

The survey didn’t say how many of the spying acts actually uncovered hanky panky, but hey, they don’t call this the Research Love Triangle for nothing. Another thing to consider: because of all the high-tech companies around here, more women may be computer proficient and thus better able to click on the mouse to check if the spouse in their house is a louse.

bsaunders@newsobserver.com or 919-836-2811

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