After a quick search, I get the measure of the women on the site."My preference is for a man who is much younger than me with rugged features," says one. This is a way of paying someone a compliment without typing out the words. And over the course of a week I get almost 100 replies, messages and propositions.But if I'm going to find out what really makes these women tick, I need to leave the safety of the virtual world and see them for myself. I arrange to meet a 41-year-old mother of two who misses "romance and flirting", in a cafe in two days' time.She has declined to tell me her name, so I have to think of her as her web sobriquet.I register, and enter the murky world of two-timing technology, taking note of the warning on the site: "Not all affairs have a positive effect on a marriage." What a masterpiece of understatement.I wonder if anyone has ever read this, seen the wisdom of it and decided not to join. "I'm witty, charming, handsome and modest, and I'm kind to animals," I write, hoping this description will have a fairly broad appeal, and also include a recent photograph.Reading between the lines, I suspect she wants to meet again.
They are allowed to sign up for free as a way of ensuring the numbers are balanced between the sexes.
"I want a man with a personality and looks to take my breath away." These are the requirements of the dark-haired, dark-eyed, 37-year-old Asian beauty who has sent me her romantic wish list.
Reading it on my laptop in the aptly named Cafe Affaire in central London, I consider what she really wants: a no-strings-attached sexual relationship.
Postings such as: "I want a man who can look after me and knows how to treat a woman. I'm surprised and unsettled by the forward tone of some of the material. Determined to avoid the connotations, I reply: "The Beatles." I never hear from her again.
One woman sends me a message heavily laden with sexual innuendo and I come to regard her as the mistress of the single entendre. Another woman's first contact with me included a plan for a day out together, including visits to art galleries, a stroll round a park and then "a few hours under the duvet". I'm later propositioned by someone who tells me she has an hourglass figure.
I feel sorry for her husband, presumably unaware that the mother of his children is pursuing cheap thrills with strangers.