A trained eye looks unkindly on illicit lust

By John Elder
The Eye
September 12, 2004

Getting a bit on the side has generally been a risky business. But for as long as there have been husbands and wives, and no matter the consequences - death by public stoning or jealous rage, banishment, shame and disgrace, emotional chaos, resentful children - human beings have been slyly getting it on with the milkman, the secretary, the hubby's best pal. Simply put, a good many people can't help themselves when called by the hot siren of illicit lust.

Consider the fellow on the mid-morning train, in the company of a woman who is holding his hand but idly looking out the window. He looks bored, then inspired, begins teasing her about her mother's behaviour at a family gathering. She brushes him off, drops his hand, returns to looking out the window.

The fellow sends his eyes sideways, to play upon the crossed legs across the aisle. His eyes travel upward and the girl glances at him, sharply, smiling tightly to say "Bugger off", and he sends his eyes elsewhere, for another taste of what Jimmy Carter called "adultery in the heart".

When we pull in to Windsor, the coma of the commute is broken by a sudden barking through the public address system. Something like, "All right, we've got you on the security camera".

Suddenly a boy is running like mad along the platform; soon after, he returns in the company of security people. Apparently he was riding on the outside step at the back of the train, with a spray can of paint.

The passengers aren't chatting, just a few murmurs and much looking around. Meanwhile, the woman with the annoying and adulterous boyfriend turns to speak with him about the commotion, finds him staring at a girl standing at the door. That is, he's staring at her peachy backside.

"Having a good look?" she says. He pretends that he was in a daze, staring into his thoughts, but she knows he's not a thinker, and stares him down. He tries to shake off his disgrace by looking around with interest, but he's fuming at being caught.

Adultery is an undeclared Australian institution, with a similar status to middle-class pot smoking - everything goes along nicely until somebody gets caught.

Further into the journey, his eyes begin roaming again. How can this man - this "everyman" - be compelled to save his eyes for the bona fide thighs of his missus?

This is the question facing Turkish Prime Minister Tayrip Erdogan and his government, as they push ahead with plans to criminalise adultery for the sake of preserving the family. "The family is a sacred institution for us," says Mr Erdogan. "The stronger the family, the stronger the country. If the family is weakened, that country is doomed to destruction."

One imagines our own Prime Minister feeling stirred by those words. The problem is, adultery is an undeclared Australian institution, with a similar status to middle-class pot smoking - everything goes along nicely until somebody gets caught.

Clearly a lateral and preferably civilised strategy is required to induce extra-marital lovers to put their pants back on and head home for some quality time with the family.

And this is what I'm thinking about while riding the train and watching this fellow commit adultery in the heart.

How is the Turkish Prime Minister - and presumably his lust police - going to deal with such a man?

The bark of the public address system gave me an idea: "All right, you, perving on that young lady's behind. Take a good look at yourself."

You wouldn't need a camera to actually detect sly lust, just a tape loop. It'd catch .