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Monday, Nov 18, 2019

Inside the Wife Swap Club

Responding to an ad listed under the ?Classifieds? section, two Sunday HT reporters posing as a couple ? new to the city ? discovered that wife swapping is not really about going to a party and dropping your car keys in an emptied fish bowl.

india Updated: Feb 19, 2006 02:29 IST
Mayank Tewari and Sushmita Bose
Mayank Tewari and Sushmita Bose
None
Hindustantimes
         

Responding to an ad listed under the ‘Classifieds’ section, two Sunday HT reporters posing as a couple — new to the city — discovered that wife swapping is not really about going to a party and dropping your car keys in an emptied fish bowl.

For starters, there are a lot of questions to be answered and you better be good at taking catches: Why are you interested in a swap? Whose idea was it? Does either partner have a “dominating” viewpoint on the issue?

The ads mentioned mobile numbers of people who claimed to have access to one or many underground spouse swap clubs. The names mentioned in the ads turned out to be mere aliases of pricey men (some women as well) interested in nothing till they sit down over a drink for a detailed ‘case history’. We had to remember we were “broad-minded couples”. Quite like ‘homely girls’ in matrimonial ads.

We contacted three people. The first person refused to identify himself and grilled us instead. Once he was through, he gave us another cell number, belonging to a person who was a member of a wife swap network. He mentioned that he does this networking to help friends and the relationship should not be construed as a pimp-client deal.

He insisted on meeting the two of us and told us to wait for his call. The other two numbers we tried gave similar responses. The two men talked about joining a swap club with an initial investment of Rs 10,000. Plus, they were not interested in meeting the woman. It turned out that wives are not allowed at initial meetings where rules are outlined for newcomers.

Our first contact did not call for two days and then curtly tried to call off the deal. He insisted we had lied that we had been swapping in the past. The fact that we agreed to meet as a couple gave us away, he said.

But then he gave in and invited one of us (the man, that is) for a meeting on Thursday evening in a restaurant (Amber) in Connaught Place. A man in his early 30s walked in and introduced himself. His five friends joined in after half-an-hour after he messaged them to join him.

The deal was simple. The couple would need to identify their goals, their availability and their acceptability of the norms of the club. Plus, they need to invest some money every time they swap a la the kitty system. 

Then came the rules: The men never discuss each other’s wives (this amounts to “impeachment” from the club). Swaps occur within a game (usually, role plays). People are not supposed to discuss anything with outsiders. Cellular phones are banned.

The money invested every time can be withdrawn up to 50 per cent anytime after the completion of six months within the club or eighth meetings whichever is less.

The next level of screening involves the women and is more of a social affair like a Sunday afternoon lunch party. It is highly unlikely, we were told, that a couple gets to swap the first time.

A round of five drinks later, the grilling came to an end. We would be called, I was told.

And the first lunch is always free.