The New “Other Woman”

Author Bruce Feiler notes in today’s New York Times that he’s fallen for another woman:

I REMEMBER the first time I noticed. I was driving to Boston from my home in Brooklyn after an extended trip to California. In Los Angeles, the voice of my brand-new portable navigation device had guided me effortlessly through the maze of freeways and road rage like a graceful hostess — unflappable, efficient and with just enough sex appeal to give some sizzle to my protracted absence from my wife. Now, stuck on I-95 in Stamford, Conn., my charming companion had somehow been switched to a stern English schoolmarm.

Who replaced my Angelina Jolie with Margaret Thatcher, I thought. Has someone been snooping around my turn-by-turn directions? And that’s when I realized.

I had fallen for my GPS voice.

And I’m not alone, it turns out. At sites like and, the number of lewd comments about the voices of American Jill or Australian Karen seem more suited to a convention of 900-number users. A gay couple I know, meanwhile, had the opposite reaction. They were so turned off by the preinstalled female navigatrix that they switched her for a man’s voice, because “we find the women too judgmental.”

This spring, Gawker published an item about a television actor whose wife caught him alone in his car, enraptured by “the dulcet tones of the automated voice system.”

Has the GPS voice become the new “other woman” in American relationships? Has the seven-year itch given way to the 70 m.p.h. quickie?


Unlike my wife, my GPS voice is completely subservient. She gives me something I want and doesn’t ask anything in return. All I have to do is plug her in every now and then and she’s happy.

Our relationship is all about me.

And therein lies the boon to my marriage. Having someone around whose sole role is to serve me gives me what I want as a man (efficiency and attention) while not threatening what my wife wants as a woman (kindness and equality). With my GPS in the car, both my wife and I are happy. Three’s a charm.

Until the jealousy kicks in, that is.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. I may be weird, but I’ve always wanted a GPS voiced by R. Lee Ermey

    “In 300 yards you WILL make a right turn, you got that maggot?”