WARNING – DO NOT READ THIS IF YOU WERE ONE OF THE PEOPLE WHO GOT MAD AT ME WHEN I DIDN’T CARE THAT WHITNEY HOUSTON DIED!
John Edwards came up in conversation with a few friends, after I posted “To Vote or Not To Vote.” Three friends asked why I left him out, as they think he’s such a creep. Yeah, he’s obviously a creep but…to tell you the truth, I always thought Mrs. Edwards was a creep too; her ugliness hid behind her illness. She gained public sympathy by acting as if she didn’t know what sort of man her husband was.
MQA will now disclose its views on – aghast! – infidelity, by way of examples, specifically politicians. (I find it necessary to preempt these opinions by saying “Dear reader, Hold your horses. I am simply commenting on the female party that we generally don’t point fingers at because of some antiquated “hold the door for a lady” nonsense; or in Mrs. Edwards’s case “She made him what he was!” Also, if this seems black and white, I know it’s not, I’m just keeping this under 1000 words.)
Let’s start with the ’80s beefcake, prize-husband of Maria Shriver. When the story broke about Arnold Schwarzenegger’s infidelity and his teenage love child, the part that set my eyes rolling was the immediate display of fists raised high, in unity for Maria. I watched Oprah do it, as some sort of female power statement.
You want to know what I thought? I thought BULLSHIT! If anybody knows what kind of cad Arnold Schwarzenegger is, it is Maria Shriver, his wife. In any story regarding the infidelity of a public figure (examples include NJ governor Jim McGreevey, John Edwards, and Bill Clinton to name a few) I usually do not feel bad for the wife.
Any wife (or mostly any wife, for I suppose some really are tricked) who doesn’t know that her husband is cheating, is a cheater or is a man who wants to cheat is either one of a two things: a liar or a woman not paying attention to her husband.
The thing that pissed me off about the display of national sympathy for Maria Shriver was that nobody seemed to point the finger at her. She saw that kid, who clearly looked like her husband, for years. It was the sympathy that I despised because it’s fake compassion and, in this case, compassion for humiliation. What about that poor kid? The whole world should have felt bad for him, a child caught in the middle of some bastardization story, and not for some skinny bobble-headed, power-hungry liar.
And again, in the case of Edwards, the baby is the source of shame here. That story wouldn’t have been such a big deal if the initially denied lovechild wasn’t involved. And that is SO disgusting…”Oh, poor, fat, sick Mrs. Edwards!” Her public humiliation is so fundamentally more valuable than that of the existence of an innocent baby…you know…those things everybody wants as pets they can dress up and take to the zoo?
That story grossed me out but, again, mostly over the public displays of sympathy for Mrs. Edwards. She had no idea what kind of person he is, what the true character of her husband is, right? Also… only a real low-life, who on finding out they are terminally ill, would join and encourage her husband to run for president. “I only have a year or two to live? Well instead of spending that precious time with my young children playing Yahtzee, I know, let’s get on a bus and campaign instead! That’s not stressful, power-hungry or creepy at all! Who wouldn’t want a dead first lady? If he wins, and I die while he’s in office, he’ll get his second term by sympathy alone! And THAT would be the greatest gift I could ever give my children! God Bless America!”
Why isn’t the woman who is married to the cheater ever confronted and simply asked “Do you have sex with your husband? Do either of you enjoy it? If you are having a platonic marriage, is it somewhere set in stone that your husband should live like a eunuch?”(Christ, that word is gross, even how it looks.) “Finally…admit it, you turned a blind eye as you ate Rocky Road watching True Blood in your cats-playing-with-a-ball-of-yarn pajamas and hoped for the best, fingers crossed, praying he uses condoms because the last blow job you gave him was two decades ago.”
There is some unspoken, ancient understanding that marriage is holy, that this tradition is so magnificent and important that children born of it are more valuable than those born of infidelity. Seriously, think about that… think about Maria and Mrs. Edwards and then think about Arnold’s teen son and Rielle’s baby. A tradition (an IDEA) trumps innocent human life in society’s eyes. THAT IS SICK.
I’m not the best person to come crying to when the receptionist at your husband’s job ruined your marriage by flirting with your husband, even going as far as to email him photos of herself naked on a bed, touching herself, with the words “thinking of you” in the Subject line.
This exact scenario happened to me once a few years ago. A woman I did not know very well told me this very story. I did my best to be sympathetic. I tried to conceal my chomping at the bit when she asked if I wanted to see the photo. I tried to put on the metaphorical tie she needed me to wear to match her dress and act a shocked female. “How could he!” But all I could think was “Oh man, women just don’t get guys at all. I can just see this lady, dragging her husband through The Container Store, neurotically organizing every drawer of their lives to neat and tidy, stainless steel perfection. How can she be surprised he’d jump at the chance to feel something, not just schedule their lives 36 months in advance?”
The thing is, if your marriage is good – no, great – no receptionist’s money shot photo can rock it. No comely Monica Lewinsky, no devil in a jizz-stained blue dress, can lure your man away. I know plenty of marriages that are unbreakable and filled with love. Love and passion that is a two-way street, visible to the naked eye, and that is something I’d defend and deeply hope to have myself someday. But I would never defend an idea or tradition over the truth. I just don’t think that the spouse of a cheater is an absolute victim and held completely blame-less.
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