Thursday, 15 April 2010

This whole sordid affair

You’d have to be blind and possibly deaf to have missed the stories of infidelity that have been populating the papers recently. There was Ashley Cole, John Terry, the now infamous Tiger Woods, Jesse James, to name but a few. In the US recently the beautiful Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon apparently outed her husband of 9 years by an email to his work colleagues for having cheated on her for 5 of those years. As a married woman or a woman dating for that matter, you cannot help but start sleeping with one eye open. Let’s face it, if beautiful women like Cheryl Cole, Sandra Bullock and the quintessentially Swedish Elin Nordegren can be cheated on, often with less than desirable looking women, then what chance do we ordinary cellulite-burdened females have?

I guess if I’m honest none of the stories came as a surprise, not because I could somehow foresee that these men were going to cheat but because a man cheating is hardly newsworthy in my humble opinion. It has been happening since time immemorial and I suspect will continue for as long as there are relationships. What is amusing is the media’s reaction to it all, their feigned indignation and readiness to crucify these men. Not that I’m suggesting for a second that they deserve anything less than crucifixion but perhaps not by the equally immoral members of the media. It also smacks of disingenuous journalism to pretend that it is shocking for a married man to be having a flirtatious exchange by text or twitter with women as was the case with former T 4 presenter Vernon Kay. Apparently they call it sexting and it is as bad as a full blown affair; that is according to the journalists who stalked him and covered the story with such fervour.

I can’t help but ask out loud ‘Who on earth are we kidding?’ Unless you’re a teenager, inexperienced, idealistic and a little ‘green’ where relationships are concerned, there is no reason for you to think that the majority of people in relationships, men and women alike go through their lives without what some would term ‘transgressions’ . Granted monogamy is the accepted norm but people like Bill Clinton, John Major, John F Kennedy, Prince Charles and then the more famous but less powerful Jude Law, Eric Benet and Hugh Grant do not have two heads. Nor are they from another planet, the only difference between them and the ordinary man in the streets is that they are public figures. We can scrutinise them thanks to the increasingly voracious paparazzi. So many of us are also quick to point the finger and start our public witch hunts as though we were so morally pure that these men have offended our very beings. It is hypocrisy in its highest form and rather than feed us with lies that infidelity is some shocking phenomenon that Tiger Woods invented, the media should be putting these stories into perspective. Infidelity happens and yes we caught these famous men with their pants down much to our delight but there is no need for psycho analysis babble about why men cheat or what women should do to stop it from happening. People cheat....and as the American adage goes ‘Get over it’.

Essence magazine ran a forum on infidelity – this very new phenomenon that requires our attention and understanding and I read a few exchanges with people, mostly men telling despondent women what they needed to do to keep their men from cheating. After a few comments about pleasing him and ‘taking care of your business’ – euphemism for giving him sex when he wants it, I thought to myself ‘enough already’ and switched off. I think it’s great that these affairs of famous people which have been made public gives us all something to talk about and creates an easy news story for the media but frankly after a while it all becomes a little dull. At a personal level, people should deal with their own realities and not succumb to pressure from society or the media. I’m almost certain that if the media had not been so vociferous about numerous affairs, a lot of these women would never have left their husbands having found out about their infidelity. I feel sorry for the likes of Sandra Bullock, Cheryl Cole, Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon and Elin Nordegren because even if they wanted to give their husbands a second chance, they would be compromising their public personas. The media would subtly chastise them by raising the issue at every opportunity and transforming them into either the stoic Mrs Clinton type whose ‘forgiveness’ was viewed as political expediency or the pathetic victim of infidelity to be pitied until they decide to walk away with what little dignity is left. Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon has removed her options having gone public herself, any u-turn now in favour of working things out with Mr ‘not even remotely cute’ Nilon would make her seem pathetic and desperate so the lesson perhaps is to work it out in your head and then your home before telling all and sundry. It may well be a woman’s prerogative to change her mind, but going back to a cheating spouse after swearing blind you won’t, may turn you into the headline guest at a Pity-fest!

One question I feel we should be asking is ‘Who are we to judge’ – how many of us can say with absolute certainty that we have never cheated, either physically or emotionally. Thanks to Facebook, we seem to be rekindling all types of previously defunct relationships, leaving ourselves open to flirtations which we would hate for our partners to see. To the one in a million who says that they do not and have never fallen in this category, I would commend them but add they are a rarity and rather than pretend that the exception is the norm, wouldn’t it be better for us to acknowledge and then find a way to deal with the norm. If every woman left her husband because of infidelity, many of us ‘children’ would not be here today.

The bottom line is that we must acknowledge that, like shit, infidelity happens – and it can happen to both men and women so let’s not for a second assume that this is a flaw reserved for the male species only. We then have to close the door to outside influences and work out the best way forward with our partners. There are no hard and fast rules and every relationship is going to be different but it helps to realise that you are not alone. In fact the female lawyer representing you through your divorce may well be going through the same thing and may have decided to stick with her unfaithful husband. If on the other hand you are not looking for solutions as this so-called ‘sweeping epidemic’ hasn’t hit you yet, then sit back and enjoy the various ‘kiss and tell’ stories but be careful how loud you laugh because your partner may have more in common with Ashley, Tiger, Bill and Eric than you realise.

1 comment:

Brenda said...

Tamara!!! I love loVE LOVE your blogs - just really discovered them the last couple of days. So good I've put you on my fav banner! Wish more got to read you. I must say you are very on point with your observations. You keep me nodding, smiling and thinking at your truths. Keep it up my dear. I must admit that at the mo I am soooo out of the loop; 'mennin' my brood in Cairo 'burbs - VERY VERY different from anywhere I've been or done!
Love n hugs to y'all, Brenda