High Infidelity

When I first heard the news about Arnold Schwarzenegger  and Maria Shriver, my friend Angela and I were listening to the BBC radio in London.  The first thing that came to mind was “It took her long enough!”, and we laughed about it.

But never in my wildest dreams did I imagine the scope of just how damaged the man was as a husband.  (Not that I spent hours thinking about this.)

Years after the infamous groping scandal during his gubernatorial campaign — which his wife stood fiercely by and defended him throughout — the world would come to learn that the man who gained fame by playing such complex and cerebral characters as “Conan the Barbarian” and “The Terminator” had fathered a child with his housekeeper of 20 years.  It would appear that he’s a better actor than we thought, as he kept the affair and child, who’s reportedly as old as his youngest child with his wife, a secret up until his run as Governor of California ended.

All jokes about his acting, accent, bodybuilding past, horn-dog and political histories aside… even though there’s obviously so much to work with… the real story is how Arnold, like so many other men in powerful positions, managed to convince himself, his family and the public that he was an upstanding citizen all while living a major lie for over a decade.  Unfortunately, it’s become all too typical to hear stories of politicians in sex scandals, and it’s a common (stupid) practice that dates back centuries to a bygone era before people could choose who was even in power.  The new class of elected lotharios have Bill Clinton, John Edwards, Eliot Spitzer, and Mark Sanford amongst their growing list of poster boys.  For Maria, it’s just another day of being a Kennedy scion, having uncles that have had the most notorious and public roving eyes and other parts.  For some reason, they’re not completely satisfied screwing just the voters. 

But truthfully, what drives such behavior?  Is it a “God complex” where they feel no repercussions from their actions?  Are they so emotionally spent from the pressures of having to satisfy their constituency that they need to release their tensions in ways that a session in the gym or masturbation won’t suffice?  Are their marital partners picked more for professional and political leverage than connubial support?

Now we’re on to something…

The Hillarys, Jackies, et al have all been extraordinary women with noteworthy pedigrees and powerful careers and personalities to match.  In many cases, their husbands have called on their spouses to use their influence and Rolodexes to make their political aspirations come to fruition.  With the exception of Laura Bush, who was a librarian, and perhaps a few more domesticated examples in history, the modern political wife more often than not tend to be lawyers, businesswomen, or heiresses.  At best, they open doors and provide an understanding of the lifestyle they signed up for.  On the flip side, they sometimes outshine their husbands in popularity once the voters’ increasing demands begin to take its toll, and occasionally the often forceful, opinionated and influential persona that made them so successful in their former careers become undesirable bedmates once the inaugural ball is over.

As much of a colossal douchebag as Arnold may be, I’m a little cautious about the shock being expressed by Shriver.  As I’d read in a news report, during the campaign in 2003, while his wife went on the defense and denied the groping allegations, Schwarzenegger himself never did.  For a woman who spent her entire life around philandering men, and years as an investigative journalist and media personality, I’m not all too convinced that she was as clueless as much as she simply looked the other way because historically that’s what the women in her family did.  She’s a strong, smart woman who is very capable of manipulating the media  — as displayed in the fact that it took months for news of the split to become public — and possibly even her muscle-for-brains husband who now outranks Mel Gibson as the most hated faded action star of the moment. 

My heart still goes out to her.  In the past two years, the woman has lost both of her parents and is now grappling with the collapse of her 25-year marriage, for which she gave up her prominent career to be First Lady of California.  The worst part is the public humiliation and scrutiny that won’t likely see the end of day anytime soon, and the idea her four children will be subjected to it all for years to come.  But something tells me she’s going to be just fine, and as despicable as the acts of her husband and housekeeper may have been, they provided her with the necessary motivation she needed to free herself and her family from a bad situation.

But what of the “Sperminator” and the rest of his ilk?  Do they ever really learn from their transgressions?  Does it always have to end in a disastrous, publicly embarrassing and emotionally and psychologically crippling ordeal for their trusting loved ones?  At what point does the head of one’s penis begin to think in place of the one on top of the body?  Furthermore, at what point does it become a non-issue that the adrenaline rush of being naughty with someone of lesser stature like the intern, prostitute or domestic employee, overtakes the risk of losing your family, friends and the faith of the people who made you who you are? 

Granted, women aren’t immune from making horrible and costly mistakes, but if you can show me a woman in power who’s allowed herself to be toppled by a sexual indiscretion, I’ll show you the DNA evidence that reveals an exorbitant amount of XY chromosomes. 

If you’re thinking what I’m thinking… the answer is he should know better.  Michelle spends a lot of time in the gym, and she will open up a can of whoop ass and not even care about the Secret Service.  In fact, she may just give them a taste too if they try to get in her way.

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