August 22, 2008

Two Heads are Better Than One?

The Arnolfini Marriage, by Jan van Eyck, 1434

I suppose people can draw their own conclusions about John Edwards and Rielle Hunter’s affair. Undoubtedly, Edwards will garner an abundance of sympathy for his fall-from-grace. Especially when people dismiss sexual indiscretions as evolutionary urges. In other words, men just can’t stop themselves from behaving like Neanderthals. They see a girl with rosy cheeks, full bosoms and wide hips for birthin’, and they are ovah-whelmed with desi-ah to make a baby. Not that they want to care for that baby, but you know how society rationalizes bad behavior when it comes to sex…and power.

You’ll probably read this more than once on my blog, but it sure seems to me that people live down to their expectations. Give ‘em an excuse for acting badly and they’ll have no reason to stop themselves. That’s not an observation about males or females---beastly behavior is a gender-neutral opportunity for humans to be less than they’re capable of being.

Now that people like myself have power to speak about infidelity from the other end of the cuckold stick, we’re challenging notions of infidelity as a victimless crime. How do we, the betrayed who dare threaten the status quo, define infidelity? Is it wonderful? Natural? Harmless? Inevitable? Not really.

From our ground level perspective (which is where we find ourselves post-ambush) we say: Infidelity is Painful. Shocking. Victimizing. Subjugating. Controlling. Demeaning. It’s Heartbreaking.

Empathic people listen. They sooth our wounded hearts in the hopes of taking the edge off our suffering. They want to make everything okay and isn’t that a beautiful thing in the day and age of narcissism!

“There, there honey, don’t you cry,” good-hearted people say. “Your husband was just thinking with his other head.”

Other Head???

Hummmm…that’s a bizarre idea. Imagine telling a woman her husband has two heads! Had she known it was possible for a man to have two heads, she’d likely not have put him on a short list of potential donors for her children’s gene pool.

I can’t quite figure out whether a man with two heads means he’s doubly intelligent--or doubly instinctual. I’m guessing it means we won’t be setting a standard of higher expectations; nor will we be questioning his right to pick-and-choose an appropriate head depending on the situation.

If we assume men are powerless over instincts and always will be, then we can’t expect them to be fidel. In other words, assume a man to be infidel and voila, a woman’s faith and trust won’t be misplaced. After all, sexual privilege is a man’s birthright inherited from grandpa club-carrier, a brute of a man using sex to assert dominance over women and superiority over competitors: other men.

Then there’s this other problem that bothers me if we’ve concluded there’s nothing to be done with two-headed men pretending they only have one. When a woman complains that her husband presumes he’s the one making intelligent decisions, the gender police are quick to remind her she has nothing to fret about.

Didn’t she notice a woman was her husband’s neck? She can turn his head any which way she wants---if she’s willing to play his game.

What I’d like to know though, is this: which woman is which head’s neck?

You can call me an idealist, a feminist, or whatever you wish; but I’m not about to stuff myself in a man’s britches just to keep him pointed the direction I want him to go. Even if those pinch-pleated, steam-pressed Dockers had been ironed by myself.

When I hear a man excusing betrayal because his wife can’t understand him but the other woman can, I figure they’re communicating a language some of us never learned: two people connecting on the lowest common denominator, the language of the beasts.


Intentional Infidelity August 19, 2008


  1. You have such an intriguing blog. I will definitely come back to read more of you.

  2. This entry reminds me of something I read recently by an Egyptian woman discussing the effects of polygamy, as practiced in Eqypt, on women and the family. She explains that in Eqypt, men are allowed up to four wives. The men don't have to even tell the other wive(s). Seeking the other wive(s) approval isn't part of the equation, either. It's considered acceptable, even if it's just to get revenge on a wife after an argument. Wives, in turn, hide money from their husbands and make preparations for the day they discover they're not the only wife.

    The loss of trust and security devastates the whole family. Men are assumed to be beasts. Women take on the role of deception. It's not exactly a recipe for stability.

    The assumption that men are beasts incapable of controlling themselves is absurd. It does a disservice to men and women alike. Living down to expectations is an excellent way to describe it.

  3. Other head is a euphemism for part of his genitals, I think. That's how we've used it in this country anyway.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...