Too Beautiful for You
Does anyone else remember that movie? It was a French movie from the period that produced the very worst French movies. The Serpentine One once described them as movies in which people did stupid, self-destructive things for no obvious reason and then the movie ended with no clear resolution.
I guess the one thing you could say in favour of movies where people do stupid, self-destructive things for no obvious reason is that they accurately reflect modern life. The thing about Too Beautiful was that the hero was married to a sophisticated and elegant woman and had an affair with a crass and inelegant one. You may or may not want to look, but suffice to say that the Arnold Schwarzenegger affair is looking a whole lot like the one described in Too Beautiful.
The good news is that you don't have to look to get the point. This sort of thing happens often enough in life that it has almost certainly happened to a woman you know and perhaps it has even happened to you. If you don't know a sophisticated and elegant woman whose husband or boyfriend had an affair with a crass or inelegant woman you will certainly know a sophisticated and elegant woman whose marriage or relationship broke up and then her ex took up with a crass and inelegant woman.
And the odd thing in these cases is that the sophisticated and elegant woman loses something in our eyes. For no matter how much we may sneer at the crass women whom Arnold and others like him have their affairs with, we can't help but think that, however wonderful she otherwise might be, there must be something ... something ... something cold about that sophisticated and elegant woman.
It's funny because in every other way, the woman wins. In the court of public opinion the man is the bum here and Arnold will be condemned widely for this just as Tiger Woods was. But there will be this sense in the back of our heads that somehow Maria Shriver and Elin Nordegren failed as wives and even if we are too polite to say it aloud (well you, as I can hardly make such a claim) we'll think it and our combined thoughts will hover around haunting poor Maria and Elin and other women in their predicament.
The thing is that I think it makes no sense at all to look into the facts of the case. This whole Arnie story has an inexpressible tawdriness about it and the more we read about it, the cheaper we become. No, the enigma here is psychological. We are programmed to think this way; that is to assume that a wife has a duty not to be cold.
Was it Stendhal who said he'd rather have his wife try to stab him twice a year than to always have to look on a sour expression? This the fear every woman has to have: that some lesser woman will come along and steal her man's affections away by being warmer and more appreciative.
They say that our nightmares about falling stem from a period long ago in human evolution when our ancestors lived and slept in trees. That fear is then just a useless vestige in our psychological make up. You can't quite say the same about the fear that women have that another woman will move in on their man and win the day by being warmer and more appreciative.
At the risk of offending every right-thinking person in the universe, let me say that I think it is a very healthy fear and one every woman should have and, more importantly, that she should work on building and maintaining her character such as to minimize the risk that any lesser woman can steal her man's affections this way.