I have largely been ignoring (voluntarily) the mess that is the Gen Petraeus Sex Scandal. I really don't have time. Maybe because I am just desensitized to it. Maybe because the affairs of folks I have no connection to don't move me. Now..had this been a sex scandal involving T.I and Tiny....I might have taken pause for the cause.
The media loves a titillating story about sex and scandal and power and things of that nature. What was MOST disturbing to me was the hidden rhetoric surrounding the sex scandal. It was as if Gen PootyBooty had no "control" over the situation. Even that wise ol' sage of the Lord Pat Robertson said that the good ol General couldn't help it. The woman was "attractive" and a Jezebel.... to put it simply: He is a man. He was bound to cheat. Duh.... He was in a foreign country and was "lonely" (never mind his vows to his wife of over 30 years). And besides...Jezebel was a pretty. No..an 'extremely attractive woman" who was a "marathon runner" so obviously she was in shape and good in bed. Right?
This is Gen Petraeus and the hussy/ghost writer he had the affair with. Eh. I wouldn't call homegirl "extremely attractive". I mean..she could stand some oil control on her forehead *shrug*
And then there is Mrs. Holly Petreaus...
That woman looks like someone's lovely grandmother who bakes a mean apple crisp, goes to church on Sunday and gives the best hugs. Maybe I am biased but.........I wanna have a cup of tea with this lady. Now, does this make her "asexual" or "desexualized"? Absolutely not. I am sure she was a fox back in the day..but who cares about that.
In comparison to the hussy her man cheated with, she is different. Ugly? No. Just different. There is an obvious gap in generation here. But the rhetoric of the media is this: Of course Gen. Petty Dick was gonna cheat. Look at his wife. She is old, ugly, and fat. Duh.... Never mind that Mrs. Petraeus is smart. Super smart. She is multi-lingual and graduated Summa cum Laude from college, Never mind that the woman devoted her life to this man and to other military families, was a financial wiz, and an ally of Elizabeth Warren.
This is what happens when a man cheats. It isn't about the man usually. It is about women's bodies. Comparing our bodies to others. Using our bodies as sexual commodities and pawns in the sexual system of exchange. Gen Petraeus becomes the victim: He couldn't resist the feminine sexuality of a younger sexual commodity. It's like being in a shoe store. Used shoes don't look as good as brand new ones. Never mind that his wife birthed two kids. Or that she has endured endless time of his military service. I'd look not so hot either...
At first, I was gonna do a "sternly worded letter" to Gen. Loose Dick Loose Lips...but I felt that wasn't even necessary. He knows what he did wrong.
So I want to say a few words to Mrs. Petraeus. Why? Because I want to. Even though I am younger, I've been there too.
Dear Mrs. Petraeus:
I would call you Holly but I think that is out of order. You seem like a great and SMART woman. and I love smart women. You are accomplished and have had a wonderful life it seems. You've devoted yourself to your family and to causes near and dear to you.
While I may be about 30 (or 40) years your junior, I feel the need to say this. I've been there. I've been cheated on by my spouse with no real explanation/whack explanation. I blamed myself. I blamed my behavior. But it wasn't about me. At all. And I want to tell you this:
It isn't about you. NEVER has been. Never will be. It's about your fool-ass husband and his breaking of vows.
While the news of your husband's affair has rocked you to your core (and hey...you may have had sneaking suspicions before this...), I want to tell you this isn't about you. No amount of makeup. Or new hairstyle. Or weight loss plan could make your husband NOT turn away from you. You can be warm and kind. You can be a bitch or not. You can be everything he wanted in a wife and partner and he could have still cheated. IT is about the choices he made. Not about your lack in any area of your life.
You've had well over 30 years of wear and tear as a wife of a military man. It isn't easy. And while I profess to not understanding, I do have a father who was in the military. so trust and believe I know the behavior of these men. It's pathological the nature to which they feel the need to validate themselves with sex. To feel powerful and wanted because honestly, no one has ever told them no.
It's not even about the other woman who knew he was married. We can slut-shame her all day but that isn't helpful. She isn't the one who made vows to you. Furthermore, please do not feed into the comparison of yourself to this woman. You two are of two different generations and two different life experiences. Your body is yours. Her body is hers. Your beauty is yours and her body is her own. Your body is your own lived experience. You are a smart woman and you know this. Plenty of gorgeous women have been cheated on. Jennifer Aniston ring a bell?
People may be telling you to leave this man. Honestly, I wouldn't advise that. It is about you. But most importantly, do not feed into this media madness that involves you and comparing this other woman. This isn't about a whore/Madonna complex that society seems to feed into. We can't call this woman a Jezebel because we don't know her story. It is about you, this man and your relationship. Period.
Besides...you are smart. SUPER smart. And that makes you sexy and desirable above all others.
One Young Smart Divorcee who has Been there. Done that. And Got the T-shirt.