“…See I don’t want him, if he ain’t made no arrangement with you/ I hope you would’ve done the same thing for me too” – Erykah Badu from “Booty”
Can we stop lying to ourselves for a moment? Can we stop pretending like it’s some historical anomaly for the most power military general on the face of the planet to be having sex with more than one woman? We would do better as a society if we’d stop lying to ourselves about monogamy.
…I’m sorry. I wanted to start this story off with some cute antidote, or a lighthearted take on this situation, but this has gotten out of hand. Especially considering that this is the conversation we are having about Petreaus, and national security, at the time that we have a war going on in Afghanistan and bombings going on in Iraq and the Gaza Strip. Compared to great military leaders from the Bible like David & Solomon, Petreaus is a freakin’ saint.
It’s not that monogamy is outdated, but expecting it and demanding it from everyone is. Generations of women have told their daughters to not worry about their husband’s infidelities. They’ve been telling bridesmaids for years that “he’s a man and that’s what men do”. Why don’t they tell their daughters to have an honest relationship with the men in their lives? Instead, we tell people to exchange vows people are almost expected to break.
Men in Petraeus’ position have sex with many women. It’s not that being faithful and monogamous is impossible, but him being monogamous would be more amazing than him having relationships with women other than his wife. The most powerful General in the world has mistresses. I read a few chapter’s of Mrs. Broadwell biography of the General. Dr. Jones from The Even Place (a radio show I co-host on Sunday Morning’s) interviewed her earlier this year. Petreaus is a disciplined, brave and daring man. He’s been shot in the line of duty. Those type of men “get pussy”. It’s part of the whole living life on the edge thing men do, especially those who have stared death in the face. It’s just how it works. (I’m also careful here not to use the word “affair” or “cheating”. We literally don’t know what the arrangement was between Petraeus and his wife. She very well could’ve known that her husband was sleeping with other women. That is between them.)
The issue isn’t that Petraeus was in a relationship with a woman he wasn’t married to. He’s no longer in the Army, with its strict regulations on officers and extra-marital conduct. The issue was that the woman he had an affair with, despite her West Point education and her Ph.D candidacy, still handled her feelings of jealousy like a guest on the Jerry Springer show. Broadwell’s email threats to a woman she thought Petraeus was seeing, led to an investigation, by the FBI. That’s just unseemly, and it’s a risk to national security for the director of the C.I.A. to be that sloppy. I’m a little relieved. This “affair” leads us to ask some serious questions if we really want to discuss this on a level above soap operas:
Why is acknowledging that someone else can have a connection to your mate a reflection of one’s self-esteem?
Why is not loving anyone else proof that your mate loves you?
How obtuse are women like Ms. Broadwell, to get mad at another woman for playing the same game she was already involved in?
How crazy is it for a woman with her education, and dating the head of C.I.A., to think that sending threatening emails to an equally connected woman wouldn’t some how be traced to her?
But that’s beside the point. Now the same people who watch “Real Housewives of Atlanta” and “The Kardashians” finally know who the most powerful military man since Colin Powell is. That’s sad. This country is shameful for that reality. I wanted to be witty, and insightful, and clever, but I’m tired of this bullshit. Rachel Maddow (the only MSNBC show worth watching) did a whole segment on how the war in Afghanistan gets no press coverage, but a sex scandal gets everyone giddy and ready to report on our military. It’s sickening I’m giving the country until Friday to talk about this, then we must move on.