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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Just not that big a deal

One of the myths we were taught in grade school was that the Puritans came to America to escape religious persecution. In fact, they came here because they were not allowed to persecute others the way they wanted to back in England. (Why do you think they were called Puritans?)

Our puritanical heritage has not totally disappeared, as we have seen in the reaction to Tiger Woods' flings, which seems all out of proportion to the deed. Tiger didn't kill his wife, nor did he hit her. He merely succumbed to some extracurricular temptation.

In Europe, such an affair would not even be a scandal. (The Italians would consider it more scandalous if Berlusconi stopped chasing young women.) Yet over here, it's front page news, though it belongs on Page Six.

The sexual attraction between any couple will fade, no matter how attractive the partners. And that ring on your finger doesn't prevent you from being attracted to other people. Europeans are realistic about this. Americans should be.

I've noticed over time that the people who become the most outraged by others' affairs are almost always those with no such opportunities themselves. Think of the people you know. It's always plain women, or older women, who are most incensed by others' affairs; jealousy and envy seem to be the key emotions here. I've never heard a beautiful woman spit venom at the idea of an affair (unless it's her husband's). And men tend to be less outraged about it in general, because they know what they would do if presented similar opportunities.

I'm not saying that having an affair is right. Merely that it shouldn't be front page news.

Very few people list "Puritan" as their religious affiliation these days, but in this country their influence has not entirely vanished.

1 comment:

Steven said...

Britain is definitely with America and not the rest of Europe on this.