Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Sorry State of Tiger's Apology*

Far be it from me to jump on a celebrity-bashing bandwagon, but...
there was just something not quite right about Tiger Woods' apology.

I'm not talking about the staged feel of it, nor the micro-management; not the absence of both his wife and his wedding ring; not the refusal to take questions nor the question of how sincere he really was; not even the issue of whether a public apology was even called for, as Tiger's transgressions were a private family matter after all - at least, as far as we know.

All of the above has been sufficiently chewed-over.

What bothers me is the following passage:

I knew my actions were wrong. But I convinced myself that normal rules didn't apply. I never thought about who I was hurting. Instead, I thought only about myself. I ran straight through the boundaries that a married couple should live by. I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to. I felt that I had worked hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me. I felt I was entitled. Thanks to money and fame, I didn't have far -- didn't have to go far to find them.

As a woman, that translates into "my wife wasn't enough for me."

Now I can hear all you men screaming out there that I'm wrong,  it has nothing to do with how much (or whether) you love your wife, it's about conquest and power blah blah blah.

I don't care.

The phrase "I had worked hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me" would be appropriate in reference to cheesecake or expensive gadgets and trips.

Not women.

I do realize that many men would, without hesitation, jump at the chance to have sex with beautiful women whenever and wherever they want. I get that. What bothers me is the implication in this statement that sex outside of marriage is unilaterally a good thing.

There may be many good things about it but there are also consequences, no matter how much fame and money you have, and even if you are never caught. Consequences not only to your family and the other women but to your own emotional state.

For one, you destroy the emotional intimacy that marriage is meant to create. For another, you live in fear that you will be discovered, and all your hard-earned wealth and fame will be endangered - just as it was for Tiger.

There are more but I won't belabour.

"I ran straight through the boundaries that a married couple should live by" not only implies, but says outright, that Tiger Woods felt impeded by his marriage vows.

And just in case the audience might have missed it the first time, Tiger repeated,

I don't get to play by different rules. The same boundaries that apply to everyone apply to me.


Tiger sees his marriage as a box, a prison sentence, a place full of rules and boundaries. Where is the love, the support, the friendship, the nurturing that goes on in a home with small children? Where is the appreciation of having a friend and partner, someone you know so well and love so much, with you in mind and body, every single day?

Tiger used the words "integrity", "character" and "decency" as virtues he will aspire to. He makes it sound as if he will have to use all the discipline that he applies to his athletic training in order to live within the "boundaries" of his marriage.

I have a lot of work to do. And I intend to dedicate myself to doing it.

He just doesn't get it.

As a woman, this would not be what I'd want to hear in the course of an apology. This would not be what I'd want to hear, ever.



*Please forgive the pun. Couldn't help myself.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Then and Now


It's (cringe) Valentine's Day! Perfect time to start up the blog again.
Actually, any day is a perfect time for that. It just happens to be Feb. 14.

In lieu of producing actual new content, I've decided to recycle one of my journal entries from ten (TEN!) years ago, with updated commentary. Enjoy (or not):

THEN:

LUPERCALIA

 I wasn't going to do this. I tried to ignore it. I told Hubby and kids not to get or do anything because I wasn't "into" it this year. And the wretched word "valentine" hasn't appeared in this journal yet.. until now. (Whoops I just realized I used it last entry. Nevermind.)

 Of course I'm a day late, as usual. As I write this, the 14th is over and my home is a valentine-free zone (except for Older Son's room.. girlfriend, you know.)

NOW:

I'm getting better. Not a whole day late, maybe half a day since this will be posted in the evening.
For the record, "Hubby" is now "The Ex" and the "kids" are grown and on their feet. Mother is very proud.
 

THEN:

The older I get, the more I detest holidays that have become blatantly commercialized. Anything that sends you off to the mall muttering "I have to get something for A and something for B.." is bad. I don't want anything that someone feels they have to get me. (Well, unless it's jewellery, maybe.)

 NOW:

Chocolate has joined jewellery in the *approved* category. 

 
 I'm all for love, in all its forms, romantic and otherwise.. I grew up in the 60's after all.. but this holiday isn't about love, it's about making sure you don't piss off the people who are important to you.
 

It starts in childhood, at school. I still remember the sinking feeling in my stomach when I didn't receive as many valentines as the other kids.
 Some teachers try to avoid this by making it compulsory for everybody to send cards to the entire class, but then it's meaningless... 



...or even harmful. Having to give the same kind of card to the kid who smells bad and picks his nose as you give to your secret crush can cause serious cognitive dissonance and teaches a bunch of life lessons, most of which are probably wrong. (Furthermore if the kid who picks his nose IS your secret crush, you've got much bigger problems.)

And need we even go into the issue of same-sex valentines?



While society now seems to recognize the issues that some singles may have on a day dedicated to shopping I mean love...

...this holiday is also difficult for those in unhappy relationships.  The unrelenting media hoopla sends the message that if you're not fulfilled in love, (or even if you are but your lover forgets to shop for you) then you're a loser. Not to mention those who have lost loved ones through no fault of their own. I don't think that leaves a large percentage of the population unscathed.

I am now pleased to report that having no relationship is better than having an unhappy one. For me, anyway.

This holiday has come a long way from its origins... and it might be argued, gone full circle. A quick web search revealed that Valentine's Day is generally accepted to have come from the pagan festival of Lupercalia. Lupercus was a Roman god whose duty it was to keep the wolves from the door (literally).
(Symbolism, anyone?)
On this feast day which was Feb. 15, a name-drawing ritual was held, wherein young men drew the names of young women from a box, and got to keep the woman for the year.
Christianity eventually put an end to Lupercalia and the lady lottery, substituting the name of a martyred saint, Valentine, and a saint lottery, for choosing the name of a someone to emulate for the year. Not much fun for the boys, anymore.


Pity I didn't link to that source. I tried to replicate the search but came up with some academic killjoy who says there's no evidence to support the lottery thing. There is  more info here  on what really must have gone on (naked carousing, animal sacrifice) but I still like the first story better.



I doubt that Valentine's Day is perceived as a Christian holiday anymore, and we even forget to use the "St." most of the time. The fact that it's allowed into American public schools must mean it's devoid of any religious content.


I was being facetious. Really.


So we're back to a courting ritual with heavy sexual overtones, and heavier commercialization,


a  conclusion also reached by columnist Mark Morford, who wrote a similar (and much better) article in 2003:
...the church both succeeded in their hostile takeover, and failed miserably. Sure Valentine's Day is all romance and sentiment and Malaysian-made stuffed teddy bears on the outside, but it's all raw oysters and sly spankings and salacious romps and whipped-creamed nipples and soft divine bedroom cooing, inside.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2003/02/14/notes021403.DTL&nl=fix#ixzz0fYsVpTHs

In the original post I rhetorically asked whether love had anything to do with it at all. Some feedback at the time suggested that any event that encourages a show of affection is a good thing. This is true, as long as the affection is sincere and not limited to one day out of the year. 
And don't forget the chocolate.