Monday, January 13, 2014

The French President Who Loved Women

L’amour, l’amour… toujours l’amour.

Yes, I invented this phrase, which surely does not need translating, when reflecting about the romantic saga taking place in the Elysee Palace, the French version of the White House.

For the record, my phrase is a variation on a line, apparently first uttered by French revolutionary Georges Danton, and later adopted by Napoleon and George Patton.

It is:

“L’audace, l’audace, toujours l’audace.

Clearly, in matters of the heart and loins, matters in which the French, as we know, are masters, France’s president, Francois Hollande is audacious.

Picture it. Every evening the president of France is perched on the back seat of a motor bike, driven by a member of his security detail to an assignation with his new lover, an actress named Juliet Gayet. If that was not the perfect mixture of love and audacity the words have no meaning.

Obviously, the nation that gave us the Story of O is far more sophisticated in erotic matters than the nation that gave us Hustler, n’est-ce pas?

But, while it was revolutionary for a former French president, Francois Mitterand to have fathered a child out of wedlock, those who have a longer memory recall that American president Grover Cleveland had already accomplished that very same task. Like Mitterand, Cleveland was elected to the presidency twice.

As for the current president of France cohabiting with an accomplished professional  woman who is not his wife, she being journalist Valerie Trierweiler, savvy observers note that he is merely following in the footsteps of New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, who has been shacking up with his girlfriend, namely Sandra Lee.

Aside from the complexities of defining such a role— First Lady does not seem quite right— the French president’s love life has never really bothered anyone. France has much bigger problems these days. No one much cared that  President Hollande did not bother to marry his previous paramour, Segolene Royale, who bore him his four children.

Good leftist that he is— and there is no better leftist than a French socialist— President Hollande strongly favors the feminist agenda. Apparently, he believes that marriage is a patriarchal institution designed to oppress women. He has done his part by refusing to insult and demean woman by marrying them.

The French are so sophisticated about these matters that the affair—whose exposure caused the president to take serious offense and to threaten to sue— will have little or no political impact.

Explain that to Mme Trierweiler.

One needs to point out that Trierweiler began her affair with Hollande while he was happily cohabiting with Segolene Royale… and while she was still married. By taking up with Trierweiler, Hollande was replacing an older woman with a younger woman.

Now he is replacing Trierweiler with the younger actress Gayet, To the untrained eye it appears that President Hollande is repeating himself. When his girlfriends reach a certain age he trades them in for  a younger model.

Like I said, the French are masters of the art of love.

By all appearances, good feminist Hollande cares about more than his lovers’ minds.

The sad part of the story, the only part that merits some psycho attention, is that Valerie Trierweiler, upon hearing that her inamorato’s affair had been splashed across the tabloid press, promptly had a nervous breakdown. She has been hospitalized for observation and rest.

One must accept— there’s no reason not to— that Trierweiler knew of the affair before it hit the tabloids. If your live-in lover was not spending the night in your bed you would probably notice. And you have to accept that she was at least willing to look away from her lover’s diversion.

For Valerie Trierweiler, fully liberated and sexually sophisticated, the ultimate horror was the humiliation… the fact that her private life had become public knowledge.

Apparently, the sense of shame is not so easily discarded. When it hits those who pretend to have overcome it, it hits them hard.

Sadly, we now learn that the French public blames Trierweiler. They never liked her anyway and never really cottoned to her being treated like the First Lady of France. Recent reports suggest that they believe that she was faking a nervous breakdown to manipulate Hollande into keeping her on as sort-of first lady.

Faking it… what was all that feminism good for if women still have to fake it? Does the French public believe that Trierweiler was being histrionic? It’s all so difficult to fathom.

Maybe marriage was not such a bad thing for women, after all.


Sam L. said...

What can I say, but that I am so bummed for her, and by the rotten attitude of the French as you reported it. Those callous French. I guess that's why they are called Frogs, for jumping from bed to bed.

Anonymous said...

I always thought it was Frederick the Great who said "Audace, audace, toujours l'audace."

Anonymous said...

I find the French endlessly fascinating. You could say I'm a Francophile. It's a source of frustration I've been too lazy to learn the language (altho I use phrases promiscuously). Rosetta Stone perhaps?

Louis XIV's younger brother was flamingly gay (can I say that?), with a like-minded entourage at court. He managed tho to have children, one a distinguished General.

Josephine had so many lovers (barely escaping the guillotine), she needed a Rolodex. When randy, Napoleon maintained a Waiting Room of naked nubile ladies (naked to guard against assassination attempts). Also perhaps, for efficiency.

When WW 1 started, they couldn't find Gen. Petain. He was at a hideaway w/his current lover.

In latest Vanity Fair, long article about tiny French lady (88 lbs) in her 80s. Wife of the late Alain Robbe Grillet, who introduced her to rather scary S/M. She lives in chateau w/female companion, & is now a celebrated Domina, with socially prominent acolytes of both sexes. Incredibly elaborate S/M rituals.

In A.Huxley's "The Devils of Loudoun", the French fascination w/clysters (enemas) is explored. In a Moliere play, a character offers to give a lady a clyster.

The novel "Gigi" is a rather creepy account of a wealthy Frenchman adopting young girl, w/plans to make her his mistress when she gets older.

"Thank Heaven For Little (French) Girls". Vive La France. -- Rich Lara

Sam L. said...

Yeah, Rich, that was my take on Gigi. Supposedly a really good, maybe great, well-known movie that I only saw after my children grew up (and, I think it was 6-11 years ago); I was appalled that the message I was getting was that the best thing this girl could aspire to was being some man's mistress.