Sunday, December 6, 2009
A DOG IN TIGER'S CLOTHING? A Modern Fairy Tale
Tiger Woods' recent behavior inspired my own bit of naughtiness last week — I bought the New York Post everyday. It wasn't enough to scan the digital headlines when I signed onto Yahoo or wait for HuffPost's humorous commentary. I needed the latest ink, and nothing gets your hands dirtier than the Post.
Post reporters followed the story closer than a NY senator with the keys to the chamber: the 2:25am car accident, the Woods' refusal to talk to the Florida Highway Patrol, the two-page spread of sexy Rachel Uchitel's non-confession and the pleading, if initially confusing, voicemail where Tiger allegedly begged Rachel to "remove your name from your phone." (I pictured Tiger making that furtive call from the driveway after taking the trash out.)
Sure, it was entertaining, but no one part of the story really delivered on its salacious potential. No three-ways, no foot fetish, no cross-dressing. Tiger's idea of a sexy dream was to be married to his girlfriend and catch her in bed with two men. WTF? He never even asked anyone to dress like a caddy and ferry his balls around.
What fascinated me most was the Post's employment of so many antiquated terms in their reporting: words like mistress, extramarital affair and homewrecker, as in Ms. Uchitel's protest that these rumors made her, "...look like a home wrecker and an a--hole." Also serial cheater. The only outdated name calling I missed was dog, as in, "it just goes to show you that all men are dawgs."
Implied in all these terms is an outdated notion, that women — mothers with young children, or single women — are at the mercy of a man's reckless behavior. For a very long time in our culture infidelity could literally wreck a home and endanger everyone in it. But with women representing 46.8% of today's workforce, a cheating spouse is not the economic devastation it once was for a woman. Neither Ms. Uchitel nor Ms. Woods are out on the street as a result of any alleged dogging around Tiger might have done.
I'm not dismissing the heartbreaking, ego-puncturing reality of an affair, nor am I ignorant to the real costs of divorce, two-home economies or the emotional fallout for kids. I'm just glad that, for once, this story did not end with a press conference featuring feigned apologies from the contrite male celebrity with the tearful, pathetic wife standing slightly to his left.
Tiger put himself in the doghouse here. Elin is not the victim, he is — of his own immaturity and arrogance — and the only thing exposed is his view of women as trophies to be won or contracts to be renegotiated. Rachel, and potentially a number of other women, acted recklessly too, carrying on with a very public, married man.
In this story, the men and women equally acted like a--holes — but I don't consider that a tragedy — I consider it progress.