Monday, June 16, 2008

Pretty as protection

I was reading a forum recently and a woman was explaining that she felt uncomfortable because another woman was flirting with her husband at work. The responses she got were naturally supportive, blah blah.

What struck me was that many of them pointed out how attractive she herself is, this to indicate she need not worry.

This feeds into the notion that infidelity happens only if one of the parties has let themself go (or perhaps suggests less attractive people who marry or are in a relationship should expect their partners to cheat)?

This must be a nonsense? It casts the blame back at the cheated-upon rather than cheater.

It's not true, surely, that people always cheat because they find another person more attractive and are "trading up". Nor is it true that by maintaining your appearance you can keep your partner faithful. I'm not saying that appearance has no affect on desire or anything, of course it can be a factor. But being attractive doesn't make you immune. Look at Princess Di and Camilla: on the face of it, should the physical be all then there would have been no contest.

I knew a really gorgeous woman whose bloke was constantly, er, wandering. I don't think pointing out that she was beautiful so didn't need to worry would have helped her any. Of course, nothing really would have helped apart from her not taking him back after the nth time, I guess.

I don't really know where I'm going with this, apart from it annoyed me, this emphasis on how she looked as if it could be a protection from him straying. It makes out that the bloke can only be concerned with appearances, thus is rather insulting and derogatory about men; bloke = superficial and dick-led. And it feeds into a blame-culture for women; they must keep striving to keep young and beautiful and if their partner is unfaithful, it must be down to their imperfections.

I'm not denying that if your partner lets things slide it may reduce their desirability in your eyes, but it's not a free pass to shag around, is it? I know the comments were meant to make her feel better, but ...

and then I just sort of tail off.


canadian sadie said...

Along the same lines...something that has always irked me is how women tend to always blame the 'other woman' when their partner strays.

The 'other woman' is not the one who has made a commitment to you and then broken their word--your PARTNER is. The blame should fall squarely on the shoulders of the cheater, not the person with whom they cheat.

And no, I agree, you cannot be assured of fidelity simply by virtue of being physically attractive. It's small consolation knowing that your friends think you're pretty if your partner has moved on in their heart. It's a foolish platitude to spout at anyone, and when that someone is ready to grasp at any straw, it's a careless and inconsiderate straw to offer.

Steg said...

Physical attractivity (?) is clearly not it. Where I used to live, an old school friend of mine and her husband had a house across the road. This woman was a beautiful girl when she was 16 and had matured into a jaw-droppingly attractive woman. Her husband continually messed around with women at work until she gave up on it.

Attraction is inside the head. It has very little to do with external appearance and, unfortunately, once it's gone there's no way to get it back.

Mephitis said...

Yes, good points, both. :)

I can sort of understand why the "other woman" comes in for more anger. If the wife decides to stay with her husband after he's cheated, then directing all the anger & hurt at him, however justified, can eat away at the relationship further. Directing the greater part at the other person is a sort of safe outlet, iyswim.

But it does still come from that place that men are helpless against women's wiles and have no control over their zippers, haha. :D