It's Valentine's Day again. Girls and boys, children and teenagers, men and women of various sizes, colors and ages parade sentiments about what they wish, think, enjoy, reflect or remember about this crazy thing called love.
It's a day named after a saint who lost his head, a strange if iconic symbol for falling in love. Cupid with his bow and arrow pierces hearts with hope, mixes memory with desire, aggression with passivity, pleasure with pain. Name your cliche and you can capture the moment that suits you. Democrats can even love Republicans; conservatives can fall for liberals. It's a day for fantasy.
In real life, as opposed to fairy tales, heroes do not capture heroines to ride off into the sunset of marriage to live happily ever after. How you see love and sex today may depend on where you live and what you do for a living. Politics can be more eloquent than poetics.
The French, who are credited with inventing the rules of l'amour, surprise us with their blase indifference to President Francois Hollande's unceremonious dumping of Valerie Trierweiler, his titular if synthetic first lady. On election night he declared that she was "the love of my life," but the light soon shorted out. When he began to secretly visit actress Julie Gayet, his first lady became a flawed "second" and checked herself into a hospital with "un coup de blues."
Washington's sympathy extended to the lady until her estranged partner arrived at the White House state dinner as the coveted single man. Place cards can be easily rearranged when the "significant other" becomes insignificant. C'est la vie.
Our own first ladies are not so easily dismissed. When Hillary lived in the White House she despised her husband's behavior with Monica Lewinsky, but she was too ambitious for suicide, politically speaking. Instead, she capitalized on misfortune. In a new book, "HRC" by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, we learn that she wrote a sympathy note to Gen. Petraeus when he was forced to retire after a bedtime misadventure became public. "I have a little experience," she said, looking from the other side of an adultery scandal. He remains a good and useful friend.
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