Before last night's debate finally ugh'd its way into the record books, the Presidential candidates' wives greeted one another onstage. And when First Lady Michelle Obama and First Romney Ann Romney met to shake hands, camera flashes captured every pursed lip, every microexpression. The pictures of the two tell a story of two well-dressed and slightly nervous women who aren't terribly comfortable around each other. And you know what that means: CATFIGHT!
The Daily Mail (sigh) chimes in today with some expert analysis on Romney and Obama's better halves in an article called Awkward! Wives in a rather forced show of affection as Barack opens debate with anniversary tribute to 'sweetie' Michelle. AWKWARD! The Mail couldn't help but notice that their smiles looked "forced" and their handshakes were "firm" when they met prior to the debate. They were "smiling politely!" Girlfight city, right?
What did the Mail expect them to do? Chest bump?
Granted, we should hardly expect convention-challenging commentary from the Mail. But this narrative — women are either BFF's or must hate each other — is tired. No one accuses football players who stiffly, automatically shake hands with rivals after a big game of being in a catflight. In order to technically be considered a "fight," there has to be a display of aggression or ill-will wishing. If an interaction can be described as "polite," then the people involved are not fighting.
Furthermore, how is the wives' meeting and looking slightly uncomfortable around each other AWKWARD but not the husbands' meeting, and then arguing onstage for 90 minutes not awkward? Michelle Obama and Ann Romney are two women who are active surrogates of their husbands' campaigns, which means that — temporarily, at least — their respective job is to diametrically opposed what the other is trying to do. I'd feel a little duped if they greeted each other like old friends who have just been playing like they're political antagonists this whole time. They disagree. One of the women's husbands wants the other woman's husband's job. It would be okay if they openly didn't like each other.
Although, come to think of it, seeing Ann Romney and Michelle Obama hold hands, jump up and down, and shriek enthusiastically when they saw each other like Leslie Knope and her best friend Ann would be pretty hilarious.