A French psychologist seeks to "rehabilitate infidelity": men's, that is.
I was sort of dispirited, in Alice Walker's "open letter to Tiger Woods," to see Walker say that she "support(s) you in your effort to try to crash out of a life that you had outgrown." It smacks too much of the sort of glib justifications that seem to come easily to some loose lips, and no one needs the validation. In a new book, Les hommes, l'amour, l'infidelite, French psychologist Maryse Vaillant makes the case for destigmatizing infidelity because it's basically "unavoidable."
I'll admit to puritanical leanings on the subject, both because I am lucky enough to come from a fiercely monogamous home and because I wouldn't wish the searing pain of infidelity on any woman. Of course, Vaillant explains away those poor saps who stay faithful: "'These are often men whose father was physically or morally absent. These men have a completely idealized view of their father and the parternal function. They lack suppleness and are prisoners to an idealized image of a man of duty."
There's pragmatism, there's relativism, and then there's old-fashioned double-standards. I couldn't quite credit Vaillant's message and so I ordered the book and broke out the French dictionary. And, yup, that's the gist of it: Vaillant takes a traditional view of men: fundamentally frail (her innovation is in casting that as a virtue.) And, in her view, it's women's role to get over it. Indeed, embrace it. It's a funny conundrum to find oneself both too old-fashioned and too modern to be receptive. Dommage.