Let me get this straight. Mark Sanford, the Governor of South Carolina who went AWOL over Father’s Day weekend—abandoning his wife and four sons, lying to everyone by saying he was going hiking on the Appalachian Trail, only to instead fly to Buenos Aires, Argentina, to spend several days with his mistress—is intent on saving both his political office and his marriage?
And he explains his dilemma to the Associated Press (the world’s oldest and largest news gathering organization) by saying that this other woman is his soul mate, and that he is but a player in a great love story?
My wife and I heard the AP report. I asked her if she would take me back if I were to have an affair, get caught, and then ask her forgiveness. Oh yeah, and while she was pondering her decision—if in fact she were to take the time to ponder it—would it help if I explained to the whole world that this other woman was in fact my soul mate, and that we were embroiled in a great love story?
Never mind my wife’s response. My question is, what planet is this guy living on?
—Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina
The Straight Perspective: I believe (and i’m not sure, since I just live here on this little chunk of rock) that Mark Sanford lives on the same planet as a lot of guys like him. Luckily, there are lots of women there, too—the ones who stand up next to their philandering husbands at news conferences and grimly accept their husbands’ explanations for why they hired a five-thousand-dollar sex worker/had an affair with the nanny/paid a male prostitute to score them some drugs and to help them understand the wayward desires of homosexuals.
These may be the same women who become pen pals with and then marry serial killers in maximum security prisons.
Alternately, maybe these guys are all just angling to become the next prime minister of Italy, and screwing around outside their marriage seems to be the way to do it.
Dr. Sigmund Fraud says: Ah, Argentina. I can still recall those nights by the zoo in Buenos Aires, listening to the call of the wild birds in the trees, as my lover, a laundress, fed me papaya and read me Jorge Luis Borges short stories in her native tongue. I didn’t understand a word. And yet, how could I deny the meanings conveyed by each exotic syllable, and each of her caresses, landing soft as moonlight on my skin, still tight and tender from a day drinking red wine on the beach?
I was not a married man, but I will say I felt a powerful magnetism to both the woman and the place. If memory serves, I may have even made some vague allusions that I could commit to a future with her...but something must have gotten lost in translation. In the morning, as I left, she slapped me with enough force to impair the hearing in my left ear to this day.
As for which planet Sanford comes from, it’s known as the Bible Belt. It’s the same place that gave us famous penitent philanderers like Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker, and Bill Clinton.
Ruthless says: Thankfully, not the same planet that spawned Bill Clinton, Larry Craig, Marion Barry, Eliott Spitzer, William McGreevy, or even our very own Sam Hoyt. (I could go on, but I’m starting to feel icky).
Really people! Get out of the closet, out of the motel room (or the bathroom), and off of the floor. Those stories just make everyone want to throw up—or at least take a shower—and you can’t very well explain them to the kids. At least this story is somewhat...I dunno... more palatable? Both women seem to be conducting themselves with dignity, and while the e-mails are cringe-inducing, it’s more out of feeling there’s truly an invasion of privacy than of embarrassment or queasiness (need I mention Hoyt again? Penguin boxers? Sorry).
Give me Sanford and his Argentinian love over the rest of ‘em any day.
Mark Sanford says: I live on planet love, brother. And it’s groovy as hell.
you've got mail
I just received an email invitation to an awesome-sounding Fourth of July party at a house with a rooftop view of the fireworks, right down on the waterfront. Great, right? Except I don’t know the person who invited me—at all. And he doesn’t know me. No friends in common on the invite list. I have to assume the invitation was a keyboard slip, and email typo. Can I go anyway? It sounds perfect.
The Practical Cogitator says: Go! Go to the party. Bring a mixed bag of beer, some noise makers, a good attitude and make some new friends. It might not hurt to print the email invitation and stick it in your pocket. When another partygoer says, “Who do you know here,” you can reply “I just got this in my email and thought it sounded fun.” But the printed invitation will give you credibility and you’ll appear more like a Good Time Charlie, and not not a Creepy Party Crasher.
The Sales Gal says: I say go, you are invited. I would do it up Wedding Crashers style. Take a friend, pretend like you know everyone, don’t get too drunk and have a great time!
Hide in the Crowd says: How long’s the invite list? If the email list is long, go ahead. No one will care. The biggest risk you run is that it’s an intimate gathering of, say, ten folks who used to be camp counselors together every summer. You’d be totally blown.
If the invite list is short but you really want to go anyway, consider forwarding the invitation you received to 50 other people.
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