Friday, January 10, 2014

A Frenchman Having An Affair Is Not News

French president Francois Hollande has threatened to sue Closer for publicizing a purported love affair, so let's keep in mind that this is France we're talking about. That's what Frenchmen do, isn't it? Have affairs?

The once secret couple
And how could he not? The temptation must be too great in a city like Paris, surely the most romantic city on the planet. If you've ever been to Paris, you know how it is. The strolls along the Seine. The sidewalk cafes, the wine. The style.

Not that M. Hollande is any great beauty in the overall looks department, but he's awash in the heady aroma of power. With all those pheromones drifting on the air, how could the comic actess Julie Gayet not be smitten? Besides, the French are the masters of flirtation. It's a phenomenon that's used well by Katie Hanrahan in her upcoming novel, THE LIBERTY FLOWER, in which she paints a French character in very Gallic tones. You'd know the character was French by his manner of speaking, in which everything is a seduction, from closing a business deal to chipping away a lady's resistence. Seduction is a way of life in France.

On top of all that, it's a fact that M. Hollande is not even married. He's only co-habiting with a woman, and he was living with a different woman before that. He's not exactly the epitome of fidelity. Who could say but he's never married because he recognizes his limitations.

There was a time, of course, when the sex lives of politicians were never discussed. Reporters might have known of affairs going on, but there was an unwritten code that forbade the discussion of the private life. The demands of the market have changed all that.

Magazines and tabloids must have scoops and exclusive photos of scandals to move product. The reading public will buy Closer to read about the affair, to laugh at the antics of the powerful, and mock their president who is keen to soak the rich with a 75% tax but can't keep his own trousers zipped.

It's not as if the voting public really cares about their president cavorting in a new bed. They're more interested in the tax rates or the fact that their offspring have finished university and can't find jobs.

But M. Hollande very much cares, because there's nothing worse than going home to the significant other every night when she knows all about your bit on the side. He had a good thing going for himself, and now the editors of Closer have gone and ruined it for him. Clearly he's not pleased, but what can he do now that it's out in the open?

Besides either break it off and make up with his second live-in, or leave the second woman for the third, he can rant and rave about the invasion of privacy and the breaking of the old standard that protected the privacy of public officials who misbehave.

Either way, he's got a lot of headaches at home. Enough to make running France look like a day at the park.

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