“The man looks so contemptible, deserting a young and pretty wife, for ugly mistresses.” And so reported The New York Times in an 1877 book review about 17th-century scoundrel James II of England. But the same could be said of men and the notorious mistresses in today’s headlines. Upon first inspection of the pictures of Tiger Woods’ purported after-hours love interests, I found myself thinking, “They all look like [Eliot Spitzer hooker] Ashley Dupre.” Maybe it was the long, overprocessed brown hair, strangely arched eyebrows, hard and tough faces, and orange-hued skin. There was something that made them look like Real Housewives of New Jersey castoffs whose surgical requests to look like Angelina Jolie went horribly wrong.
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Perhaps some of this audience is familiar with a particularly unpleasant, misogynistic term men use: Butter Faces (“She has a great body… but-her-face.” Get it?). I hate to admit it, but these women immediately made me think of that expression. In other words, they have slamming slim physiques (is Dupre ever NOT posing in a bikini or lingerie?) paired with perfectly fine faces that, on their own, probably would not launch a thousand ships. Most women would rather have the looks, education, and polish of Silda Spitzer or Woods’ wife Elin Nordegren any day.
• Gerald Posner: New Details on Tiger’s Prenup Which raises interesting questions about the infidelity wrought by these men. Not that cheating with a beautiful and intelligent woman justifies the act, but it makes one wonder why so few of them do (Governor Mark Sanford’s choice of a somewhat age-appropriate, apparently educated and sophisticated professional he called his “soulmate” was almost unheard of). Would today’s screaming headlines on Tiger Woods be different in tone if the Stanford-educated Woods had been caught having an affair with a Harvard neurologist? Most certainly.
The fact is, powerful men like Woods and Spitzer create a script for their lives: “perfect” careers, wives, and families. Would Woods be worth nearly $1 billion today if he had been dogging around as openly as Dennis Rodman? Likely, no. One must wonder how the super-managed male super-celebrities really view their wives and women. In their minds, could it be that “perfect” wives are meant to be unsullied by sexual thoughts and feelings unrelated to procreation? (Just think about how “disrespectful” it would be considered if another man walked up to Woods and told him his wife was sexy.)
The occupations of the various mistresses du jour are revealing: club hostess, prostitute, and cocktail waitress-turned-reality-show star. They are the ultimate service-industry women for men accustomed to being served and serviced. It’s hard not to imagine these women existing merely as physical, pneumatic vessels meant to please and serve the sexual desires and egos of insatiable men; they are, in essence, warm-blooded blow-up dolls for men whose Madonna/whore complex remains more than a cliché.
Interestingly, in the statement Wednesday where he admitted to “transgressions,” Woods says, “Elin has always done more to support our family and shown more grace than anyone could possibly expect.” You see, she’s so perfect I bet she even forgives him.
Janice Min is the former editor in chief of Us Weekly.