The Good Wife

Image: Photoshop/clipart

Why is everyone piling insult upon the injury in Holly Petraeus’ life? Because she doesn’t look like a hot young model? Because she looks like a 50+ year old woman who raised her family and moved numerous times because of her husband’s job?

Why is it expected that she is supposed to take the blame for his indiscretion? It’s her fault because she isn’t hot? She “let herself go” so it is understandable why he wanted a younger hotter woman ?

What kind of thinking is that?

Maybe it’s because I’m over 50 and I know how drastically the thinking about women changes once we are no longer young and hot. Yes, I know, I don’t look my age but the truth is, I know how old I am. I’m no young hot babe anymore either. But should I work harder at the image because it’s “expected” of me? Do I owe it to the world to look desirable way past when it should matter? Why can’t I be loved because I am a kind and loving woman? Because I am intelligent, funny, self-confident and sensual? Why does being older render a woman unlovable?

Life is unkind to women in many ways but to me, one of the coldest realities is that regardless of how good your heart is, how smart you are, how efficient and capable you are, no matter what, if you aren’t ‘beautiful’, nothing else you are matters that much. We are always first judged by our looks and everything else is secondary.

This becomes especially difficult once you reach that point in life where those pounds are really hard to get rid of. Hard when those lines creep into your face and that gray is taking over your hair. Very hard when those once perky breasts start to go south, that cute butt starts to sag and the waistline has expanded. Yes, there are some women who can delay this aging thing for a while, but let’s be honest, it catches up with all of us eventually.

But does it make you less a woman? To me, it is one of life’s ironies that just when your self-confidence is highest, when you finally get what it’s all about, when you no longer worry about little middling things that really don’t mean that much, when you are at your sexual peak, when you know what you are doing and are most likely to be the best lover ever, you are no longer considered attractive or even desirable.

The men who should be available to you are now attempting to grasp onto their own flagging grip on age are chasing girls half their age. It keeps them young, they say. They want girls who are still able to give them children even after they have raised a set with you and should be anticipating grand children instead. It makes them feel the very thing they say we aren’t – desirable.

We all know what is going on when we see an older balding or gray haired man with a young girl half his age, and we know it isn’t true love. General Petraeus and George Clooney are two different animals. Younger women want George for the same reason older women do – the man is famous, intelligent, rich and he puts the G in gorgeous.

General Petraeus is no George Clooney. Let’s face it, he’s no hunk of burning love. He’s rather skeletal and nervous looking for my taste. But he’s a powerful man and probably has a nickel or two to rub together. Power makes him attractive to younger women. I guarantee you Ms. Broadwell would not have been willing to engage in a verbal catfight over him had he not been who he is.

Men delude themselves every day by thinking that a young hot woman wants his old worn out butt because she loves him. Not true. She wants something from him. She sees him as being some form of security for her and she is willing to offer up her young hot body and even have a child or two in order to get it.

I have had numerous conversations with young women who find the thought of sex with an older man repulsive, but add they will choke back the gag factor if he has enough money.

But all this is overlooked while everyone happily bashes his wife for not being ‘beautiful’.

Doesn’t it matter that this woman has done valuable charitable work, she has given freely of her own time to help others, she has raised the value of her philandering husband and has suffered in silence over these 37 years of marriage and now must endure public derision because she looks like a 50 plus married woman with children and a life should look?

Why is his cheating her fault? If she had concentrated on her own looks instead of her marriage, her family and her life, we’d say she was shallow and selfish. Did she break some vow by “letting herself go?”

Have we lost sight of the fact that she is the one who was wronged here? If he is prosecuted for his completely ludicrous behavior, it is entirely possible that he will lose his pension and that her life will be economically impacted as well. How is that her fault?

Now he is sitting at home in disgrace. He had to leave his powerful position in the government. He’s right in the media storm as more and more distasteful information comes out about his ridiculous behavior and the silly self centered woman he risked it all for.

And who is sitting by his side, undoubtedly wondering what she did wrong, feeling the pain of knowing her husband cheated on her with a younger, more attractive woman and questioning her own femininity?

And who are we, the public, to add to her pain by blaming her because she isn’t beautiful?

How much does the poor woman have to suffer?

Holly Petraeus did nothing wrong other than marrying a philandering, selfish, lying childish man.


Brenda Joyce Thompson is a Chicago-based writer and educator who lives a full life penning fiction and promoting the written and musical work of various artists. A walking library of rock music, Brenda is a peace-loving not-so-reformed hippie who misbehaves every chance she gets.