Neanderthal Man

Sunday, May 22, 2011
Neanderthal Man

Travel has taught me many valuable lessons. Sleep when you’re sleepy, eat where the locals eat, and remember that the golden rule is golden for a reason. But most importantly, travel has consistently underscored my lifelong antipathy for generalities. For instance, most British food is delicious and not all Parisians are rude.
Come to think of it, I can’t call to mind a single generality that I’d hold with.
Not all blondes are dumb (hopefully not, since I happen to be one).
And not all men are pigs.
I have never been one of those women who sit around a table swimming in Cosmopolitans, raging over the piggishness of men. I happen to like most of the men of my acquaintance and find them to have no more or no less porcine qualities than most of the women I know. But I will say, this past week has been difficult to be a cheerleader for the male sex.

First comes news that the head of the International Monetary Fund assaulted a hotel chambermaid in New York City. Next, we learn that a certain former body builder-action star-governor fathered a child with one of his household staff thirteen years ago, and only told his wife of twenty-five years after he left office in January. Well, gee. Nice.
These two princes now join the ranks of the recently shamed that include the former governor of South Carolina who infamously disappeared one weekend and, upon resurfacing, claimed he’d been hiking on the Appalachian Trail when in actuality he’d skipped off to Argentina to visit his mistress. Then there’s the former senator and presidential candidate who fathered a child with a staffer whilst his apparently unsuspecting wife continued to support his campaign all the while undergoing treatment for stage 4 cancer. And of course, just this week the cuddly Newt Gingrich announced he was running for the highest office in the land. Now this is a man who not only led the charge for intense moral outrage over a president’s extramarital conduct in the 90‘s all the while hiding his own mistress in a Washington hotel room, but who also went to the hospital to serve one of his three wives with divorce papers while she was there recovering from cancer surgery. I mean, really? Where do these guys learn this stuff?

Governors, Senators, Congressmen. Leaving aside the thorny question of morality, fidelity, and in some cases, criminality, at the very least, don’t these chaps have more important work to attend to? I have heard the old chestnut about how power corrupts, but can they really hide behind that one? After all, there are many powerful women in the world, and one rarely hears of one of them jumping a bellboy in a hotel room. I am sure there are exceptions, but on the whole this seems to be a problem that those powerful members of the fairer sex manage to avoid.

Growing up, we girls were often told that we mature at a faster rate than boys, but I don’t ever remember the boys of my youth behaving in such cruel and despicable ways. Juvenile, yes. Neanderthal, no.
So, are these men megalomaniacal or just plain boorish?
I’ll let you decide.