Lessons In Love From The CIA

November 16, 2012  |  

Source: Wenn.com

By Jessica Dufresne

The extramarital affair that forced the resignation of our country’s CIA director, David Petraeus, is news not only because of its possible affect on national security, but because of the implication it holds for all women.

At first I was not that interested in this story; I dismissed it as yet another case of a womanizing man in power who’s only sorry that he got caught. But then I heard about and read an anonymous blog post that posed the following theory: Former General David Petraeus cheated on his wife because of her hair. That’s right, Holly Petraeus had this misfortune coming because she chose to wear her hair in a boring, gray, short bob. First of all, you can’t help but feel for Mrs. Petraeus. The pain and humiliation resulting from such a betrayal are bad enough, but to have to experience these emotions on a public level is unimaginable. That’s why at first I couldn’t believe that this blogger, known simply as the Blonde Bombshell, would even dare write something so ridiculous and insensitive—until I began to really think about what she was saying…and took a look at Mrs. Petraeus. The first thing I thought when I saw pre-scandal images of her with her husband was, “Is that his mother?” (Mind you, she’s a year younger than him.)  The next thing I thought was “Wow, the Blonde Bombshell wasn’t too far off the mark with her bizarre statement.” See, it’s not so much that Holly Petraeus sports a dull, unHot hairstyle—it’s that she just looked quite plain, especially compared to how she used to look back in the day. And while I’m not saying her husband’s transgressions are her fault, I do have to wonder how much of a role her looks played.

    Now we all know that a man (or woman) will cheat if he wants to, regardless of what his significant other looks like. However, how much influence does a woman’s upkeep—or lack thereof—over the years have on her mate’s decision to cheat? I’ve always heard and discussed this troubling issue of why it is that the burden of maintaining “the Hot” falls solely on women. Why are we the ones who have to watch our weight, style, and our grooming so that our men will continue to find us attractive? The short answer is because men are visual creatures who need constant stimulation, meanwhile women can stay in love with a man even if his looks have faded, thanks to our amazing ability to see past the surface. I don’t completely agree with this unfair reasoning, but it seems to be the accepted truth.

Keeping that in mind, this Petraeus scandal sort of makes sense (albeit in a cruel way) if we’re just basing it on visuals. If you research the Holly Petraeus of today, you’ll find a woman with a borderline frumpy, grandmotherly look—certainly not unattractive, but yet not exactly who you’d imagine a powerful man like Mr. Petraeus would be married to. When you see photos of young Holly, she’s quite pretty. In fact, her face is about the same now, save for the inevitable wrinkles and extra weight. And yes, her hair was long back then. Basically, the Holly of today is not the Holly of yesterday and understandably so—no one stays young and tight forever. But unfortunately, if men are visual creatures, and the man in question is one in a position of immense authority, I hate to say it, but you can sort of see why Petraeus had a wandering eye. I don’t know anything about this couple’s private life or any previous or existing issues that may have contributed to him straying—and who knows, even if Mrs. Petraeus had found the fountain of youth and had a celebrity stylist, those still may not have been enough to keep Mr. Petraeus home—but what I do know is that this mess proves there’s something to be said about not letting yourself go just because you get married.

Selfishness, audacity, and ego aside, this man’s actions underscore the idea that like it or not, women play the biggest role in why their men cheat.

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  • I was with her until this part:

    “Selfishness, audacity, and ego aside, this man’s actions underscore the
    idea that like it or not, women play the biggest role in why their men

    Now Patreaus’ wife looks toreback I ain’t disputing that, she for damn sure isn’t the biggest reason nor does she have the biggest role in why her husband cheated on her. She coulda kept that thing tighter than a drum and look like she’s about to walk on someone’s runway and he still would have cheated. Power, lengthy time from home, in need of a stroke of the ego, wanted a distraction from his high stress job, are more likely reasons he cheated.

    I do believe how you get em is how you keep em, but that for darn sure doesn’t mean SHE is mostly or even a little to blame for him stepping out.

  • Pivyque

    They are both old. I mean…really? It’s been almost 40 years. Did you ever think that she my have a medical condition? The lot of you are so inconsiderate. If he wasn’t happy, he should have gotten a divorce. I’m sure there is no shortage of women that want to be with a man of his former status.

  • Roberto

    Hmm. A bit of blaming the victim, no?

  • marie

    Wow. I’m disappointed MadameNoire even allowed this article to be published on its website. Shame on Jessica Dufresne for writing this mess of a piece, and shame on the commenters that co-sign what she’s saying. Holly Petraeus is nearly 60 years old, and last time I looked, David Petraeus is no George Clooney! To even place any of the blame on Holly’s looks after 38 years of marriage is just wrong. And to imply that a woman’s looks play a factor in whether or not a man cheats is a weak argument considering beautiful women like Halle Berry, Eva Longoria, Reese WItherspoon, and Sandra Bullock have all been cheated on. Why is the media so focused on Holly Petraeus’s looks and not holding David Petraeus 100% accountable for his actions?

  • Penelope

    This article is so patronizing to women!!!!!!! Petraeus literally looks like a rat! He is an ugly man who I am sure if it wasn’t for his position, no woman would be after him!!!!!!!! So why pick on his wife’s looks? Further, looks don’t guarantee faithfulness; Halle Berry being our favorite example! She is beautiful, nice hair, nice skin, nice body yet she got cheated on and beaten up!!!!!!
    Only God can help!

  • klynn

    So, would it have been better for him to just have left her because he didn’t care for the way she let herself go? Would she have been happier to be alone and just stay the way she is? In fourty years I’m sure the subjuct must have come up. One thing I have learned in a relationship is that one way or another the unhappy party wiil let you know when they are not pleased about something. Many of us simply don’t pay attention to the signs, we take a lot of things for granted. Was this a one sided marriage. Was she the one working, taking care of the home and children without any help from him? If that was the case, she should have left him long before now. It dose not pay to make yourself a door mat for anyone. When you love someone else more than you love yourself, it dosen’t make for a good ending. Maybe now, she will learn to love herself more and make her own happiness her #1 priorty.

  • So all you have to do to keep a man from cheating is look good? Wow, who knew. It’s simpler than i thought. Men are are simpler than I thought also.

    • SheBe

      Lol! They really are simple! Keep that in mind and they become a whole lot easier to deal with.


    OMG some women finally get it,people are asking why men cheat because the other woman is hotter than the wife. Look at John Edward wife may she rest in peace men are visual and they want the hottest woman they can get. It the other woman is a little better looking than he may pass on her but if she is way better looking he’s going to go for it. Women are different and they think their man think like them. WOMEN LOVE WHAT THEY HEAR MEN LOVE WHAT THEY SEE

    • Pivyque

      Which is why married men should look but shouldn’t touch.

  • IvoireSuave

    Wow…So her looks are the reason why a well respected man chose to go out of a marriage he swore to uphold ’til death do them part? The funny thing about this is how many women are actually agreeing with this bull. You are co-signing on the beliefs of a patriarchal society that is orchestrated to keep you bound in the inane thought process of “How do I please men and therefore live a good existence”. This woman slaved next to that man, she bore his children, took care of house and home whilst he was fighting for his country, served alongside him through 40 years of sometimes impossible circumstances, and this is what she gets? Instead of being lauded for her good works we are talking about the fact that she does not have a gym membership (maybe)? Instead of uplifting a sister through her pain we say “it’s YOUR fault girl you should have looked better!!” Wow…just WOW…these types of things really mean that the end is near for real.

    • The funny thing is this excuse would never be acceptable if the women on MN had men like Petraeus. We all know looks keep men from cheating. Why didn’t we figure this out sooner?

  • ilovemovies2

    In a word “yes”.

  • I just got into this story this morning and unfortunately when I saw the wife I said “Well I mean …” Which is awful! No matter how you look, when you make vows your mindset is through thick and thin and if they includes my waist line so be it! No me personally, I don’t feel right if I’m not physically at my best. I keep myself up for my own self worth BUT if for some reason I did ‘let myself go’ the last thing I’d want to do is loose my husband over it. I do know men are visual but d*mn would that hurt.

  • Truth: Looks have nothing to do with love just lust. A woman can be young, gorgeous, personality+ and still have a man who cheats on her. This blogger’s comments is an insult to women.

  • Ann

    The lesson is that people should not cheat period if you are married. Cheating is a choice, not a “mistake”. They have taken vows to love each other until death seperates them. The only excuse that Petraeus as the author is saying is that I strongly agree that he was sorry for getting caught. I don’t feel sorry for him. I do feel for his wife causing her so much pain. I know men are very visual and talk out of both side of their mouth. The woman always have to maintain her weight and keep looking attractive but you have some men don’t even keep themselves up and let themselves go. People looks change over a period of time. I don;t have a problem with a husband or wife mentioning in a loving way that they are letting themselves go. They should encourage the spouse to continue to look their best physically. I am sure after this foolishness pass, it is somebody next on the list. The sad part is people refused and don’t want to learn the lesson.

  • C’mon son

    “But unfortunately, if men are visual creatures, and the man in question is one in a position of immense authority, I hate to say it, but you can sort of see why Petraeus had a wandering eye.” Then almost all women are SOL because beauty is subjective and there’s always going to be someone more attractive in some shape, form or fashion. That’s a super weak cop-out. Maybe he’s been a habitual cheater and her looks aren’t as prime because of the pain of adultery. I will not go in on this woman’s looks as the reason why a man in a position of power proved too weak to say no to cheating. We all are in control of our own actions. The last line of this article makes it clear why this is posted anonymously.

  • Plumbline

    This couple spent too much time away from each other, too much time on their careers, and he spent too much intimate time sharing his life story with a good looking younger woman. That was a recipe for a shipwrecked marriage…….

  • Kiki

    There Is a quote that comes to mind when I read this….”though some women marry to change men, men marry for them to remain the same” this qoute can is not only physically but personality also. If either one fails the marrige just might fall with it. My grandma is very wise

  • Us women need to stick together and NOT focus on Holly P.’s image. He chose to stay married to her for 37 years then he cheated! And if we give the homewrecker a Pass because she looks good, then we’re no better than him. Holly stuck with him throughout his military career which is tough enough, speaking fro experience, and she supported him when he they “fired” him. She did NOTHING wrong. Why are we focusing on her image? What if she read this article? It doesn’t say, “we have your back sister, he was Dead wrong, you deserve better” it says “step your game up, you deserved that, it was coming.” I for one am not interested in kicking women when they’re down. We have to do better. That’s why we get a bad wrap.

    • I agree. This is not about his wife’s looks in the least and I think it’s abhorrent to take up for a cheater. Cheating is immoral and all of the blame and focus should be on Petraeus. Period. I’d love to see someone try to defeat the aging process that comes with years of work and stress! Cheating is a conscious act of wrong doing. More than likely many of us will run into someone out there more attractive than our significant other but that’s never an excuse in my opinion.

  • lightbrownis

    I’m not gonna lie, when I first saw her, I thought, “no wonder he cheated”. She does look like his mother. Men are very visual and you gotta keep yourself looking good for your own self if nothing else.

  • OSHH

    Me and my mom had this very discussion when this story broke LOL.

    @ E-Go and I brought up Halle to say that even with beauty like Halle’s doesn’t guarantee you faithfulness, an easy time of things, or really anything else, it doesn’t protect you or shield you.

    My mom and I came to the conclusion that although it is not fair, women married to powerful men esp have to keep themselves up period. When you don’t have to work a 9 to 5, you certainly have the time to hit the gym, spa, salon, maybe even if it takes a lil nip/tuck etc and you more than have the means. If reg women can do it on a scaled down version
    then there is really no excuse. I keeps myself up now for me first and foremost with a 9-5 etc

    • You are absolutely right. A kept woman/man has no excuse for not being in great shape and looking their best 365 days a year. You have woken up dressed the kids, gave them breakfast, packed lunch and sent them off then what? Ok so you’ve now tidied up the crib which shouldnt take long at all because being a house spouse it should NEVER be more than a quick dusting and vacuum its 11am. then what….take your a** to the gym then go and get your hair and nails tight.

      • Ona2684

        Thats assuming she’s not working. She might have a job and my guess is that depression may play a roll in her looks. But i feel u.

        • She actually has a very prestigious job.

          • OSHH

            and with prestigious jobs, come perks, like free gym memberships, on site gyms, time to go work out and/or to the salon etc

            • talk about prestigious and finding time. I remember reading about Condi Rices regiment. Has a woman in this country ever held a more important position in american govt than sec. of state? She worked out 6 days a week.

      • SheBe

        I’m a stay home wife/mother and let me tell you it’s still all WORK but it has to be done. I dont have a school aged child so its a little different for me but you are correct. The first thing I thought when I saw the article was I’m sure she doesn’t work so there is no excuse for lack of personal upkeep. I’m married to a “semi public figure” (local politics) and I CAN NOT be caught looking like who did it and what for. However, I do check hubby on his appearance as well. It can’t be just one sided. He has to keep it up (pun intended) as well! Lol!

        • She works . . . so let’s squash that argument.

      • Bobby’s World

        @jason fang: You are a misguided, shameful person to deminish the role of a stay at home parent. It’s obvious you didn’t have the privilege of being part of a respectable family, where the mother cared enough to do the most difficult job of all; raise her own children. Just because your father didn’t contribute to the household finances & you’re angry that your baby mama /Daddy (i don’t know your gender) doesn’t either, doesn’t give you the right to imply that at home parents do nothing. You obviously have no clue or experience regarding the matter. Just because you don’t need to work outside the home doesn’t mean there aren’t hundreds of things to be done. Who do you think runs the house? Takes care of bills, errands ,child rearing? This woman has the added burden of being a generals wife. Obviously you have no military experience because that alone would tell you how much she is involved in.

        • show me where i deminished the role of a house spouse. i acknowledged the kids and the chores/errands.

          • So all of what you are saying is justification for cheating? Love is conditional now? I’m sure he had hair a long time ago. I’m sure his body has changed in 40 years. Would she be justified for cheating if things were different?

            • 1. you are human that deals with human lust and desires before you are a spouse or significant other. NO ONE is above that. whether or not you act is what matters. 2. there is never a justification for cheating but at the same time you have to take in consideration that it is a harsh reality.

              • So…..we are humans with the ability to think. Beauty is subjective. If his wife maintained her upkeep, and he found someone else attractive anyways, he would have cheated. Men want to be treated as human being with feelings, but then treated like animals when it comes to sexual behavior. I’m not going to walk around like all men have ADHD. Some people do not age well, and what the heck do you expect from 40 years of marriage? You guys are comparing her to a woman many years her senior. He cheated. He’s a pig. He failed as a husband. He ruined her family. She’s gonna get his military benefits and a nice settlement for 40 years hard work and cheating.

                • now now….lets not act as though women dont do the same thing. All these studies coming out recently stating that men and women are almost neck and neck % wise with stepping out on their spouse. But i will stick to this specific case He is an a**hole seemingly from the outside looking in. What folks are failing to consider also is there are 2 sides to every story. We can assume all we want. She is a loving mother, provider for kids taking care of home, great wife. But thats what we ASSUME because thats what we are conditioned to do. Women never deserve anything bad ever happening to them. How do we know that behind closed doors she is not a evil b****? How do we know that behind closed doors she is a pill popping boozer? How do we know that behind closed doors this man may not have gotten some nookie in some months or years from a icebox of a wife? No…none of these reasons are reasons to step out but damn! We only know half of the story…The half the media has put out there.

                  • Pivyque

                    I wonder why no one is talking about the fact that the mistress is married. I don’t know what kid of woman his wife is, but both he and his mistress are idiots. You just don’t risk your career over sex. Of course, he probably only realizes now that it wasn’t worth it and he probably should have used a fake name and a call girl if he was hell bent on cheating…smh.

            • OSHH

              In no way am I saying that what he did was justified. However what I am saying is one should keep themselves together for self primarily because there are no guarantees. Generally when your look is pulled you feel better about your self and it shows.

              • Man with power= cheater. Does not matter what she did or did not do. He would have still done it.

          • Pivyque

            I think that person was just looking for an argument lol

    • Umm his wife has a job. A darn good one at that.

  • You hit the nail on the head. Men and woman will cheat if they chose too. And yes at the same time the significant other does play a major role. If a man or woman is in great shape and takes care of themselves but their S/O doesnt guess what? They will step out. Im a gym rat and i love to see couples coming to the gym and working out together. Even if they dont know it they are subliminally doing what it takes to keep the other attracted to them. This mans wife even if she is a good mother, attentive spouse and has a great personality has let herself go physically. This man was a 4 star general and head of the CIA who stayed in shape. Women love power and what do they love even more? Power with looks to go with it. This man probably had women throwing panties at him day in and day out. Lessons to be learned for both men and women.

  • E-GO

    Ri-damn-diculous! If she looked like Halle Berry,he would’ve cheated anyway, that’s what cheaters do and it’s not like his jumpoff was beautiful, she looks like a transsexual! #allthewaybye

    • That’s the arrogance of the men in power. He looks like some off Dr. Who, but downing her.