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.