If you ask the French to define ‘adultery’, you may have it
as ‘the pastime of adults’. Though there may be some quibbling
about defining who is an adult, there’s no mistaking the national sport.
By all reports, adultery wins pants down.
While N.D.Tiwari may have had to quit the Raj Bhavan in Hyderabad because he was caught with his Gandhian cap and pyjamas in the wrong place while in the company of call girls, the French have great traditions of mistresses pleasuring the president in the Elysee palace.
No wonder a French psychologist Maryse Vaillant has come up with the theory that a little adultery is good for a great marriage (as reported by Mathew Campbell for the Sunday Times).
But the question is how little is little, and whether just a little can be too much for one gallant, while a habitual philanderer can get away with a little, a second little, and a third little an infinite little number of times before he lands into the kettle.
Any how, what Vaillant is saying may be nothing new at all. The song
parodist Allan Sherman had it that adultery is one of the conditions of
marriage in southern California. Marilyn Monroe, who should know, remarked that ‘Husbands are chiefly good lovers when they are betraying their wives’! (Perhaps one of the reasons she went for those extra pills that killed her :if one leaves out the conspiracy theory).
Another finding of Vaillant is that men are able to separate sex from love
more easily than women. I remember a scene from ‘All that Jazz’ . The girl friend asks the profligate showman – ‘Do you love me’?
It is an obvious and of-course ‘yes’ by the man of a hundred maids. ‘Then’, she asks, ‘why the hell are you so generous to every one with your c…?’
Vaillant’s attempt may therefore be just an effort to make a quick franc while seducing the French to notional monogamy by dangling the bait of occasional adultery? But the question is, will the French be satisfied? Are they not, like the hero of All that Jazz, known for extreme generosity?