Wednesday, January 22, 2014


There are few people I admire more than those who have the strength of character (and luck) to sustain a long marriage. To do that—and remain faithful—deserves even more praise. It is just plain admirable.

I fear I belong to the school of: “So many, and so little time (though I have reformed, naturellement).” Given my somewhat Bohemian  upbringing, that was probably inevitable, but I’m not proud of it—and I really do regard fidelity as the better way. That said, I am completely unfazed if I learn someone is having an affair. As far as I am concerned, it is their business. Besides, I’m a European (and partially of French ancestry at that). As for the Irish side of me, don’t be fooled by this image of Catholic Ireland: the Irish invented sex and Irish women are surprisingly good at it. I have no experience of the men.

France's First Lady Valerie Treirweiler

This lady to the right, by the way, is the President’s wife, Valerie. Yes, there should be an acute accent over the middle ‘e.’

She so reminds me of a woman I once knew, it’s uncanny.

The French seem to doubt their president’s effectiveness in government, but it is hard to deny that he has the eye for a good-looking woman. I feel tempted to write “that he seems caught between a rock and a hard place”—but I’ll show restraint. Still, Valerie Hollande doesn’t look like the kind of woman you’d want to cross. The word “formidable” comes to mind.

The following is from the Daily Telegraph of Jan 20 2014.

A majority of French men and a third of French women cheat on their partners, a new poll, has found indicating that infidelity is on the rise in France among both sexes.

In figures that could help explain why so many French are unfazed by the dalliances of their president, François Hollande, the Ifop study found that some 55 per cent of French men and 32 per cent of French women admit to cheating on their other halves.

Infidelity has been on the rise since the 1970s, when only around 19 per cent admitted to cheating, according to the study that was carried out for Gleeden, the extramarital dating website.

More than one in three French said they were prepared to cheat on their partners as long as they were sure they would not find out.

François Kraus of Ifop said: "One of the study's key findings is the enduring difference in perception of infidelity among men and women, with the latter much less accepting of dalliances than men." Two out of three French women consider a kiss is a form of cheating, while 57 per cent see sexting as being unfaithful.

The study also found that Left-wing French are more likely to cheat on their partners than those who identify themselves as on the Right.

Despite their apparent difficulty in practicing what they preach, most French people, 68 per cent, believe it is possible to remain faithful to one person for life.

It transpires they are also forgiving, as 63 per cent of French believe they can love someone even if he or she has cheated.

That high score tallies with a Pew Research Center study from 2013, which found that the French were the most forgiving of the 39 countries surveyed.

I have to confess that I admire tolerance nearly as much as fidelity.

Love is wonderful, and terrible, and nearly always painful at some time or other. Relationships, all too often, do not end well—because virtually, by definition, they can’t. It’s an eternal truth—you can’t end love without pain; and ending an affair does not necessarily mean the end of love no matter who does the leaving. Someone always gets hurt. That being so, I feel great sympathy for all concerned. I also believe that despite its hazards, it is far, far, better to love—and to have been loved—than the alternative (whatever be the outcome).

I feel exceedingly fortunate when I think of the women I have loved—though my first great love is dead. My second had the good sense not to marry a writer, and is alive and well in the UK. I love her to this day. And I think I’ll stop there. 

To quote the title of an old William Holden (marvelous man) movie: LOVE IS A MANY SPLENDORED THING—and nearly as enthralling as writing.

Writing is even harder.

Will I ever fall in love again? At my age it seems unlikely—but one never knows. I still find women both intriguing and attractive, regardless of age. And they are a lot of fun—and they seem to have more sense that we males (which isn’t hard).

And are a great deal of trouble—which is half their attraction.

Bless them all!

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