The History of Harlots and Collateral Damage
Every bench player desires in their heart to be a starter!
Anne refused to "close her eyes and endure" the kings infidelities.
Brief history lesson here. I like Anne Boleyn. I respect her drive, ambition and her late developing humility in the face of her downfall. If you haven't read her execution speech you should Google it. Short, sweet and she blamed no one. In fact in her speech Anne was very emphatic on how good and fair Henry VIII, who orchestrated her demise, was to her. Since alternative death sentences during that time included boiling in oil or being drawn and quartered maybe he was showing kindness by allowing a simple and swift beheading. Though allowing her to keep her head would have been far kinder.
We don’t know for sure what intimate, private moments between those two were like so I'll borrow from some historical fiction. My favorite scene from the now defunct Showtime series 'The Tudors' is an imagined conversation between Anne and Henry when he commanded her “close your eyes and endure as your betters have done before you” after she complained about his abandonment of her bed for his latest mistress. Henry’s argument being that there was once a woman before her who when she was queen and Anne the concubine didn’t give him all this lip. Anne did not heed this advice and instead conspired to win him back and punish anyone who dared stand in her way. This didn’t win her many friends or character references when she was placed on trial.
While Anne’s head ended up on the chopping block the woman she dethroned, Queen Catherine, the ‘better’ Henry was referencing was ‘merely’ exiled to a remote castle, down staffed from the dozens who used to wait upon her and lived out her days in isolation and with significantly less status than she enjoyed before. She complained to Henry about his mistresses but she never took a step against him and even suffered having to look his lovers in the face on a daily basis when Henry gave them positions in the castle as her ladies-in-waiting to keep them near.
Anne Boleyn, Lifespan 1502-1536
Would a sports analogy help?
Fast forward to a later example in 2012 and the resigning of CIA Director Petraeus after it was discovered he was sleeping with the woman who had been traveling with him for several years as his biographer, Paula Broadwell. How was this all uncovered? Well the side chick/author got it in her head that there might be a third hen in the rooster house, and since she thought she was supposed to be the only back-up ball on the playing field, pardon I meant sidelines, Paula began sending anonymous, threatening emails to the other, other woman. This other, other woman, who to this day maintains she never had a relationship with Petraeus and is just a friend of both him and his wife, reported these mystery emails to the FBI. It was during their investigation to find their source that private communications from Petraeus to Broadwell were also revealed. The rest is sordid, almost history.
Now fast forward even more and recently Monica Lewinsky, the beret wearing, cigar connoisseur of the 90's has emerged, penning Vanity Fair editorials and giving TED Talks about falling in love, accountability and forgiveness. The question I'm posing is, have we learned absolutely nothing from history? Two certainties we should know by now, one is that as long as there is marriage there will be adultery. Not in every marriage but in enough. It was happening during biblical times and Noah must have put two adulterers in the Ark cause the Great Flood didn't cool their engines any. Second, and the point of this article, is that bad things always happen when side chicks don’t know their place! Or side men, I believe in gender equality but let’s be honest statistically a woman is more likely to develop feelings for her married lover than a man for his. People reference, "a woman scorned" for a reason.
The lesson to be learned here isn't just for the women. Men who have extramarital affairs need to remember what they've learned from sports. Every bench player desires in their heart to be a starter! Anne Boleyn attained her goal but then fell apart when she realized the game would remain the same and the bench she vacated would never sit empty. We must learn from history. So to all the future side chicks, you know you're out there and reading this, get to know the game before you play so the rest of us don't have to be collateral damage. Stop with all of the 'accidental' releases of information. Did Broadwell really think Petreaus was cheating with a third woman? Was Lewinsky really gullibly led by her coworker Linda Tripp into causing trouble for Clinton by revealing her stained blue dress? Or did these women, subconsciously, just want to be known?
General Petraeus ended up resigning in shame.
If only there was some kind of playbook around
The proof is all throughout history and in today's headlines. Countries get dragged through the mud, careers end, people get excommunicated, wars begin and people die. Innocents like you and I, or at least me I don't know you, are the ones who suffer. I clearly remember being embarrassed as an American throughout Clintons impeachment process, knowing other countries were looking, pointing fingers and laughing. Not because of what he did but because of how it was handled, publicized and used politically. How it made our country look simultaneously prudish and irreligious. I never want to go through anything like that again!
If we could only delve into the minds of these women and gather some useful information that could help us avoid a reiteration of these situations in the near future. Hey! Maybe Paula Broadwell And Monica Lewinsky should write a book together! Let’s get the two of them in a room asap...maybe someplace near the Tower of London.