Friday, June 19, 2009

There's no question who wears the pantalons in the Chirac famille

So Jacques Chirac, former French president and famed ladies man, has been finally busted by his long-suffering spouse, Bernadette.
As widely publicised in the media today, the old Casanova, famed almost as much for his extra-marital romantic liaisons when in office as for his political achievements, was caught out by his wife yesterday during a public engagement in Correze.
Pants-Man Chirac is seen in this YouTube clip to be openly flirting with a younger blonde woman while his wife performs the public speaking duties at the rostrum barely four feet away.
Bernadette's withering look, mid-speech, appears to stun the former Prez back into line, giving perhaps a moment's insight into exactly who wears the pantalons in the Chirac household.
And yet what amazes me - as it has done for the entire ten years I have been living here in France - is the fact that Chirac's infidelity is widely celebrated in France, where infidelity is still practiced as a national sport.
Chirac himself has made no secret of his infidelity, admitting publicly that he has loved "many women" in his life "as discreetly as possible".
And while I would never seek to make a moral judgement on the way people choose to live their lives and the manner in which they choose to conduct their marriages (each to their own, I say), it's nontheless curious to see what some might consider one of the worst French stereotypes (all French men cheat on their wives) being reinforced and celebrated with such nudge-nudge, wink-wink gusto.
My own personal experience is that, as with every country, marriages come in all different shapes and sizes here in France. There's probably no more infidelity here than in any other country in the world. The French just care less about hiding it. And maybe that's healthier. But I can't help but think French women are the losers in all of this. Stoic, long-suffering, but ultimately cheated. My only hope is that Bernadette has been busy with a few extra-marital adventures of her own.


Airelle said...

hi, first time I visit your blog and right away an interesting topic. after watching the French for 25 years my personal point of view is that France is still a macho country where masculine behaviour is easily discussed but it doesn't meen the women don't do the same - it is just less easily spoken of. it is said danielle mitterand had her lover living in the house until mitterand became the president while mitterand had his long term affair and a second family outside. so which one was the winner? in those days of course people didn't divorce but things change and today there is a divorcee in the Elysee Palace.
Personally my policy is not to marry them - that way they never know if I'll be there until the end or take my toothbrush and vanish tomorrow. Never give a man the sensation that he has it made ;-)

Anonymous said...

Interesting I came across this post today. Not sure if you follow Australian news, Bryce. NSW MP John Della Bosca has resigned after his mistress went public. Australia obviously has a very different attitude to infidelity.