Sunday, May 22, 2011

Neanderthal Man

Neanderthal Man

Travel has taught me many valuable lessons. Sleep when you’re sleepy, eat where the locals eat, and remember that the golden rule is golden for a reason. But most importantly, travel has consistently underscored my lifelong antipathy for generalities. For instance, most British food is delicious and not all Parisians are rude.
Come to think of it, I can’t call to mind a single generality that I’d hold with.
Not all blondes are dumb (hopefully not, since I happen to be one).
And not all men are pigs.
I have never been one of those women who sit around a table swimming in Cosmopolitans, raging over the piggishness of men. I happen to like most of the men of my acquaintance and find them to have no more or no less porcine qualities than most of the women I know. But I will say, this past week has been difficult to be a cheerleader for the male sex.

First comes news that the head of the International Monetary Fund assaulted a hotel chambermaid in New York City. Next, we learn that a certain former body builder-action star-governor fathered a child with one of his household staff thirteen years ago, and only told his wife of twenty-five years after he left office in January. Well, gee. Nice.
These two princes now join the ranks of the recently shamed that include the former governor of South Carolina who infamously disappeared one weekend and, upon resurfacing, claimed he’d been hiking on the Appalachian Trail when in actuality he’d skipped off to Argentina to visit his mistress. Then there’s the former senator and presidential candidate who fathered a child with a staffer whilst his apparently unsuspecting wife continued to support his campaign all the while undergoing treatment for stage 4 cancer. And of course, just this week the cuddly Newt Gingrich announced he was running for the highest office in the land. Now this is a man who not only led the charge for intense moral outrage over a president’s extramarital conduct in the 90‘s all the while hiding his own mistress in a Washington hotel room, but who also went to the hospital to serve one of his three wives with divorce papers while she was there recovering from cancer surgery. I mean, really? Where do these guys learn this stuff?

Governors, Senators, Congressmen. Leaving aside the thorny question of morality, fidelity, and in some cases, criminality, at the very least, don’t these chaps have more important work to attend to? I have heard the old chestnut about how power corrupts, but can they really hide behind that one? After all, there are many powerful women in the world, and one rarely hears of one of them jumping a bellboy in a hotel room. I am sure there are exceptions, but on the whole this seems to be a problem that those powerful members of the fairer sex manage to avoid.

Growing up, we girls were often told that we mature at a faster rate than boys, but I don’t ever remember the boys of my youth behaving in such cruel and despicable ways. Juvenile, yes. Neanderthal, no.
So, are these men megalomaniacal or just plain boorish?
I’ll let you decide.


  1. Pamela, thank you for articulating so much of what I've been pondering. I just don't get it, why so many reach such heights only to self-destruct. Is it because they feel guilty/insecure about success and have a need to punish themselves? Is it because they believe their own press? Or is it because, with 24/7 news, what would have languished, been covered up decades ago spotlights those apples in the very large barrel? I honestly don't know. But it's troublesome.

  2. My husband and I were just discussing this. I think powerful men believe they are simply above it all. That the general rules of fidelity and morality just don't apply to them. On the other hand, I think it is a thrill for them to do something really BAD. Remember Hugh Grant? Handsome, famous, rich and with a gorgeous girlfriend.. what does he do..go out and hire a street walker by the hour.. CRAZY men.

  3. The press loves these stories because of who these men are and what behavior we expect of them. We are appalled!

    This type of activity exists everywhere regardless of position or power. It just so happens these men got caught and it's newsworthy.

    What bothers me more is men who think it is acceptable to overpower women and take whatever or do whatever they want, as though they are entitled and we have no human rights.

  4. To quote from Much Ado About Nothing,"I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow than a man swear that he loves me."
    Like you, I find that most of the men that I know are gentlemen and not given to the kind of behaviours that need to be explained or excused. Thank goodness for the good ones.

  5. I agree with your observations, as far as they go. Nevertheless, I'm afraid you stopped short. There are so many factors involved. Several comments hit upon many of them. The one thing no one mentioned is what a large part some men's attitude toward sex and emotions play. I hate generalizations as well, but there is a rather large percentage of men who view sex as a constant need, and one that can be addressed without much emotional involvement or responsibility on their part.

    Most times when you hear about a man being "caught" where he shouldn't be, he will say some variation of "It didn't mean anything!" Sadly, it only means nothing to them, NOT to any of the other parties involved, like their wives, or children, or friends, or constituents. I really don't think they ever give a thought to what hurt and consequences they bring about by their activities until they are caught with their pants down.

    I am not saying all men behave this way, nor am I saying that women never get involved in meaningless affairs, but when the man in question is a public official, or well-known world figure, or even your local school principal you really have to question their judgement and honesty, ethics, intelligence, integrity, discretion and plain old common sense!

    You really wouldn't think it would be so hard to understand! This kind of poor behavior is not "NOTHING"; in fact, it could cost them EVERYTHING!

  6. There is only one thing I find cheering about this, that they manage to trip themselves up eventually.
    Was there not also something about a certain golf player, or did you miss that one?

  7. I was talking to one of the boys in California about this last night. There is still a world of a difference between a man and a gentleman . Although the media forgets it courtesy , self control and moderation are still worth something. The old school motto ' manners makyth man ' holds true no matter how important one is deemed to be .

  8. Pamela they were not running the country well, that is for sure!

    I too love most men and it shames me to think of these travesties as I am sure it does their male counterpoints (I hope)

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  9. My son and I were just lamenting over this, and he looked at me, and asked 'Where are all the heroes... outside my own home?" My heart swelled with pride. I'm someone's hero. hehe.

    I don't know what to say about these men... besides that they seem morally bankrupt. I feel for those that are collateral damage in their lives. They need to reach deep and find the character that they have lost and get it together.


    xo Isa

    PS - Pamela! I didn't know that you were in LA recently!! I wish I had known! You were 45 minutes away from me.

  10. expressed so well what many of us are feeling. I was just talking about all this with my mother and we got onto the whole power-trip scenario, and what might go along with it is the fact that maybe these 'men' were completely spoiled as children and built up from the beginning as demi-gods...look at Tiger woods - ego gone amuck, I think all of these types suffer from this. Can you tell I'm trying to find an explanation because I just don't get it! The loss of a loving, supportive, adoring wife and beautiful children...*for what*??? It completely baffles me.
    xo J~

  11. I feel I should stick up for Neanderthal man, I bet he was a sweetie at heart and took his Neanderthal missus a cup of tea in bed each morning, just like my very own.

  12. Well said - I am the Mam of two boys and my husband is a lovely gentle man but I look at them sometimes and wonder about the survival of there gender. It seems a lot of men are unable to control their need to be head bull, or honcho or whatever. That need to dominate, to be in charge. It is worrying. I could ramble on for hours on this subject! I am renowned in my little corner of the universe for a theory that I only go on about in my cups where I claim that humanity is moving towards androgny -I may well be right! BTW as you love the Scottish Highlands you must visit Donegal or Kerry in Ireland - beautiful

  13. That was very informative, makes me stop and think.. very well said.


  14. Leave the t of thorny and you have your answer! I believe most man are lead by their hormones rather then by their head and the addition of power and the
    addiction to let their sexual drive lead the way it's actually quite simple, Just these big names get dropped in public! I know endless cases in my neighborhood and among my friends.
    But truth be told, I also know that were a guy has an affair, there is (usually) a woman involved too. Not all of them are independent lovers or prostitutes.
    My husband and I have been talking this over and over, he claims it has to do with sex drive.
    This and the expectation to be "manly"...
    A adage as old as mankind! I guess there is no solution.
    I am for once glad to have picked a gentleman for a husband and I am glad to make him happy and vice versa!
    Hope this for my daughter too and taught this to my sons!
    Thanks Pamela for words well chosen to capture the issue at hand....

  15. It's all about choices made. And all of them have made bad ones!

    I dunno the answer...But I have been wundering the same!!

    Great words Pamela...what does Edward say?

  16. Ah, she's done it again! Well said Pamela. I read this post to Mr. H over breakfast this morning. He had to agree. I just wonder why the men you mentioned here and all the others we could add to the list, think they are above it all and are able to do things like this. What is going thru their mind? It is a tragedy for the women they have impacted and I find it an insult to the intelligence of all others. Bad choices and so many that are unforgivable!

    On another answer to your question, YES, it would be fab:)

    Jeanne xxx

  17. You hit the nail on the head! When I see these stories in the paper or on the news I am both astonished, at the gall of these men and flabbergasted that people say such horrible things about the women.

    At the same time I am not surprised because the very same thing happens all the time, from sexual harassment to these examples listed above. And often times the woman is the one to blame! The powerful men go on to rei invent themselves usually and then all is forgotten. Why do we allow this?

    Why do we allow the media to vilify the victims? Why in the world do 60% of the French population believe that the IMF head is being framed? Especially as his behavior had been documented and commented on for years?

    Why in the heck would the French media publish the name of the victim, her daughter, their photos and their address? And then make comments on what the victim looks like? Are you kidding me? Hasn't this poor woman suffered enough?

    How do these men get away with this? Why do we let them?

  18. Pamela an excellent post.This needed to be addressed. We are speaking of a dozen or so cheating, dishonest and abusive men. Like you mentioned in your last paragraph, we all know of many great, honest, loyal and faithful men who take their vows of being faithful serious. Unfortunately, they never get mentioned and I am inclined to believe there are far more in the honest category.
    Helen Tilston

  19. Excellent post! I noted the irony of Gingrich’s double standard too. I’m down on those men but not on my men. I wonder if it is power corrupting them or that men with weak morals and thick skins aren’t afraid of going into politics and facing scandals. There might be a bit of self-selection there. I'd like to believe that evolution would be progressive and not regressive.

    I’ve been a political activist but I’d never want to run for public office, although many have asked me to. My current WIP, Not Cricket, explores attitudes of boys towards girls playing sports among other things. There is a range of male behavior out there.

  20. Hi Pamela,

    I came across this interesting article about powerful men and psychopathic minds. It makes sense to me - so maybe it is not the male genes that create the pig in men, but the psychotic mindset behind the individual man (found in most powerful men). Here's the link:


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