Quick: what is the male equivalent of jump-off? Side-piece? Other woman? Chick on the side? Yeah, there aren't any readily coming to mind. When you think of the term home-wrecker, do you think of a male or a female? Why does the scarlet letter get pinned on the woman and not the married dude? Why is that? Methinks I smell a double standard.
Let's just consider a few of the high profile cheatin'-ass-cheatin' stories of our time.
Jenn vs. Brangelina summary: Brad Pitt, ½ of a Hollywood "golden couple" goes off to film a shoot-em-up flick and loses his mind with the Lara Croft chick. They fake like they aren't doing each other until he can bail on his wife and now they are Super Philanthropist Couple of the Decade.
I am so baffled as to why Brad Pitt gets a cheater's pass because of the perception that he upgraded the mate. That's just tragic. Here's a man who took vows with one pretty good-looking woman, broke those and bailed to be with another good-looking woman. I hope he has taken a moment to apologize to Jennifer Aniston because I've never seen him show the slightest bit of remorse. Worse yet, popular culture appears to have deemed that "he who ends up with Angelina Jolie" wins. On the flipside, Jennifer is portrayed as some pitiable loser who can't hold on to men. Has anyone ever thought that she was so betrayed by Brad that she doesn't trust another of these entertainment fools with her heart? I wouldn't be surprised if she ended up going Julia Roberts (a whole other cheating story) married to some dude no one has ever heard of, living on a farm in the middle of nowhere.
On the third point of this triangle stands Angelina who had cultivated this "bad girl, I'll take your man" vibe from way back in the day. Wasn't she wearing Billy Bob's blood around her neck a minute ago? You think she forgot Brad had a wife? Did it bother her? It sure didn't stop her. Sure she was called a home-wrecking, husband-stealing tramp but then she adopted the next cast for a Colors of Benetton commercial, gave away a gang of money, spent time in Africa doing something charitable and now all is forgiven. She and her man are the toast of Hollywood. Moral: If you're going to steal someone's man, be prepared to go Mother Theresa for a year or two after. Oh, it also doesn't hurt if you're hot and look really good in all black and 4-inch stilettos.
Meg-Dennis-Russell summary: Meg Ryan, formally America's Sweetheart, went Down Under to shoot a (bad) suspense film and lost her mind after getting a taste of the Gladiator dude. They fake like they aren't doing each other until they were outed by the tabloids and D.Quaid said, "Eff this, I'm going to get me a Texas girl." Dennis is re-married, Russell is married, Meg is still single.
Victim: Meg, Dennis, Meg and Dennis' son (but mostly Meg)
Russell Crowe appears to be such a flaming a-hole that even breaking up the ten-year marriage of America's Sweetheart and Remy McSwain (If you haven't seen the Big Easy, shame on you) doesn't harm his reputation. He clutched Meg's hand for a minute or two (so it wouldn't look like a complete on set fling) and bailed at the earliest opportunity. You think he forgot that Meg had a husband? Did it bother him? It sure didn't stop him. He was on to the next and throwing punches at random photographers in new time flat.
Meg did not fare so well. The news outlets made it sound like Meg was a weak-willed, whipped woman willing to toss away her life as she knew it for a renowned bad boy. And that whole "sweetheart" thing was out the window. She made a very disturbing movie (in the Cut) and hasn't really regained her movie star stature since. On the third point of this triangle stands Dennis, who came across completely shell-shocked. There were so many pictures of Dennis with a WTF-just-happened look on his face that I had to feel bad for him. He rebounded and married a Texas girl (should've done that to begin with) and his re-emergence as a big budget picture dude was sealed by the success of G.I. Joe this summer. Moral: If you are going to cheat on your husband, don't do it with one of the biggest celebrities on the planet and oh, don't get caught.
Mashonda-Swizz-Alicia summary: Already so over this story but it fits my theme so here we go... Super Producer Swizz Beatz meets superstar Alicia Keys and they decide they can make beautiful music together in more than one way. They fake (not very well) like they aren't doing each other until confronted by his wife (and mother of a child born in 2007) R&B singer/model Mashonda. Now Swizz and Alicia are officially a couple and everyone's waiting on his remix of her hit song Karma (which she should really go back and listen to).
Victim: Mashonda and child
Apparently, the affair between Alicia and Swizz was a "known" secret in the black music community for months. Let's cut to the chase, no one considers not working with Swizz or buying Alicia's new album. AGAIN, I am so baffled as to why Swizz gets a cheater's pass because of the perception that he upgraded the mate. That's just tragic. Here's a man who took vows with one pretty good-looking woman, broke those and bailed to be with another good-looking woman. He has shown a wee bit of remorse (I didn't make my relationship with Alicia public out of respect for my wife)… classy. But then he pens Drake's unfortunate tune, Best I ever Had and infers that it's a tribute to AK… tacky. The situation continues its tacky twists as Alicia has been tweeting about herself and Swizz and their love. She hasn't shown an iota of regret for her contribution to a marriage's dissolution. You think she forgot he was married? Did it bother her? It sure didn't stop her. Yeah, yeah bloggers are calling her a tramp on one hand while vowing to buy up her next CD when it drops.
On the third point of this triangle stands Mashonda, best known for singing hooks on songs by Eve, Cassidy and Mya. However, all the Alicia Keys tweeting prompted Mashonda to fire back a public letter to Alicia, calling her a home-wrecker and all level of incorrect. This woman is literally battling for old boy to pay the light bills and has to see her husband's mistress tweeting about how happy they are? All the drama has netted her a few interviews and I understand she has a new album coming though her first solo album was greeted with poor sales in the US. Be that as it may, she is facing single-motherhood and daunting task of dating with her entire history in the streets. Moral to the story: If you're going to steal another woman's husband, make sure you are more famous than her and have sung a lot of female-empowerment tunes. Also, it doesn't hurt if you're hot and can rock a mean fedora.
All of this to say, the woman always takes the hit for these things, one way or the other. Do you feel bad for Elliot Spitzer or do we all remember the numb wife looking like a deer in the headlights behind him? Elizabeth Edwards, Mrs. Sanford, Hillary Clinton, I could go on for days. They have to spend the rest of their lives with people wondering what they did to "make" their husbands cheat and how they are so brave to pick up the pieces and keep living. The mistresses get a book deal and the talk show circuit, the husbands say mea culpa and get a slap on the wrist.
Point of fact, in these triangles there are two people who took vows and one who broke them. There are at two people at fault, sometimes all three. But the finger pointing should start with the blatant vow-breaker in my opinion.
Okay BougieLand, whatcha got? Can anyone tell me that there's no double standard in infidelity? Doesn't it seem as though the man always gets off easy whether he's the cheater or the cheatee? Can anyone actually "steal" your s.o.? Or don't they consciously make the decision to cheat? And can we make that word "jump-off" go away?