Yes, I’m on a Mel Gibson roll, here. This is the third post in a row which has sprung from his shenanigans (see these links for the first and second). I have a bully pulpit, here, and I’m fairly elbowing V out of the way to write my thoughts. Al Gore did me such a favor by inventing this internet thing…
There is so much that this episode has stirred up in me. I think that one benefit of celebrity for us “nobodies” is that famous people can play out their dramas in public and portray life in a magnified way so that sometimes we can pick through the drama and learn something.
Mel’s girlfriend, Oksana is in a pickle, isn’t she? She’s saddled with an aging, crumbling man (because when you have a child with someone, you are saddled with them) and she’s saddled her little daughter with one, too.
While I am on Oksana’s team when it comes to exposing and resisting domestic violence, I cannot help but point out her own complicity in getting herself into this situation. Mel was, after all, a married man when she and he decided that the stars had aligned just to give them pleasure. I’m sure it was enthralling. And all that mattered was their chasing of their own hearts’ desires. Certainly any moral code didn’t matter.
I’m sure Mel looked like a dream catch to Oksana: still ruggedly handsome—what a great father figure—and he was rich to boot! He would take care of her! And, being the actor that he is, don’t you just know he poured the charm on!
This is a tabloid picture of the love birds embracing on the beach. I bet they ran along the beach toward each other, arms open, with music score playing in the background. I bet there were true stars in her eyes. Why, this kind of love fairly shouted out that a baby was needed—a symbol of perfect love (and the classic way that women attempt to solidify relationships, sadly).
Oksana’s first mistake was to have no moral code to follow. A look at her bio at Wikipedia pretty much tells the tale of simply not caring if someone she was “in love” with was married. It has led her and her new child to a sorry point and reminds me of a long-ago client of mine who could easily have followed the same path but had a different response.
Barbara was a stunner. She was the kind of beauty who everyone noticed, whether she was in sweats with no make up or dressed to the nines. She was –unbelievably—the mother of four young children when I met her and had just come out of an abusive marriage to a wealthy man.
Before her marriage, she had made a good living in her own right, and the disentangling of the financial interests had been a complicated mess that I breathed a sigh of relief had been her prior attorney’s problem instead of mine. Barbara had signed a pre-nuptial agreement, which her husband had fully enforced. She left the marriage in an an okay financial condition, with decent child support, but her living standard had plummeted from what she had known and she now had to work and was no longer wealthy.
The judge had appointed an independent CPA to sort through and advise him on financial matters. This CPA, we’ll call him “Tom,” was a known, successful professional, charming and good-looking. Everyone likes him. He had to work closely with both parties through their messy divorce to understand their finances…mostly what Hubby got to keep from his wife because of their pre-nup.
Barbara had come to me because she was still experiencing control attempts (largely through the kids) by her ex four years after the divorce. When I learned of some statements he had allegedly made to Tom several years ago, I wondered if Tom could be a good witness for her in these latest troubles. I called him up. Boy, was I in for a surprise!
It appears that Tom had fallen for my client. (Talk about unprofessional! I was shocked at this from a well-known professional). I immediately mentally crossed him off my witness list, fearing what might come to light on the witness stand and that his objectivity could (quite rightly) be impeached. He sort of confessed to me his feelings for her (was I actually hearing this??) and said, “I’ve never been shot down so fast in all my life…”
Of course I asked her about it, and here’s her take:
They were working through records together one afternoon, and he looked up and said “Can you have dinner with me tonight?” Her response, “No, thank you.” He continued, “Well how about another night?” Her response, “You are a married man.” His next move: “Well, I’m not all that happy in my marriage, what if I weren’t married?”
And, here’s where it gets good: She replied, “You have just disqualified yourself from ever having dinner with me or anything more. You are a married man with a child, and you have revealed yourself as a man who has no commitment or character with regard to your obligation to your wife and family. Why would I ever want anything to do with you on a personal level?”
And that, my friends, is what we need more of. It is the right response.
At the time, Tom must have looked inviting to Barbara—someone who could take care of her and relieve her of her current struggles. There are many women who would have yielded to that temptation and reveled in that flattery. But she saw through the veneer of charm and the promise of ease, right to the heart that was lacking in integrity. And she knew well enough to refuse to go there. It was almost certain to lead her to further heartache. She made the smart response. If you take up with a cheater, you end up with a cheater. And it makes you one, too.
And, since it seems that more than a few men become totally out of control at some points in their lives, it is up to us women to draw the lines, just as Barbara did.
Women need to band together and adopt this code:
- If he’s married, he is unavailable, even if he comes on to me;
- If he’s “separated,” he’s still married. I don’t date married men. I don’t need to be part of his marital problems.
- I will not listen to him about his “problems” with his wife. Those are none of my business, and I will not give him an outlet to gripe about someone to whom he owes a covenant-based lifelong commitment. The fact that he would offer to talk about her to me spells poor character from the get-go.
- I will remember—no matter how good it feels to be his “confidant”—that all lustful married men find fault with their wives. All of them. What he is saying about his home life may be (probably is) a total lie. It well could be part of his “line.”
- I will remember the Golden Rule: I will do unto his Wife and children as I would have them do unto me. If I think a situation might make a wife uncomfortable, I won’t participate in it.
This code would spare a lot of wives and children a lot of pain and it would spare many women (and their innocent little babes) from the Oksana pickle.
I promise to lay off Mel now. C
Wikipedia’s article on Oksana says that Mel’s long-time wife, Robyn, has filed a court document which states she never suffered abuse from him in their decades of marriage. Interesting. First, it is interesting that she would come to his defense after he has dumped her for a young chippie. And, second, it gives credence to the theory that Mel was once an okay guy—he’s just gone into the 50’s crumble…see? I told you so.