Riding Life!

Riding Life!
Life is like a wild horse--Unless you ride it, it will ride you! (from the movie: "Princess of Thieves.")

Saturday, July 17, 2010

C: The Right Response

oksana 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!  melandoksana

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.

If Oksana had only followed this code.  If Oksana had only realized that snagging a cheating husband away from his wife and family was, in no sense, getting a prize.  She would not be in this pickle.

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.


Suzanne said...

Yes, yes and yes!!! Thanks for listing the code of conduct, although you shouldn't have to and hooray for Barbara.

The other side of the coin - my husband was once in a men's bible study group. It often served as a casual therapy session for the guys, in which they'd discuss different aspects of their lives. One guy had left his wife and children many years before, taking off with a stunningly beautiful mistress. Yes, she was beautiful, yes the physical aspect was good, but as he aged this man was able to admit that it was the worst mistake of his life. He'd actually lost everything in the bargain, most important his relationship with his children. It was irrevocably damaged by the affair and subsequent marriage to the beautiful woman who wanted nothing to do with his ex and his kids and demanded that he do the same.

I say - get thee to a psychologist!!!

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

Thanks for a fabulous post "C"!!! This is a message that ALL women need to hear and heed! They could spare innocent victims AND even themselves from so much heartache!
from the "other" I love that chapter in your book "Don't Do It Sister"! Now, it is time to find a publisher! Women need this message and to know how to protect themselves financially from a cheater also!
Stick Horse Cowgirl "V"

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

Thanks for a fabulous post "C"!!! This is a message that ALL women need to hear and heed! They could spare innocent victims AND even themselves from so much heartache!
from the "other" I love that chapter in your book "Don't Do It Sister"! Now, it is time to find a publisher! Women need this message and to know how to protect themselves financially from a cheater also!
Stick Horse Cowgirl "V"

Vee said...

Crumble...what a word, what a very good word to describe it. Barabara sounds like an admirable woman in all her ways. Glad that you were able to use her good example to articulate an excellent, cogent law of conduct.

Vee said...

Barabara? Barbara... Sigh. Such a perfectionist I am; such and editor I ain't.

joolzmac said...

Another rule to add to the code:

If the married man is willing to cheat on his wife with you, then he most likely will cheat on you with someone else!

Just saying...

Cheers - Joolz

Happyone :-) said...

A woman to admire!!
Amen to the code of conduct!!

Noni at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

Barbara was a very wise woman. Amen for the code!

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Dr. Susan Forward has written a fascinating book, MEN WHO HATE WOMEN AND THE WOMEN WHO LOVE THEM, which may help you understand the actions of Mel's defending wife.

Sadly, most people are only as good as their options. And Mel seems to be playing out that school of thought.

There has been an underlying theme of sadism in Mel's later films. The more control of the film he had, the more sadism was seen in it. Seeing that some years back, a critic in the New York Times wrote : I am concerned for his wife.

The only moral compass many people have is self-interest. It has always been so. The ship-wrecks of lives all throughout history are mute testimony of that.

We can only become the change we wish to see in the world and behave in a loving, wise fashion, hoping to lead by example. Roland

gaelikaa said...

You are so right in what you are saying and I applaud you for coming out and saying it. How can a woman snatch another woman's man? Oh, what goes around comes around for sure!

Sandra said...

Wow! What an admirable way to handle that! You're right -- it IS the correct response and I only wish it was used more often.

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