Hunting Other Women’s Husbands

The film Sex, Lies and Videotape starts with a lawyer explaining his discovery that a wedding ring acts as an aphrodisiac on women generally, and regretting that he had never thought to wear one long before he got married. Assuming that this is a true observation – and disbelievers should be invited to fund a double-blind study – we may reasonably ask why, and how it fits with other female behaviour. After all, women have since forever been telling us that they want love and commitment rather than casual sex, and also that they are the guardians of monogamous marriage. So why, when she can’t get a widower or divorcé, does the modern woman prefer even a half-share in another woman’s husband to the freehold on a middle-aged bachelor?

Put that way, the question answers itself: the man is desirable because – and perhaps only because – he is another woman’s husband. First of all, since we see precisely the same behaviour in the avian world, where adulterous females ignore unpaired males, there must be a biological basis for it. The very fact that the male has acquired a mate means that he must have something going for him; contrariwise, beyond a certain age the bachelor is almost certainly a loser, and only loser females will consider him preferable to muscling in on the winners’ territory. Were he any good, someone would have claimed him by now. Fitness is therefore adequately demonstrated by the marriage ring that Soderbergh’s slimy lawyer wishes he had worn as a youngster.

In the second place, getting the married man makes a woman feel that she has put one over on her rival and has therefore climbed higher up the greasy pole of feminine society, even if no one else knows it.

Thirdly, by having her affaire with the married man rather than the bachelor, the woman can avoid tiresome talk of love and commitment on either side. She does then not need to fake it or listen to the bachelor faking it – or even worse, not bothering to fake it – but can get on with enjoying the sex.

Fourthly and lastly, the relationship is then easy for her to end: she can merely tell him that she feels guilty about his wife. If, on the other hand, he beats her to the punch, she may exchange the pleasures of sex and hierarchy for the even more potent pleasures of psychodrama.

Posted on August 13, 2012 at 10:17 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink
In: WHAT WOMEN WANT, Keeping Score

Leave a Reply