2009 was quite a scandalous year for politicians and athletes (apparently, cheating is a bipartisan sport). The number of highly visible men caught cheating leads us to wonder: Why do men who seem to have it all still feel the unrelenting desire to cheat? And if getting caught were inevitable, would these men change their ways?
The majority of successful men tend to be risk takers -- an overall personality trait that has certainly helped them achieve their stature, but can also contribute to their penchant for cheating. The thrill of competition, the adrenalin rush and a general feeling of invincibility are all sensations these risk-taking men thrive on and experience daily. In my experience, it has been a craving for these sensations coupled with a belief that they are above social rules that lead to infidelity. Powerful men play by a separate code of rules that the rest of us will never fully understand. If you don't believe me, ask John Edwards.
The sordid details of Edwards' affair played out like a made for TV movie through the media. Top-secret affairs, an attempt to pass paternity obligations off on a former aide, creepy sex tapes, abuse allegations from 911 calls made by his wife, and the list goes on. Arrogance has certainly proved to be the Achilles heel of Mr. Edwards, which would explain why he continued to engage in such ill-mannered behavior year after year. Edwards believed he would never be caught and oh, what a thrill that must have been at the time.
In the case of Tiger Woods, the public was left with a growing puzzle of porn stars and mistresses to piece together while his broken-hearted wife struggled to cope. His diagnosis as a sex addict led me to ponder whether or not he was simply following a strategic PR strategy planned out by a team of talented crisis management handlers. Regardless, following a short stint at a rehabilitation center, Tiger hosted a highly publicized press conference last Friday... in my opinion he looked less sincere for what he had done and more nervous about how he would be criticized after the event. His robotic movements and strategic hugs did little to convince me otherwise. If Tiger knew he could do it all over again and avoid being caught, would he?
Contradicting the behavior of men like John Edwards and Tiger Woods are the men who defy the odds and accept power and privilege without succumbing to the temptations that lie before them. While respectable behavior like that should be expected of married men, especially those elected to office, I feel the need to applaud them. Perhaps the media coverage surrounding these recent scandals will serve to scare politicians into monogamy moving forward. If not, then may the wrath of paparazzi befall them. I have no sympathy for the media storm they will inevitably wrap themselves up in.