"I will wear you out." That's the sext Tiger sent one of the three ladies, and that is the chewy center of this whole scandal that wakes me up in the middle of the night, contemplating what's keeping Elin Nordegren awake in the middle of the night.
That Tiger texted "I will wear you out" to one of those girls, using a sex voice she either forgot about or never knew he had. I think about Elin, home raising the kids, big giant empty house, security system. Nightly call to tuck her in, make sure the kids are safe, good night my darling, yeah, I'm going to sleep.
And then back down to the club Tiger would go, looking into the eyes of Rachel Uchitel, Jamie Grubbs or Kalika Moquin. Not enough to have one of these three women, he had to be working all four women against one another to get the rush, and there were probably more.
I submit the following -- that in Tiger's mind, Elin is home, safe in her robe and slippers and not at all disrespected, but rather protected from the "I will wear you out" side of him, that is only fit for the tawny-skinned and dark haired girls who are willing to perform for his attention. I am not attached, by the way, to the blonde wife and dark mistress paradigm. Many men have it the other way 'round -- the dark wife and the light whore. The point is that what some men must need -- is BOTH.
I am sure Tiger knows that Elin has, in fact, already done been worn out, I can assure you, as the mother of two kids -- one of them a one-year-old. My husband and I spat about our current love triangle -- me, him and my body pillow. Sleep is my drug; I'm more interested in 8 or 9 hours than 8 or 9 inches.
I am here now, on this wife side, crossed over. But I have been there, as have many of us. It's this chasm that splits all of us women into two camps, the Jens and Angelinas, the Jenny Sanfords and the Rielle Hunters, the Sildas and Ashleys. Every episode of Real Housewives or The Hills or The City has at it's core, a tanning party or leather-cuff-event where the respectable girl snarls about the unrespectable girl, "I can't believe she showed up here."
It's super dangerous to proclaim our whorish sides or to defend our whorish sisters, especially on the internet. Look at the comments on any of these articles -- Rachel-Jamie-Kalika were pigs and sluts and gold diggers and trash and probably lying just to get money a few days ago. Now that it's all true? Well, the lying part is gone, but they're all still pigs and sluts and trash.
Men don't have to pick sides. Men get to shake their heads and chuckle inside, and promise their wives, I can't imagine how he could do that to that sweet wife, all the while knowing the truth -- of course they can imagine. What they can't imagine, if they are good husbands, is how they have gone this long without trying it themselves. What they can't imagine, if they are shitty husbands, is how they haven't gotten busted yet.
What they can't deny, that no one can deny, is that we can all relate to the heart-racing feeling of lying. That we all know what it does to Tiger's pulse and his dick to know that while his wife is sleeping, there is a woman who is waiting. That if he's been married a few years and his wife has two little ones, if he called his wife and said "I'm going to wear you out" she'd chase him to the car with his own nine-iron.
Knowing what's in the hearts of these girls is what has us all searching. One was a reality star. One boned the star of Bones. Another saved fifty texts she got from him, like Monica saved the dress. Did any of them sleep last night? Are they racing in some new way, wondering what awesome reality opportunity is next? I don't think so. I think they are scared, dry dread inside. Some deep cell part of them knows that the collected wives of the world are snatching their emergency phone trees off their fridges, inviting each other to stay up all night, meet in the town square, rig our collective Hester Prynne nooses. For by daylight, or the at least the next news cycle, all three will be hanged.
Is it impossible to say I feel for all three of them, while I feel for Elizabeth Edwards. When I watched her on Oprah, in her black socks and Easy Spirit sandals, she gestured around her house and said, about Rielle Hunter: "I worked for this. She can't just have this. If she wants this, she should get her own." The unsaid? If Rielle wants what-- a husband? A professionally decorated living room? Breast cancer? More unsaid: I got this by having four kids and making Halloween costumes and being a room parent. Rielle needs to do a leeeeetle bit more than blow my husband twenty-four times.
Maybe what we can do is, when the world -- and ourselves -- ask us to tolerate the discomfort -- we can refuse. We can unionize, stay whole. Know that women competing with each other keeps us distracted from the truth -- that we work more, fight more, clean more, fuck more, cry more, multitask more, yell more, work unpaid more, give birth more for so much less than so many men every day in every country on this planet. We can spoon Elin in the comfort of her big, big bed or the seven figure settlement or the tucked in children, and meanwhile...
We can admit that we know what it meant to save those text messages from that man. We can remember those times in our lives -- or women who still are in those times in their lives -- when we had no power and no money and thought the only way to it was by being near it, flirting with it, letting it fuck us. Show me a stripper or cocktail waitress or party promoter (or golf course nanny) who isn't looking for someone to see her, to love her.
This twist inside me is something I can't write my way out of. But I can quote one of my favorite writers, Mary Gaitskill, who, in last week's New York magazine, wrote a piece of fiction called The Astral Plane Nail and Waxing Salon. We jump in as Ashley Dupre gives Silda Spitzer a pedicure, and narrates:
"So I sat before Silda on a small stool and attended to her feet. Somehow, I knew what to do. I looked up only twice. The first time, she was reading a magazine. The second time, she was naked and flawlessly beautiful, a woman whose face and body, as I looked, changed subtly and so rapidly that I could not say for sure what her features were or even what race she was. Her expression, though, I could not mistake: It was sorrowful and deeply forgiving, and I bowed my head before it.
"Feelings came through me, and with them, darkness. Winged, I flew through darkness. I felt nothing then except in my belly, in my wings, and in my tingling, perfect claws. I dove down to seize a tiny creature; as I tore it I became it, and opened my infant mouth to cry in terror. "I don't want to be this," I whispered. "I know," she answered. "But you have to." My tears fell on her feet; I wiped them with my waist-length hair."
I read the above, and somewhere in the poetry of that second paragraph, I know there is a kernel. Not of an answer, because nothing will satisfy me tonight or this week or probably this lifetime. But something of the question is in there.
"I don't want to be this," Ashley says. "I know," says Silda. "But you have to."