Women of the world, don’t be fooled. Men can multitask – if they have powerful jobs and are not expected to be faithful.

Silvio Berlusconi, Mark Sanford, Gordon Ramsay and Eliot Spitzer are all superb multi-taskers who check all of these boxes:

Big time job, tick

In the public eye, tick.

Gaining considerable fortunes, tick.

Discovered to be having extra-marital affairs, tick. In some cases, tick tick tick.

As any multi-tasker will tell you, it’s not easy doing ten million things at once.

All that obfuscation and intrigue, sneaking around and flying long distances for short interludes, composing romantic text messages and flower arrangements for more than one woman as well as turning up to the office/kitchen/football field and getting your mug in the newspapers – it’s enough to make you want to go and live in rural Argentina in a hut.

Just yesterday I was looking at a photograph of Veronica Lario, Silvio Berlusconi’s second wife and the mother of three of his children. It wasn’t her blue eyes or defined cheekbones, but her predicament that was most captivating.

Originally an actress, Lario married Berlusconi in 1990 but filed for divorce in May this year claiming she could no longer be with a man who “consorts with minors”.

Her public reproach was met with equally public exasperation from Berlusconi who claimed his wife was working against him ahead of the national elections, a crucial time in his career.

Unfortunately for Berlusconi, his wife’s accusations triggered a series of scandals involving an 18-year-old aspiring model and actress Noemi Letizia.

Publicly humiliated and claiming that her dignity “had been besmirched” Lario last week wrote a letter to Corriere della Sera, Italy’s leading newspaper damning the invasive media attention.

You can sense her rage at the sheer injustice of it all and the way the events unfolded, leaving her - not him - to answer questions and face public scrutiny.

She’s not alone. A string of men have been dragging their spouses, who have in most cases been married for over ten years, into the spotlight after having affairs.

Eliot Spitzer was the first of the group to make the news when in March 2008 he stepped down from his elected role as Governor of New York. He’d only be in the job for 18 months before it was revealed he was a client of a prostitute ring.

A press conference followed shortly after with Silda Wall Spitzer standing beside him, pale and drawn as he made his confession and apologised. 

Then there was Gordon Ramsay who in November 2008, having only just been named the worlds highest-paid chef was snapped coming out of the ritzy Marriott hotel in London with a woman identified as being not his wife.

Days after the press got hold of the photograph of Ramsay, the woman that is his wife, 33 year old Tana who claims to have a worse temper than her husband was seen arm in arm in a united front along the food aisles at Harrods.

And last but not least, there’s Mark Sanford, Governor of South Carolina.

His wife, Jenny Sanford who was the Senator’s top political advisor and said to have “launched his career” discovered his indiscretion in January of this year after going through their finances. She claims to have confronted her husband who then agreed to end the affair.

Mrs Sanford told friends her husband asked permission to visit his lover on several occasions after that to which she firmly declined.  Yet only a week ago, Senator Sanford lied to colleagues and his family and escaped to Argentina to see his lover, Maria, under the pretence that he was hiking the Appalachian Trail.

Only after serious concerns were raised for Senator Sanford’s welfare did he re-emerge and publicly confessed to the affair.

His wife on the other hand, packed up to their beach house and held a frank and exclusive interview with the press.

“When I found out in January, we both indicated a willingness to continue working on the marriage, but there’s not room for three people in a marriage,” she said.

“I’ve done everything in my power possibly to keep him from going to see her and to really make sure she was off the table, including asking him to leave.”

But perhaps it’s just as Meghan McCain, Senator John McCain’s daughter and now a witty and insightful columnist and blogger, says, it really shouldn’t matter.

“Sex and politics are two very different things, even if sometimes they seem hopelessly entwined,” she wrote for the Daily Beast.

“What he [Sanford] does in his personal life, I believe, would have nothing to do with how he balances his state’s budget or conducts business.”

There are a heap of success stories. Bill Gates, Bob Geldof, both George W. Bush and his dad George H. W., John Howard and Russell Crowe - these guys have success in their work and managed to avoid the trap and most have been married for a significant amount of time.

So, can men be powerful and remain faithful? What do you think?

Most commented

15 comments

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    • Eric says:

      07:36am | 04/07/09

      Your penultimate paragraph answers the first question.

      My answer to the second question? I think that all of these cases of adultery include an equally guilty woman.

      I also think it would be interesting to see The Punch publish as many articles by men dissing women, as it does by women dissing men.

    • Dianne says:

      09:10am | 04/07/09

      Interesting piece. To be quite honest, as long as these men do their job and as part of their job do as they preach, (ie. not preach that being gay is immoral or vote against gay marriage but engage in secret lewd conduct in public toilets with gay men) it is no ones business really what they do in their private life.

      Can men be powerful and be faithful? Maybe. I think these men are successful because they take risks. That personality trait is evident in their careers but I presume also in their private lives. They make those choices and have to live with them. Why would I judge them? It is not up to me.

      Those success stories you mention? Maybe they are just very good at hiding it, how do we know? The only thing I care about is my conscience and making choices that I am happy with and so far, I think I am doing okay.

    • HarlequinBeetle says:

      09:31am | 04/07/09

      Sex and Politics ...Mmmmmmm On face value, agree not connected.
      However on reflection Sex and Politics are indeed entangled:  below that face value are the voters, who have different livestyles, different standards of morality, different…well, everything actually!  I wonder who really holds power?

    • @newsbee says:

      11:43am | 04/07/09

      Forget sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll - the real troublemakers of our world are the professional arguers battling it out in parliament chambers around the world.

      Sex, powerful men and politics are synonymous - and it can be argued that they always has been.

      Antony and Cleopatra, King Henry VIII heck even King Leonidas’ wife in the chiseled-ab-drool-fest movie “300” traded her dignity with a slime-ball politician to gain a hearing in the Spartan Senate.

      On the whole though in Aussie politics we’ve been pretty sheltered from sex scandals. Matt Brown and his alleged Noreen Hay ‘sexy dance’, and the Beth Morgan ICAC blow-up last year are the only ones that spring to mind.

      In reality the likes of Joe Hockey ever visiting an Argentinian lover for a weekend of hot steamy fun is a bit out of the stratosphere in things that could actually happen.

      Isn’t the argument here though that these men actually CAN’T multi-task? I mean the fact that they get caught in the first place shows they’re not doing a very good job of whatever it is they are doing.

      Personally, I can’t wait to see the first female US President deny having relations with their intern.

      Who knows, it may even be a Clinton again.

    • Steve B says:

      03:32pm | 04/07/09

      “And last but not least, there’s Mark Sanford, Governor of Southern California.
      His wife, Jenny Sanford who was the Senator’s top political advisor “

      Perhaps a little less multi-tasking during proof reading would have caught the error of trying to make Mr Sanford both a Govenor and a Senator.

    • Madison says:

      05:01pm | 04/07/09

      I thought the point of cheating on your wife was to get away with it… if these tools can’t even get simple things like extra marital affairs right, how can we expect them to govern the lives of the rest of us.

    • Lee says:

      07:15pm | 04/07/09

      Oh, please spare us the confessionals. Your priest can take care of that. I am so tired of people “sharing” their “feelings”...

    • Sarah says:

      07:23pm | 04/07/09

      Boo, hoo. I had my jollies with a hot young thing and got found out. I truly regret it (getting found out, that is). I am so sorry for enjoying myself (not). Hey, my wife is still by my side… I can double up now… lol!!! Just what I always wanted…

    • Mike says:

      10:25pm | 04/07/09

      What a sexist article!

    • regina says:

      11:51pm | 04/07/09

      i don’t think the wives of the rich and powerful necessarily fit into the convenient woman scorned mould.

      some know their men well and play the game for their own purposes. they present a united front because that’s what works for both of them. think posh and becks. they can have more than the man to lose with the break-up of a marriage so a union with some measure of compromise (and occcasional humiliation) is their choice.

      the women with whom these men are cavorting are also playing the game, albeit the flip side. they have so much to gain, and again who’s to say they’re not prepared to pay the price?

      personally i couldn’t care less what publicly elected officials get up to in their private lives unless they’re otherwise honest and hardworking in their jobs.

    • Eric says:

      01:18pm | 05/07/09

      I have to wonder what the reaction would be, if a man wrote an article titled “Women can think just fine ... in the bedroom”.

    • Richard says:

      01:29pm | 05/07/09

      Are women always faithful?  What a load of misandrist rubbish.  Why is it that it is fine for women to publish articles abusing men, but not vice versa?

    • Richard says:

      09:12am | 06/07/09

      Such evidence as there is, and there isn’t much, tends to show that women are unfaithful at least as much as men.  A survey of private DNA labs in the US showed that in about a quarter of the tests the husband or long-term partner was not the father of at least one child.  Even taking the skewed sample into account, this reveals a startling social phenomena in which, to a much greater extent than had been previously thought, women are not only being unfaithful but are also having children by their lovers and passing them off as their husbands’.  One can only imagine the trauma of discovering not only that your wife has been unfaithful but also that one (or even more) of your beloved children is not yours.  Such cold-blooded, long-term deception makes the spur-of-the-moment peccadilloes of sundry pollies etc pale into insignificance.  And at least the pollies usually admit that they have done wrong and seek forgiveness.  Usually, women will blame the husband in some way and then seek continuing child support from him for the lover’s child - sometimes successfully!  In Australia, women’s groups have even convinced the Australian Law Reform Commission to recommend, “in the interests of the child”, that DNA testing of children be banned without the mother’s consent!  This is like the police having to seek the permission of a burglar before searching his premises.  But we are familiar with the phenomenon of women using the interests of children as a pretext for the protection of their own interests.

    • rufus says:

      11:30am | 06/07/09

      Richard: I recall when I was at University studying Biology being told by a tutor that a prac class used to do an exercise in genetics by studying the blood types of the students and their parents. This exercise was abandoned by the Uni when it was discovered that a high percentage of the students could not have been fathered by the man they called Dad. The postman often rings more than twice, it seems. Or perhaps in these days it is the office romance that allows the chance of mixed parenting.

    • Razor says:

      03:51pm | 07/07/09

      You missed Senator Edwards - playing up on his wife while she is dying from cancer and the media, despite knowing, ignored it while he was running for President of the US.

 

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