It would have been a thick compilation if Jenny Sanford had chosen to write a book about wives of politicians who’ve been caught cheating (let alone those who haven’t yet been caught), enough to read on a flight to Asia, but she chose to tell her own story in a memoir titled Staying True, and it’s truly a case of making lemonade out of a very public betrayal.
What would any of us do if we were to find ourselves in her position? It’s a little fuzzy for me as I’m not one who plans ahead. I don’t scope out exit rows on planes or read "what to do in the event of a fire" in public buildings, nor have I made arrangements to deal with my death. My hope is that if I have no contingency plan, dreaded things won’t happen. And under that heading comes finding out that my husband has been fooling around. Cheating, after all, is not limited to politicians, who don’t, curiously, approach it any more competently than they do health-care reform.
Take Tiger Woods – which seems, as we've learned, to have been a popular sport. Elin read his text messages and went after him with a golf club. We haven’t heard how David Letterman's wife responded to the favorite nations policy he applied to interns. I’m sure I wouldn’t be as inclusive as Elizabeth Edwards, who supposedly invited the "love child" to join her family for Christmas. I don’t celebrate Christmas, mistresses or love children, and I certainly am not looking to pick out more "Secret Santa" gifts.
Silda Spitzer’s unwavering devotion is something we all value in an employee or family pet, but she’s been harshly criticized for being too supportive. Yet she appears to have inspired the TV series "The Good Wife," and as a TV writer, we’re always looking for stories. But I like to think I’d be as elegant as Jenny Sanford and ridicule my ex in a book that gets favorably reviewed in The New York Times. Having said that, this is a book I hope never to write.
Jenny Sanford may be the new role model for the wife who’s been spurned. She had agreed to adjust the wedding vows so that the pledge to "forsake all others" was eliminated, which would have been an issue for most of us, but after he admitted to not having forsaken all others, she and her friends were spirited enough to make jokes about "hiking the Appalachian Trail," code for aerobic adultery.
After her book tour, I hope she’ll consider leading tours on the Appalachian Trail. The area must be suffering as tourism has surely fallen off now that men don’t dare tell their staff or wives, "I’m going hiking on the Appalachian Trail."