Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What Would Edith Wharton Think?

Occasionally referred to as the "single woman's sports page", the Sunday Weddings section of The New York Times rarely makes headline news -- even when the betrothed are famous or socially prominent. Each week about two dozen marriages are listed and one is usually given prominence if the back story of how the couple met and fell in love is particularly interesting. 

Last week the featured marriage was very interesting indeed, and it has generated a lot of headline news -- and controversy. This marriage concerns one Carol Anne Riddell and John Partilla who met in 2006 when they were both married to other people. For a while they denied their attraction and the two (then) couples even became friends with each other. But after a while Carol and John couldn't live a lie any longer and dumped their spouses and ran off together. Now they are husband and wife. 

It gets better. These two met when they were both taking their kids to the same school. That's right -- this adulterous couple had kids in the same school, socialized as couples with the soon-to-be-spurned husband and wife, then ran off together and finally got married. Then they had the chutzpah to have their new marriage announced in the Times. Ouch. 

It's not exactly Fatal Attraction but it's pretty nasty. Call it Unfortunate Attraction.

This story is causing a firestorm of controversy, with people outraged that "the paper of record" would make public a situation that caused so much heartbreak and two wrecked families. The  spurned ex-husband is royally pissed and is making his agita known. 


Personally I find it reprehensible that this story would be made public -- but, then again, when people blog/Facebook/Twitter about everything in their lives, it's probably not surprising something like this would eventually bleed into the MSM. Still, what's truly shocking is how un-New York this whole thing is. NYC is still an old-school kinda town -- this is the town of the Social Register, after all, the town of Edith Wharton and Old Money and the Rockefellers. People use to do this kinda thing classy here. When people had affairs, they had the decency to do it with someone outside their social circle and, if they were going to dump their spouses and get re-married so quickly, they would have the decency to go to Europe. Socializing with your mistress (or master) and his/her husband when your kids go to the same school, then running off together and getting married and then making it public for all the world to see is a very un-New York thing to do. 


It's much, much more California.  

So what do you think? Are you outraged? Inquiring minds wanna know. 

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