Chump Lady had a very late night last night, and couldn’t craft sentences this morning even if you put a gun to her head or threatened to take away her pinecone elves. So today you get a rerun. The Universal Bullshit Translator shredding Esther Perel’s cultural commentary on Beyonce. Enjoy.
The UBT can’t even.
An alert chump forwarded me this from Belgian cheater-apologist-therapist-thingy Esther Perel: “Beyonce’s Lemonade: A Refreshingly Un-American Affair.”
Because you Europeans, Africans, Asians, Latinos, and canucks are just invigorated by betrayal unlike us dim, moralistic Yankees.
Gentleman, if your kid looks like Guillermo the barista? Quit being a pussy. Just consider paternity testing the price of sophistication. Like ascots or those tiny yogurts in a jar.
Every time the Universal Bullshit Translator takes on Esther Perel, it has to tighten its sockets for the bullshit onslaught. Please quit sending it the TED talks. The UBT’s going to need a transmission overhaul before it can even face that mountain of crap.
Meanwhile, please accept this:
Dear friends and colleagues,
… deluded chumps, spambots, and assorted therapists who were dropped on their heads.
Like millions of people, I watched Beyoncé’s new visual album film, Lemonade, last month. Typically, I do not comment on the successive infidelity scandals that occupy our cultural stage.
Because I’m allergic to specifics. Comment on the Ashley Madison hack in support of Exuberant Defiance? Answer a direct question? You’d quickly conclude I’m a wingnut. Bombard your senses with nebulous zeitgeist-y word salad instead? I’m a subject matter expert on infidelity!
However, after watching the premiere of Beyoncé’s provocative new project, I offer some of my thoughts on the topic of infidelity, and its representation in contemporary American landscape.
I cannot resist commenting on the biggest contemporary reconciliation narrative on the American landscape that doesn’t feature a Duggar.
Beyonce is eating shit sandwiches and pronouncing them sophisticatedly delicious? Damn straight I’m talking. The recent scientific study, the largest ever conducted, by academics with actual credentials, which found that people who leave cheaters are better off? Shut the fuck up!
“Are you cheating on me?” Beyoncé asks. She throws open a door, and water gushes forth—an apt metaphor for the flood of emotions that her question, and its implied answer, unleashes.
As a couples therapist, I’ve sat with hundreds of women, and men, in the turbulent aftermath of infidelity. What struck me about Beyoncé’s album was both the universality of its themes and the unusual way in which it presented them. Whether autobiography or simply art, her multimedia treatise on unfaithful love represents a refreshing break with this country’s accepted narratives on the topic.
In the American backyard, adultery is sold with a mixture of condemnation and titillation. Magazine covers peddle smut while preaching sanctimony. While our society has become sexually open to the point of overflowing, when it comes to infidelity even the most liberal minds can remain intransigent. We may not be able to stop the fact that it happens, but we can all agree that it shouldn’t.
Condemnation, smut, preaching, intransigent minds…
We can all agree infidelity shouldn’t happen. But it’s not what cheaters do, it’s how you’re reacting that’s the problem. Quit judging!
Lots of things shouldn’t happen. Like tornados, the Zika virus, or my TED talks. It’s no use railing against natural disasters. Accept!
Another thing most Americans seem to agree on is that infidelity is among the worst things that can happen to a couple. The dialogue here is framed in terms borrowed from trauma, crime and religion: victims and perpetrators; injured parties and infidels; confession, repentance and redemption.
All those active verbs! It’s crazy! Language with accountability? Viewing infidelity as a choice and not an oops! I-slipped-on-a-banana-peel-and-into-your-genitals kind of serendipity?
Look Puritans — banana peels HAPPEN. No one is a victim here. Quit with your trauma talk.
As a European, I can testify that in other cultures, the betrayal is no less painful, but the response is more philosophical and pragmatic.
When we find our partners in bed with another, perchance we grimace. But then we offer our partner’s lover a cigarette, cook a perfect bouillabaisse, and retire to the sofa together to watch Jean-Luc Godard films.
Americans do not cheat any less than the supposedly lascivious French; they just feel more guilty about it, because the experience here is framed in moral terms.
Yeah, only in American is infidelity “framed in moral terms.” A couple millennium of major world religions condemning adultery notwithstanding.
As Brazilian couples therapist Michele Scheinkman has pointed out, the notion of trauma provides a legitimizing framework for the pain of betrayal, but it limits the avenues for recovery. This clinical approach denudes the pain of its romantic essence and its erotic energy
Being cheated on isn’t just painful, it’s sexy.
Focusing on pain and trauma is a buzzkill. If you want to reignite the sexy (so you can THRIVE! not just survive!) embrace the drama!
Don’t think of it in terms of betrayal, think how hot it is when your husband fucks someone else. Don’t you want to up your game? Let that jealousy fuel you towards erotic recovery!
—the very qualities that must be reignited if a relationship is to not only survive but thrive. Jealousy, rage, vengeance and lust are as central to the story as loss, pain and shattered trust—something European and Latin cultures will more readily admit than Americans. Infidelity is not just about broken contracts; it is about broken hearts.
These erotic aspects of the drama are unapologetically displayed in Beyoncé’s fierce performance. She does not present herself as victim, but as a woman invigorated and empowered by love.
Like that way she throws herself off a building. Empowering!
She even voices one of the great unspoken truths about the aftermath of affairs: the hot sex that often ensues. “Grief sedated by orgasm,” she intones, “orgasm heightened by grief.”
The pick me dance is hot. (To the cheater. Did you vomit afterwards and get the shakes? Quit being a victim!)
Don’t think about where that thing has been. Orgasms are heightened by STDs.
Has your life been shattered? Feeling humiliated? Disrespected? Shat upon? Hey, the important thing to remember is hot sex.
Perhaps most strikingly, she is unashamed to announce to the world that she intends to remain Mrs. Carter.
Millions of dollars and a global reputation at stake, it’s totally striking that she’d wish to remain Mrs. Carter. #whoddathunkit
“If we’re gonna heal, let it be glorious.”
Beyonce? I confused you with your song lyrics. I never thought you’d take back a cheater. You deserve better.
Esther? You’re full of shit.