July 26, 2006

Kiss & Tell

The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover

I am amazed at the seismic quake caused by the revelation of Peter Cook's supposed lusty liaisons with certain 19-year-old chanteuse.

Who knew that a singer with a career about as short as her skirt and a 10 year old love letter could bump war in the Middle East off the front page of the New York Post. A prominent married man having an affair with a nubile girl is hardly original material. Although if it could happen to a woman as beautiful and life-experienced as Christie Brinkley, it doesn't bode well for the ordinary housewife. But why is it that we never seem to hear about an alluring wife having an affair with a younger man?

A far more risqué and interesting story is the case of a woman of a certain age, known as quite the beauty in her youth overseas, who was snatched up by a smart but ruthless young American who was starting his own business and realized that she could provide the class and sophistication his wrong-side-of-the-tracks upbringing never would. She aided and abetted his rising career with his own business which at times bordered on blatant thievery and raised two lovely children who enjoyed a privileged Park Avenue existence with summers in the Hamptons.

As can happen with wives and children left out here all week while hubby commutes back to Manhattan, his weeknight dance card was left open for certain youthful city-bound beauties who had a set an exchange rate of sex in return for extremely expensive favors (after all, who can live in Manhattan on an assistant's salary?).

Now to look at this man's wife, even in her somewhat later years, you would still have your breath taken away by her beauty and poise. No Botox, no nips and tucks, nothing, just a truly graceful and gracious lady who still sent handwritten notes on her exquisite monogrammed stationary. Although her cad husband claimed that she was an ice queen in the bedroom by way of justification, he clearly did not know her inner life as she published overseas a series of very steamy novels in her native language (under a pseudonym of course).

He was a fan of hers, a comparative literature student who'd stumbled on her writing while procrastinating his dissertation who tracked her down. We'll call him BB. Something about his connection to the old country and his sheer romantic outlook on life convinced her through his handwritten notes from his graduate school in NYC to her publisher to agree to meet him — for scholarly purposes of course. Unlike her crass and selfish husband who only worshipped at the altar of power, greed and Viagra, this young man showed such deferential respect, understanding and adulation, even of her less than coquettish body, that Mrs. R. let down her guard, her hair and ultimately her La Perla to let him in.

And lest people assume women of a certain age have lost interest in physical relationships, they certainly haven't heard about the groundswell of Siberian Ginseng. Due to respect for others, she kept this dangerous liaison in the "hers" part of the "his and hers" closet, until friends, not her husband, noticed a certain glow and she had to dish the dish in the only appropriate way she could, namely her book club (churches and book clubs being last bastions of protected sanctuary).

I have no doubt, in my own imagination at least, that this affair would be the far more interesting and satisfying scene to play out, dwarfing anything the architect and his young muse might conjure. But then again, I can't sing. Ultimately Mrs. R. let BB go, because he had his own life to live and she didn't want to stand, no matter how alluringly, in the way.

So to all those with hidden trysts, remember that love, along with its heady elixir, also has the power to hurt. Ultimately discretion is the better part of valor. And that's hard for a girl to say whose column is called Kiss & Tell.

You can send comments to kissandtellhb@hotmail.com.

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