As more seedy claims about Gordon Ramsay’s cheating are made by his alleged mistress, I wonder if his wife Tana is now beginning to rue all those instant, hand in hand, ‘business as usual’ glued-on-smiles photocalls with her grinning husband?
As more seedy claims about Gordon Ramsay’s cheating are made by his alleged mistress, I wonder if his wife Tana is now beginning to rue all those instant, hand in hand, ‘business as usual’ glued-on-smiles photocalls with her grinning husband? Let’s hope so. Because the popular view — expounded so many times in the last few days — that she is a) somehow ‘getting her own back on the mistress’ by standing by her man and b) as a mother, ‘putting her four children first’ by fighting to maintain the family unit, is a big, stinking lie. In reality, she’s only propping up a Cheat’s Charter that has been cobbled together from the responses of a number of celebrity women to revelations their husbands have bedded someone else.
Of course, it’s an accepted pattern of PR behaviour now — famous man puts it about, lurid kiss ‘n’ tell follows, wife goes into a kind of denial and appears in public wrapped around spouse, looking madly in love with him.
Probably the basis of this modern servitude stems from Victoria Beckham’s response to husband David’s indiscretion. For all the lurid headlines and talk of tense negotiations, she put ‘slapper’ |Rebecca Loos in her place by winning back her man. Ditto Nancy Dell Olio with Sven Goran Erikson and Ulrika Jonsson. Ditto Cheryl Cole with Cashley and the Hairdresser. These women’s public humiliation was not met with the commensurate public response. The most we got offered was the figleaf that they ‘really let them have it behind closed doors’. But, sadly for them, as ‘celebrities in the public eye’, we can all follow the twists and turns of their marriages. And because their spouses knew that the inevitable unveiling of their affair would publicly humiliate the people they claim to love in the smiley-smiley photos in Hello!, this isn’t comparable with some tired businessman having an affair with his secretary. So more shame them for their 21st century geisha-dom.
If scorned, betrayed celebrity wives shouldn’t be reaching for their mobiles to ring for the divorce lawyers, they should at least be reaching for something heavy to throw. Except for them to do that now would probably raise cries of ‘bad sport’.
No, modern mythology has it that the loyal wife, turning a blind eye to his shenanigans, is a moral, saintly figure, sticking up for the sanctity of marriage. But the truth is the polar opposite — and her |response is merely a green light for further adventures.
That’s because what we have now is one of the greatest triumphs of the culture of laddism. The message is that he can’t help it; that boys will be boys; that their trousers just have this weird habit of falling off. In a bizarre throwback to their granny’s day, modern wives are expected to just roll their eyes heavenward, and put up and shut up. They’re expected to understand, even assess their own failings that led him to stray. At least 80 years ago he might have stepped through the door and been half-clobbered to death by a rolling pin.
What’s most disturbing is that the greatest supporters of this theory are women. As debate rages over Ramsay’s alleged infidelity, how often have you heard a female commentator, masquerading as pro-Tana but actually rooting for Gordon all the way, say words to the effect of “put any man in a certain situation with a woman who is not his wife and he will cheat”?
Of course, that’s not actually true at all. For obvious reasons, that often tends to be the view of women who have been cheated upon, but it’s actually a horribly demeaning thing to say about men, in general, and their attitudes to marriage. I know plenty of married men, or men in long term relationships, who wouldn’t cheat. Their marriage vows mean something to them; they have too much lose.
Who’s to say that the behaviour of Gordon (above) is the norm? Certainly, I suspect many of the civilians living somewhat less extravagant lives who have bought, quite literally, into the Ramsays’ carefully honed ‘family’ image might find talk of amyl nitrate poppers and secret assignations in top London hotels just a bit too |rococo for them to get their heads round.
The Ramsays’ best tactic for trying to save that homely ‘just like you really’ public profile might be to present a slightly more normal face to the world. In Tana’s case one that appears furious, bereft and vengeful. In Gordon’s, sporting a couple of bruises and a look of fear in his eyes. That would be sticking up for the sanctity of marriage.