George Clooney keeps his personal life so private, and held on to his bachelor status for so long, that we, the media-watching world at large, pretty much figured hell would freeze over before he got married again. Plus, that’s what the media told us.
Last week’s announcement of Clooney’s engagement caught us off guard, then, hey? Nope, nope, I never saw it coming, either. Just who is this Amal Alamuddin he’s going to marry, anyway? She sure is purdy. And she’s a lawyer. Who provides consultation to high-powered leaders (Kofi Annan) and represents high-profile cases (Julian Assange). Wow. She’s smart and accomplished, then, too.
This is just about where we–now I’m referring mainly to my female counterparts—threw our sisters under the bus. Because everywhere I turned, the news stories said something like, “it took a woman like Amal to get George to commit,” or “he’s finally met his equal,” or “look at her credentials, it’s no wonder he finally got engaged.” When I saw these sentiments, I totally agreed, and I’m betting I’m in good company.
It was only later I realized that in first assigning such high value to Alamuddin’s education and career, and then nodding my head with regard to the obviousness that it would take a woman like her to “get Clooney to settle down,” I was devaluing the women who dated him prior. Because, as the stories imply, of course Clooney wasn’t going to marry a cocktail waitress (Sarah Larson), or an ex-professional wrestler (Stacy Keibler). And what about the one who had no known career in America to speak of (Elisabetta Canalis)? Gadzooks, this engagement makes perfect sense!
For a woman who is all about supporting other women, and, even bigger, espousing that we are all fundamentally equal on this planet, I sure wasn’t walking the walk.
Of course, this was just celebrity news, and I don’t know any of these women, but that’s part of the point. Who are we—now I’m back to the media-watching world at large, but with special emphasis on my female counterparts—to rank Clooney’s girlfriends in terms of marriage worthiness? We don’t know a single thing about their hearts and souls. God, I feel like calling them up and apologizing on behalf of the world for being such an asshole.
Wait a minute. This has farther-reaching implications. Who else do we do this to? Rather, who else do we profess to support, and yet, nod our heads slyly when one gets a job promotion over another, or when we lose 10 pounds while a gal pal (had to say it, since we started out in “celebrity-talk mode”) gains 20? Or when someone we know gets a degree, and we think, “Oh, it’s only in Arts.”
I do it regularly at the gym. I’m always all like, “It doesn’t matter what shape or size or fitness level you are, it just matters that you’re here,” but then I gloat a bit when I sit down at a weight machine after another woman and can notch the peg a few bars further, to a heavier load.
Here’s the thing: I’m not writing this post to catch the attention of the semi-permanent assholes out there, the people who are so miserable in their own lives that they can’t even barf out a kind word for Mother Teresa. Not my target audience.
My message is aimed at those who are trying to be kind, authentic, supportive people (the way I like to think I am). Yes, we can be assholes, too! But we’re trying. Not to be, I mean. We strive to be kind, authentic, supportive people, so when we fall off the wagon, we don’t need to judge ourselves, we just need to be aware. Watch that thought (or spoken digression). Look at it, turning it like a Rubik’s cube, then scratch your head. Where is that judgment coming from? What do you think might have made you react that way? (Because it’s so out of character for you! Yes, okay, now I’m sucking up.) Chances are good that it’s stemming from something you feel or believe about yourself, and instead of disposing of that crap at the hazardous waste center, you’re letting it trickle down your driveway and into the main sewage system. Don’t do that. It’s icky, and you know it, because you can feel it.
As for George and Amal, congratulations to them! We wish them much happiness. And that’s enough. Full stop.
Have you teetered across the line into asshole territory lately? Do tell! And change names to protect the innocent.
Unaltered image of George Clooney taken by Angela George and available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.