Tiger Woods and Infidelity: You Call that a Confession?

Elin_and_Tiger_Woods Sex. Lies. And yep, here's the video tape.

The Tiger wants us off his back. He's hoping his public confession today will get us to jump off of it, once and for all.

Well . . .

No.

Because actions speak louder than words. At least, that's what my mama always told me, and here it is in pixelated HD TV as proof that she knew what she was talking about.

Because I write novels in which infidelity — and yes, redemption — are major plot points, I can tell you, first hand, that the whole Tiger Woods meltdown is stranger than fiction, to be sure. As a woman, I can't help but feel that his point in apologizing is to appease his endorsement sponsors and his golf fans, as opposed to his wife and family.

If he really wants to say he's sorry, then I hope he's in counseling with his Elin. I hope, when he says he loves his wife, that he respects her wishes that he ends all affairs. Yes, he can have anyone he wants. But if, who he wants is her, he'll have to earn back her love, her trust, and her respect.

But I'm no expert. I'm only a woman, and a wife.

That said, here's what Lee Dixon, an assistant psychology professor and relationship expert at the University of Dayton, reads this into Woods' statement today will affect Woods' relationships with his family, friends, business associates and competitors:

“Tiger acknowledged wrongdoing, expressed remorse and offered compensation, which in this case is treatment and therapy. That's conducive to one being forgiven. He also did a good job helping others feel empathy for him, which aids in one being forgiven as well.

“He really had a tight focus on the people whom he really hurt. If he had apologized to the whole universe, it wouldn't have worked as well. Apologies backfire if they are perceived as insincere or manipulative. He avoided that by apologizing to the people he hurt the most and not everyone in some sort of blanket apology.

“Getting in front of the camera will help for some people like his fans and business partners. But, Elin is right. For her, the rest of his family and those people closest to him, it's going to be about how Tiger lives his life and not what he does in front of the camera.

“I will say, for people who headed into this being skeptical, this probably didn't help Tiger at all. They could say this looked too scripted. But, for people who went in willing to hear Tiger and forgive him, I think this helped a lot.

“Also, in my opinion, I wouldn't read too much into Elin not being there. Because I felt he seemed sincere during the apology, it could be possible that he couldn't have gotten through the statement with his wife sitting there. If you put Elin in front of him, there could have been a meltdown. Also consider that he may be trying to protect his family. It would have been hypocritical to have his family there for a photo-op.”

Here's to walking the walk,

—Josie

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SecretLivesCover200w Josie's Next Book: Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives

Simon & Schuster/Downtown Press

(ISBN: 9781439173176)

Look for it in bookstores June 1, 2010

From Amazon

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From Bigger Books

From Books a Million

From Borders

From Boswell Books

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From Your Local Independent Bookstore

From Powell's

Tome of the Mommy: When to Make a Grown Man Cry

Cryingman I'll admit it, I love to make grown men cry.

On the page, that is.

Does this make me a passive-aggressive bitch? Heck, no!

Say all you want about “alpha” and “beta” males, but bottom line: if you want to make your heroes come to life, you have to do more than just scratch the surface of their characters with a frown, or a grimace, or a curl of the lip. 

At the right time, for the right reason, maybe they need to shed a tear or two.

They're only human, right? Particularly when their marriages are breaking up, and they suddenly realize they can lose all they've taken what they hold most dearly for granted: their wives, their children, their homes.

Their real lives.

In my upcoming book, Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives, my heroine, stay-at-home-mom Lyssa Harper, hears a rumor that the neighborhood's “perfect couple” have split up. This is confirmed by the husband in question, a workaholic lawyer named Harry Wilder, whom Lyssa runs into, on the playground. I've got an excerpt for you, below.

Just call me a tearjerker,

—Josie


Harry pulls off his Bluetooth headset for
good to find Temple and my son playing nicely together on the climbing gym.
Mickey has gotten over his wariness of girl cooties (imaginary), and Temple is
reassured that Mickey’s cooties (real, but gone) won’t be invading her full
head of sun-kissed sateen curls. All is right in the world.

Harry smiles his unabashed
gratitude. “Sorry. East Coast,” he says, by way of explanation. “Had to catch
those guys before they go home for the day.”

I nod understandingly, and then
stick out my hand. “Lyssa Harper. We’ve met before.”

Vagueness clouds his eyes. “Sure,
I remember. You’re the Stuckeys’ au pair, right?”

I don’t know whether to be
flattered or miffed. True, both the au pair and I have long dark hair, although
mine is somewhat curlier. Okay, make that frizzy. And yes, it strokes my ego to
be compared to a mere woman-child some ten years younger (not to mention ten
pounds lighter). It’s more likely that he’s suggesting that I don’t seem worthy
enough to live in Paradise Heights—unless I’m in someone’s domestic employ.

Only in my wildest fantasies
would I assume that this is his way of hitting on me. Still, the thought of
being picked up on the playground by the neighborhood DILF (the “dad I'd
like to—.” well, you get the picture) does give me a cheap thrill.

Then it hits me: What if he’s
asking because he thinks he can buy my services, which would leave the Stuckeys
high and dry? Ouch! And those twins of theirs are a handful . . .

Gee, I wonder how much he’s
offering, anyway

Turns out he’s not offering at
all. He just doesn’t remember meeting Ted and me at the Crawleys’ Christmas
party last year. Or sharing a picnic table with us this past summer at the
Paradise Heights Annual July Fourth picnic. Or that we were the ones who found
Lucky after he escaped under their fence in order to chase after the Corrigan’s
tabby.

My God, as oblivious as this guy
is, I’m surprised he remembers his way home.

Then again, maybe he doesn’t.
That might be why DeeDee had an affair in the first place.

“Um . . .no. I'm just a mom
here in the Heights.”

As my black-and-white image of
the Wilders gradates to chiaroscuro in the harsh light of reality, Harry tries
to make amends for forgetting how many times our paths have crossed by
complimenting me on how well my son plays with Temple.

Now it’s my turn to blush. I’m
not used to hearing compliments about Mickey from other parents, only pointed
remarks about how much more “rambunctious” he is than their own perfect
progeny. “Thanks,” I stammer, then add, “I think his patience comes from having
a younger sister.”

“Oh yeah? My son isn’t half that
great with Temple. Of course he’s somewhat older, a teenager.” He gives a
conciliatory laugh. “You know how they are.”

“I know your son.”

Surprised, he
blinks, then leans away slightly. He seems wary of what I might say next, so I
continue gently, “Jake, right? He’s a sweet boy, too. He and my son, Tanner,
play together on the basketball team. Very few of Tanner’s friends let Mickey
join in when they come over to shoot hoops. You know how they can be: snubbing
kids who are younger, or not as well coordinated. But Jake doesn’t seen to
mind.”

Harry nods uncertainly. “Well,
I’m glad to hear he’s not so—so judgmental all the time.”

“I never thought of it that way.
I just think some kids instinctively know what to do with younger children.”
Upon hearing this, Harry frowns. Quickly I add, “I’m not saying that that’s a
good thing or a bad thing. In fact, I think it shows that, some day, they’ll
make pretty good parents.”

Harry stares off in stony
silence. As we sit quietly, I wonder what I’ve said wrong.

On the other hand, what does it
matter? It’s my guess that he will forget our conversation the minute we gather
up the kids and say our awkward good-byes. And the next time we meet, be it in
the carpool line, or at a school function, or a neighbor’s party, he’ll vaguely
wonder what the Stuckeys’ au pair has done with the usually caterwauling twins.

Right then and there I make up my
mind that that is not going to happen, that I’m going to make a big enough
impression on him that my name will finally be emblazoned on his brain, or at
the very least that I crack his typically icy demeanor just this once.

Suddenly I remember another thing
we have in common: our daughters.

“So, you’ve decided to give
Temple a day off from school? In fact, my daughter, Olivia, is in preschool
with Temple. Every now and then I let her do that, too. Kindergarten can be so
overwhelming for little kids, even with a year or two of preschool under their
belts. It’s not like they’re missing calculus, or anything really important,
right? And the trade-offs are some wonderful memories. To be honest, though, I
hate when it’s called ‘quality time,’ don’t you? I mean, every second with your
child is memorable. Even watching them while they sleep is precious–”

I’ve been blathering so much I
hadn’t noticed that Harry is crying.

The tears roll down his face in
two steady lines. He turns his head toward me so that the children don’t see
this, but my look of shock must be just as dismaying to him because he ends up
burying his face in his hands.

And sobs even harder.

Harry Wilder, captain of
industry, neighborhood enigma, one half of Paradise Heights’ Perfect Couple, is
now a puddle of mush.

And it's all my doing.

Out of habit I still carry Handi
Wipes. Although they aren’t ideal in situations like this, I can tell that
Harry is appreciative for anything that will sop up this mess that is now his
life.

When he's able to face me again,
he looks me in the eye. “My wife left me. She’s left
us.”

At this point I could feign
ignorance, but since we’re both striving for honesty here, I have no desire to
muck things up with a polite albeit face-saving (for him) lie, a “Gee! Look how
late it’s getting” exit line, and another year or two of polite neighborly
oblivion. Instead, I nod and say, “Yeah, I heard. On Halloween.
I’m—I’m so sorry about it.”

“You know about it? But I—I
haven’t said anything to anyone, yet! And she’s—she’s long gone, so I know it
didn’t come from her.” He shakes his head at the thought that his personal soap
opera is being bandied about the local Starbucks. “Jesus! And I thought news
moved fast on Wall Street.”

“Yeah, well, you’ll find out
about the Height’s mommy grapevine soon enough. I mean, if you plan on sticking
around—

“I am, for sure. I’m not going
anywhere.” The lines on Harry’s face once again realign into a steely
implacability. “This is our home. My kids love it here. We’ll…we’ll work
through it somehow.”

“Sure you will,” I murmur
reassuringly. “There’s no place like the Heights for raising kids. That’s why
we’re all here. Hey listen, really, I didn’t mean to scare you off. You know,
about the way we mommies talk and all. It was just such a shock to everyone.
The two of you always seemed so—so happy.”

“Yeah. Happy. I thought we were,
too.” With this, his eyes get moist again. This time, though, he shrugs, then
passes a broad palm over them. I assume that he’s decided that the Handi Wipes
give off the wrong impression. “You were right when you said that every minute
you spend with your kids is important. And I haven’t been around for most of
it.”

Well, of course you weren’t, I
want to say. You were out making a living! Bringing home the bacon, playing
this millennium’s version of caveman . . .

And boy oh boy, your stucco
palace has all the bells and whistles to prove it.

Too bad you found another
Neanderthal in there, with your wife.

But I keep my mouth shut. Because
you don’t hit a man when he’s down.

 (c) 2010 Josie Brown


The online magazine, Jezebel feels like I do about men: it's good to seem them being human beings. This article profiles 67 Hollywood movies in which men actually cry on camera (and on cue…)

Here's the video that goes with it. Enjoy!



SecretLives400  Josie' s Next Book: Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives

Simon & Schuster/Downtown Press

(ISBN: 9781439173176)

Look for it in bookstores June 1, 2010

From Amazon

From Barnes & Noble

From Bigger Books

From Books a Million

From Borders

From Copperfield's

From Your Local Independent Bookstore

From Powell's


Art from the Heart: What Does It Mean When Your Wife Wields a Chainsaw?

Task at Hand Ever notice how the end of the holiday season brings out the contrariness in some of us?

Bah humbug, and all that jazz.

Oh, not me. I'm still on a holiday high. In fact, I wish it would never end…

But that's just because I've been procrastinating with a new book proposal.

But enough about me. I about laffed myself silly at this masterpiece (more objectively, it's a “mistresspiece”) by artist Kelly Reemtsen, who shows her work here in San Francisco's Caldwell Snyder Gallery. (FYI: They have a second gallery just north of the city, in the wonderful wine country village of St. Helena.)

It's entitled “Task at Hand.” Hmmmm. Okay, I'll bite. A woman dressed in a chic party frock holds a chainsaw as if it's a Pucci clutch?

Talk about making a statement.

Read into it what you want, but my take on this is that, no matter how we try to hem in our anger, it will show itself eventually.

In her case, fashionably.

But that's just my interpretation. I'd love to hear yours, too.

(If you want to see a larger version, double-click on the photo…)

Periodically I'll turn
this blog turns into an Internet art gallery by uplinking similar pieces by Ms. Reemtsen and other artists, whose works I feel tell a
story similar to what I'll be telling you in my next novel, SECRET
LIVES OF HUSBANDS AND WIVES.

Passive is the new aggressive,

—Josie

 

 

SLHWCOVER2010

Josie' s Next Book: Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives

Simon & Schuster/Downtown Press

(ISBN: 9781439173176)

Look for it in bookstores June 1, 2010

From Amazon

From Barnes & Noble

From Bigger Books

From Books a Million

From Borders

From Copperfield's

From Your Local Independent Bookstore

From Powell's

Tome of the Mommy: Ask Yourself, “Why did I Marry Him?”

Sad_bride 01

I've been blessed with a wonderful relationship. My husband, Martin, and I have been together for over twenty years.

I'm always amazed when unhappy couples stay in a marriage. Isn't the  goal to be with someone who makes you happy?

Not because each party feels some obligation to stay in the marriage.

When questioned as to whether they are wasting their time, energy and emotions on a relationship that will never get better, the reasons they usually give for sticking it out never has anything to do with his or her own happiness, but some sense of obligation: to their children, their parents, their perception of relationship success.

I feel sad for them. So much time is spent complaining about the fact that neither can satisfy the other. 

What they don't realize is that either one party has  lost the respect, or trust,  of the other. Unless they take the time to earn it back, no amount of passion will ever make it right again.

My own parents' union was not a happy one. I reveled in the unabashed love both
my mother and father showered on me, and I will always appreciate them
for inspiring me to never doubt my own abilities or my potential. That is all a child can ask of a parent, is it not?

But children want their parents to be happy, too.

As a child, I remember wishing they'd break up, so that each could find the happiness that eluded them in marriage.

When I was sixteen my parents had one particularly raw argument. Afterward I sat on the front porch with my mother during a thunderstorm. As the sky crackled overhead, I asked her: "Why don't you two just get a divorce?"

She paused, then answered:  "Because children should have two parents."

"But we're happy when you're happy. And you aren't happy."

She nodded in response, but my words never moved her to action. She stayed in the marriage until the day he died, some three years later. During that time, she was angry. Nothing he did for her made her happy.

Maybe she was afraid she couldn't be happy without him, either. The devil you know is better than the one you don't. Isn't that how the saying goes?

I've always wondered if, had they made the break, he might have lived longer.

People who are happy don't want to give up on life.

In my book Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives, my heroine, Lyssa Harper, ruminates on her own parents' divorce, and how it affected her views toward dating and marriage. This small excerpt gives you a small piece of her backstory, in her own words.

Enjoy, and happy new year,

Josie


I accepted Ted’s proposal even though I wasn’t really sure that he was The One.

I said as much to my mother, the day after he proposed.
“What is ‘The One,’ anyway?” The smoke from her Kool Menthol streamed out from the high corner of her curled smirk and floated toward the ceiling like a serene genie. “Hey, nothing’s perfect, right?”


It wasn’t a question, but a warning. During the twelve years of her own marriage she had assumed my father had been The One for her. I had, too. He’d been my first and only love.


As it turns out, Father wasn’t The One for either of us. He proved it when I was ten. That was the year he left us both for his secretary, the giggly Patti-with-an-i, and the penthouse apartment where he’d stashed her.

Our consolation prize was our two-acre country club estate in tony Atherton, with its over-extended mortgage. But of course we couldn’t afford the house on our own. Within a year we had downsized to a one-bedroom rent-controlled walk-up in San Francisco's Upper Tenderloin—a “transitional” neighborhood—where we crammed in as much of our large overstuffed furniture as we could fit.


The only good thing about that roach-infested hole was that it was a five-minute bus ride to the Saks Fifth Avenue on Union Square. My mother got a job at the cosmetics counter alongside the same women who, when she was married and flush, showered her with Clinique and Estée Lauder samples as she swept by them on her way to the designer showroom. After the divorce, the Puccis, Guccis, Yves St. Laurents and Blasses she wore to the weekly cocktail parties at her country club either subbed as very expensive work attire, or found its way to consignment shops, where they sold quickly at bargain rates. Whereas she was no longer living proof that you can never be too rich, she certainly proved that you could be too thin—if all you could afford to eat is canned tuna on Saltines.


Like a good girl, I didn’t blame my father or complain to my mother. Instead I threw myself into my other love: painting big sad canvases that made people stop, look and react . . .

 Copyright © 2010 by Josie Brown



BestSLHW Josie' s Next Book: Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives

Simon & Schuster/Downtown Press

(ISBN: 9781439173176)

Look for it in bookstores June 1, 2010

From Amazon

From Barnes & Noble

From Bigger Books

From Books a Million

From Borders

From Copperfield's

From Your Local Independent Bookstore

From Powell's

Tome of the Mommy: “You Know I Hate to Gossip, But…”

GossipGirls Everyone does it, right? We diss on our best buds, tell tales out of school.

When we're asked to keep a secret, we cross our hearts, hope to die . . .

Instead we spill our guts.

I've always been a social animal. In the human jungle, gossip is the best bait, a tasty fodder that shows we're in the know.

That we're somebody, because we know everyone else's business.

PEOPLE magazine has the highest circulation for a good reason: we are fascinated with others' lives.

Lindsey and Britney are train wrecks which we all craned our necks
over. The divorces of others (friends, exes, celebs) fascinate us. Is
it because our own are so boring—or is it because it's much easier to
pass judgment on others than to critique ourselves and assess our own
actions?

And yet, if we heard others were talking about us, we'd be mortified.

Magnifying mirrors make us wince. Every little wrinkle and pore is
exposed. Is gossip a mirror into our souls? Is what we say of others
really our fears about ourselves?

In my book SECRET LIVES OF HUSBANDS AND WIVES,
Brooke, the best friend of my heroine, Lyssa, always has the scoop on
everyone else in their tony community, Paradise Heights. Lyssa is just
slightly annoyed by this . . .

But she puts up with it because she would much prefer to be on the
receiving end of the gossip grapevine, as opposed to the topic of
interest.

Wouldn't we all?

What Brooke has to tell her is that the neighborhood's "perfect couple"
has just broken up. Both are enigmas: gorgeous, but aloof. Their
children are adorable and popular . . .

But when the divorce gets ugly, the gossip gets even more vicious.

Needless to say, everyone suffers—including Lyssa, who has befriended
the husband, Harry. He has put his career on pause and has become a
stay-at-home dad in order to prove he deserves custody of the kids.

One of the best lines in STEEL MAGNOLIAS belonged to Olympia Dukakis: "If you don't have anything nice to say about anybody, come sit by me."

That says it all: impress me with your knowledge. Titillate me. Scandalize me.

Even if it hurts someone. Even if it may not be true. Because that's entertainment . . .

Have you ever been hurt by gossip? If so, I'm all ears,

—Josie


SLHW fauxsmall Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives (From Amazon)

Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives (From Borders)

Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives (From Barnes & Noble)

Simon & Schuster/Pocket

(ISBN: 9781439173176)

Look for it in bookstores June 1, 2010