Opinion

Op-Ed

Is Sarko Hypocritical?

Sarko's insistence on conducting his love affair so publicly does have the effect of making one more than a little suspicious.

It simply takes your breath away how quickly French President Nicolas Sarkozy has fallen in love with the singer Carla Bruni.

It was just a few short weeks previously that Sarkozy was declaring his now ex-wife Cécilia his "soul mate" and gently caressing her face for all the world to see.

I'm no psychologist, but I keep wondering, what's the French word for "rebound"?

Sure people can fall in love at first sight.

But these stories are exceptions, not the rule. No doubt Sarkozy is an exceptional man.

Sarkozy is definitely not your typical French president. Not only because of his adulation of American pop culture. And not just because of his Hungarian immigrant roots. In the past, French politicians had private lives that were just as riveting as Sarkozy's. Only they kept their private affairs away from tabloid news and public scrutiny. For example, it was at his funeral that the French public became acquainted with French President François Mitterrand's long-time live-in mistress and their daughter. President Jacques Chirac, a married man, later revealed he had loved "many women discreetly."

Responding to questions about the very public conduct of his love affair, Sarko responded, "You wouldn't have even posed that question to any of my predecessors. We decided we do not want to hide." Sarko added that he and Bruni did not subscribe to the hypocrisy of the old guard.

However, Sarko's insistence on conducting his love affair so publicly does have the effect of making one more than a little suspicious. Is it really love? Has the man gone crazy? Is he insecure?

As unsettling as the speed with which the affair is being conducted are the striking similarities between Cécilia and Carla.

The two women share height, a career in fashion modeling, and the same initial. Plus, they look eerily alike. Same dark brown hair. Same high cheekbones. Same cat eyes. In fact, if they were actresses, they could play the same character, Carla the younger version and Cécilia the more mature. One even wonders whether they share a nickname—

That may be going too far. But Sarko himself did do something with an equally high icky factor. Sarkozy appears to have given his new girlfriend the exact same ring he gave his ex-wife. Yup! French newspapers showed close-ups of the two women wearing what looked to be identical rings—in shape, color, everything.

Can someone get Dr. Phil to weigh in on Sarko's love life please?

Some feel that Sarkozy was humiliated by Cécilia's decision to divorce him so soon after his inauguration as president. She had already left him at least once before and shacked up with a businessman. But he'd apparently convinced her to attempt a reconciliation.

The whole Carla saga just seems fated to end in even more humiliation than his divorce from Cécilia. Carla is, after all, the same woman who left one boyfriend to marry his son! In the 1990's, when she was a model, she was most well known to tabloid readers for stories about her capriciousness, a trait she could certainly afford since she is an heiress.

And it was not so many years ago that Carla declared, "Monogamy bores me terribly. I like monogamy from time to time, but I prefer polygamy." Just last year, she declared to a French publication, "I am a tamer of men, a cat, an Italian."

Anene Ejikeme, a historian, social commentator, and columnist, is based in San Antonio, Texas.

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