I'm not the first writer to coin Tiger and his ilk a "Cheetah", but the moniker aptly describes an unsettling assertion that superstars and men in general have some sort of DNA license to cheat, lie and engage in behavior that belies a total disregard for wives and family. Men are "wired differently" came up during the Tiger discussion at our Thanksgiving Dinner and it clarified in my mind that there has been a shift in the roles of men and women in marriages and respect for women in our culture. Enter Tiger Woods. This world wide icon earned ninety-nine million alone in endorsements in 2009. Everything from American Express, A T &T, Gatorade, Gillette, Nike..who doesn't have one of those brands in use in their household even as we speak?
But according to the Madison Avenue advertising moguls, they feel the "Tiger Brand" will be undamaged by Tiger's disregard for his wife and family. He's not OJ, he didn't kill anybody they coldly assert. Donny Deutsch, (Big Idea), speaking on the Larry King Show actually had the unmitigated nerve to state that "This is a blessing for Tiger...(his cheating on his wife and family) it now makes him more real, American men can relate to him even more..." Are you kidding me, Donny? Bad Idea! Breaking a marriage vow and destroying your family is the latest advertising appeal? Hey, forget that corny new and improved Tiger babble, how about the sneaky, dishonest and cheating lower-than-whale-poop jerk? Now that's what I'm talkin'! Hey, let's have another round of beers!
As a teacher, I feel totally betrayed by the Tiger Woods brand. Like millions of other women, I thought Tiger was an incredibly talented golfer who appeared to rise above the fray and who provided inspirational lessons to teenagers. Two years ago I actually utilized the "Tiger Woods Action Plan Lessons" in my classroom in Indiana. My students and I enthusiastically read "Start Something", a book written by Earl Woods, Tiger's father. Boy! Did he ever! I won't even pretend to guess how many more punch lines that are spawned by it. Teenagers can drive you to distraction but they are dead on when in terms of spotting a phony.
The "women" and I use that term loosely, that are coming out of the pricey hotel carpets as mistresses to Tiger Woods portray a sad indictment of our gender as well. When did it become acceptable to "bag" a celebrity regardless of his marital status or the children involved? Skanky comes to mind, but losers like that have been around since Ben Franklin. What has changed is the rules of engagement for celebrity status. Bad behavior has somehow become fashionable if not trendy. If you don't believe that, check out Paris Hilton, Lindsey Lohan, Angelina Jolie as the top crop of tabloid "Queens of Cheat" and other bad girl dalliances.
I think it is time for women to speak out. There is a deafening silence among baby boomer ladies to address the way our culture views women. Where is your outrage? When is the last time you read that women are tired of animal labels, i.e. she's got a nice rack, tits, ass, chics, and the list could continue but this is a pg editorial? Does this not de-humanize women? The most egregious of animal names, in my view, is the newest animal typecasting: a cougar. Why do women over forty, many divorced and looking for a relationship, become branded by this animal house lingo? By the way, the term cougar was invented by a group of twenty-something hockey players in Canada. Men with clubs, few teeth and fewer brains are now determining the next gender slap shot in the face? No thanks.
Therefore, I find it payback or even fair play on the fairway to use the word "cheetah" to describe all men who view cheating on their wives as if it were just another sport or game of change, a behavior to which they are entitled. Perhaps, in a sad way, Tiger Woods did all decent men and women a favor by showing the ugly belly of deceit, lies, cover ups, and resulting heartbreak to the victims of his selfish endeavors.
Making it real means just that, kids. It means your Mom and Dad walked down the isle and promised their fidelity. Yes, there are lapses, no one is perfect, and maybe marriages don't always work, but here's the truth. Marriage is a commitment to be shared equally by both parties. Marriage remains the closest example that exists of a legal and or spiritual union of men and women that has lifelong meaning and consequences. Tiger, in terms of commitment and morality, just didn't make the cut.