A wise man once said, "Show me a man who is married to a beautiful woman, and I'll show you a man who's tired of sleeping with her."
When I heard this, I finally understood the Dominique Strauss Kahn (DSK) case. He must have been tired of his beautiful, devoted wife. How else to explain his penchant for tomcatting?
Their marriage was straight out of a storybook -- except that they both jettisoned prior families to run off together. The public didn't seem to care about that. The French love steamy emotions and here was a handsome left-wing politician schmoozing with, then marrying , a stunning millionaire heiress-journalist. (Their broken marriages and offspring therefrom are rarely mentioned.)
I speak from a sort of arm's length experience on this case because I too have been in love with Strauss-Kahn's wife, Anne Sinclair, the talented, intelligent green-eyed beauty he has been cheating on for most of their 19-year marriage. I never managed to meet her but a colleague of mine once saw her at Fouquet's on the Champs Elysées. He couldn't wait to get back to the office and tell me. That was as close as I came.
In the 1970s, Anne was a political interviewer on French television. She had what the French call allure (style). Oh boy, did she. Dozens of the nation's leaders, including Strauss-Khan, spilled their guts when she got them under her spell in front of the camera. She did it with breathtaking charm.
In her heyday, most of France came to a halt on Sunday evenings to watch her perform and to see the sparkle in the eyes of aging barons of French politics as they tripped over themselves to please her.
She was a cross between Charlie Rose and Baba Wawa only gorgeous and very feminine to boot. CNN's tabloid journalist and non-phone-tapper Piers Morgan (or is it Morgan Piers -- I can never remember) could learn a few tricks from her. He never seems to get beyond "But how did it f-e-e-e-l to win the Oscar?"
But the upshot of the DSK saga, the best summer melodrama of 2011, left France strangely polarized when the criminal charges against him were dropped yesterday.
The now-paunchy, puffy Strauss-Khan (known in Paris as "the sperm whale"), the disgraced former head of the International Monetary Fund, walked into the arms of the French Socialist party, battered but not bowed, and now a victim of what is described here as the very unfair, prudish and petty American judicial system. He may well find a future in victimhood.
Or he may actually be a factor in French politics again.
Pierre Moscovici, a leading Socialist member of l'Assemblée Nationale, said with regret that it is too late for Strauss-Khan to jump into the 2012 presidential race -- for which he was once considered a shoo-in -- "but his word will count for a great deal in this election." Moscovici implored the media to leave DSK alone and let him recover from his awful ordeal. Moscovici did not mention the black woman, Nafissatou Diallo, who charged DSK with attempted rape in a New York hotel room. The hard evidence, including DSK's sperm on the wall, was also delicately bypassed.
In the other corner was Anne Mensouret, a former Strauss-Kahn plaything, who said she was seething with "revulsion and indignation" over the collapse of the case. Besides being an ex-lover, she is the mother of Tristane Banon, a fledgling novelist who says DSK also jumped her during an interview eight years ago. Ms. Banon has filed attempted rape charges against him in the French courts but she lacks any evidence. This will be a slam-dunk for Strauss-Kahn's lawyers.
His last obstacle will be Ms. Diallo's civil case against him, but that will come down to money, and Anne Sinclair seems to have plenty of that.
Various other political figures will be offering their views on the DSK case in the days ahead, mostly of the let's turn-the-page variety.
DSK has had his scrapes with the law twice before in France, but both cases involved money and neither led to a conviction.
His love life, however, has been a constant footnote to his undeniable accomplishments as an economist and international bureaucrat. His girls are coming out of the woodwork, the latest being one Marie-Victorine M., a black woman now working as a "consultant" in Los Angeles. She told a Swiss magazine, L'Illustre, that she and DSK had a torrid nine-month affair while he was mayor of Sarcelles, a suburb of Paris.
Their affaire was "intense" and "very physical", she recalled. DSK also apparently had an element of magic in his technique. Marie-Victorine remembers the "alchemy" of the relationship fondly. And yes, she had an abortion afterward, but she doesn't want to talk about that. "There are some things that must stay between two people and God," she told the magazine.
I worked as a journalist in Paris in the 1970s and often heard stories of DSK's conquests. My female colleagues whispered that it was dangerous and ill-advised to go to a DSK interview alone. Even during his tenure at the IMF he was in trouble over an affair with a Hungarian economist who later said he forced himself on her. His reputation as a lothario was well-earned.
DSK may have to stay in New York long enough to clear the civil case but his worst nightmare is over. With his wife claiming enduring love for him despite his peccadilloes, they will be the A-list couple for posh dinner parties.
Will Moscovici's plea to let him heal in peace have any traction? Not likely.
I can't wait to see him on Morgan Piers. "How did it fe-e-e-el to have all those girlfriends?"