Broadcast journalist Barbara Walters named Gen. David Petraeus her Most Fascinating Person of the Year, but battle-of-the-sexes author Charles D. Martin says the title more rightfully belongs to socialite Jill Kelley.
“Petraeus’ actions were utterly predictable,” says Martin, author of “Provocateur,” (www.provocateurbook.com), a novel about the often scandalous nature of sexual relationships between high-positioned men and ambitious, beautiful women. “Powerful men have been rendered intellectual mutes by beautiful women since the beginning of time. What’s more fascinating is how Jill Kelley, a homemaker and doctor’s wife, managed to wrap the nation’s top military brass around her ‘come hither’ finger.”
The influence women hold over men has been prominently cited since the beginning of recorded history, Martin says, from the ancient world to today’s top world leaders. Ancient Greece alone, he says, is rife with tales of a woman’s power: Kirke, the sex goddess in Homer’s Odyssey, lured sailing men onto the rocks of her island. Lysistrada brought together the women of Athens and Sparta to deny their men sex until they stopped the Peloponnesian war.
“While I’m sure many men decide not to roll the dice on their career, marriage and legacy, I’m also confident that men who are otherwise smart, savvy and guarded will continue to forget their heads and think with their biology. My advice to powerful men? Beware of audacious women.”
Martin reviews some of the watershed moments in history that all came down to a beautiful woman and a man’s primal, physiological vulnerability:
• Adam and Eve (and Lilith?): Perhaps the most influential narrative of man and woman can be found in the Bible’s Genesis 2, where Yahweh fashions Adam from dust, and later creates Eve from his rib. Eve tempts Adam to eat an apple, and both get kicked out of Eden.
Even more scandalous is the character Lilith, a figure from Jewish folklore circa the 8th century. According to Hebrew legend, Lilith was created the same dust as Adam, at the same time. Lilith was an independent woman who refused to submit to Adam’s domineering ways. She fled Adam and Eden before Eve’s creation, and refused to ever return. Ever since, Lilith flies around the world, howling her hatred of mankind through the night, and vowing vengeance because of the shabby way Adam treated her.
•Napoleon and Josephine: Long before Napoleon became France’s first emperor, he was a lowly second lieutenant who still had one foot in the fervent nationalism of his native Corsica. Contemptuous of the French aristocracy, he nevertheless fell in love with the widowed Josephine de Beauharnais. She was older, cultured and always just out of his reach, although she finally succumbed to his ceaseless attempts – and his power. The fate of Napoleon’s military campaigns, and that of Europe, was often at the mercy of Josephine’s whims. Although he married another for power and breeding purposes, Josephine’s name was the one uttered with Napoleon’s last breaths.
• Tiger’s face-plant: To say that he was the Michael Jordan of golf probably doesn’t do Tiger Woods credit. He was the most dominant golfer in the history of the sport, and there probably will never be another like him. An apparent addiction to sex – to young, beautiful and ambitious women – felled his career and family life. Nowadays, Woods is a mediocre-at-best PGA player, which has changed the lives of golfers like Rory McIlroy, who now finally get a chance to win the big tournaments.
• John and Yoko: Widely reviled by Beatles fans for breaking up the best rock band ever, Yoko really wasn’t to blame, says former Beatle Paul McCartney in her defense. But what more might the Beatles have done together? Did the band have one more album in them, or would they have toured once more? We’ll never know because when John met the exotic, artsy Yoko, she would be the only thing he really cared about.
• Bill and Hillary: Despite being impeached for lying about an affair with a White House intern while under oath, the 42nd president of the United States, Bill Clinton, bounced back – a hopeful note for men everywhere. Most people remember him fondly for the good old days of economic prosperity over which he reigned. His wife, Hillary, decided to “stand by her man,” perhaps because of her own political ambitions. She is wrapping up her position as Secretary of State, and many pundits have her running for a 2016 presidential bid. She and the world appear to have forgiven Bill Clinton his extramarital indiscretions. Perhaps because, in the end, it really came as no surprise.
About Charles D. Martin
Charles Martin runs a hedge fund, Mont Pelerin Capital, LLC, and serves on the investment committees of prominent universities. An established business writer, his first novel focuses on the intrigue that often exists between alpha females that take on – and conquer – dominant males. Martin lives with his wife in a coastal town south of Los Angeles.