An Affair to Remember, Differently

Infidelity is as fascinating as ever, just ask the co-creator of Showtime’s “The Affair.”
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How much of your life do you spend having sex? The average married couple in the US has sex 66 times a year (per a recent study) which averages out to a little over once a week. How long does the average act last? Somewhere around 2-4 minutes. Yet sex predominates in advertising, film, music, TV, ad nauseum. According to one of the creators "I think we have a lot of sex in this show, but in terms of the sex where they’re actually unified, that happens very rarely.” I don't want to watch "a lot of sex" regardless of the plot connection. I think it is a cheap and easy way for the filmmakers to not have to come up with good dialogue, interaction, plot lines, etc. If I wanted to watch others have sex (and I don't, no porn for me) I would watch porn. Isn't that really what the viewer of these shows want? Are they saying, as they watch, "Gee, those poor people just can't connect with each other"? No, they are into the baser aspects of the scene. The filmmakers don't realize that titillation only goes so far. To show "a lot of sex" is to admit you don't have any other, more useful, way to fill the time.

15 2018-09-02 11:48:55 - Lawrence

Dear Larry,
I always look to see if you have commented on an article as your poems resonate with me due to your economy of words and depth of introspection. Fortunately, I seem to agree with you 96% of the time.
Congratulations on your 64 years of wedded bliss! My husband and I will celebrate 22 years this Friday and while we are still madly in love and neither one of us can fathom infidelity and the betrayal that would ensue, it is comforting to know that older wiser folk feel that as well.
Cheers to you and the Mrs.

11 2017-07-02 03:20:41 - Peggy Carrie

Paul Easton -- If you think those are the mavericks, you need to find a new class for things like World Net Daily (WMD). There is a whole class of those that make FOX News seem tame, and they've got a lot of followers.

1 2017-05-08 12:38:16 - Mark Thomason

"You probably have a 20 percent chance, maybe a 10 percent chance, of actually getting through an entire marriage with no infidelity.”
Really? Reputable research shows that most spouses have never cheated. But those who do__or will__often say some version of "everybody cheats" to justify their own behavior, like those who say "everybody steals" or politicians who say "everyone" takes under-the-table cash.

Things happen in marriages, and one shouldn't be quick to judge. That being said, I think Jay Carson already senses the answer to the question he asked MoDo.

0 2017-05-07 03:09:37 - Mike Vogel

"...that incredible moment of connection with somebody, and it’s gone forever.”

I don't think that Treem, has ever been in love with anyone but herself!

53 2017-04-05 15:23:54 - Riff

I love how you write, and in this case you are spot on. The sixty years of my life have been a steady downhill in the realm of human interactions and simple trust.
A person's word, and a handshake, sealed many a large deal in my early life because that is what I saw as normal. Now, that is very rare. We have lost many of the institutions that reinforced acting with virtue, showing character, going the extra mile. Now there is exponentially more social interaction but it is shallow and reinforces its own vacuousness. But. on the bright side there is your ability to turn a phrase.

9 2017-04-01 19:47:09 - Mark Schlemmer

This column and the comments reveals to this reader who the Times has as its readership at least for Maureen. Don't know what is galling me more- the fact that Showtime is a premium cable channel out of the pocketbook of most or devoting precious space to the details of a TV show without relevance to most citizens

11 2017-03-31 09:17:15 - Mary travers

As usual Mister Sandy Eggo Scott smashes the nail smack on the head. Fitfully, I'd rather listen to the mom-in-law mom-in-law this a.m. than Maureen.

5 2017-03-14 02:39:09 - albertus magnus

But @Mark, a lot of readers don't seem to mind Ms Dowd's detour. Shakespeare's Rashomon moment is via the Fool, a much needed touch of palace treacheries.

Incidentally, the late James Michener did a Rashomon take of Ken State, but the bitterness lingered for quite some times.

There are times to be serious and there are times to laugh at the absurdity of life

9 2017-02-14 08:12:18 - Bos
Maybe Maureen's column captures our Age of the Narrative, which is fine in literature, TV and films, and fiction, but not so good when applied to politics, society, the economy, & anything else that depends on truthful and accurate information in order to make informed decisions.

I grew up in the 1950s Sputnik era--where science was revered and a favorite line was "Just the facts, ma'm" from taciturn TV detective Sergeant Joe Friday. "To Tell the Truth" was a popular quiz show, where the panelists were to sort out the 2 liars telling falsehoods from the one person telling the truth. Friends and politicians who lied to us were considered shameful, & the media was all about catching those "in a lie" as if they had committed some terrible betrayal.

How times have changed.

It's not about the truth anymore; it's about the NARRATIVE--everything is about how a story is spun, often done for effect rather than for accuracy or truth. My truth vs. your truth. "I don't care what the facts say," a student says, defending his vacuous, fact-free paper that demonstrated he had done none of the readings and learned zilch. "I know what I believe," he proclaimed, as if that was a perfectly reasonable and justifiable defense for his laziness.

Take our TV political ads for instance--it's all about he narrative. Worse, take the Iraq war, the Kochs, & Fox News, where truth is disregarded and narratives are creatively spun with disastrous consequences.

The next revolution is about truth
48 2017-02-07 04:38:46 - PB

Mo, Again a media critic instead of a political critic? This time it's OK because the subject matter about these spouses (and politicians)--breach of fiduciary duties of care, obedience and loyalty, is the same!

0 2017-01-31 21:16:59 - HF Stern

You have an affinity for theater and drama so let it be for humankind. For the right hemisphere of the brain, theater is more real than real life, so "Live and Let Live." I really believe many great actors are more real on stage than they are real on real life, whereupon they really shine and "come alive."

Women have already mastered the craft of masquerading through life, perhaps with pure survival instincts, so "Heads Up I Win Tails You lose" whenever I have a frank discussion on this topic with women, particularly red heads with wide tight lips and a large smile.

The anthropological change in modernity really I think is on the male specie, the "Big Lebrowski," the Average Joe. We are just starting to catch up with women when it comes to this quote:

"The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that you've got it made." Jean Giraudoux.

Having that said, this is a new beginning for us, and it'll take a long time to catch up with the other half, and the following quote still holds true:

"The only way to make a man trustworthy is to trust him." Henry Stimson.

0 2017-01-12 00:33:11 - Nguyen

Why is "cheating" called cheating? Thou shalt not have any pleasure (of that sort) without me? The presumption seems to be that doing so will undermine one's belief and acceptance of the marriage partner as central to sensual pleasure and resolving the persistent internal urgency for intimate resolution.

There are those (include me out) who believe that married people, male or female, cannot even share conversational intimacies with someone of the other sex. I have read statements by people asserting this this, itself, is a form of infidelity. Having constructed a marriage, they are anxious to make it into a prison. To share thoughts, moments, even modest physical closeness is to be fully alive.

Face it, the female has the greatest interest in the singularity of one man, one woman. She has the most to lose, especially when children are involved or when the realities of normal aging sit in. Thus, women are our society's enforcers, even while they are also tempted and do, of course, stray from home.

We shall never fully resolve this. We shall never arrive at a time when we are completely at peace with our restless nature and its conflict with our commitment to stability and practicality. Men seek the assurance of newly granted acceptance in the realm of the physical and the emotional. Most men seemed condemned to search for that throughout life. It is, perhaps, women who are more direct in their motives and actions, seeking explicitly what they cannot find at home.

4 2017-01-02 05:02:36 - TerryReport com

I believe that Ms Dowd is quite aware that her colleagues in the NEWS department are on the case, and I applaud Maureen for pointing out other stories which might be of interest, and for perhaps even providing a brief, well-written reprieve.

0 2016-12-29 15:04:10 - Michael Longhi

We need films where two parties see things differently, work on the differences, and help each other come closer to how things are. People do have irreconcilable values, but if they can see the same reality they can work it out. If they cannot get to seeing the same reality the best outcome is an uneasy and distant truce. The worst is war, which is what we got when North and South could not talk about slavery.

The failure to talk was a result of Southern refusal. This stubbornness is with us still and threatens once again to damage our society beyond repair.

24 2016-12-22 06:37:15 - sdavidc9

Good News. Ms. Dowd is now limited to writing about movies
and teleplays-things that do not matter.

It will interesting to see how she parlays movies into atacks
On Mr. Obama and HIllary Clinton

7 2016-12-21 05:10:04 - bill b

But, isn't ours the culture that shouts, ''Anything Goes?'' Y'know, rock 'n roll and who-needs-religion or values anyway?
Is this why we fill up government with lawyers, so no one has reaponsibility any more? Or are we tired of rebelling?

1 2016-11-28 13:43:52 - Steve Austin

ok maureen it's time to move to the style section.

39 2016-11-18 19:37:51 - mikelly

really? affairs among the self-obsessed privileged class in a show that most people don't even know about much less watch?

predictable in terms of dowd but increasingly disturbing in terms of nyt editorial page.

22 2016-11-18 07:06:07 - carolyn m

A puritanical view of "rules based conformance with societal expectations designed to maintain patriarchal order" that doesn't stand up to the reality of the vagaries of the human heart, nor the irrational power of passion that at times has changed the course of human history.

Only by allowing your lover freedom will they ever want to stay on their own free will. But only a confident and mature person can take that stand.

0 2016-11-17 18:12:31 - Dano50

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