As news of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s affair with a Telemundo news anchor spread across the Internet and sent journalism professors everywhere into a violation-of-ethics tizzy, the only thing I wanted to know was …
What does she look like?
Quick — and be honest — what is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear a story about an older man trading in his wife in for a younger model?
Do you think, “What a pig?” Do you think “How horrible for his children?” Do you think “That poor woman,” meaning his wife? Or do you think, “What does she look like?”
If you’re a guy, you think the latter. And if you’re a guy — and perhaps even if you’re a woman — you probably searched for Mirthala Salinas at your favorite Web portal and pulled up a picture.
She's 35, he's a couple of decades older. And if you're a guy, you're living vicariously through him, aren't you? That’s why a celebrity’s life is so much more interesting than our own lives. That's why millions of tabloid magazines fly off the racks each week.
Demi Moore is married to Ashton Kutcher. Her ex-husband, Bruce Willis — if you believe the gossip columns — picks up young girls in front of his own daughter.
Richie Sambora left one hot chick, Heather Locklear, for a younger version in Denise Richards; Ryan Phillippe got the boot from Reese Witherspoon’s bed after rumors of a dalliance with a younger co-star; Alex Rodriguez is pictured with a mystery blonde at a strip club. The list is endless.
As a nation, we are more than desensitized by stories of infidelity and crumbling marriages. We are turned on by them.
That’s why the biggest outcry over Mayor Villaraigosa’s affair is over the journalistic missteps of his anchorwoman paramour — and not necessarily his failing home life.
What a crock.
What the heck was she supposed to say when reporting on her lover’s separation from his wife?
“And in this Telemundo exclusive, we have an exclusive interview with the mayor’s girlfriend ... me.”
Last year, I got a few soundbites with the mayor on the red carpet at the Grammy Awards at The Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles. He wasn’t wearing his wedding band — something that after reading about his affair I discovered he has attributed to weight loss — ha!
Villaraigosa, incidentally, is a combination of the mayor’s last name and his wife’s maiden name — awkward! That’s the legal equivalent of getting your wife’s name tattooed across your bicep.
At least he can remove her name from his, minus the laser.
But when I met the mayor, I wasn’t thinking at all about his ring finger, or his last name. In fact, I was thinking what a great dad he was, because at his side was his son, whom he referred me to when I asked him which music icon he was most excited to see.
I thought, “What a nice thing for a dad to do.”
I assumed the mayor was a good father. But can a bad husband (he recently admitted that he had been involved with Ms. Salinas for over a year, and he had another affair in 1994) — be a good father?
Or, are the two mutually exclusive? Only time will tell.
— Listen, people ... When you're answering the phone, especially when caller ID tells you who is calling, try to be cheerful. For crying out loud, there's nothing worse than hearing a stern "hello" on the other end of the call. Kind of makes your caller want to hang right up.
— Listen, employers ... Those BlackBerries you give to your employees are great little pieces of technology, but you do know how annoying it is to their families when mommy or daddy is a slave to the thing long after they get home from work?
— I don't want to hear "God Bless." You know what, whenever some stranger tells me "God Bless," I immediately find that person suspect. Immediately. I can worship on my own time, thank you.
— Don't invite me to your home and then be disappointed in the kind of guest I am. If you don't like me, don't invite me. I won't be offended.
— Yes, people eat fast food. That's why McDonald's, Wendy's, Hardee's, etc., all do great business. When confronted with a co-worker eating french fries — I know it's hard — refrain from the "That's not healthy" comment.
— All due respect to the onion trade, I hate onions, and am in the habit of ordering everything — even pizza, with NO ONIONS. Why do restaurants put onions on everything? Hamburgers, pizza sauce, roast beef sandwiches, pasta dishes, onions, onions, onions!
— There is a time and place for politics. The summer barbecue at the neighbor's house is not one of them. Politics are a polarizing thing. Keep yours to yourself, and if you don't, be prepared for a debate. And if you don't like the response you hear, remember you started it by praising Madonna and the "Concerts for a Globe in Climate Crisis."