Paula Broadwell, the married mother of two linked to Gen. Petraeus’ downfall is, according to the NY Times, a “high achiever.” She holds a degree from West Point, a graduate degree from Harvard, has served as a concertmistress, is a triathlete, runs six minute miles, etc., etc. ad nauseum.
She is such a high achiever, in fact, that she was not satisfied with her handsome radiologist husband and two children, and had to bang the biggest alpha in her world: General Petraeus. Could there be any higher achievement than that conquest?
In the old days, it was widely acknowledged that girls went to college to find better husbands than would be available at the local diner. They’d sit in on classes about Renaissance art and French philosophy for a few years, write some papers, study a bit, and find the future father of their children. Today, however, it would be a terrible insult to suggest such a thing. Why, what does a man have to do with it? Women don’t chase credentials and status to snag a higher status man, you misogynist!
But they do, because it’s natural. And this is why inflating the status of young women while depressing the status of their male counterparts is turning out to be a social disaster. Few fertile women want to settle for their equal or inferior when they have access to higher status men. In such an environment, extramarital affairs are all but guaranteed.
If society were capable of being honest with itself about these sorts of things, we’d have to admit that it would have been better for everyone if, instead of racking up degrees and awards, Paula Broadwell had stuck to sewing doilies and baking cookies. That way, at least her contributions could have had a net positive effect. As it is, she did achieve something quite spectacular, but nothing to be proud of as it turns out.
PS If anyone has to ask why extramarital affairs are a bad idea for the director of the CIA they aren’t thinking very hard.