Wednesday, February 03, 2010



South Carolina first lady Jenny Sanford recalls how she made the "leap of faith" to marry husband Gov. Mark Sanford even though the groom refused to promise to be faithful, insisting that the clause be removed from their wedding vows....

The Sanfords got married in 1989, but I can't help thinking that Mark was still trying to be That '70s Guy. He's a year younger than I am (born 1960), which means he came of sexual age at what seemed at the time to be the peak of the sexual revolution, but with a sense that all the good sex had been experienced a decade earlier (though also with a sense that everyone else was having more and better sex right now). I doubt Sanford would have used this word, but it could lead to a feeling of cultural deprivation -- a belief that other people were participating more fully in the age.

In the 1970s, even cheeseball lite-rock songs taught you that you could sweet-talk a woman into bed by expressing disdain for marital fidelity:

I ain't ready for the altar
But I do agree there's times
When a woman sure can be a friend of mine.

(Sorry. Go listen to something you actually like. That'll clear out the earworm. I'll wait.)

As a result of his formative years, Sanford probably carried visions of Plato's Retreat, or maybe Chevy vans decorated with "Mustache Rides Free" posters, into this marriage. A T-Bone Burnett song comes to mind, even though Burnett's title was "The Sixties":

And after a while he started hearing about free love, and he felt left out
And he tortured his imagination dreaming about pot parties
With those sun-tanned girls in halter tops with their cut-offs slit up to their belt loops
Then he saw a picture in Playboy of Ursula Andress on the arm of some hippy
And that did it. He began his rebellion late....

If you were a child of the '70s, I think you fell for a somewhat later-model version of this, or you saved your sanity by concluding it was hype and didn't necessarily apply to you. I think I know which choice Sanford made.

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