If you're looking forward to another instalment in the Terminator saga, if only to wash away the acrid stench of Terminator:Salvation, don't hold your breath. Former Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger has only gone and shot himself in the steel-capped motorcycle boot, with the recent revelation that he sired a bastard with the housekeeper. After a career of playing silent killers who shoot first and ask questions later, it's a shame he couldn't muster a quick "are you on the pill?" while he was taking aim.
Estranged wife Maria Shriver has been grimacing silently through her public embarrassment, at least I think that's why she looks like that, and Arnie's PR team are desperately trying to salvage some kind of post-political return to Hollywood. While they're at it, they might want to pitch Mel Gibson as the new spokesman for eHarmony.
The gossip mill is in full swing, with speculation rife that there'll be more saplings form the Austrian oak emerging in the coming weeks. Jane Seymour famously added her two-penneth, telling reporters “From what I gather, I think there will be lots of information coming people’s way. I heard about two more [out-of-wedlock kids] somebody else knows about. I even met someone who knows him well.” She now claims to have been misquoted, but if Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman is right, Arnie's mantlepiece is likely to be groaning under a bunch of extra cards on June 19. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that one of the kids will look like Danny DeVito. Forget about the time-travelling cyborg, I want a Twins reboot.
Once the biggest star in the world, in terms of box office and neck width, Arnold is now just another philandering fuck-up, headed for a divorce that's likely to see Shriver jingling all the way to the bank. She may now resemble an astronaut who accidentally spent three days in the training centrifuge, but was once quite the beauty. So commentators are befuddled as to why Arnold felt the need to stick his Junior into Consuela from Family Guy.
The whole point about Schwarzenegger's affairs is that he kept them out of the spotlight for so long, so it wouldn't have mattered if they looked like Beth Ditto staging a dirty protest.
One theory currently doing the rounds is that Arnold had affairs with unattractive women because he had a complex about his own appearance. Anthony Pellicano, the shamed private detective who was arrested in 2006 on high-profile wiretapping and racketeering charges, claims that “He sees himself as the dominant, beautiful one. The physical is most important to him and he does not want to be upstaged or lose the spotlight in company of a strikingly beautiful women." It's an interesting concept, if not particularly robust. After all, the whole point about Schwarzenegger's affairs is that he kept them out of the spotlight for so long, so it wouldn't have mattered if they looked like Beth Ditto staging a dirty protest.
In any relationship, there's always a power struggle where looks are concerned. One half of the pairing is almost always more attractive than the other. You're either punching above your weight or settling for less. Channel 4 managed to create a whole TV show around the concept - Your Face Or Mine. Making you long for the effortless chemistry of Sam Fox and Mick Fleetwood, the show's mismatched hosts Jimmy Carr and June Sarpong pitted couples against each other, in order to determine who was the more attractive.
As excruciating as it was to watch (and listen to, thanks to Sarpong's raspy, Zelda-off-Terrahawks voice), it did provide an interesting insight into the psychology of attraction. In particular, it was fascinating to see loved-up people trying to navigate the tricky admission that they thought they were more aesthetically desirable than their partners. Throw a few well placed exes into the mix, and you've got Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? for the E4 generation.
The media's horror at Schwarzenegger's supposedly low standards simply reflects its one-dimensional perception of attractiveness. Beauty's supposed to be in the eye of the beholder, not the telephoto lens of the paparazzi. If we all had the same taste, most of us would be spending the rest of our lives alone. When Mrs Merton famously asked Debbie McGee what first attracted her to "multimillionaire Paul Daniels", I wish the magician's assistant had said "I like short, bald Tories, and he's hung like an agitated racehorse."
Arnie's career may be in tatters, but he can at least take pride in the fact that he's taught us a valuable lesson that beauty is a subjective construct. He knows, better than anyone, that looks don't really matter - it's what's inside the maid that counts.
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