A friend just stuck her head into my office to say she’s sick and tired of hearing María Belén Chapur referred to as our governor’s “Argentine lover,” as in the following:
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford said Wednesday he spent last weekend in Florida with his Argentine lover, hoping to rekindle the affair that wrecked his marriage and his political future and brought a formal rebuke from legislators for embarrassing the state.At a news conference on an unrelated issue, Sanford did not mention Maria Belen Chapur of Argentina by name when asked about a weekend trip out of state about which his staff has refused to provide details. But the governor, now divorced, left no room for doubt.
“As a matter of record, everybody in this room knows exactly who I was with over the weekend,” Sanford said. “That is no mystery to anybody given what I said last summer. And, you know, the purpose was obviously to see if something could be restarted on that front given the rather enormous geographic gulf between us. And time will tell. I don’t know if it will or won’t.”
I told her I’d see what I could do.
Personally, I’ve avoided ever mentioning her name before just now, and I was happy that way. I’ve made passing references to her as his “soulmate,” a word freighted with much meaning, since every mention of it reminds us of the governor’s appalling lack of judgment and taste in speaking of her that way in the infamous, narcissitic Associated Press interview. But mostly I’ve ignore that part of the story altogether, as what interests me about the whole episode is the way it illustrates our governor’s essential nature as a person who is totally into “me, myself and I,” as you can tell from most of his political actions. In other words, it tells me the same thing about him that his 46 interviews with FOXNews during the stimulus debate told me. We didn’t elect… that woman. Or Mrs. Sanford, or any of the other folks concerned. We elected this guy; Lord forgive us.
Beyond that, “lover” isn’t a word I use to apply to anyone. Among other things, it evokes something better not discussed in polite company. Plus, it’s so absurdly melodramatic, to a highly cheesy degree. A slightly more graphic, less self-absorbed version “soulmate.”
One last, perhaps quirky objection: When I hear others use it with reference to a woman, it always sounds sort of false. To me, it has masculine connotations. You say “Latin lover,” without context, and people picture Don Juan or Desi Arnaz or somebody. I do, anyway. Maybe it’s the “-er” ending; I don’t know. If it ended with “-ess” or “-ette” or something I might view it differently.
Anyway, let’s see if we can avoid it, people. I’ve done that up to now, and I resolve to do so going forward. Join me in this resolution.