Reading old “did you know?” articles, I came across one about weird laws that existed probably hundreds of years ago, but which have not been taken off the books.
In Minnesota, for example, it is against the law to hang male and female underwear together on the same clothesline.
In Washington, it is illegal to pretend you have wealthy parents. I can think of a few high-profile kids who would be in big trouble.
In Florida, men should not be seen wearing any kind of strapless gown or they pay a fine. And in Oklahoma, you can be arrested for making ugly faces at a dog.
In Singapore, chewing gum is still illegal. I can’t say that I disapprove of this law. I think the habit is ugly and unladylike. And where do you dispose of the tasteless rubbery wad in your mouth? I think this was Singapore’s main concern.
On the home front, while our lawmakers focus on the putrid fumes that rise from the garbage bin of greed, some laws have gone unattended, and no one seems to be in a hurry to change them.
We are still in the dark ages when it comes to gender inequality.
We ask. Why are the requirements to prove marital infidelity not the same for men as for women? Why is the damning evidence for adultery against a wife so much lighter than what you need to sue a husband for concubinage?
Please don’t send me private messages on Facebook. Let me disabuse your minds. I am not going off to court. It’s a little late in the day for that and our crimes, the law will say, have long prescribed.
These questions were sparked by the current teleserye “Two Wives.” It is the story of a handsome, clueless young male, his devoted wife/martyr, and a rich and gorgeous “other woman,” in this case a single mother looking for someone to play the role of daddy for her child.
As of last week, the wife was ready to sue her Mr. Guapo for concubinage. He has left home.
In a conversation with their lawyer, the “new couple” discovers that there is a three- to six-year prison sentence for a convicted errant husband and destierro for his paramour. Will they risk it?
Destierro means “banishment or a prohibition from residing within a radius of 25 kilometers from the actual residence of the accused for a specified length of time.”
I read a little more of the law and was appalled at the conditions a wife needs to follow before she can nail her unfaithful spouse.
There has to be the presence of “sex under scandalous circumstances,” proof that he is “keeping another woman in a conjugal home” and/or that he is “cohabiting with a woman not his wife in another dwelling.”
On the other hand, a married lady needs only to be present at a suspected romantic tryst with a man not her husband to be accused and presumed guilty of adultery. Circumstantial evidence can convict her.
Wikipedia defines marital infidelity (also referred to as cheating, adultery or having an affair) as “the subjective feeling that one’s partner has violated a set of rules or relationship norms, and this violation results in feelings of sexual jealousy and rivalry.”
On its own merits, marital infidelity is not sufficient grounds for annulment. Never mind the pain of betrayal.
The extent of its repercussions largely depends on expectations—of exclusivity, for example—that the offended spouse may have of marriage. It is that “only you” part of the love story that gets you. It also depends on the perception of society about spouses who stray from the marital bed. What will they say? Who will they blame?
Of course there are those who dabble, play around and run the risk of discovery and when “you know what” hits the fan, there is hell to pay.
Why do they do it? I think for the man it is the excitement of the chase, the challenge, and the hot pursuit after someone new. For a woman it is usually about the magic that makes her feel like the stars were made just for her, that she is again the center of someone’s universe.
Things get serious. Someone smells the coffee. Reality kicks in and you go down for the count.
In our society, philandering is a macho thing. My friend, whose husband took off with a younger woman, almost lost it when her well-meaning brother advised, “Forgive him, sis, don’t forget he is a man.”
Yet these are the same people who will run out of expletives to throw at a woman who breaks her vows.
I attended an inaugural the other day. There was high Mass. At the Offering, I was transported to a time way in the past.
All moms remember giving their children money for the collection plate. We all did.
As the guest of honor, a world figure, fumbled with his wallet, rifling through it looking for something substantial, his mother, who was sitting beside him, quickly reached into her purse and handed him a few bills. Smiling sheepishly, he promptly dropped the money in the box.
How true it is that a mother seldom sees her son as some celebrated tycoon or famous superstar. It does not matter what his stature is around the world. To her, he is still and always will be her little boy.