Tiger Woods and the Madonna/Whore Complex

9 12 2009

This is Tiger Woods:

This is Tiger Woods’s stunning Swedish wife Elin, the mother of his children:

This is Jaime Grubbs, one of the nine women Tiger Woods is reportedly sleeping with on the side:


Really, Tiger?  Isn’t she sort of… below par, compared to your wife?

Of course, this is old news to everyone.  The story has completely taken over TV, radio, newspapers and blogs for the past week, attracting more coverage than Obama’s new Afghanistan policy, and I think there are two reasons for this:

1) He has managed to keep his reputation squeaky-clean, almost boring, throughout his entire career so far


2) His wife is CONSIDERABLY hotter than the women he is sleeping with.

So what was he thinking?

The only reason I care about this story is because I have met this guy so many times– the guy that compartmentalizes his women.  The guy that puts the “marriage material” over to one side, and the sex material on the other, and never mixes the two.

Only problem is, you do eventually have to sleep with your wife, and it’s preferable if you can limit yourself to only sleeping with your wife.  So if you’ve gone ahead and married the pristine, virginal image of your ideal wife despite the fact that she happens to fall completely outside of your sexual attraction zone, you’re kind of in a pickle, aren’t you?

This phenomenon is not new.  Freud called call it the “Madonna/Whore” complex, defined as a psychological condition that develops

when the sufferer is raised by a cold and distant mother. Such a man will often court women with qualities of his mother, hoping to fulfill a need for intimacy unmet in childhood. Often, the wife begins to be seen as mother to the husband—a “Madonna” figure—and thus not a possible object of sexual attraction. For this reason, in the mind of the sufferer, love and sex cannot be mixed, and the man is reluctant to have sexual relations with his wife, for that, he thinks subconsciously, would be as incest. He will reserve sexuality for “bad” or “dirty” women, and will not develop “normal” feelings of love in these sexual relationships. (source: Wikipedia)

Now, I’m not sure about all the Oedipal references, the “cold and distant mother,” but I do know this complex is alive and kicking among a frightening number of emotionally challenged men, and I feel really sorry for them because it poses such a huge dilemma.

It’s the ultimate chauvinism– women are either “virgins” or “whores.”  There is no room for psychological complexity, for a woman that is at once your wife and your friend and the mother of your kids and your sexual partner.  Tiger probably lost attraction to Elin as soon as she became a wife and mother, as men around the world repeatedly bang their heads against walls trying to figure out how he managed to blow it with a woman like her.

I’m not worried about Elin– she’ll get a 30 gazilian dollar divorce settlement and find someone who cherishes her.  But poor Tiger will be sentenced to a lifetime of homewrecking, celebrity chasing skanks, and he can’t go crying to his “cold and distant” momma.

The ultimate tragedy.

What do you guys think– Madonna/whore complex, or rich, egotistical athlete?




14 responses

9 12 2009
Edward Dandyhands

Call me crude and chauvinistic, but i’ll just say i’m being a realist. I’m pretty sure he still finds his wife attractive and still enjoys giving her the ole’ in-out-in-out, but the fact is, baller-ass sports legends with all the money in the world will occasionally want to park their Maserati in a different garage. They travel the world and women are throwing themselves at their feet. It either takes Mother Teresa-esque will power or Forrest Gump simplicity to say “no” to these advances over and over and over again. He’s only human. I will most likely be lambasted for this comment, but F it. It’s just the way it is.

9 12 2009

not by me-I fully agree. I think Tiger’s mistake was switching to amateurs with their own fantasies, rather than sticking with professionals and their code of conduct and secrecy. tina brown of the daily beast had an interview on NPR yesterday saying as much. He went for these famewhoring reality TV facebooking fantasy-chasing fucktards and it blew up in his face big time.

9 12 2009

Elin is beautiful to us, but hotness, unlike beauty, is not skin-deep, especially after you’ve been together for awhile. She could be a cold empty air-head for all we know, and his lovers could provide the warmth, humor and hotness that she lacks. I’m not saying his cheating is justified…of course it’s not. I’m just saying that it might not be as simple as those two categories you want to put him in. They need some open, honest communication and some serious counceling for their poor kids who have to see this on tv.

9 12 2009

Yes, but then why did he marry her if she didn’t have the humor, warmth and whatever he needed? because she’s beautiful and she fit his image of an ideal wife. That’s my point.

9 12 2009

I don’t think anyone really knows whether or not she did or did not possess the humor, warmth, etc that he needed. She may well have, or could have been an ice queen. I think the answer is a lot simpler than everyone is making it out to be. Like any number of unfaithful partners in a marriage, he was likely tired of sleeping with the same person day in and day out. It’s not the first time this has happened in a marriage and certainly won’t be the last. The only difference is that, like Edward Dandyhands said, he is incredibly rich and famous and thus the opportunity to cheat presented itself more regularly. Not saying it’s morally correct (clearly it isn’t), but I feel like this is relatively cut and dry.

9 12 2009

Right on sister!

9 12 2009
Mr. F

The guy is just a guy who couldn’t keep it in his pants. Woohooo what a drama!

American TV is unbeilevable. They make a fuss out of this, when actually nobody gives a flying F about his private life. You should ask why millions of men AND women do the same. Why do people cheat? that’s the question. Another question, maybe you can help me on this one district ramblings, why do americans are so concerned about celebrities’ private life.
As long as he is the best with a club…

9 12 2009

gossip is evolutionarily advantageous. it’s a trait/activity that aids human survival, so its here to stay and I LOVE IT. Everyone loves it. Our media may amplify it and there may be a larger circus over our consumption of gossip information, but everyone everywhere does it and it is everywhere useful. Americans like it with an amplifier and BBQ sauce, but wherever you are located, I guarantee it is culturally extant.

9 12 2009
Mr. F

Where I come from gossiping is a national sport, but it never affects someone professional life, except for priests maybe. Does it change something to Tiger’s perfromance? Or Clinton’s? Might have made him a better president, thinking about it. I understand the need to gossip, to be able to project/identify in people’s mistakes, but why the line between professional and private life is so thin?

9 12 2009

I think it has always been thin. which is why gossip even exists. but our media amplifies the gossip to a national conversation, which is still gossip, in the aggregate. this may be terribly gauche. but its very durkheimian and ritualistic, as our society rehearses, collectively, what is sacred and what is profane, right, wrong, moral, abhorrent, etc.

9 12 2009

Wow, Mr. F…was that a joke or do you really think it’s possible that Clinton getting some on the side “might have made him a better president”? Seems like it might have been a little distracting, you know, multi-tasking like that.

9 12 2009

who actually things his wife is hot?? Tiger was probably thinking ‘genetically’. He calculated (like he does on all his golf shots) that she could produce the most beautiful and gifted babies. She’s probably a donkey in the sack…

9 12 2009

i first thought that you were calling madonna, the singer, a whore. i was all like, “yeah she is! but what does that have to do with tiger?!”

9 12 2009

Any woman who’s marriage is progressively incentivized is basically a whore. She gets money at different milemarkers. But thanks for begging the freudian analysis. I think Chris Rock summed it up best: A man is as loyal as his options.

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