First published in The Portsmouth News, 08/04/2014
Gwynnie and Chris. Another Hollywood marriage bites the dust.
‘Was it the curly kale?’ I hear you ask, ‘Did she have an organic sprig stuck permanently between her gnashers?’ Gwyneth, with her weekly treat of one cigarette, and Chris, with his rebellious pierced ear, couldn’t make a marriage work.
Once we get over the oxymoron of a cigarette being a treat (an error of judgment made by a woman who is usually so health conscious she named her child after a piece of fruit), the tale of Chris and Gwyn boils down to a rather more simple equation: marriage can be hard work.
It also says something else about life: women can be downright mean. Some cruel things have been written in the wake of this marriage split, but not by men.
So what if Gwyn calls a divorce a ‘conscious uncoupling’? It might seem daft but it sounds a whole lot nicer for her children to read once they’re older. So what if she and Chris are currently holidaying together? Again, it seems a whole lot gentler for their children than if they spent this time battering each other about the bonce with broccoli florets. (And safer for one’s sexual health than the unconscious coupling that takes place under South Parade Pier of a drunken Friday evening.)
Everything from Gwynnie’s diet to her body has been slammed in the press. Women say she’s too skinny. What is ‘too skinny’? Who decides? Women say she eats too healthily. What is ‘too healthily’? Should Gwyneth instead be stuffing her face with lard straight from the pack? I like a bit of kale myself: should I be ashamed to admit it in case someone thinks I’m getting a bit ahead of myself?
Ironically, Ms Paltrow has never described her life as perfect: it was the people observing it who named it so, thereby indicating that she actually was perfection to them. Women all over the globe waved their jealous pitchforks in her direction, and now that her marriage is broken, those same women are gleeful that she was proven to be human and fallible after all.
Which leads me to question what do we mean by ‘perfect’? If a marriage is making everyone in it miserable, then surely the perfect version is the one where all parties separate to lead happier lives?
Behind closed doors we all live a chaotic, personal, meaningful life: perhaps this is perfect. Perhaps just ‘being’, warts and all, is perfection. And perhaps, we all need to stop judging. Live and let live.