If I crossed paths with the devil and he asked for my soul, I should give it to him only if he made me the greatest writer who ever lived. But I have a hunch I might ask ol’ Lucifer to make me the greatest lover instead.
See, when I read about Jonathan Franzen’s elevation to literary sainthood, there’s an envious twinge in some distant part of my soul. But after reading anecdotes from books coming out about French First Lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, all I feel is total and completely annihilating jealousy.
I mean, how awesome to be so fantastically sexy and sharp you could whip a cad like Mick Jagger? Supposedly, Mick was ready to leave Jerry Hall for Carla until she told him, ‘no dice.’ This, after she’d dumped rock god Eric Clapton to be with him.
Through the years, internationally renowned artists, business leaders and politicos have all fallen under Carla’s spell, including an esteemed French publisher and his married son. Seems once Carla wraps her limbs around her victim, she sucks out and swallows his power. Thus, she has gone from supermodel to socialite to critically acclaimed songstress to political wife. If the bios are true, Carla joins a long list of women clever enough to gain power by untangling the egos of great men, then tying them back together using themselves as rope.
And that’s cool…er, right?
As pubescent girls, my friends tried to validate their budding sexual selves by landing the most popular boys in school. Me? I wanted to become Mata Hari, making history as the mysterious, though secretly brilliant, lover of the planet’s most influential men. Even better, to be an artist’s muse, the kind of woman whose peculiar intelligence and allure make the Picassos and Lord Byrons of the world compose masterpieces in her honor.
Of course, one should be immortalized by his or her own accomplishments. But man, if there isn’t something titillating about toppling a nation because some prime minister thinks you’re the cat’s meow.
Carla and her kind are nothing like the bootylicious gold diggers we’ve come to know and despise. These women are muses, femme fatales, legendary social climbers. Like Lady Caroline Blackwood, a siren who claimed celebrated artists, composers and poets, including Robert Lowell, as husbands. Or Patti Boyd who had Clapton and George Harrison fighting over her with tunes like “Wonderful Tonight” and “Something.”
One can’t be a dumbass and get world leaders to turn state secrets. Not just any pretty girl can get under a creative man’s skin. So, what is it about these dames?
Is it sex? Supposedly, Carla shocked Michelle Obama by confessing she and Sarkozy were once late for dinner with the Queen because they were making love. She’s also easily “bored with monogamy.”
Is it because these women are the mean bitches or emotional messes certain men adore, like Roy Orbison’s wife, Claudette, who cheated on him even though he wrote “Pretty Woman” for her?
Is it ‘you want what you can’t have’ malarkey? An ex of Lady Caroline claimed she “was always the one to leave” her lovers.* Or is it how perfectly these women fit male fantasy, like Caroline’s “breathtaking beauty and inexplicable silences [that] forced men to fill in the gaps?”*
In spite of my best instincts, I still think it’d be rad to have the leader of one of the UN’s Big 5 countries want to hand you the keys to his kingdom. But I wonder if it’s worth it. Is this really all Carla Bruni wanted?
Supposedly, Lady Caroline was an unwilling muse, who “wanted to be creating her own things. But she did inspire and initiate men in their creativity.”*
Come to think of it, I’ve had many muses. Men I’ve fallen to pieces over, men who’ve inspired me to write sappy love poems while crying into my beer. Only after the love affairs were out of my system did I realize these men were blank slates. Enough existed in their personalities for me to “fill in the gaps” and tell a great tale, but it was I who projected onto them their characters. Each guy fueled my ambition and creativity, and so appeared to be the center of my universe. But in the end, the real story was about me.
So maybe I’ll never be a Carla because I’m not sexy enough. Or maybe it’s because I’m just too damn real.
*Mistresses and Muses / Famous seductresses of artists reap riches, notoriety and on occasion, a postmortem miniseries, June 30, 2001|By Cynthia Robins, SFGate.com