Monday, January 9, 2012

Michelle's "Cougar" Moment

This time, my favorite first lady of all time, has taken a wrong turn.

At a Toys-for-Tots event, a marine corpsman asked Michelle Obama to be his date at Marine Corp ball. She said, I'd love to..." (For a first lady who prides herself on serving up healthy dishes to America's youth, the serving up of herself to an anxious young corpsman is taking that bit a bit too far.)

With today's nouveau coupling of "cougars" (forty-something women) with twenty-something men, (and the rash of high school teachers who seduce their male charges), the first lady's flirtation with the young soldier further blurs the line.

It is one thing when female corpsman asks Justin Timberlake on a date, or a male corpsman asks some "hot" female rock star the same. It is quite another when our first lady includes herself in this awkward tribute to America's troops.

(Mrs. Obama, you are the most respectable woman in America. Act like it.)

Bob Schieffer, the aged CBS News anchor who brought us the story, thought it cute, and called the twenty-year-old marine a "courageous young man." We have different word for such shenanigans where I come from.

"Cute" and "courageous" is when a timid ten-year-old asks the first lady to his fifth-grade marshmallow roast. It becomes something else when a soldier "full of beans" asks the same.

Calling it "innocent" won't do, either. There is something about young men that, when it comes to a beautiful woman, there is no such thing as "innocent." This is why the line must be drawn with a steadfast marker.

If the date comes off, I'm sure the corpsman will be a gentleman and, of course, Michelle will be a lady. But the optics are all wrong: Picture the first lady, dressed to the nines, on the arm of a man who looks much like Barack - same complexion, same body type, but half Barack's age. Nothing is to be got from that but the appearance of impropriety.

It turns out that Michelle told the young man, "I'd love to...but you will have to ask my husband." No, Michelle, he does not have to ask Barack anything. No man should ever ask another man, "Can I take your wife out?" Any woman worth her salt can answer that question herself.

Marine corpsman Leeks did not show courage when he asked the first lady out. He showed disrespect to her, to her husband, and to the institution of marriage.

The first lady should have recognized this as a teachable moment, and been instructive. Instead, she succumbed to some odd vanity.

'Nuff said. Next time, just say "no."

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