Lothario on a Scooter

François Hollande is in the news again – this time facing a political crisis close to home after a celebrity magazine published photographs alleging a ‘clandestine love affair’ with Julie Gayet, a film actress nearly twenty years his junior. The photographs show the fifty-nine-year-old Socialist leader entering an apartment block near the Élysée Palace with the forty-one-year-old actress.

Julie Gayet

His current girlfriend Valérie Trierweiler, otherwise known as the ‘Rottweiler’, is the official first lady to whom the president is not married, but occupies one of the wings of the palace. Is she now likely to sink her teeth into his sinning flesh? A woman of her temperament will stop at nothing to avenge her humiliation. The shock, we understand, has sent her scurrying to hospital ‘for rest and some tests’, says her office.

Closer, the magazine which broke the news, claims that the president arrived on a chauffeur-driven scooter to spend nights of infidelity in the flat. Ms Gayet, who has appeared in more than seventy films, some of them with scenes of a sexual nature, arrived separately. The following morning the pair enjoyed a breakfast of croissants, brought to them by a bodyguard.

People close to Ms Gayet, once married to an Argentinian film director, describe her as a left-wing actress with a ‘rock ‘n’ roll’ personality; she’s a mother of two, and daughter of a surgeon who hails from a wealthy Paris suburb.

Mr Hollande is apparently incensed by the revelation of his latest unholy dalliance and greatly deplores the invasion of his privacy to which he asserts he has a right, as any other French citizen does.

As his popularity plummets he finds himself a forlorn figure caught in a blizzard of derision and an untenable credibility predicament. He has also become the most notable joker in a pack of cards that every conjurer would like to get his hands on. He might not have excelled as a politician, nor has his mediocre economic knowledge saved his nation from heading to the precipice of bankruptcy. He has, nevertheless, proved himself to be – unwittingly perhaps – a seasoned lothario whose sexual exploits are extraordinary for a man who holds the most prestigious job in the land. But what’s puzzling most people is his capacity to seduce beautiful women, who seem to flock to his bed – presumably to sample his manhood and not his heavy-handed intellect.

This latest scandal has come at a bad time for him. His living-in Rottweiler, who must be fuming with anger and jealousy, is unlikely to take it all lying down and to forgive his indiscretion and betrayal unless, unbeknown to us, his magnetism, not evident to the world at large, has miraculously domesticated her to the Rubicon of submission. Would he, in any case, have the balls to follow the late Jimmy Goldsmith’s dictum that when a man moves in with his mistress, he creates a vacancy?

Only time will tell. The joker of the pack might, against all the odds, survive this latest setback – but at what price to his political standing? Sex can be a lethal weapon if not contained within certain boundaries. History bears witness to its power of destruction and only fools will ignore its devastating side effects.

Peccadilloes take heed before your luck runs out, for France is notorious for its double standards on the issue of sex. Either you are considered a hero or an abuser punishable by law. Circumstances and lack of immunity dictate the category of the supposed offence. It’s like a deadly game of Russian roulette.

Meantime the saga continues, while the affairs of the state are in total shambles and the media is having a bonanza at the expense of the most despised president France has ever had.

Who would have thought his pudenda would cause such an international rumpus?

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