Am I the only one reading too much into Billy boy’s refusal to say sorry to Monica Lewinsky? He says he has apologized to everybody in the world, but never personally to her.
So, Mon, if you are waiting for Clinton to come knocking at your door, look deep into your eyes and manfully take the blame for the mess that hit the fan big-time, don’t hold your breath, it ain’t gonna happen.
We’ve all met men in the first flush of romance who meet our eyes at every excuse, anticipate our reaching for a pen or a spoon, laugh at all our jokes and look more hurt than us when we look hurt.
Cut to 'The End' – nothing we say is cute, why are we so hysterical and, please, nothing was their fault, not now, not ever. Justin Bieber may be a guy who said sorry, but then he was paid buckets to sing it.Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte kissed a married Filipino worker on stage. And Trump is, well, very Trump about his past dalliances. Nothing ever happened, as he tells us and Melania/Melanie (third wives’ names, he will tell you, are difficult to remember), even as many women are reminiscing aloud about his seduction techniques.
Is this a president thing? A man thing? An ego thing? Whatever it is, it is catching.
Apologies are not an average act on anyone’s to-do list. My parents never apologised for passing on their average looks to me. My kids show no remorse, verbal or nonverbal, for scaring me to death at least twice a day; after texting me that there’s a large dacoit type man blocking their way, they will switch their phones off.
All the guys I crushed on, including the Canadian prime minister, are doing pretty well, looking quite un-sorry about not being with me.
The ‘sorry’ that comes my way when someone steps on my toes, shoves me to the ground or drops their heavy bag on my head while opening the overhead cabinet in flights sounds more like ‘ha ha, got you’.
Fake, insincere, vacuous sorries are dime a dozen, or rupee a kilo. But the genuine article – someone making their way to us and only us with honest beg-your-pardon in their eyes and on their lips – uh, not happening.
While Monica Lewinsky talks about gross abuse of power because ‘16 years ago I fell in love with my boss’, Bill Clinton only remembers that the whole thing put him in $16 million debt. He has carefully steered clear of describing his feelings for Monica, never having aired what drew him to her. If only what happens in the White House stays in the White House! Then he’d be on book tours after writing novels with James Patterson talking about his writing techniques, with nary a query about Monica.
As anyone who is owed an apology will tell you – it is not the words one wants to hear but the acknowledgement that they were wronged in the first place. If even former presidents cannot go down on their knees in admissions of guilt, then who will?
Call me a romantic but Monica is all of us as giddy teens excited by a popstar or a filmstar. She was just this giggly intern who thought she was in love. What’s Clinton’s excuse?
Shinie Antony is a writer and editor based in Bengaluru. Her books include The Girl Who Couldn’t Love, Barefoot and Pregnant, Planet Polygamous, and the anthologies Why We Don’t Talk, An Unsuitable Woman, Boo. Winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Asia Prize for her story A Dog’s Death in 2003, she is co-founder of the Bangalore Literature Festival and director of the Bengaluru Poetry Festival.