Jennifer Aniston's appearance on the cover of Vanity Fair and every single other magazine in the universe this month--in flattering pictures, no less!--is the latest example of how America loves nobody better than a woman whose man has cheated (emotionally or otherwise) and/or broken her heart.
In the article (they're basically all the same, and yes, I basically read them all), Jen lays out the Scorned Woman trifecta:
- She makes clear that she was the dumpee and is heartbroken ("Am I lonely? Yes. Am I upset? Yes. Am I confused? Yes"), but
- Also bravely asserts that she's gonna be OK ("But I'm also doing really well"), and
- Says she won't say nothin' about that no-good lyin' cheatin' bastard ("I love Brad; I really love him. I will love him for the rest of my life").
Then she ups the ante: she throws down the How-Could-People-Say-I-Didn't-Want-Children-Of-Course-I-Want-Children-I'm-A-Woman-Aren't-I gauntlet ("I've never in my life said I didn't want to have children. I did and I do and I will!"), and for good measure she tosses in the Even-After-I-Saw-The-Pictures-Of-Brangelina-Cavorting-On-the-Beach-I-Still-Trustingly-Believe-That-He-Didn't-Cheat kicker ("I choose to believe my husband").
Quite a doozy! Jen will now take her place among the other jilted ladies who have seen their stock skyrocket after being publicly humiliated: Nicole Kidman, who became a bona fide movie star after Tom "Seemed Less Crazy Then" Cruise dumped her on her tootsie after 10 years of marriage; Elizabeth Hurley, who is no Nicole Kidman but who only started to get movie roles after Hugh Grant got caught with a hooker; and Hillary Clinton, who got a Senate seat but no movie roles out of Bill's Lewinskinanigans (whether this was a good deal or not depends on one's priorities, I suppose).
Sienna Miller may soon join the club, too--after Jude Law cheated on her with his kids' nanny, she got back the role as Edie Sedgwick in the "Factory Girl" movie--the one for which she was previously considered not famous enough.
Of course, men get cheated on, too--but there really is no male equivalent to the Sweethert Scorned Woman phenomenon, I think because it culturally doesn't work as well for a man to cry to an interviewer and such. For instance, Justin Timberlake's Britney-Cheated-on-Me video "Cry Me a River" started off with the I'm-heartbroken theme ("You told me you loved me/Why did you leave me, all alone"), but then quickly moved into the stronger You-Wanted-Me-Back-But-I-Wouldn't-Take-You postion ("Now you tell me you need me/When you call me, on the phone/Girl I refuse, you must have me confused/With some other guy"), and then jumped to the straight-up macho fuck-you ("Your bridges were burned, and now it's your turn/To cry"). The video threw in a freaky stalker theme and thus made Justin into the aggressor, not the victim.
So, what can we conclude, boys and girls? That if you're Katie Holmes, you should pray to God (or, now that you're a Scientologist, to the alien galactic leader Xenu) that Tom Cruise dumps you so you can become the next Marilyn Monroe. Otherwise, you should keep in mind that breaking up sucks, and is not worth it.