We know that the French find our sex scandals and our Puritanical public dialogue amusing, so it’s no surprise they’ve really gone to town on Tiger Woods’ woes. However, the Gallic media tend to find American outrage more interesting than American sins. They’ve got plenty of their own.
Our sister site in France, Slate.fr, ran the following fictional “application for asylum” from Tiger Woods on their site by contributor Layla Demay. I’ve translated a portion:
To the Minister of the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and the Stateless
My name is Tiger Woods, and I am a victim of terrible persecutions. I am writing to request the right of asylum. For the last 15 days, I have been the victim of intense humiliation. Not a day has passed that I have not been attacked by my country’s national press. Public opinion says that I have committed horrible crimes, moral turpitudes and perversity. But I am just a victim of opprobrium.
In my country, adultery, a common and banal act, is considered a crime. Yet, it is well-known that it is practiced by the majority of Americans. The market for adultery is flourishing, even in these times of economic crisis. On its own, it has no doubt stimulated the economy. Americans should recognize this fact, and as an act of patriotism, promote more infidelity. There are sites on the Internet to bring together supply and demand. Ashleymadison.com, the market leader, has more than 4 million members.
Craigslist, the classified ads site where a large number of my fellow citizens recruit their baby sitters and cleaning ladies, also features pages and pages of announcements by married men seeking companions for their 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. trysts. To convince the regulars, certain “announcers” will even declare that “I’m dying to suck your ——.” This proves that I am hardly the only one involved in extra-marital relations.
Furthermore, in my country, an acronym has entered the common language for a lover or long-term mistress: FWB, Friend With Benefits. The situation should be obvious, but unfortunately, a powerful elite refuses to lift the veil of Puritanism that envelops my country like a corset. A corset, I say, that has become a chastity belt.
I haven’t revealed anything to authorities in my country, but my wife tried to kill me with one of my golf clubs after she learned about my indiscretions. Today, I am dragged in the mud, and my sponsors are abandoning me. One sponsor, Accenture, declared that I did not represent the values of the company. I’d be ready to bet that the CEO of Accenture has an FWB somewhere in a secret drawer. My popularity has dropped from 85 percent to 33 percent.
For all these reasons, I am respectfully asking France to grant me extra-marital asylum.
I am sure that France will understand my request. While in my country one of our presidents underwent an impeachment process for having an affair with an intern, France allowed its president to have a wife, a mistress and an illegitimate child, living in tranquility without a single a drop of ink expanded by the media to talk about it.
In the United States, the acceptance of deception has made a lot of progress since Bill Clinton, who paved the way toward tolerance of adultery. Let me take the opportunity to pay homage to Hillary, who also helped advance the right to adultery for all. Despite all that, sexual scandal is a difficult road. The American media take obvious pleasure in exposing the private lives of its citizens. And my fellow citizens take guilty pleasure in reading the revelations in the tabloids. Day after day, the names of my mistresses are revealed, their photos are plastered on page one of the dailies, my sexual preferences are exposed to the light of day.
Everyone now knows my excessive taste for bimbos, big-chested blondes, ménages a trois and wild sex. Today, I live in terror that a video of one of my exploits will be made public. In my opinion, it’s just a matter of time until it surfaces.
Despite that, I have always respected my country, following the principles that our founding fathers and our Declaration of Independence established, and exercising my rights to (sexual) liberty and the pursuit of happiness. (In the arms of multiple partners. So what?)
France, land of asylum, will offer me this liberty, acquired at such a high price. Let me point out that at this point the loss of my sponsors will cost me around $100 million in 2010.
I know that in France, my sexual practices will be protected by the discretion and reserve of which your marvelous journalists are proof. A discretion that appears as sacrosanct as medical records. A discretion that I applaud with both hands. When I want to indulge in sex with multiple partners, I will go to the legendary Paris swingers’ club, Les Chandelles, where I can participate in orgies with comfort and intimacy, just like a large number of French celebrities, without fearing that my noble quarters will be exposed in the celebrity press. I know that in France, these are fundamental rights.
… In addition, I want to bring your attention to the fact that my application will be followed by those of a number of compatriots in similar situations and for whom living in the United States presents a danger to their (erotic) lives.
The fictional Woods letter goes on to list a number of politicians implicated in sex scandals. You’ll find many of them in our own rogues’ gallery and goes into a complicated scenario about how Bill Clinton could become president of France.
CORRECTION: added name of letter author Layla Demay which was omitted in the original translation.
If you read French: Here is the link to the entire letter.
Joel Dreyfuss, who translated this letter to English, is managing editor of The Root.