Caught With His Hand In The Cootchie Jar!

Internationally, the French have a certain reputation for being somewhat hot to trot. Perhaps not as much so as the Italians (as Berlusconi has proved again and again), but as far as infidelity goes, French politicians are high up on the scandal scale. The last remarkable ding-a-ling ding-dong concerned Dominic Strauss-Kahn, after he somehow managed to mistake the cleaning lady for his wife in a hotel room. So when French President François Hollande was caught with his hand in the cootchie cookie jar this week, nobody should really have been surprised.

Cookie Monster Sesame Street

The Cootchie Monster (Photo credits: Giphy)

When a French personality is caught with his trousers down, the first people to enthusiastically bare all about the ins and outs of his relationship with another member of France’s high-society quagmire are generally the French tabloids and gossip magazines. This motley crew vie for attention on the kiosk shelves, all scraping the bottom of the barrel with shocking, tacky titles just like like the one I deliberately chose for this post. They reassure Mr and Mrs Average that even rich, famous, and influential people suffer from hair loss, get fat, are badly dressed or rampantly unfaithful (or both). These magazines include a garish rag called Closer, a magazine I refuse to even touch in the doctor’s waiting room in case I catch some nasty disease (like the inability to write a correct sentence, or an inexplicable need to spy on my neighbours with my Canon and a zoom lens).

This week, Closer magazine orchestrated its own big break – after years of sitting it out on waiting room tables and being perused by sun-bathing bimbos seeking to live the high life by people-press proxy, this people magazine finally had a real audience. Their front page was flashed across TV screens all over the world. The magazine was even read with interest by people who wouldn’t usually be seen dead reading a publication based on compromising photographs and texts containing words of two syllables or less.

It caused such a kerfuffle that I even came across a new term on Google this morning: “Closergate”. My jaw dropped. To quote a well-known tennis man, “you cannot be serious!” Watergate was a political earthquake. In comparison, “Closergate” is no more than a fart in the tepid French bathtub of mediocrity, and will have zero impact on anything except François Hollande’s credibility and popularity, which is at an all-time low anyway.

So what’s the big deal? Monsieur le Président eez ‘aveeng an affaire. And not just any affair – that wouldn’t sell enough copies. An « affaire extra-conjugale » – an extra-marital relationship.

“Well, whoopee doo, another French politician having sex. Tell me something new,” MM grunted into her coffee. “Mon Dieu! Quelle horreur!”, screamed a large proportion of the French population, a huge grin on their faces, before rushing out of the door to fight tooth and nail for the last copy, lock themselves in the bathroom and check out the photos of François escaping from his golden cage and biking across Paris for a night with his “secret” lover.

Paris Match

Public Figure? Got a secret? See how long you can safeguard it.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, I’m sorry to be a party-pooper, but President Hollande is not married, so unless you have a very flexible definition of the word “conjugal”, this is not an extra-conjugal relationship. However, Mr Hollande did invite his partner to shack up with him at the Elysée when he was elected, thus putting her both in the limelight and in the taxpayers’ budget, and ipso facto making her France’s first lady – married or not. She has her own page on the Elysée website, and her own press team (who are no doubt now drawing strawers for the next press conference). Seen in this light, even someone with lorryloads of flegme britannique could perceive his behaviour as somewhat inappropriate. Poor wee Val has been dragged through the mud – by a Prince Charming with eyes bigger than his belly who has bitten off more than he can chew. Her recent tweet was unambiguous: “I chose an ugly man so I didn’t have to worry. #All men are bastards”. Who can blame her?

Caught “with his hand in the sack,” as the French say, Monsieur le Président is now indignantly bleating for “the respect of his private life” by the media. He’s just like everyone else, of course: Joe Bloggs the President. I couldn’t agree more – just like him, any humble citizen who is regularly seen leaving his home and knocking at a lady’s door in the middle of the night will eventually end up getting rumbled. Although we mere mortals don’t get international coverage, you can bet your bottom dollar that immeasurable numbers of unfaithful spouses have been named and shamed by the greatest and most unforgiving media network out: the village grapevine.

I would show some compassion, Mr Hollande, but I’m sure that you cringed and laughed along with the rest of the world – admit it, you did – when Clinton got egg on his face during “Monicagate”. (There is an opportunity for crude wordplay there, but I will behave.) You were in France when Chirac’s infidelity was brought to light, and again when Mitterand’s illegitimate daughter was mercilessly tracked down by the media and pulled out of anonymity. You saw how much private life President Sarkozy didn’t get. Incidentally, I don’t recall hearing you screaming indignantly to defend your previous rival DSK’s rights to privacy when details of his (very) personal life were copiously smeared all over the media not so long ago, either.

Your naive belief that the media should treat you differently is touching, and even concerning. As President, you’re being watched 24/7 by the very same media you welcomed with open arms and used as a legitimate means to blow your own trumpet in the run-up to your election. So… I have bad news for you, François. Yes, there are mean people out there who were waiting to see you trip up. Yes, they are enjoying it, and yes, they will make happily make money and forge a sad reputation out of your misery. That’s the way the leadership cookie crumbles, cupcake. You can’t have your brioche and eat it.

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68 thoughts on “Caught With His Hand In The Cootchie Jar!

  1. François Hollande is, by far, the stupidest (a nincompoop?) Président of the 5th Republic and probably of all the others !

    • Now, that was said with conviction, Papounet. I am amazed by the way he not only thought nobody would notice, but is actually complaining about the attention! Who knows, it might actually improve his reputation… Stranger things have happened 🙂

  2. And worse…the man has no style!
    When VGE collided with a milk lorry in the early hours of the morning returning from a nocturnal visit at least he was driving a sports car…..
    Hollandouille? A scooter. Oh and an official car to take and collect him from wherever his scooter is parked…..

    • I’m still trying to work out how on earth he manages to land himself such beautiful women, to be honest! It appears that he is just keeping up the Presidential tradition – maybe he’s toned down the transport because it’s la crise 🙂 Although in that case, he really should be making the journey on a push bike?

  3. A friend in France tells me even his scooter has a driver….he rides pillion…. so it would have to be a tandem.
    Don’t fancy the look of him in lycra though…..

  4. Oh the political people that become the property of the people… they are not alone in their doings… it is happening throughout the world… but if you go into politics, you have to remain squeaky clean or face the consequences… this type things sells magazines and such, so be good or go public…

    • I totally agree. The French President’s job is to “serve the people” – personally I don’t care what he does with his private life, as long as he can ensure it remains private – which he obviously can’t. What he’s done is both disrespectful to his girlfriend, who is already pointed at for not being his “official” other half, and to the taxpayers who finance her stint at the Elysée (and as of this weekend, in hospital). As for his stint at the Elysée, I don’t think he’ll be renewing it given the mess he’s made of it so far (all beautifully masked behind the gossip about his private life – it’ll probably be a great smoke screen until the local elections in March).

  5. Sadly, I am only an ignorant American with no access to television so I hadn’t heard about this! But it’s very true– you can’t expect a secret to stay buried for long if you’re an international figure head. Even schwarzenegger’s love child eventually came to light!

    • I wouldn’t say you’re ignorant, you’re protected from all the trashy European crap like this 😀 I suppose that the common denominator is that power quite literally goes to some mens’ heads. 😀 😀

  6. Coucou !

    J’adore ce paragraphe ““Mon Dieu! Quelle horreur!”, screamed a large proportion of the French population, a huge grin on their faces, before rushing out of the door to fight tooth and nail for the last copy, lock themselves in the bathroom and check out the photos of François escaping from his golden cage and biking across Paris for a night with his “secret” lover.” parce que… c’est tellement vrai !!!! Mais, shhutttt 🙂 il faut peut-être pas le dire 🙂 ahhaha! Tu m’as bien fait rire !

    Et sinon, bonne journée !

    PS, tiens-moi au courant de quand Val sortira de l’hôpital 🙂

    • Salut ma belle 🙂
      Premier commentaire en français de ce billet! Je suis vraiment épatée par la réaction des français à chaque fois qu’il y a une tromperie “conjugale” : on dirait que certains en sont limite fiers, style “c’est un mec, un vrai”. Pauvre Valou, je la plains, mais à mon avis sa revanche sera terrible 😀

      • Moi ce qui m’épate c’est leur débat sur vie privée-vie publique… je m’enfous royalement de ce qu’il fait Monsieur le Président, mais quelque part c’est comme s’ils ne s’étaient pas rendu compte qu’on ne vit plus à l’âge des cavernes et que maintenant tout se sait. C’est sûr qu’au Royaume Uni, en Espagne ou en Italie on parle trop de la vie des gens… 🙂

      • Mitterand a pu fermer les robinets sur l’affaire de sa fille illégitime, mais uniquement parce que l’Etat avait plus de contrôle sur les médias, et que celles-ci n’avaient pas encore les moyens technologiques d’aujourd’hui. Le simple citoyen peut aujourd’hui prendre Hollande en photo alors qu’il fait un restau avec une actrice et l’avoir vendu à Marie Patch ou Smala dans l’heure qui suit… il faut vraiment être naif pour continuer quand même.

  7. Well, to start with, yer bog standard citizen has no private life left ( so I don’t see why the prez thinks he should receive special treatment. He signed away ours, he can expect the consequences!

    Then there’s poor Valoche, who is obviously taking this badly, but it has been going on for about six months so how did she not know? The media knew, they’ve been making snide jokes about on Canal+ for some time so maybe she did, but it’s now unbearable to have everyone know she’s on the receiving end of what she gave to our Sego.

    But then, when you ‘marry’ the mistress, you create a vacancy. She should know that even though she and F did a nauseating photo shoot for Paris Match where he declared she was the woman of his life. Maybe he meant the woman of his temporary life as a popular politician…

  8. This was awesome. There’s a new website called “Lefty Pop” which is a pop culture/politics website. I’d email them a link and see if they would run this post since it’s an opinion piece and so much more engaging than simply regurgitating the story.

    • The great hypocrisy is that they want the media for their own needs, but are peeved and surprised when their private life is dished up for all. “Public figure” has the word “public” in it. Although I was horrified to imagine that anyone could use a zoom lens the size of the Channel tunnel to get a pic of Kate’s boobs, it did prove that you have absolutely no privacy as a public figure, and the only way anyone could stop it is to stop buying their trash.

      • I’m horrified, too, by some of the zoom lens photos that are around. You might be a public figure, but I think if you are on a family holiday, for example, it should be possible to have a little privacy without a camera lens trained on you from a mile away. Yes, people should stop buying the trashy mags and papers that these photos appear in, but I just can’t see that happening somehow. 😦

      • I’ve never bought one, and even if it was free online I wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole. I get famous peoples’ news stuffed down my throat enough by the news on tv and radio anyway 🙂

  9. There is always a risk when you run for public office that your past will be dug up. Why is anyone stupid enough to supply fodder for the tabloids when already in office just astounds me. Do they think no one is paying attention? Now you, my dear, your forbearance with dishy mags like Closer is amazing. Didn’t you see a copy when Kate bared all? I only go to the doctor, dentist and hairdresser for the magazines!

    • Poor old Hollandouille has already had his past plastered over the front pages, when it was his present. He was shacked up with Segolene, another lefty, and they had four children together. He bumped into Val in 2007 and they were an unofficial item for years until he spilt up with Sego and moved into the Elysée with Val. As Sarah said higher up in the comments, it created a vacancy for a new mistress… Ho ho ho.
      I have enough problems keeping up with myself without trying to understand what the French crème de la crème is getting up to… no, ta. I went to the docs the other day and read a copy of Marie Claire – all the other patients, of all generations, were playing with their phones.

    • Oh, you can get that fixed quick enough! Just go and hang around outside Abdullah’s place (or palace?) in a leopard-skin print bikini, platinum wig and strappy high heels. Don’t forget your Hermes handbag and a bit of lip gloss. Then start talking with a husky voice and heavy Italian accent and see if he falls for it. That way the whole nation will be able to chase the carrot of a good story, and meanwhile he can lift his foot on the more serious issues that nobody’s worried about any more. 😀

  10. Very interesting. I’m with you, I can’t bear these magazines that are obsessed with the so called ‘great and good’. If people can do their jobs efficiently and honestly, who cares about their private lives? I certainly don’t want to read about them (ESPECIALLY not Berlusconi’s bunga bunga parties!)

    • Berlusconi is the award-wining, grade A Romeo of them all – he could give all the others a lesson or two. As he controlled most of the media in Italy at one point, I think he probably had every interest in being talked about 🙂

  11. Plenty of things to say… If I may?

    – This story is terrible for the country’s image, I don’t care about what anybody is doing with their private life but it should remain strictly out of the public’s view. If you get caught then you have to assume the consequences. So what is Hollande going to do? I don’t know.

    – It is hard to believe the president can be caught so easily, I believe this was a trap. There are some people behind it… I am not sure if I was the “journalist” I would have made the information public because it’s bad for the country, bad for Valérie T. and I would think twice before doing it. On top of that what is the value of this information? I can’t see any. The only aim is to hit the President.

    – About cheating… I seriously doubt this is french as it was, it is and it will be happening anywhere, anytime. It makes me think of “the french kiss” why on earth is it called that way in the UK? Is it happening more often here than anywhere else? Of course not!
    I have my ideas about the reputation we (French) have in some countries like the UK and it has more to do why the way we “touch” each other all the time (handshake, kisses and so on) than it would have to do with a specific attitude towards sex. I had a terrible time in the UK because of this lack of “physical contact” with the people, even eye contact is almost forbidden in the street. I love England and the English but sometimes (not always!) it was really difficult…

    – About the attractiveness of politicians… These people ARE attractive, They have at least some charisma and some of them have a lot of it! After all to be elected you have to have some of this. An election is not only about ideas, it’s about how people see you, what they think of you, how you talk to them, behave with them…
    … And politicians have the power, and power like money, let’s face it is attractive. So this might explain why some quite “average guys” become very attractive…

    Bonne après-midi ! 🙂

    • Hi there ago! Glad to see you back. Watch out girls, there’s a Frenchman in the room… (joke).
      I’ll reply to you now, although you may be in front of the TV to hear what Mr le Président has to say on his news bulletin (I think I’ll give it a miss, personally).
      It IS bad for France’s image, but it was when Valérie GE, Chirac and Mitterand did the same, too. It seems to be an age-old tradition – pull the girls while you have power and money.
      I agree with you for the low-level journalists; having said that, I don’t know if people who work for “Closer” qualify as journalists; they are more like freelance weekend gossip columnists. Politics and newspapers go hand in hand – you’ll get different coverage from le Canard Enchaîné than you will from le Figaro, and different again from Closer and their pals (particularly as far as the quality of writing is concerned).
      The information is bad for everyone except “Closer”, who are reaping in the cash as I type. Conclusion? One man’s idiocy is a newspaper’s money spinner.. and the downfall (albeit short-term) of the country’s reputation.
      As for the reputation of the French in Britain as sexy.. who knows where we got it from? Maybe William the Conquerer arrived in leopard-skin G strings and wowed all the ladies? Anything’s sexy in comparison to the chilly reception you describe so well – I feel like I’m aggressing some people every time I move close to them when I go back home 🙂
      One thing I will say is that my French husband knocked me for six when I met him. Not only because he was (and still is) drop dead gorgeous, but also because he was more of a gentleman than any of the British students who had tried to “serenade” me. (This could be a future blog post).

      • One quick remark first about the Brits being chilly… You know they are not!
        I once said on a blog (maybe here?) that to love a country, and mostly to love its people, is not about enjoying the things you like from the beginning that’s way too easy!
        It’s all about getting used and liking all the little things you were uncomfortable with in the first place. Love is always about learning to know the other person as you are not going to change her. Food for thought maybe….

      • It was indeed here, when we had a biiiiiig discussion about driving licences.
        When I go home, I find my compatriots chilly in comparison to the French; that won’t change. It is charming, but I’m now used to people who are touchy-feely, so I automatically see the difference when I go home. I’m not saying I don’t love my home country, just that it’s different to here 😉

      • About the “french touch” or whatever you call it 🙂
        It is obviously difficult to make rules, statements, that will be true in 100% of the cases but I believe we (French) have usually a much more relaxed attitude towards approaching a woman. it’s a cultural thing nothing else.
        Also, -and as you know- we are used to pay compliments to women (even with co-workers) saying they look good in their new dress, or new haircut, or whatever without having anything in the back of our mind, just to be nice… An English woman will know that, so we will be authorised to behave in a certain way and she will find it charming. Maybe that’s the trick, I have experienced it many times, in the office, at the local… Of course sometimes this reputation we have will play against us, not very often though.

    • PS. According to Mr Wikipedia, the English call it the “French kiss” because at the beginning of the 20th Century, the French were considered to be much more daring and erotic than we Brits. But funnily enough, you French people called it the “Baiser florentin”. 😀

  12. “No more than a fart in a tepid bath …” You have such a way with words MM!
    Paris Match has nothing on you when it comes to word play. I love the reference to the “cootchie” jar.
    As for the story itself … Well, I’m already bored. But If the media choose to replay the events on a constant loop, then I say Mr. Hollande might well have thought about the repercussions of his actions before dipping into that fondue, hmmmmm?

    • I did have fun with this one, and I had to be careful not to overstep the mark when I hit the topic of Clinton… I honestly think he believed he was took clever to get caught The French don’t seem to be too impressed by his round-up on his achievements yesterday, though. I suppose things are so bad for him now, they can only get better…

  13. LOL of the LOL… 🙂 excellent post, but you have to live in France like you and me to understand and to realize this kind of “potage”… 🙂
    * * *
    @”You can’t have your brioche and eat it.” – eh, on ne peut pas avoir le beurre et l’argent du beurre(butter, not “beur”!)… 🙂

    • Ah, the “beur”, a whole different debate! I don’t know what Marie-Antoinette would make of all this. To think that she had her head chopped off because things were supposed to get better without Royalty… France has just ended up with leaders who think they’re royalty 🙂
      Have you heard the latest “news”? The media are lapping up any crap they can find on the net, to the extent that they are even publishing wild rumours about Gayet being pregnant. They’ll be telling us the baby has six heads next.

      • The royalty, the Revolution (1789) what a subject for never ending discussions!…
        Noboby can change History and History has made us what we are, there is no going-back… The idea of having a person that will be Head of State just because he/she was born at the right time (the first born), from the right mother (the Queen, or the King’s wife) is just unthinkable in France, as it is in many other countries.
        To see people discussing the added cost for the tax-payer of the president’s wife/girlfriend when in some countries there is a whole family state sponsored puts a smile on my face.
        The Revolution has made us what we are… I do believe our attitude towards «the power», any power, is rooted in the Revolution and what we have been taught about it at school. Our reluctancy to follow rules, our constant challenging of the authority, lies in there I believe.
        Don’t get me wrong I am only saying this is what we are, neither better nor worse than anybody else just been… what se are 🙂

  14. To be quite honest I find M. Hollande so totally unappealing (he seems so ineffective and somehow shifty) that I pay very little attention to anything he may say or do. How the man won an election is beyond me. His record since election proves i was right to distrust him. 🙂 Yes, his private life should stay private if he keeps it private. Having himself ferried across Paris on a scooter in the middle of the night isn’t keeping it private. he only has himself to blame.

    • As far as I’m concerned, my cat has more charisma. He got elected because the French fell for a good story that he spun with conviction – that’s what politics are about, I suppose. However, they don’t seem to be getting the deal he promised them.
      I am amazed by the hypocrisy of public figures – the press is their best friend when they need them for publicity. Remember when DSK was ripped to shreds in the media? Hollande didn’t jump up and down saying it was awful and disrespectful to do this to his fellow party member. He waited for DSK’s reputation to be shot so that he had less rivalry for the presidential elections. It’s dog eat dog, and it applies to them all.

    • Appealing or not is a matter of personal taste, and even if tend to agree with you, the fact is Segolène, Valérie and Julie are attractive and intelligent women. As I -jokingly-use to say if we had to kill all the less attractive women, there will be plenty of dead bodies in the streets 🙂
      I already said politician ARE attractive, they have a charisma one might not suspect until one meet them.
      Why was he elected? Deadly simple…
      (1) there is a core of more or less 30-35% of the voters that will always vote for the Parti Socialiste (the same is true for the UMP) no matter the candidate. As a matter of fact It is very difficult for anybody who has a political opinion (lLeft or Right) to vote for somebody representing the other “side”….
      (2) Amongst the others (30%) a lot didn’t like Sarkozy himself and/or didn’t like the way he tried to attract the extreme-right (FN) towards him during the presidential campaign. I believe that was a big mistake on his side.

      Please MM…. DSK behaviour is unforgivable, this man is sick. The French can be very open-minded about many things but not to that extent. You cannot run for presidency and assault a maid in a hotel! Some said it was a setup trap, I don’t buy it, trap or not a man who wants to be President cannot behave like this. In the aftermath of the affair a lot of women (journalists, and politicians mainly) publicly said the man was a sex maniac and they avoided at all cost being alone with him for an interview.

      • 😀 I’m not excusing DSK’s behavior – of course it isn’t defendable. I’m pointing out that none of his political “friends” were outraged that the press revealed much of his personal life before this event after the news of this rape came out, i.e. partner-swapping bars, clubs, etc that he attended with or without his wife. Nobody would have dared to interfere in a court case – of course his behaviour isn’t defendable.

      • I know you are not excusing DSK, my apologies if you had that feeling… I meant nobody could stand on his side especially those who had plans to stand for an election in a near future…

        A poll today shows 75% of the french are thinking Hollande was right in not answering any question about his relation with JG, and 62% also believe this to be a private matter while 37% believe it is public….
        (acuracy on the values between 1.4% to 3.1% depending on the values…)

      • You’re right again!
        In my eyes amongst the major differences between the UK and France (but that can be extended to other European countries and doesn’t seem to be directly -and only- linked with a North/South or Latin/not Latin divide)
        – How can a democracy cope with a royalty? What is the “deep” meaning of having a family that gets enormous priviledges for… For what exactly? I can’t get it! Almost all the leaders are elected for a limited period of time and the kings/queens are there for ever! In the past the kings said it was God’s decision, how about now?
        – Where is this difference (in public expression) about sex and things related to it coming from? Basically we are all the same, our ways of life are pretty identical and from what I have experienced in private relationships we are no different… and that can be extended to what I said earlier about “touching” each other and eye contact…OK, I know that’s a subject for many other discussions here 🙂

  15. I never know what baffles me more – the way journalists suddenly assume the persona of a pulpit-thumping methodist priest when they catch a politician with his pants down, as if they were actually moral themselves, or the way politicans think they can keep it secret from the whole nation and a troupe of journalists who will make their career by digging up a sex scandal scoop.
    I have several times thought of writing a post like this on Italian politicians, but I just would not know where to begin. The scale of the topic overwhelms me….

    • @SHW: You’re right… I hope all these journos are very clean and have no affair themselves, but I seriously doubt it!
      About keeping a secret, secret I have my doubts too… The President could have avoided that quite easily, I have a feeling he didn’t really care about being caught. He seems to be quite happy now and the story is gone from the papers front pages.
      Affaire classée 🙂
      PS: I think you were right in not writing about Italian politicians, who cares anyway? We would be living in kind of a paradise if the worst thing we could blame the politicians for was their sex life…
      I have been told that some (I have names…) lied about weapons of “mass destruction” to start a war…. That worries me a hell of a lot more!

      • Touché 🙂 Hi, Ago! But if you can’t organise your own love life without being seen, I don’t hold out much hope for the rest of his organizational skills…. And someone who uses the same media to “repudiate” his long-term relationship whilst purporting to be a fervent supporter of respecting women is not consistent and will not make himself any friends in the female electorate. Not that it matters for me v-because I can’t vote, and although he did promise that he was going too sort than one out, it doesn’t seem to be in the pipeline. So to speak… 😀

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