Divorce or Die is a fortnightly series exploring Poppy Miller’s tribulations and triumphs as she navigates sex, infidelity, separation and ultimately, divorce. For more of Poppy’s stories, click here.
Divorce or Die: The Basic Mistress
“Wait, her?” “He’s not serious?” “You’re showing me the worst photos of her, aren’t you?” “Hasn’t she heard of SPF?” “I could meet her once or three times and I’d never remember her.” “Oof, the lip injections.” “WHY?”*
There’s a certain paradox when you find out your husband’s been banging another woman in the throes of his banal midlife crisis. You imagine what she looks like, how she fucks, in which ways she’s hotter, sexier, better than you.
You know what’s worse? When the mistress turns out to be basic and the most remarkable thing about her is how bland and unremarkable she is. No wait… Becky is remarkably vile because she had no compunctions about breaking up two families, mine and her own. This isn’t some single chick with stars in her eyes. This is a wife and mother to a toddler. Winning at the deplorable Olympics!
It must be awful when your hubby’s hoe looks like a Kardashian or—the horror—is Angelina Jolie, but at least that fits within the stereotypical framework of an affair: She’s a blowup doll or an (ouch!) upgrade. But when he’s chosen a woman who’s not particularly attractive, interesting, kind, smart or successful for his new “soulmate,” it’s a different blow to the ego. Especially when he admits she’s not as beautiful, compelling or kinky as you are. She’s simply new. And she feeds him all the lines he wants to hear about how “strong, handsome, intelligent and full of integrity” he is. You caught the irony of a lying cheater telling another lying cheater he has integrity? (Morals and brains in short supply here.)
I have since learned the subpar mistress is a common occurrence. More than one male friend has said recently, “I don’t get it. All my friends’ girlfriends are so meh. Their wives are always hotter and better.”
I was demolished by the affair, but I was deeply offended by the choice of affair partner.
Shall we count the ways?
One of the most appalling moments of the affair was when husband decided to bring this… person… to a black-tie gala right after admitting to sleeping with her—and right before I left on a week-long trip to visit my ailing mother back in the States. Splintered heart in my throat, tears uncorked, I begged to know if she was going with him. Of course he said no.
How did I find out?
Girlfriend is so PSL** basic she posted a preening photo of herself on her public Instagram. When she knew I knew about her. When she told her husband she was in love with mine, but also lied about going to this event.
Before I attack her fashion sense, let’s unpack the stunning lack of dignity, acuity, empathy and grace required to post a photo of yourself (one my husband took, I later found out) at a highly public event you’re attending with your lover. When both your spouses have only just discovered your infidelity. When you both have children.
Who does that?
Her affair style is clearly crass and tasteless… to match her fashion! Again, I have to wonder if I would have been more or less wounded if she’d looked amazing? Instead, she wore a 90s Versace knockoff dress. It gapped at the banded neckline and the hem was purposefully asymmetric, but looked lopsided and too short. She paired this with transparent block heels. Her makeup was so heavily applied, in shades of taupe and tan, that her blush looked punched on. She had her hair curled into ringlets that fell around her face. Ringlets.
She’s the tertiary friend of the lead character in a direct-to-video teen movie about prom—and the costume designer hated her, so gave her the ugliest outfits, e.g. ruffled cap sleeves, camel-toe Bermudas, this dress. The French Girl style memo re: discretion in affairs and fashion was evidently shredded before she saw it.
Her Social Climbing
The expat community is like six degrees of Kevin Poitrine Fumée (that’s bacon in French—har har). Everyone eventually has a connection with everyone, especially because half of us are married to Frenchies. Some friends of friends reported back. “She’s always been a wannabe.” “She was trying to be an actress but failed.”
This information makes sense. Social climbers are gross.
Husband did go the conventional route of a woman more than a decade younger than him (and me). Except… he didn’t know she was that young. No one would because she has the mottled sunspots and wrinkled crevasses of a woman nearing fifty. It may be the catty rejoinder of a wife scorned, but it’s also the truth. She looks forty-five if she’s a day (she’s thirty-one)—and it’s a rough forty-five. Drives-a-commercial-truck, has-a-2-pack-a-day-habit rough. Though she’s just a typical French bourgeoise, married to a rich banker, who takes Boomerangs of herself diving off rented yachts.
When husband first told me about her, he said proudly, “She’s thirty-five and a woman.” As if because she’s seven years younger rather than eleven, he wasn’t being a middle-aged nincompoop fearing death. (And you read that right. He didn’t even know how old his new “soulmate” was until *I* informed him.)
Since I’m a skincare fanatic, one of my first thoughts was to send her a pack of sheet masks and a Vitamin C serum. At least look good, bitch, if you’re going to replace me! But then I was like, Nah, wear your Dorian Gray rotting portrait face. It’s the one you deserve.
I believe in due diligence. If you’re having sex with someone’s husband, simple curiosity should dictate at least a cursory google search of the wife. A peek at her social media. Had this cretin done that, perhaps she would have reconsidered carrying on a months-long affair with my husband. Or pondered why he would have any interest in her beyond getting his ego (and dick) stroked. Maybe she would have realized she’d have to go crawling back to her marriage.
I am not hell-hath-no-fury. I am scorched-earth, Kali-the-Destroyer, fire rain and the Four Horsemen. No mercy. No prisoners.
When friends and I left some blistering comments on her Instagram—I said I was merciless, not mature—she whined to my husband that I was being mean to her. I can understand how a coddled, entitled white Frenchwoman wouldn’t know how to handle a wrathful American who grew up in West Baltimore, but this is why the internet exists, chouquette! Know thine enemy.
I have her birthdate, employment status, education history, phone numbers, email. I know her height and can accurately guess her weight, shoe and dress size. She used to smoke. Her neck is too thick for chokers. She thinks she’s tough because she favors black nail polish and dabbles in jiu-jitsu. She leaves tragic comments on public forums about long-lost exes. I’ve seen her passport.
Know thine enemy.
And don’t fuck someone’s husband unless you’re ready to get fucked by his wife.
* Real quotes
** PSL: Pumpkin Spice Latte