Phillip Hodson: A chimp's appetite for having your banana and eating it

Share
Related Topics

At least Gordon Ramsay's father-in-law has been caught out in good company. After being exposed yesterday as the progenitor of a second, secret family, Chris Hutcheson has joined a French President, the billionaire Gordon Getty and OJ Simpson's dead lawyer, not to mention Charles Dickens.

The phenomenon of begetting a secret family appears to be almost exclusively male. Notorious women bigamists exist, of course, but most draw the line at despatching their first set of children to the woods while serving tea to the second. It's men like President Mitterrand whose funerals are touchingly attended by wife and mistress.

Mitterrand kept his secret – to the shame of the French media – not just because he cheated, but also because he was using taxpayers' money to finance the operation. Getty got away with it by schmoozing the media until the penny dropped when three young girls changed their surnames from Beck to Getty.

For years, the "trial by TV" lawyer Johnny Cochrane courted personal publicity except where his second family was concerned, including a son, of whom his wife was oblivious until their divorce.

Years earlier in Britain, writer and editor Joe Ackerley remained similarly in the dark until his father, Roger, died of syphilis in 1929. He would go away "on business" and sometimes simply "to walk the dog" as a means of popping round to see Family Two, where the children knew him, somewhat irreverently, as "Uncle Bodger".

How did these men get away with it? Here's some satirical advice from the Los Angeles Weekly World News: "Tell both your spouses you work for the CIA and choose women with different first names so you don't blurt out on the phone: 'Yes, but which Jane?'"

As a practising therapist, I'd also suggest you need a container ship's ability to compartmentalise your inner cargo while fostering an Alpha chimpanzee's sense of entitlement to having your banana and eating it. As for why they do it, we're staring at the unresolved problem of the deficits of cultural monogamy.

Listen to tycoon Brian Myerson during his 2009 London divorce case: "Like many men, I've had a number of affairs. But since 1998, Clare and I have [also] been together – effectively as common-law man and wife – in a relationship that existed in parallel with my marriage. I never told Ingrid about Clare, but I was an extremely good and caring husband, providing her with a wonderful lifestyle. I never wanted a divorce and I had hoped Ingrid would turn a blind eye."

Perhaps we should recognise some men and women require new marital arrangements. Formalisation might mitigate some of the hurts and pains. And it would at least obviate the need to take out a super-injunction.

The writer is a fellow of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales & Customer Service Executive - Call Centre Jobs

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Developer

£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: A royal serving the nation

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
David Cameron met with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko prior to the start of the European Council Summit in Brussels last month  

David Cameron talks big but is waving a small stick at the Russian bear

Kim Sengupta
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn