I always chuckle at the ads for mattress sales that abound on Presidents’ Day. Really, why? Wouldn’t it be better to offer reduced pricing on flags, or maybe apple pie? But however you celebrate it, it might be good to remember how the whole day started, by George. Well, not by him, but for him. Since he was the most revered at the time (after all, he helped put that other crown wearing George in his place), the good citizens of this nation bequeathed him a day, at least in the District of Columbia, and paid homage to his greatness. January 22nd used to be his big day, and as a small kid, I remember learning about him on those slates I used in grade school. Abraham Lincoln was more to my liking, however. I think it was George’s wig that bothered me. And the photo of him in that boat, standing so straight, made me nervous. Abe seemed more genuine, what with the book return and all. So I think I enjoyed that day off even more. But by the time my kids were in school, and the slates were replaced by real books, it was decided that the third Monday in February be reserved for a Presidents’ Day celebration. It was done due to something called the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which created special, three-day weekends for our nation’s workforce. At least most of them (doctors, nurses, EMTs, firemen, farmers and the coast guard need to report to the office). This, I suppose, led to the idea of big sales. After all, people weren’t working, so they must be encouraged to go shopping. Still, the mattress concept escaped me. Until I did some research on a few of our country’s top leaders. Now, it’s quite clear.
Lots of bedroom action for some of these guys. Even George, our first leader, was not exempt. Apparently, his feelings for Martha weren’t all that romantic. She had a whole lot of money in her purse, while George had little to offer outside his wig. He had been in love, for real, with a certain Sally Fairfax, who he left behind once he started creating our country. Word has it that he sent a love note to Sally, on his honeymoon, no less, admitting his affection for her, rather than for Martha. Whoops! Martha was not pleased. And neither was Sally’s husband. George’s life with Martha went on, but I bet she checked his mailbox frequently. Good thing he didn’t have twitter.
Others, who could certainly be considered cads were:
Thomas Jefferson, who fathered five children with Sally Hemmings, a slave that he brought back from France. He did recognize her, and the children. His wife, not so much.
Warren Harding, preferred being liked over being respected, and had a penchant for weak women. His great love was purported to be his best friend’s wife, Carrie. Having extra executive time, he was caught having sex with an aide in the Oval Office closet and fathered at least two children, one with one of his campaign workers. Visits to New Orleans might find him in a house of prostitution, and he bragged once about his two chorus girl conquests, named Maize and Blossom.
Woodrow Wilson, one of the architects of the United Nations (and terrible racist), blamed his need for extra marital affairs on his wife’s chronic depression. He soon bedded a woman named Mary, and did little to hide their connection. That relationship lasted until he found pleasure in the arms of another woman, a widow named Edith. Rumors about his extra marital affairs were abundant and upon his wife’s death, his eagerness to connect with Edith was unrestrained. A common joke about town was “What did Edith do when the President proposed?” Answer: “She fell out of bed.”
James Garfield gets a double “cad.” Thought to be obsessed with all things sexual, it was rumored that he engaged in cold showers to stifle his urges. He chose an asexual wallflower for a wife, hoping that would also help him behave. Unsuccessful at being virtuous, he carried on with a number of women, including college students and young reporters. His unfaithfulness wilted his wallflower wife, and she became reclusive and sad.
Another James, this one Buchanan, was the first and last bachelor president. His one and only fiancé died shortly after he called off the engagement, and her family blamed him for her youthful death. Broken hearted syndrome. Womanless, he took in Senator William King, and the two of them were together for 23 years. His staff referred to the couple as Buchanan and his wife, and to King separately as “Aunt Fancy Pants.” After William left the US for France, the letters exchanged were said to be very affectionate, but all were destroyed by Buchanan’s family, in hopes of curtailing any rumors of his sexual orientation.
Grover Cleveland goes beyond “cad” and into “disgusting.” One of three presidents married in office, his wife was 27 years his junior. And to make matters worse, she had been his “ward” since age 9. Apparently he bought her baby carriage. Talk about creepy! His history was pretty awful as well. At age 17, he raped a young woman and then threatened to ruin her further if she told anyone. The assault left her pregnant and he arranged, upon the child’s birth, to have her admitted to an insane asylum and put the baby in an orphanage. Lucky for her, the asylum director realized what was going on and released her. She never did see her baby however.
FDR and Eleanor had a “working partnership”, rather than a “working marriage.” Eleanor’s very own social secretary was her husband’s mistress. Their own daughter Alice was complicit, often arranging time for the two lovers to be alone. Franklin wanted to be free to marry his paramour, but his mother, who controlled his wealth, threatened to pull all his funding should he leave Eleanor. So, they stayed together, but separate. Eleanor, who claimed that the whole ordeal made her stronger, took on a companion, and she and a female reporter named Lorena lived together in her half of the Whitehouse. FDR didn’t mind, as he was busy getting in and out of bed with his new assistant, Missy.
Dwight Eisenhower, who helped defeat the Nazis, gave us our interstate system and put “In God We Trust” on our money in response to those heathen communists, was not too busy to fool around in the bedroom. His long time affair with his secretary Kay Summersby is well documented. When the war ended, he asked General Marshall to relieve him of his military duties so he could divorce wife Mamie and marry Kay. Marshall refused, and Ike and Mamie stayed together, in name only. I suspect she tossed all the “I Like Ike” buttons from her collection.
JFK’s escapades are well known. He was probably the most prolific in the bedroom – back problems and all, of any president. His conquests included female Whitehouse staff members, wives of gangsters, women reporters and movie stars – among them Angie Dickinson, Kim Novak and of course, Marilyn Monroe. In his short term he did a lot for this country. And quite a few in the country did a lot for him.
Lyndon Johnson, a Civil Rights champion and one of the homeliest presidents we’ve had, must have had other things going for him in the boudoir. One of his lovers was married to one of his major supporters, and he fathered a child, named Steven, by another woman. He refused to support the woman, or the child, and refused to ever recognize his son. So prolific and daring in his sexual conquests that, after Lady Bird interrupted a tryst on the Oval Office sofa, his staff installed a buzzer system so he could be warned of her arrivals. He was quoted as saying “I’ve had more women by accident than Kennedy had on purpose.” Nice guy. Not.
Rumors of affairs surrounding George Herbert Walker Bush have been written up in various newspapers and are chronicled in a book called The Powerhouse. Political aides have stated that he was “served” in many capacities by a political aide named Jennifer. The family vehemently denies any of these rumors and call the book pure fiction. I personally think he loved his son’s second in command and ruling brain, Dick Cheney, more than anyone. But, I digress.
William Jefferson Clinton’s escapades are legend and are brought to the surface frequently. Probably one of the most skilled diplomats we’ve had, he can certainly get a couple of “cads” as well. Jennifer, Monica, etc., etc. still keep the tabloids full. As with FDR and Eleanor, he and wife Hillary seem to make it work somehow. Your heart’s not good, Bill. Be careful.
The current resident in the Whitehouse has a history that, to me, combines many of the antics of his predecessors. Garfield and Buchanan quickly come to mind. He is precedent setting, however. Except for Reagan, who was divorced once, the new guy has a trail of ex wives, porn stars, beauty contest contestants, news reporters and models who all have stories to tell. Pay offs, hidden tapes and tell all books and magazine articles abound. And televised bragging rights to sexual assault is easily found on you tube. Too many “cads” here to list. Creepy. Bigly creepy. Biggest ever.
So, if you’re in the market for a new mattress, there are many places that have what you need. Whether you want firm, soft, heated, padded, single, double, queen, king or super king, they are available. And all at a reduced price. Just don’t accept any trade ins from Pennsylvania Avenue…sorry, that’s really creepy…