Clint Eastwood is not someone I’ve talked about very much. My mistake. He is one of few still-living, old-school, rags-to-riches, hyper-masculine Alpha Males of our time. He’s up there with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Beyond him, in fact.
I was reminded about Clint last week when news came out of his divorce. I felt a sudden twinge of sadness at reading about it…but not for reasons you might think. Of course he got divorced. Alpha Males don’t stay monogamous forever. They hate long term monogamy as much as women do. I’ve written about that ad infinitum and don’t need to repeat myself.
No, my sadness was surrounding a much greater issue for Clint and men like him. Like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Clinton, Sean Connery, and a host of other men I could name, Clint Eastwood was an extreme Alpha born into an era where the behaviors and desires of such a man were considered immoral, inappropriate, and disrespectful. So he spend his entire life doing his very best to conform within a system that was fundamentally incompatible with who he was. (I can relate, though in the 21st century men like us have access to resources Alphas of bygone eras did not, making things easier for us.)
I’ll be more specific. Clint has been described numerous times over the years as a “serial womanizer”. The list of women he’s had sex with, including while he was in “monogamous” relationships or marriages, is long. There are some incomplete lists here and here. The list includes actresses, columnists, athletes, housewives, airline stewardesses, and all kinds of other women. No problem so far. He’s an Alpha, and that’s what Alphas do.
Now for the bad stuff. Clint has seven children from five different women. After you finish reading this, you may realize that it’s entirely possible he has even more kids than this the public doesn’t know about. Seven kids, from a man who didn’t want any kids and had women fight him in order to have any. Like Arnold and many other Alphas, Clint knew instinctively that having kids, or at least having them too soon, would slow him down.
Moreover, three of these seven children were from “other women”; women Clint was cheating with while married to someone else. One from an actress, two from a flight attendant. Because of this, it took Clint 30 years to acknowledge some of these children publicly. One additional child was with a woman he was living with, and the remaining three were during his multiple marriages. His youngest child he fathered at age 66, with the wife he just divorced.
Like most Alphas who try to adhere to long monogamous relationships, Clint was not without his share of drama. His long, live-in, marriage-like relationship with actress Sondra Locke (who was very hot, by the way) during the 70s and 80s had tons of oddball drama that was tabloid fodder for quite a while. Clint and Sondra lived together for 14 years, and during that entire time Sondra was still legally married to her gay husband. (You can’t make this shit up!) Clint even bought a house for Sondra’s husband and his gay lover. (What a nice Alpha!)
During the relationship, Sondra had multiple abortions, Clint cheated on her left and right, fathered two kids with another woman in secret (the flight attendant), had tons of arguments and (apparently) lots of offs-and-ons. In the end, they had a very nasty breakup where Clint changed the locks on her and moved her shit out of the house while she was out of town directing a film. This kicked off a huge legal battle where Sondra sued him for palimony (alimony’s evil twin sister, when a man is forced to pay a woman post-breakup he wasn’t even married to).
Several relationships and children later, Clint married Dana Ruiz, a TV news anchor 35 years younger than him. (Awesome.) He cranked out another baby with her, then “fell out of love” with her, and now they are divorcing after 17 years of marriage. Wasting no time, 83 year-old Clint is already having liaisons with a “mystery blonde” who appears to be in her early thrities.
Regardless of his age, it’s entirely likely he’ll marry again assuming his health remains strong. And if he lives a really long time, he’ll get divorced again. Adherence to the system he’s been told to follow his entire life, a system fundamentally incompatible with who he is, has now become an unbreakable habit for him.
And that’s what’s sad. How much more happiness and fulfillment could Clint Eastwood have found in his romantic relationships over the course of his life, how much pain and drama could he have avoided, if he had grown up in a society where the desires of the Alpha Male were not considered evil? Where he could have been honest and up-front with all his women about who and what he was? Where the women in his life could have accepted him for who he was rather than what he was trying to be or what they wanted him to be?
Every woman who has been in my life for at least a month or two knows exactly who and what I am. They clearly know I’m not capable of monogamy, beta behaviors, or risking my finances by doing things like getting married without a prenup, moving in with a woman without a cohabitation agreement, or having children without a pre-signed parenting plan. Moreover, they know I will never promise these things. Because I don’t promise what I can’t or won’t do. They know they can leave me whenever they want without any complaining from me. When they stay, and they usually do, it’s because they care for me for who I am, rather than what I’m trying to be. What a world of difference!
This means that unlike men like Clint, I don’t have to make promises I know I can’t keep, nor do I have to put myself into situations that will end in chaos because my friends, family, or society expects these things of me. In other words, I don’t have to live a lie. I don’t have to lie to myself, or lie to them.
Someday, we will live in a society where men like this can be accepted, and then they won’t have to lie any more. They won’t have to pretend or make promises they can’t keep. We’re many decades away from this day, and it will likely become much worse before it gets better. I may be long dead before this day comes.
But it will come.
Good luck, Clint. Not that you need it. You’re still awesome.