FIRST LADY OF PORN

Updated: Jan 1


Melanie Trump posing for Gentlemen's Quarterly (GQ) in the run-up to her husband Donald's campaign for the Presidency of the United States

I just had to ask myself the question:


Do I approve of my kids seeing the First Lady’s nude and semi-nude magazine pics, from Czech men’s mags to the more recent GQ spread? Given the ubiquitousness of the internet, could I even stop them from indulging in this kind of soft porn promoted by a person who commands an office in the White House, advises the President, and jets around the world representing our country? I mean, what ever happened to role models?


So, I asked myself again. This time I asked what kind of historical precedent was established by the wives of previous Presidents of the USA? Is Melania Trump simply following in the footsteps of Martha Washington and Mary Todd Lincoln, or is she daringly avantgarde, breaking boundaries, the official image of the new, amoral (Whoops! I almost wrote ‘immoral’) paradigm?


Here’s what I found out.


First of all, the term ‘First Lady’ wasn’t yet coined when George Washington assumed the Presidency in 1789; therefore, his wife Martha (née Dandridge, 1731-1802) didn’t enjoy a title, an office in the White House, or any role whatsoever in running the country. Americans were trying to jettison the adulation and expensive perks enjoyed by European royalty of the time; they were averse to making queens of the presidents’ wives and princes and princesses of their children. Nonetheless, Martha was commonly referred to as Lady Washington, in the British style, at the same time that Daniel Webster and others were rewriting the American dictionary and trying their damnedest to promote uniquely American forms and traditions. Still, the public persisted in placing the woman on a level with the consorts of British lords. Old habits are hard to break.


Although Martha wasn’t a virgin when she came to George’s bed, there is no historical record of her having committed any gross indiscretion or disrobing for local painters (photography wasn’t invented until the 1830’s). Still, she’d been married and widowed before the age of twenty-five and, one might conclude, was no stranger to sex. Besides four children from a previous marriage, she brought George a good deal of wealth and one hundred dower slaves who weren’t covered by the new Constitution or any other laws. Oh! And Martha had an illegitimate, half-black half-sister.


A decade before she hooked up with George, sixteen-year-old Martha Dandridge had met and married Daniel Parke Custis (1711-1757), a planter, twenty years her senior and the sole male heir of a very rich Virginia family owning some three hundred black slaves. Curiously, the new couple lived at the White House plantation, a rather telling omen indeed. The 46-year-old Custis died intestate in 1857, supposedly of a heart attack, leaving by law one third of his estate to Martha, the remainder going to their four offspring. The haul included 17,000 acres of agricultural land and eighty-five slaves. By Washington’s death in 1799, the number of slaves on their combined estates had blossomed to one hundred fifty-three, and this time it all reverted back to twice-widowed Martha.


It was a time before forensic medicine, when goldsmiths did a brisk business in poison rings and lockets. Enough said.


Curiously, George Washington stipulated that ‘his’ one hundred twenty-four slaves should be freed upon his death, although how that was to be accomplished is too complicated an explanation for this post. According to Wikipedia: “The principal reason that Martha requested that George's slaves be set free is that she was concerned about her personal safety." Martha never emancipated any of her own slaves. George's and Martha’s enslaved personal attendants had an annoying habit of escaping.


Rumour has it that after George’s death in 1799, Martha was spotted wearing a frock emblazoned with the letters “I really don’t care, do u?” on her way to a slave auction.


And what about George? Was he faithful to Martha? Well, no. Some believe he had a mistress called Mary Gibbons who copied his dispatches while he slept and sold them to the British.


Fast forward to 1842. Mary Ann Todd marries Abraham Lincoln.


Over the years, rumours have circulated about Lincoln’s homosexuality, although in those days two men sleeping in the same bed wasn’t so fraught with innuendo as it is today. Nobody would have been there to snap incriminating photos as the daguerreotypes and tintypes of the time required a sitter to remain rigid for several minutes (pun intended). Still, Lincoln was reported to have shared the bed with his bodyguard whenever Mary was away, and a fellow named Billy Gibson, who’d claimed the same privilege some years earlier, stated that the President had ‘perfect thighs.’ Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and say the relationships were platonic. Say, what?


Mary Todd had earlier been courted by Lincoln’s fierce political rival, Stephen A. Douglas. She probably wondered if she’d made the right decision after witnessing her husband’s assassination in Ford’s Theatre in 1865. She was soon institutionalized for psychiatric disease; e.g., she came undone. Her stay in the White House was characterized by mood swings, a fierce temper, and extravagant spending sprees that took two Congressional appropriations to resolve. Some think she was bipolar.


I failed to unearth any evidence of Mary Todd Lincoln having posed in the nude for Matthew Brady or any other contemporary photographer. She commonly covered herself from head to foot according to the fashion of the day and, after Lincoln’s death, dressed exclusively in black. At one point she was discovered to have secreted some $57,000 inside the hem of her skirt, prompting a jury to commit her to an asylum.


This blog is getting overly long, so I’ll skip to Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962), whom one might consider a pivotal First Lady. Eleanor was not only the longest serving First Lady (1933-1945) but also a United States delegate to the newly-minted United Nations from 1945 to 1952. Like Melania Trump, Eleanor in certain ways eclipsed her husband Franklin with a sometimes-controversial image of her own.


At age fifteen, Eleanor had attended a London private school and was heavily influenced by its headmistress, Marie Souvestre, a notorious lesbian. By age nineteen, she’d married Franklin Delano Roosevelt, her fifth cousin once removed. Their marriage was complicated by her husband’s extra-marital affairs and a controlling mother-in-law. Personal matters aside, after Franklin was stricken by a paralytic illness in 1921, Eleanor assumed an increasingly active role in his public affairs, redefining the role of First Lady. She held press conferences, wrote newspaper and magazine columns, and hosted a weekly radio show. Unlike Martha Washington, Eleanor Roosevelt took a strong stand on racial issues.


There was also a dark side to the life of Eleanor Roosevelt. After her mother died of diphtheria in 1892 and her half-brother Elliot of the same illness a year later, her father threw himself from a sanitarium window during a fit of delirium tremens and died shortly afterward of an alcohol-related seizure. Her childhood could never have been called 'happy.'


Despite becoming pregnant six times, Eleanor disliked having sex with her husband, describing the act as ‘an ordeal.’ In 1918, she discovered a packet of love letters from her own social secretary, Lucy Mercer, to Franklin. In spite of his infidelities, Eleanor stuck with Franklin and nursed him through his bout with polio, afterwards throwing herself into his political life if not into his bed. Instead, she had a very close relationship with legendary aviatrix Amelia Earhart, as well as journalist Lorena Hickock. She wrote Hickock: “I want to put my arms around you and kiss you at the corner of your mouth…I can’t kiss you, so I kiss your picture good-night and good-morning.” J. Edgar Hoover, Chief of the FBI, detested Eleanor and kept a thick file, intending one day to blackmail her.


Let’s see. There’s Jackie Kennedy and, of course, the Shadow First Lady, Marilyn Monroe. And there’s Hilary Rodham Clinton – we all know about her – who could make the leap from FLOTUS to POTUS in 2020.


You know what? The more I study the lives of her predecessors in the Office of the First Lady, the more the antics of Melania Trump look mainstream. To my current knowledge, she’s only the second First Lady not to have been born on American soil, an idea that her husband Donald loathed when it came to his concerns about Barak Obama’s birthplace. Given Melania’s history, it’s doubtful that she came to the Royal Bed a virgin, having earlier been a fashion model in Milan, Paris and New York, work that included soft porn photo shoots (the ones I’m trying to shield my kids from). Even as late as 2001, while her husband contemplated a run for the White House, Melanie thumbed her nose at propriety and posed for cheesy naked pictures in the popular magazine GQ.


As her husband Donald likes say: "Some people didn't know that..."


I don’t bother to hide the pictures from my kids anymore. They can read GQ at the public library.

Meanwhile, from her office in the White House, Melania Trump issues press releases, advises the President, hires and fires, and rules over the royal household a-la-Marie Antoinette. That's when she isn't visiting Third World countries in her vintage white colonial ensemble, complete with pith helmet. When visiting detention centres holding children separated from their Mexican parents, she boarded her private jet 'Executive One Foxtrot' wearing a jacket emblazoned with the message: "I really don't care, do u?" As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, it's surely only a matter of time before she mouths the words: "Let them eat cake..."


Oh, and be careful what you say about this First Lady. She's the first First Lady in US history

to sue the pants off folks who say things she doesn't like, raking in handsome out-of-court-settlements. Most bloggers can't afford the court costs, never mind counter suing. Can you sue someone for corrupting your kids?


That brings this blog post full circle and back to Lady Martha. In spite of the Founding Fathers’ (and Mothers’) efforts to rid America of royalty, today we have all the worst aspects of British aristocracy during the revolutionary period but without any of the expected decorum: a ruling family of spoiled miscreants. Besides the arrogance, vileness, lies and deceit of the Trump administration, right-thinking parents need to shield their children from the poor example given by the First Lady, supposedly the new icon of femininity and role model for motherhood in the nation.


For eight years, I watched Americans relentlessly demonize a black President; a man faithfully married for 26 years; a doting father and husband without a hint of moral scandal or the slightest whiff of infidelity. Michelle Obama behaved in a manner worthy of a First Lady. She provided a sterling role model for American women and girls. She didn't stoop to offer her naked photos as masturbation material for young, soon-to-be-voters, or play the tart for a vile and despicable groper of husband. In other words, she wasn't Melania Trump.


So far, my fourteen-year-old daughter hasn't discovered Melania's photos. But the boys have. They were furtively passing photocopies around the classroom even before Donald swore the Oath of Office.



Please check out my novels and short story collections at www.francescorizzuto.com

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