Takes on affair run skin deep

Schwarzenegger story turns more on looks than appearances.

Attention in the Arnold Schwarzenegger love child scandal has predictably swung toward the mistress, identified by news organizations as Mildred Patricia Baena, and, just as predictably, the public reaction has been: “Arnold cheated with her?”

Social media were ripe with the consensus Wednesday that Baena, 50, grandmotherly in appearance, was less attractive than the Governator’s wife, Maria Shriver.

One Facebook wag quipped that Wednesday’s photos of Baena, a housekeeper in the Schwarzenegger household, prove that steroid abuse can affect one’s eyesight.

Why would disapproval of Schwarzenegger’s choice in mistresses outweigh disapproval of his conduct?

“Because Americans are shallow?” suggested Sylvia Cross. Cross, whose Decatur art gallery is hosting a feminist take on the Book of Revelations, said the focus on Baena’s looks misses the point.

“To me the biggest issue is lying about it, raising a child in his household that he pretends wasn’t his child.”

Schwarzenegger and Shriver, married for 25 years, announced their separation earlier this month. On Tuesday, Schwarzenegger admitted that he had a son with a member of the household staff.

Shriver appeared on one of talk host Oprah Winfrey’s last shows Tuesday to obliquely comment on her husband’s behavior. Tellingly, US Weekly described Shriver’s appearance on the show as “radiant, in a sexy teal gown.”

The tacit agreement: Shriver “wins” by being more attractive. And that is a misguided tendency, said Dina Zeckhausen, Atlanta psychologist and founder of the Eating Disorders Information Network.

“What people don’t understand about affairs is they are usually less about how the person looks and more about how the person makes you feel,” Zeckhausen said. “What we get out of an affair is the feeling of being special again and that’s very addictive.”