Go Ahead, Watch the Sharks

What if Trump had married a woman like Stormy Daniels? I don’t mean to suggest he should have married a porn star, but what if he’d married a woman who would sit beside him and watch a Shark Week marathon on television? Can you imagine Melania watching Sharknado? I can’t.

Trump marries models and actresses, but he seems to prefer the company of porn stars and Playboy bunnies. No wonder he’s so angry and frustrated. No wonder he is such a bully. It must be exhausting to pretend to be someone you are not every day of your life. There is no shame in preferring cheeseburgers to caviar or reality television to opera or porn stars to runway models, but Trump seems to be ashamed of himself. The heart wants what the heart wants and Trump’s heart wants to watch bad TV, eat fast food, and submit to spankings from porn stars. He doesn’t want to be president, he wants to be an ordinary dude. Wouldn’t it be better for everyone if he’d just embraced his true nature at a young age?

If he weren’t in a position of such tremendous power, I would feel sorry for Trump. It’s pitiful for anyone to live such a sham life. By all accounts, Trump is still trying and failing to live up to some impossible standard set by his father and Trump is not self aware enough to see how he inflicts the same impossible and contradictory standards on his own children. Trump Jr. seems to be racing to repeat his father’s worst mistakes and he still can’t gain his father’s approval. Only Ivanka is good enough, and even she might be losing her shine. Numerous women have reported that Trump Sr. pursued them by saying they reminded him of Ivanka. Clearly it is the highest compliment he can muster. Somehow he can’t see that it is both bizarre and heartbreaking to equate his daughter to a porn star he is trying to seduce.

Trump presents himself and his family as the embodiment of beauty, opulence, and success, but look too closely and it all falls apart. His overly long ties are held in place with scotch tape. His hair lifts like a paper kite in a stiff breeze. His books are cooked. Trump Jr. is no better. He presents himself as a devoted family guy and astute business man, but his deals are flimsy and his marriage was built on a publicity stunt staged in an American mall. And Ivanka, the favored offspring, writes books that are nothing more than a collection of other people’s words and curates a carefully crafted social media presence that fails to acknowledge the enormous support staff running both her family and her business. It’s a modern fool’s gold—shiny, but worthless.

I can’t help but imagine what might have happened if Trump Sr. had chosen a different path. Suppose he had turned his back on his strict prep school upbringing, refused his father’s career help, and struck out on his own? Maybe he’d be a successful car salesman living in midwestern suburbia. Maybe he’d be the king of backyard barbecue. Maybe he’d be a member of the city council or the president of the local Chamber of Commerce. Maybe he’d spend every weekend binge-watching Shark Week marathons and eating french fries from styrofoam containers. Maybe he’d be happy.

Nothing good comes from living inauthentically. It is probably too late for Trump Sr. to learn this lesson, but I have some advice for the younger Trumps. When you marry or remarry, go ahead and marry the person who will sit beside you on the couch and watch the Sharknado marathon. Marry someone who laughs at your jokes and calls you on your bullshit. Be happy enough in your personal life that you don’t need to chase public adoration. Don’t inflict your insecurities on your children or on the rest of the world. We’ll all be happier that way.

Tiffany Quay Tyson
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Tiffany Quay Tyson