Women 'Smell' Their Competition
Nov. 18, 2012 --
An FBI investigation prompted by an extramarital affair that took down Gen. David Petraeus, director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), has turned Paula Broadwell into a household name overnight. A biographer who initially became involved with Petraeus as a subject for a book, Broadwell triggered the investigation after sending a series of angry e-mails to Tampa socialite Jill Kelley, who passed the messages on to an FBI acquaintance. Although Broadwell has not been implicated in any legal wrongdoing, the circumstances under which she gained national attention will give her a degree of notoriety that will always follow her around. Such is the life of any private person unfortunate enough to be discovered in an affair with a high-profile public official.
Monica Lewinsky might be the notorious case of an "other woman" made famous by her relationship with a public figure. Between 1995 and 1996, Lewinsky worked in the White House as an intern under President Bill Clinton. Starting in 1995 and into 1997, on nine separate occasions, Lewinsky had sexual encounters with Clinton. Lewinsky even saved what would become the most infamous blue dress in U.S. history from one of those encounters. When the relationship was brought to light, Clinton denied the accusations and even gave false testimony on the matter. Clinton was later impeached, but acquitted of all charges. For her part, Lewinsky initially managed to capitalize on her fame, releasing a book, creating a line of handbags and even briefly appearing as a spokesperson for Jenny Craig. Since 2005, however, Lewinsky has shunned the spotlight, moving to London after finding herself unable to escape her notoriety in the United States.
Ashley Dupre might go by many names, but she'll always been recognized as the woman who was at the center of a prostitution scandal that brought down the governor of New York. Former governor Eliot Spitzer knew her as Kristen, and he would rendezvous with Dupre, a high-priced call girl, at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. Despite initially shunning the spotlight following the public revelations of the scandal, Dupre has since embraced her notoriety, going on to do everything from starting a music career to writing an advice column.
Mildred Baena might have successfully stayed away from the spotlight following revelations of her one-time affair with famous actor and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, but that didn't keep cameras from following her right to her home, as seen in this photo. Schwarzenegger had an affair with Baena while she was employed as his house maid in the 1990s. He also fathered an illegitimate son with her, even though both sides were married at the time. The revelation of the affair and the love child led to the end of Schwarzenegger's marriage with Maria Shriver. Since the news broke, Schwarzenegger has left the governor's office, released an autobiography and returned to his acting career.
Callista Gingrich is the third wife of former House speaker Newt Gingrich, and frequently appeared at his side as he campaigned for the Republican nomination for the presidency in 2011-2012. Before she was a famous face on the campaign trail, Callista gained a measure of notoriety for being the cause of the end of her current husband's second marriage, all while his wife was enduring a bout with cancer.
Although every case of a publicly exposed affair has some element of tragedy, the Chandra Levy affair takes a much darker turn than most. Levy worked as an intern in the office of California congressman Gary Condit. The two had a sexual relationship while Levy worked on the Hill. In 2001, Levy disappeared in Washington, D.C., and suspicion immediately fell on Condit, who initially denied any sexual relationship, though later admitted to it. A year later, Condit's body was found in Rock Creek Park, and although police had not considered Condit a suspect, public opinion soured on Condit and he ended up losing his seat. Nearly 10 years after her murder, Levy's killer was tracked down by police, tried and sentenced to 60 years in prison.
In 1988, Gary Hart, who had previously run for the Democratic nomination for the presidency four years earlier, seemed like a shoe-in to get the party's nod. At the same time, rumors dogged Hart that he had been engaged in an extramarital affair, which he vigorously denied. He even seemed to be daring the press corps to try to dig up solid evidence of the allegations against him. After the Miami Herald reported on and turned up evidence of an affair with model Donna Rice, Hart maintained his innocence, but the damage to his campaign had been done. The publicity surrounding the affair also cost Rice her job at the time, though she has since reinvented herself as an advocate for protecting children online.
Marilyn Monroe might be the only woman on this list whose fame goes beyond her status as the "other woman." Monroe engaged in affairs with both President John F. Kennedy as well as his brother Robert F. Kennedy allegedly. One of Monroe's last public appearances was to sing Happy Birthday to the former president at a birthday gala held at Madison Square Garden. RFK had even visited her on the day she died. Monroe's legacy as a sex symbol, however, goes far beyond her relationships with the Kennedys.
Mimi Alford might never be as famous as Marilyn Monroe, but what the two have in common evidently is a mutual history with Kennedy. The relationship was first disclosed nearly 40 years after it happened with the publication of the Kennedy biography "An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917–1963" by Robert Dallek. As a 19-year-old intern in the White House, Alford had an 18-month affairs with the former president. In 2011, Alford published her own biography recounting her time with the president, entitled "Once Upon a Secret: My Affair with President John F. Kennedy and Its Aftermath."
If President Franklin D. and Eleanor Roosevelt never had a close marriage, Lucy Mercer was a big reason why. The relationship first began in 1914 soon after Roosevelt hired her. The two had an on-again, off-again relationship up until the day the former president died. Mercer was even by his side when Roosevelt was struck by the cerebral hemorrhage that took his life. The affair was kept from the public's attention until the 1960s, long after both Mercer and Roosevelt died.
Photos: Marriage's Bumpy History
Just a whiff of a woman close to ovulation is enough to stimulate another woman's testosterone levels, along with her desire to compete.
Competition among women may be, in large part, nose-driven, as a new study finds that the scent of a woman close to ovulation triggers a testosterone boost in the smelling female.
Testosterone, in turn, can affect behavior.
"It's well known that testosterone is linked to aggression and competitiveness," lead author Jon Maner, a Florida State University psychologist, told Discovery News. "Based on our testosterone findings, one could speculate that women exposed to the scent of ovulation might become more antagonistic or competitive."
For the study, published in the latest issue of the journal Evolution and Human Behavior, Maner and co-author James McNulty measured the testosterone levels of women before and after they smelled t-shirts that were previously worn by other women aged 18-21. The latter group wore the shirts when they were at high fertility -- days 13, 14 and 15 of the menstrual cycle -- and at low fertility- days 20, 21 and 22.
For the duration of the study, the t-shirt wearers refrained from engaging in sexual activity. They also showered with unscented soap and shampoo, did not use any perfumes or deodorants, didn’t smoke, and avoided eating odor-producing foods, such as garlic and asparagus.
The sniffers were told that the study concerned "how much we can tell about another person without even meeting them," but had no idea about how and when the t-shirts were collected.
Women exposed to the scent of high fertility females displayed greater levels of testosterone. The smell of a low fertility woman actually caused testosterone levels in the sniffers to significantly drop.
Competition among women may be partly driven by smells.iStockPhoto
We are not consciously noting the smells of other people all day long, unless a particularly good or bad smell hits us, but odors are working on us, even when we don't realize it.
"Humans are influenced much more strongly by ovulatory cues than we tend to think," Maner explained. "For the most part, people aren't likely to be consciously aware of the effects ovulatory cues have over them. There is solid evidence that people find the scent of ovulation to be pleasant and attractive (relative to the scent of a woman who is far from ovulation), but beyond that, most of the behavioral and hormonal effects are likely to occur below the conscious radar."
Prior research found that men's testosterone levels are also sensitive to female ovulation. For example, in one of Maner's earlier studies, men who interacted with a female research assistant became more risk-taking and flirtatious when the assistant was in the high fertility stage of her menstrual cycle.
Such under-the-radar hormone dynamics might even influence what men and women wear.
Daniel Farrelly of the University of Sunderland and colleagues found that men who chose to wear red when competing had higher levels of testosterone than men who chose to wear blue.
"The research shows that there is something special about the color red in competition, and that it is associated with our underlying biological systems," Farrelly said.
In all cases, it appears that today's human social interactions can be driven by how we've evolved as primates.
"Some people might like to believe that people aren't animals, or at least that our behavior isn't beholden to the same biological processes as other species," Maner said.
"But humans," he added, "are very similar to other species in many ways, and those similarities are no more apparent than when it comes to sexuality."