An article in last weekend’s NY Times Magazine about “cuckold wives” in politics notes, “I can find nothing in the dictionary that applies to sexually betrayed women, though you would think Webster would have added one by now.” Actually, according to Wikipedia, the female equivalent cuckquean first appeared in English literature in 1562. Though clearly that moniker never caught on — and after four and a half centuries, we don’t think that’s going to change. (Perhaps because the term cuckquean sounds like it belongs in the fetish world.)
Who knows why it never caught on — perhaps because a cuckold is often meant as a term of derision, and we’re more likely to feel sorry for a cheated-on wife than we are to ridicule her. Then again, remember all the Hillary haters back in the late nineties, circa Monica-gate? We guess sometimes we like to ridicule the cheated-on wife, too. Those bent on derision back then were forced to use the term “female cuckold.”
And what about all those men who’ve been cheated on who deserve our sympathy? How come they get saddled with the insult “cuckold,” as if it were someone their fault? The way “cuckold” is thrown around, you’d think a deficit of masculinity — rather than a female wandering eye — was to blame.
Well, we think we need it’s about time we came up with a new term for someone who’s been cheated on. Something that’s both gender- and judgment neutral. “Jenny Sanford” will date too quickly (and besides, we think most men who’ve been cheated on would rather be called a cuckold than a Jenny Sanford). “Cheatee” is too clunky.
Any suggestions, dear readers? What would you call a man or woman who has been cheated on? Give it your best shot in the comments section below and we’ll follow up with a poll of our favorites next week.