June 07, 2011
Fortunately we have two sources of information as to what may have happened that day. One is the actual indictment. Another is the account an NYPD detective gave to the Times shortly after the alleged victim was interviewed. We’re going to take this chronology, emotionally transport ourselves into the mindset of a $2,000-an-hour defense lawyer laboring to secure Strauss-Kahn’s freedom, put the best possible interpretation on every factoid, and we will even include in our reckoning an overriding mitigating circumstance similar to cases where the defendant is mentally retarded—namely, that Strauss-Kahn is French. (This will primarily serve the purpose of resolving the major unanswered question, i.e., “What was he thinking?”)
Voilà! La séance commence!
Close your eyes and imagine the Gaumont logo and ineffably sad accordion music as the title comes up full:
Un Film d’une Liaison Triste
Part 1: Le Rendezvous
At 12:01 p.m. a 32-year-old Guinean woman uses her security key to push open the outer door of the Imperial Suite, singing out, “Housekeeping!”
Strauss-Kahn, down a hallway and apparently showering, hears the voice and thinks, “Ah! A lilting female French accent from West Africa! Guinea, if I’m not mistaken! De Gaulle never should have granted independence! They’ve maxed out their Special Drawing Rights, but perhaps they’re here to negotiate the favored-nations loan rate for the additional $550 million since 2008. I must investigate at once!”
Part 2: La Seduction
La femme assumes the $3,000 suite is empty and proceeds down the outer hallway, checking the conference room, the living room, and the bedroom, at which time she encounters l’homme nu, or what is known in this country as a buck-nekkid dude dangling his stuff as he busts out of the bathroom. She shrieks as he rushes toward her, misunderstanding his intentions.
Strauss-Kahn, totally smitten by la belle jeune femme noire, takes advantage of her temporary disorientation to wrap her in his arms and fling her onto the king-sized bed, thinking, “We are soulmates! I saw it in her eyes! She is an African Anouk Aimée and I am Jean-Louis Trintignant in his prime!”
Cue the Francis Lai musical score for Claude Lelouch’s A Man and a Woman as the two figures twirl on the bed and he tries to remove her pantyhose, then gently grasps her groin area in a heedless act of la passion de l’amant fou.
Part 3: L’Interlude
La jeune femme effrayée fights her way free and bolts from the bedroom, but Strauss-Kahn has seen this kind of coy behavior before and he’s stricken with remorse. “How could I, the Great Seducer, have miscalculated so egregiously?” he asks himself.
“Ma chérie! ” he calls after her. “You are not from Guinea-Bissau? You are from Guinea-Conakry? I am so ashamed!”
Strauss-Kahn then chases her down the hallway, cuts off her escape, bolts the door, and begs her to understand that he mistook her accent for the lesser of two French colonial possessions. He then drags her back to the bathroom, protesting that she doesn’t understand the stress of a man burdened by a life of boring international conferences at which the most attractive woman is likely to be Angela Merkel. Does he see a softening in her attitude? A glimmer of understanding?
But then again, he has no choice. He’s entranced as much by her cotton/polyester-blend high-necked square-collared official maid’s uniform as he is by her blazing eyes, tearful now as she breaks down in apparent agonies of overwhelming passion.
Part 4: Le Point Culminant
Strauss-Kahn knows what he must do. He must show her the meaning of “French.” He places her head in a position that would constitute a Criminal Sexual Act in the First Degree at the moment that her mouth touches his manhood were it not for the fact that by now their lovers’ passion is heedless and abandoned. He goes for it a second time, adding another possible ten years to his prison term, according to District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr., who is of Scottish, not French, origin and therefore doesn’t understand the subtleties of l’orgasme.
Once the tender assignation has been consummated, la jeune femme once again runs for the exit, this time knowing that her life has changed.
Part 5: Le Dénouement
The lovers are spent. In the afterglow she runs to tell her manager. He dresses quickly and checks out of the hotel.
La passion utilisée.
La vie est un mystère.
As Strauss-Kahn heads for JFK Airport, he wonders, “What was her name?”
As she heads to St. Luke’s Hospital, she wonders, “What was his name?”
But they both know it can never be. He will spend the next few months wearing an electronic ankle bracelet and protected by his jealous millionaire-journalist wife. His abandoned maid(en) will think of what could have been.
On Monday, Strauss-Kahn was arraigned on seven criminal counts, and during his walk from the car to the courthouse steps, he had to pass by a large group of hotel maids shouting, “Shame on you! Shame on you!”
Which, if you think about it, is kind of hot.