It’s not OK, Nigella!

Were you as shocked as I was to see those photos of Nigella Lawson being manhandled by her husband in a restaurant window?  This was so disturbing on so many levels, I hardly know where to start…

Nigella Lawson –even the sound of her name is so mellifluous — Brilliant, beautiful, forthright …Women want to be her-men want to be with her. The first time I read about her it was an interview for her first cookbook. The former model described creating one salty-sweet recipe after a night in bed with saltines in one hand and chocolate chips in the other, alternately chowing down. Who couldn’t love a woman who said that?

Well, it turns out her husband, Charles Saatchi, can’t–or, at best, loves to beat her up.  Domestic abuse is all about manipulation; as the head of a billion dollar worldwide advertising business, Saatchi would know a thing or two about manipulation. It is very evident from the photos how very good he is at manipulating Nigella into permitting this abuse. Even strong powerful women get abused by their spouses.

In the photos, Nigella looks sad and ashamed and afraid. Not shocked or outraged, as her reaction would have been had this been the first time he got physical. As it turns out, Nigella was abused by her mother as a child. Perhaps she thought she ‘deserved’ to live with someone who continued the abuse. In discussing her mother last year, she said: “I never thought I could please her.”

Just look at the body language in the photos. When wolves show dominance to one of their pack, they will take its nose between their jaws. And the term ‘leading someone by the nose’ came about because IT HURTS when your nose is pinched and twisted like that and any one who has such a grip on you can lead you wherever he wills.

Saatchi thought the greenery at the window screened him from the paparazzi
and the alcove shielded them from other patrons. Too bad he didn’t look behind him, where the photographer had a perfect view of the assault. Those that condemned the photographers for not jumping in to physically prevent the abuse? Pssshhht. Bearing witness with visual proof was the best thing the photographer could do. Now the world knows what a perfect shit Charles Saatchi is.

My mother

“I think I’ve reached a milestone today! My parents (my mum, really) likes to get (requires, insists upon) a weekly phone call, preferably on Sunday. I called this morning, and she said “I almost called you yesterday but then I thought you were probably busy and you’d call Monday.” It’s been 30 years, give or take, but I think she gets it now”
FB post July 23, 2012

As soon as I posted this on Facebook, I imagined all my motherless FB chums saying “Lisa, you should be glad you still have parents…one day you’ll be sorry you can’t pick up the phone to call them.”  I want to make it clear: I love my parents dearly. I really do, and I am glad they are healthy enough to enjoy retirement after working hard their whole lives, and hope they live many more years.  That being said, those who know me know my mother drives me crazy. Those who know me well also know what a short drive that can be…

So, as sort of preemptive post, I’ll pre-reply…

Jamie, don’t you remember my mother using a kitchen fork to ‘fork’ her hair? Susie, do you remember her telling us not to go into the ocean when we were menstruating because we could attract sharks? Jay, do you remember my telling you with all seriousness that ‘my mother said’ pounding on your chest and doing a Tarzan yell would cause cancer? I remember it well—6th grade playground— you and Rocky Krizak howled with laughter, I mean bent over double.

So, yes, you can love someone while they simultaneously and systematically drive you crazy.  That may be the definition of family, in fact. Two weeks ago, my brother’s son got married and much of the (far flung) family gathered in Philadelphia. I must have muttered something about my mum to the Canadian crowd—her brother, his wife and sister, because my aunt said: Lisa, we love your mother dearly, but we don’t pay any attention to most of what she says!” Wise words, indeed. Because to quote another friend’s mother, Therese Nikitas  (former A&W owner and my 1st boss) “you can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your family.!”