Aaaaaaaand…let the judgment begin. If any topic is destined to summon more attention than questioning the way North American mothers parent —remember “Tiger Mother” Amy Chua?—it’s questioning the propriety with which mothers behave. So the current brouhaha over Pamela Druckerman’s sex life will no doubt generate even more hype for her new book, Bringing up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting. (Read our recent Q&A with Druckerman here.)
Apparently, the American journalist, who lives in Paris with her British husband and three children, also discovered the French ménage à trois—after her husband requested one with another woman for his 40th birthday (he didn’t want socks). The American in Druckerman couldn’t resist retailing the story to Marie Claire in 2010—from how neurotic she was about organizing the encounter to deciding not to participate at the last minute (she checked emails instead) to the fact it was decidedly more fun for her hubby than for her (though it was she who politely sent the other woman a “thank-you” note).
Now, just as Druckerman embarks on a major publicity tour for the book, which has been trashed by some American critics, the piece has vanished from Marie Claire’s website, though it still exists online. A Slate.com blog post with the disingenuous title “Pamela Druckerman Wrote About Her Ménage à Trois Before She Wrote a Parenting Book. Should We Care?” wonders if Druckerman feared the article would compromise her credibility as a mother: “It’s understandable why Druckerman might not want that article floating around while she’s trying to sell a book about parenting. I’m personally no prude, so finding out that she took part in a threesome isn’t going to hurt her credibility in my eyes, however, that’s not likely true of her entire target demographic.”
Marie Claire editor Joanna Coles told Salon.com: “Pamela asked us to take down the piece because she felt it would distract from the book, and we agreed to take it down for about a month. She’s a good writer and a valuable contributor to Marie Claire.” But what happens on the Internet, stays on the Internet.
It’ll be fascinating to see how this plays out as Druckerman plugs her book. Is she going to have to field questions about who was minding the kids during daddy’s birthday present? Or whether she fears her children will be scarred by their mother writing about it? Meanwhile, you can bet biddings for screen rights has heated up—not for Druckerman’s book, but her suddenly more marketable life story.