Contact Info --

Email us --

Our Other Blogs --
We are three adults living in a polyamorous triad family. The content here is intended for an adult audience. If you are not an adult, please leave now.


JFK, The Intern, Secrets, Shaming

Mimi Alford is a woman of nearly 69 years who, in telling the story of an 18-month affair with President John F. Kennedy when she was a 19-year-old intern, has unleashed a firestorm of scorn and judgement.   She intrigues me.  

I think it is easy to look at the actions, choices, and behaviors of the young Mimi with eyes that are attuned to today's world.  Doing that distorts our vision.  I am younger than Mimi, but I am not so young that I do not remember that time and that world.  There was no Internet, no Facebook, no Twitter.  There was nothing resembling today's hyperactive 24-hour cable news cycle.  Our fathers worked, and they often worked long hours.  Our mothers mostly stayed home, kept house, baked bread, raised children.  We were sheltered, naive, and innocent.  In those days before sex education in the schools and readily accessible Internet porn; in a world without X-rated movies or "wardrobe malfunctions" on prime-time television; many of us got our information about sex from the lingerie section of the Sears and Roebuck Catalog.   The President was ...  The Most Powerful Man in The World, and JFK was, for so many of us who were young, much much larger than life; a mythical figure.  I was young still when he was assassinated; only 8 years old, but I remember being enchanted by the handsome President (the first that I was old enough to be aware of) who looked so much like my own daddy.  The energy and intellect and glamour of the Kennedy presidency was something magical, and even as a child, I fell under the spell of that "Camelot."

As often happens, history has shown us the clay feet of the President who was a heroic figure to so many of us who were young in those years.  He was such a confound -- a wounded war veteran who struggled with debilitating pain, and still enjoyed the athletic endeavors of his youth; a man of great grace and great intelligence who governed with care and measured reasonableness; a man with seemingly traditional Catholic religious beliefs and values who was a profligate womanizer.

But in those years?  Oh, he was spectacular.  I am not so old that I cannot imagine being 19, young and fresh, curious and open and untested, away from home and on my own for the first time...  I can conjure, for myself, the sense of breathlessness that must have come with being there in Washington, D.C.; in the White House; in the company of the President -- the handsome, strong, charming, articulate President of the United States.  I can feel the amazement that would have accompanied the knowledge that the President wanted "me."  I am pretty sure that, like Mimi, I'd have not said "no."  I am pretty sure I'd have been just as enchanted, just as enthralled, just as swept away on the tide.  It would have seemed like a fairy tale.  I'd have "loved" him too -- without question and with all my heart.

We can look back, from this vantage point, with our modern day sensibilities and our modern day values, and judge them both.  It is simply too hard to understand how very different that world was.  He was a powerful man, and he did what powerful men did.  She was a lovely, fresh, eager young woman, and she made the choices that she did in the face of a tsunami of cultural paradoxes.

And all of that is by way of context.  What intrigues me most about Mimi Alford today is that she is clear that, whatever others may think about her, and however she is judged for her role in the long ago affair, she does not regret it.  When Meredith Vieira asked her what she would do differently, her answer is that she would have told her parents.  Nearly 50 years later, Mimi Alford does not see the affair, the sex, as harmful to her.  Rather, she recognizes that the great harm to her life was in the keeping of the secret.  That it was the sense of shame, and the need to hide and forget that cut her off from her authentic self and her life.

I am sure that the storm will beat against Mimi Alford until it wears itself out.  I am certain that many, maybe most, will call her names and vilify her for daring to tell her story at this late date.  I'd bet there'll be plenty who will doubt her veracity as her story is nearly impossible to corroborate.  Others will likely see her as a victim -- a vulnerable young woman exploited by a powerful man.  I hope she is strong enough to withstand all of that; strong enough to hold onto the truth of all of this:  that she made her own sexual choices, reveled in the whirl of sensuality that was lavished upon her at the pinnacle of power, and that those who shamed her into silence and forced her to keep the secret for so very long were wrong.

It is time for society, and all of us within it, to recognize that when adults consent to be sexual with one another, when they hurt no one else in the choosing, there is no shame to that -- and nothing to hide.



  1. "I Serve At The Pleasure of The President" is the saying - it once was literally true.

    Kudos for the brave Mimi Alford!

    BTW - Who didn't Kennedy screw? I guess it helped his back!

  2. Sweetie, this is a wonderful post. As someone who was 12 when the affair with the iconic Kennedy occurred I am intrigued by these revelations. As a man who grew up with a plaque on my wall with the quotation, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask rather what you can do for your country," and whose adult political activism and career was shaped by the sentiments and values those words expressed, I agree with your prespective whole-heartedly. We are, this year, a half century from these events. The reality of a 19 year old woman who found herself literally in the hands of JFK.......the President of the U. S., in those days deified as were monarchs in Euoropean countries.....prior to Viet Nam, prior to Watergate, prior to Monica Lewinski, prior to George Bush's lying us into two wars, prior to understanding that Presidents are/were human. In a time when there were no depictions of even married life in which husbands and wives shared the same bed............let alone sexual intimacy between unwed was not just a different culture but like another planet.

    I loved JFK and love him still. I am glad he had sexuality and expressed it. I am glad he was such a contrast to his predecessor, Ike Eisenhower.....Ike & Mamie grandparents to us all. Our presidents are humans, and we will all be better off when we accept that seemingly obvious, but to this day, still all too illusive truth...and btw humans are all sexual beings.


  3. Ordalie12:46 AM

    Here we all knew that quotation, strongly endorsed it and tried to live by it. As you say, it was another planet all right! I often think of that sentence when I see the ever-whining people who keep asking "what will the government do for us?"


Something to add? Enter the conversation with us.