One of the most unconventional relationships on screen has become very popular. Are some of us actually living a House of Cards life today? How close is it to real life? Though not ideal, I’ve been told this kind of open arrangement does exist.
The line between good and evil is shrinking. It’s not black or white. How are Frank and Claire different from any couple? And how similar are they?
When Meechum, the president’s bodyguard who goes on to become a secret service agent, at the request of Frank Underwood, joined them for a threesome in bed, I was shocked and confused. Is this real, or is one of them imagining it? But it was indeed real. The interesting thing is, it never happened again on the show, it was only this once. I wondered if it would be awkward for them to meet and work together again, but the bond became stronger and Meechum is loyal, sacrificing his life for the president.
Though we could endlessly debate the president’s sexual preferences and brand them bisexual, how are they as husband and wife, as friends, as enemies, as two people living in a very unusual marriage? While many argue that they aren’t the ideal couple to follow, it still makes us think.
Related reading: Open relationships and love
Claire Underwood, who comes across as extremely powerful and strong and someone who clearly knows what she wants, has a human side to her. She is vulnerable and deep down she too desires to be desired. She’s grown numb to her situation in the marriage, which is more a working partnership and less love. How many women actually choose LOVE over a working marriage? Is it common?
Because to go after love takes courage and while Claire doesn’t lack courage, she has too much at stake to give it all up for love.
But there is something fascinating about the two, the way they have shaped their marriage, with clarity in thought and actions. They have no time to cry over lost years of fertility, over fading youth, over people and friends who are not exactly how they seem, over things that don’t agree with their view of life, which is grand and not necessarily everyone’s idea of a marriage.
They are often shown running together, a sign they enjoy each other’s company, and make crucial decisions while running. Two people who will stand by each other, come what may. They know each other like a mother knows her children.
Lovers may come, lovers may go, but Frank and Claire will always be there for each other, even if it’s murder for benefits.
Related reading: Rules of open relationships
In one weak moment, Frank is shown on his workout bike and the next moment on the floor crying. It’s at such moments that a woman’s power shows. Claire picks up the crying man and undresses him and has powerful sex with him, the aftermath of which is a powerful looking Frank in his office all set to conquer the world. Good sex can do that to people, especially men, who equate a lot of things with performance in bed.
Complete transparency, which the two share, is another fascinating aspect. The First Lady’s affairs are OK with her husband. There is an almost irritating level of comfort towards the lover in later episodes; one wonders if they have any emotion at all. Being totally OK with the other’s lover and still being secure is not something that many people achieve. Be it the celebrity photographer or the more humble but deep, writer, Claire’s lovers have always been totally in love with her. It is unclear if Claire loves them or just uses them to satisfy a need.
Modern India also claims that open relationships are a done thing in many homes these days. I have my own doubts. Has one section of society evolved much more than the others?
But this relationship is not for everybody. In his own words, Frank cannot give the First Lady what she wants, and she has a big heart for more than just Frank. Their mutual acceptance of each other is sometimes admirable and sometimes pure evil. They could kill and not tell, they could talk without talking, they are each other’s biggest supporters, yet there is some resentment in Claire’s approach towards Frank. This is more like an ordinary wife, where she is devoted but resents him too.
So what’s the takeaway?
– Undying support for each other’s dreams and aspirations
– Look after your ambitions, and those of your partner too.
– Stand for each other come what may
– Be best friends at any cost
– Be all right with any shortcomings the relationship may have.
– Be attached and detached at the same time.
Whether you learn or not from them, just don’t kill anyone.
Do you watch the series too? Are you fascinated or shocked or repelled by the relationship? Do they make you think of a couple you know in real life? It’s difficult for someone outside to understand what makes the relationship tick. Write in and tell us what you think!