Sorry, Tiger, ‘Coolidge Effect’ won’t save you here

Some words of wisdom for Tiger Woods: The good news for men is that there seems to be credible evidence that the “Coolidge Effect” exists for males of many species.

Here’s the bad news for homo sapien males: Homo sapien females will always be eager to put the old kibosh on the very notion of a “Coolidge Effect.”

For those of you wondering just what this “Coolidge Effect” thing is, an explanation is in order. It’s named for none other than President Calvin Coolidge, good old Silent Cal himself, the 30th chief executive of the United States. The “Coolidge Effect” legend started as an anecdote that goes something like this:

It seems the Silent One and the missus were taking separate tours of a farm. (Some accounts say it was a government farm, but that’s not really germane to our account.) The farmer showed Mrs. Coolidge his prize rooster, which he proudly claimed copulated 10 to 12 times a day.

Now, based on this story, we can assume Silent Cal wasn’t exactly the Wizard of Whoopee. Apparently he came from the “make love to the old battle ax two times a year and be done with it” school of amour. Because, on hearing of the rooster’s prowess, Mrs. Coolidge told the farmer, “Be sure to tell that to Mr. Coolidge.”

When the farmer showed the president the rooster, he repeated the story about the critter’s sexual prowess, along with Mrs. Coolidge’s observation.

“Oh really?” the president said. “Same hen every time?”

“Oh no,” the farmer said. “It’s a different hen every time.”

“Be sure to tell that to Mrs. Coolidge,” the president said.

Hey, they called him Silent Cal, not Stupid Cal.

The “Coolidge Effect” is supposedly the biological phenomenon wherein males of a particular species experience sexual arousal with different female partners. Do you think the female of the species homo sapiens buys that idea? Picture the following exchange in the Tiger Woods household:

Mrs. Woods: Tiger, what’s up with all these mistresses? Just how, Mr. Hot-In-The-Pants, do you explain this one?

Tiger: Uh, “Coolidge Effect”?

Mrs. Woods: I’m getting a golf club.

Last week it seemed like everybody wanted to talk about Tiger Woods, his bevy of mistresses and his boneheaded attempt to cover up the fact that he had any. The Tiger business even came up at a two-day symposium I attended on the black-white educational achievement gap at the Institute for Advanced Journalism Studies, located on the campus of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University.

“What would you do if you were Tiger’s wife?” one guy asked a group of women journalists during one of our breaks. The answers were varied and interesting, but none of them gave the answer I was expecting to hear.

Beatdowns would be handed out. That’s how many of the women I know would have handled that situation. I chimed in that as embarrassing as Tiger’s situation was, it paled in comparison to the one former heavyweight boxing champ Muhammad Ali got himself into back in 1975. Remember that fiasco?

Ali was in the Philippines, preparing to defend his title against former champ Joe Frazier in what would become the epic bout known as the “Thrilla in Manila.” Prior to the fight, Ali and a — ahem — “female acquaintance” attended a state dinner given by President Ferdinand Marcos. He introduced that companion to Marcos as his wife. Only problem was, she wasn’t.

For years I’ve played a comic scenario in my head of how Ali’s real wife at the time, Khalilah Ali, reacted when she heard Ali was in the Philippines with his wife.

“Oh, he took his wife with him to the Philippines. Isn’t that nice? His wife? Wait a minute! That’s me!”

Khalilah Ali’s reaction was to hop on a jet and head straight to the Philippines. According to one source, her goal was to do precisely what I mentioned above: hand out a thumping to somebody.

Ali was hardly unique among boxers. Sugar Ray Robinson had his problem with that commandment about adultery, as did Joe Louis. The late Abe Sherman, who for years ran a famous Baltimore bookstore, once told me that Louis’ propensity for women, as much as his storied struggle with back taxes, led to his financial ruin. Other professional athletes are no better.

Whether or not the “Coolidge Effect” is fact or fiction will be argued for years. But Tiger Woods had best consider another famous line these days.

You know, the one that goes, “It’s cheaper to keep her.”

Examiner columnist Gregory Kane is a Pulitzer-nominated news and opinion journalist who has covered people and politics from Baltimore to Sudan.

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