style girlfriend girl talk

    Lance Armstrong: Tie-Free and Not All That Sorry

    18th January 2013

    {Oprah sure looked great, huh?}

    So did everyone watch Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Lance Armstrong last night?

    I did, and I had just a few thoughts on the subject I hope you’ll indulge me with, and then I’d be interested in hearing your take on the situation.

    On Style Girlfriend, I try my best to give you guys advice that will make women look at you and say, “Now there’s a man I’d like to get to know better.” Seeing Armstrong’s performance last night, the term “man” never entered my mind.

    His demeanor and appearance – including that open-necked shirt, rakishly, almost aggressively crossed leg, and booted foot (not even a lace-up!) that was constantly invading Miss Winfrey’s personal space – suggested he had better places to be, that he was above the proceedings.

    He owned up to everything – or nearly everything – but didn’t seem sorry. In fact, I was surprised by how much finger pointing he still did. Sure, he answered “yes” to all of O’s hard-hitting questions up front, but from there? He started lobbing denials, accusations, and non-apologies at her as rapidly as he used to lead the peloton in the Tour.

    Here’s the thing. When it comes to doping in cycling, it seems to me that, “Everyone was doing it” actually is a (somewhat) valid response. The pervasiveness of doping extends to probably even more sports than we’d like to imagine these days. I’m not saying that Armstrong wasn’t wrong to engage in the activity, but I understand that the sport’s doping culture then, and still probably now, was one in which Armstrong was a player, not the leader.

    BUT.

    I believe a man’s follow-up response would be, “And I was in a place that I could have stopped it, or said something, or brought attention to it, and I didn’t. And for that I am sorry.”

    And who knows? Maybe he’s a victim of his own two-part special, and he’ll get into that tonight – how he intends to work with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to change the sport from within. How much he loves cycling and would like to help return it to its purest form. How he’d like to cycle again competitively – this time without drugs.

    WHAT I KNOW

    The man I saw last night still – still – couldn’t be bothered to be held responsible for his actions, and as a woman, that’s not the kind of man I want in my life. I want a full apology, and then I want you to tell me what steps you’re going to take to ensure it never, ever ever happens again. Continued denials and non-emphatic half-apologies wouldn’t do it for me.

    And it works both ways, of course. Any time anything is even vaguely my fault – in work, in relationships – I own it. “Hey, my bad. I will do this this and this to make sure this doesn’t happen again.” I want to be someone people know they can trust. I won’t gain that reputation if I’m always passing the buck.

    A man I trust doesn’t pass the buck. Or say it stops around him. Near him, but not actually with him. And if he tried, I’d be out the door before he could get out another, “yeah, but…”

    A true man of style fesses up his faults to the woman in his life, especially if that woman is Oprah.

    I want that when you tell me you’re sorry, you actually look sorry. I want my man to know and accept that the buck stops with him.

    Tell me:

    what do you guys think about this – admittedly tangled – issue?

    (image: George Burns/Reuters)