The season opener of Gene Simmons’ Family Jewels drew me in this past week, as he and his live-in partner of 28 years, Shannon Tweed, who is also the mother of their two college-age children, are at a serious relationship crossroads. Today, I’ve got some advice for Shannon. No, she didn’t ask, but I’m going to offer it anyway.
If you need the backstory to this, read on. If you’re already up to date, saw the show or the couple’s strange appearance on Joy Behar’s show, skip ahead to the next graphic. Just below it, I’ve given my advice.
The Backstory. Gene is the founder of KISS, a 1970s rock group that is still making appearances. He’s a smart guy and a shrewd businessman. He was born poor. Money is how he measures success and he is proud that he has supported his entire family so well. The show makes clear that he’s made more money than one can even imagine. (Imagining $28,000 for two sofas is all most of us can do, anyway.) He seems to be so busy making that money, though, that he misses important family functions (such as his daughter’s high school graduation).
For the past 27 years, he’s been living with former Playmate Shannon Tweed. She would like to be married, apparently. He does not. She would like him to limit his work schedule. He is not inclined to.
“When will you be able to sit back and enjoy the fruits of your endeavors?” she asked him on a recent show.
“Well, I enjoy the ‘doing’,” he responded. He likes his identity as rock star and business man.
Age has not been kind to Gene. He’s not a great looking guy, but he does have power and money. And therefore, he has groupies. Apparently, Shannon has borne his philandering for decades.
With their youngest now off to college, push has come to shove and Shannon wants more than he’s giving. In the season opener, he misses a family dinner and someone sends the family paparazzi pictures of him exiting a restaurant with young blondes on each arm. As Shannon confronts him, it becomes clear that he thinks it’s impressive to show up at a business meeting with four groupies, whom he leaves to his dinner companion and then goes home (at least in this instance).
His daughter, Shannon and a therapist both tried to explain the pain this causes them. Many women are familiar with the bewildered look on Gene Simmon’s face as he faced the possibility that someone’s feelings other than his own count.
You’ve put up with Gene’s philanderings for almost 30 decades. You raised two children without the bonds of marriage. You have explained to Gene countless times
Oh, and girlfriend? You are a beautiful woman. But you are now so over-injected that your face is immobile. Like a marionette, only your lips move when you speak. You can’t even crinkle up your face enough to get tears out. It’s really distracting. Stop doing that stuff–it clearly hasn’t made a difference in Gene’s behavior.
I’ve confessed to watching some of the silliest reality shows and entertaining the possibility that perhaps we learn something from them. Maybe. Once in a while.
Seasoner opener of Family Jewels drew me back in after years; the dynamic is one many of us have seen in our own lives.