by | Mar 19, 2000 | Detroit Free Press | 0 comments

Friends keep asking me why I don’t feel pity for Darva Conger, the woman who says she didn’t want to marry a multimillionaire, but did it anyhow.

They ask me, after seeing her on “Good Morning America,” “Today,” “Larry King Live” and, well, I’ve lost track of all the appearances, why I don’t feel sympathy for this poor soul who engaged in a farcical marriage, went on a farcical honeymoon, came back from her farcical new husband and went

They wonder — after hearing her sobbingly reveal how traumatic the whole experience has been, how the media have harassed her, how her life has been ruined by this made-for-TV disgrace — why I don’t somehow say, “Gosh, I feel sorry for this woman.”

Let me count the ways.

I don’t feel sorry for her because she willingly went on that program, while millions of other American women managed to resist the temptation.

I don’t feel sorry for her because while she complains about being “demeaned” by the outcome, she willingly, in a swimsuit, marched in the most demeaning exercise while trying to beat other women to a man.

I don’t feel sorry for her because while she insists “I am not a gold digger,” she now wants to dump the new husband while keeping the engagement ring and the Jeep, which sure sounds like gold digging to me.

I don’t feel sorry for her because, after insisting two weeks ago that “I’m going to try and get myself off of television,” she has done nothing but keep appearing on it.

But none of these is the real reason …

To bare all or not to bare all

I don’t feel sorry for her because after spitting in the face of religion by reducing marriage to a game show stunt, she then called upon her religion to annul the marriage.

I don’t feel sorry for her because after moaning about how the media harassed her poor mother — violating that “sacred” bond of family — she then appeared on “Larry King Live” just three days after the death of her 37-year-old brother.

“I made a commitment,” she insisted.

Hmm. She did the same with her marriage vows, but didn’t mind canceling those.

I don’t feel sorry for her because while she blanched at the idea of even kissing her husband on the lips — saying that was “inappropriate” — she is now contemplating posing nude for Playboy, which I guess is somehow more appropriate.

I don’t feel sorry for her because while she insists “I don’t want anyone else’s money,” everything she keeps doing — including the potential multimillion-dollar Playboy pose — is for money.

I don’t feel sorry for her because she lied about her own background, using the phrase “Gulf War veteran” when she never set foot in the gulf region.

I don’t feel sorry for her because despite insisting that she abhors the media, she now has a “spokesperson” to handle her offers.

But none of these is the biggest reason …

A union with the rich and powerful

I don’t feel sorry for her because while insisting she wants her private life back, she is considering a big book deal to publish her life story.

I also don’t feel sorry for her for being fired from her job as an emergency room nurse — since it’s kind of hard to tell the next needy patient, “We’re short staffed because one of our nurses is in New York for a talk show.”

Mostly, I don’t feel sorry for her because she is a walking hypocrisy, shunning the limelight while waltzing ever closer toward it. Although she says
“I never wanted publicity,” the fact is, she apparently can’t resist it. She went on that show in the first place to be seen by others, and now she is the mosquito that keeps biting. She wants more juice, wants to bask in that glow, wants to sit on the same couches as Mel and Julia, wants to talk to the same interviewers as kings and presidents.

And she has. So the biggest reason I don’t feel sorry for Darva Conger is simply this: She went looking to marry something rich and powerful, and did.

She married television.

Why feel sorry for a woman who got exactly what she wanted?

Contact MITCH ALBOM at 313-223-4581 or Catch Mitch’s radio show, “Albom in the Afternoon,” 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WJR-AM (760).


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New book, The Little Liar, arrives November 14. Get the details »

Mitch Albom writes about running an orphanage in impoverished Port-au-Prince, Haiti, his kids, their hardships, laughs and challenges, and the life lessons he’s learned there every day.

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