Missouri's top Tea Party, reality-show D-list family is in the gossip headlines this week, and they seem to be soaking up the attention in the strangest way possible.
Here's the deal: Eighteen-year-old Lyda Loudon, daughter of former Republican state senator John Loudon and conservative pundit Gina Loudon, a couple best-known for starring on reality TV show Wife Swap, is dating fifty-seven-year-old actor Steven Bauer, best-known as Al Pacino's right-hand man in Scarface, and who now stars in TV show Ray Donovan.
The 39-year age difference was big enough for virtually unknown Lyda to get ink in tabloids such as Us Weekly and the Daily Mail. And as with just about every Hollywood relationship age gap story, the regular eye-rolling and tisk-tisks ensued.
But Lyda's mom decided to make things really weird by penning a 2,000-word essay on right-wing rag WorldNetDaily that discussed everything from her daughter's virginity status to the Loudon's family unnerving strength in dealing with the flood of paparazzi that is sure to inundate this ultra-famous family's private life.
The essay starts out with Gina and Lyda sitting on the patio of a steak restaurant "surrounded by LA friends" when a friend texted her that her daughter's relationship had hit the headlines. See also: St. Louis Tea Party Original Gina Loudon on ABC's Wife Swap
"I turned to Lyda and cried," Gina writes. "We held each other, and our friends, all too familiar with how these gossip magazines function. This would not be an easy week. But it would be clarifying. We had known this day was coming for a while. By God's grace, I was by my daughter's side when it happened."
Gina goes on to tell us how mature and wise her daughter is "pure."
"Lyda is committed to waiting until she is married to have sex," writes Dr. Gina. "She is so committed to virginity that she gave her little sister a purity ring for her birthday, and I sat in awe as I listened to the wisdom of this big sister speak."
According to Lyda's website, she runs organizations geared toward millenials (although it's not clear what those organizations actually do), so her father asked an appropriate question: "Why can't she find a nice millennial boy?"
But Gina explains that was just a ridiculous notion: "He almost laughed at himself for asking the question. While there are certainly exceptions, career-minded, committed patriots who are equally yoked with Lyda Loudon are rare."
Therefore, the family would have to endure the onslaught of media attention that occurs when a superstar celebrity like Steven Bauer dates a patriot starlet like Lyda Loudon:
"Tabloids would smell the blood in the water, and our daughter would be fodder. The black paparazzi SUVs would follow her, and her days of the somewhat private life would end -- something she has never wanted."
Gina sought advice from friends, family, pastors -- and naturally, lawyers and publicity agents. She also worried about her daughter's future. Bauer might not be aware of any wedding plans, but Gina was surely concerned that, statistically, the actor has a good chance of kicking the bucket in about twenty years, leaving Lyda a 38-year-old widow, "a concept she is well aware of and terrified of." And of course, John, who is eleven years younger than Bauer, wasn't taking it too well.
"My heart broke for my husband, who simply had no ability to deal with this," Gina writes. "He was broken, and it was horrible to watch."
Luckily, God put the Loudons on Wife Swap to prepare them for their daughter dating the dude from Scarface:
"Today I find myself thankful...for a God who, strangely, prepared our family well for this day. A life in politics and the spotlight of media, time on reality television with the ensuing tabloid pursuits: We had tools that others might not have to equip us for this ride."
So they got over it, and now Bauer has been accepted into the very important Loudon family.
We wish them all the best.
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E-mail him at Ray.Downs@RiverfrontTimes.com.
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