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Last month, as the rest of the country followed the dizzying ups and downs of Ben Affleck and J-Lo's relationship through the tabloids, San Franciscans were dished their own romantic soap opera. Two articles in the Chronicle hinted at trouble in the fairy-tale romance of hunky mayoral candidate Gavin Newsom and his lingerie modelturned-prosecutor wife, Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom. According to a Sept. 15 Matier & Ross column titled "Newsom Blues," Kimberly intends to move to New York City, to be closer to the national TV news shows on which she regularly appears as a legal analyst. M&R noted, ominously, that Gavin was "hoping" he and his wife would "get a chance" to spend weekends together, and ended with a downer quote from the leading mayoral hopeful. "The marriage is strong," he said. "It's just depressing."
On Oct. 1, Kimberly swung into damage-control mode in society writer Carolyne Zinko's column, insisting that although she "might" rent a pied-à-terre in New York, she has "no plans" to "move" there. Though the leggy assistant DA insisted that "Gavin feels he gets a ton of support from me and he does," her depressed hubby wasn't quoted.
Deeply troubled by this inconclusive follow-up, Dog Bites took to the streets to get San Franciscans' take on what lies in store for the city's favorite power couple. The results were not encouraging.
In SOMA's South Park, where what's left of the tech-media elite drink lattes on their lunch breaks, a group of four young men lolled on the grass. Only one had heard about Newsom's bicoastal relationship problems, but after all were brought up to speed, they offered a few opinions.
Scott Campbell, a 29-year-old artist, said he'd never had a long-distance relationship but he knew how tough they can be from watching movies. Not chick flicks, mind you. Movies like, um, Clash of the Titans.
"[Perseus] had to go get Medusa's head, while his girlfriend was chained up somewhere," said Campbell. "He had to do it without her. It was pretty tough for him -- she's a million miles away, trapped in a cage."
Campbell's friend Chris Schultz, a 30-year-old animator, saw some long-range political plotting at work in Kimberly's plans.
"I think they both know what they want out of life -- success at the highest levels," he said knowingly. "Their relationship is part of that. They're a good-looking package. ... I think she's going to New York to get herself known as his hot wife, so that when he runs for president, she'll already have the East Coast all shored up for him."
On a bench at the park's west end, a couple of regulars, 45-year-old Jerome Miller, aka Chi-town, and a pal who wouldn't give his name were drinking beer out of red plastic cups. They, too, hadn't heard about the Newsoms' problems, and had a hard time grasping the potential gravity of the situation.
"I watched Arnold speak ... oh, you talkin' about Newsom?" said Miller.
Dog Bites asked if he'd rather have a mayor who's single, or a first lady of San Francisco.
"If you are like Newsom, you do not need a wife!" pointed out Miller, quaffing from his cup.
"He ain't gonna have no ol' lady?" asked Anonymous, somewhat worriedly. "Willie Brown has one."
"No, he screwed a mistress," corrected Miller.
Over coffee at Peet's on upper Market Street in the Castro, 29-year-old Baruch Harris and his Australian buddy, Alusha Manchak, a thirtysomething scientist, were unclear on how Kimberly's move would affect the couple's love life.
"Maybe she snores, and they have great weekend sex," ventured Manchak.
"Every woman I know thinks he's just gorgeous," said Harris, adding wickedly: "And now he's available five nights out of seven."
Around the corner, outside the Castro Theatre, Karma Moffett, a 56-year-old musician and artist, had stopped with his girlfriend, massage therapist Sabrina Bedell, 34, to chat with an old friend. After being informed about Newsom's romantic challenge, the long-blond-haired, turquoise-jewelry-bedecked Moffett urged a spiritual approach.
"If you get in touch with them, tell them to come to my studio. I do ceremonies to try to bring people into the middle path," he said. "I would show them where 'the moment' is -- which is that space between yesterday and tomorrow. If you can let go of the illusion of yesterday and tomorrow and be in 'the moment' ... you're not upset, you don't create suffering for yourself and other people."
The vibrations were not as therapeutic over in Noe Valley. At Streetlight Records on 24th Street, the thirtysomething employees behind the register turned instantly hostile upon hearing Gavin Newsom's name.
"Jeez, I don't really care," spat shaggy-haired Mike Dineen.
Dog Bites wondered aloud if sexual frustration might cause Gavin to lose his political mojo.
"No way," said Dineen darkly.
"If anything, he'll be tired," said Dineen's co-worker, bespectacled Troy Vadakan.
"Those politicians, they've got hookers a phone call away," added Dineen.
"Full-on orgies," elaborated Vadakan.
We asked if he was implying that Gavin would be unfaithful to Kimberly.
Vadakan and Dineen both emitted negative grunts and fixed us with haughty gazes that signaled that this inane conversation had reached its conclusion.