When guests come to stay, I like to leave unexpected tokens of consideration around the house for their enjoyment, things like books, favorite candies, or a caddy of bathroom cleaners in case the urge strikes to scour porcelain. As it often happens, I wind up reading the books I select for my visitors, usually while laying upon the sheets of the guest bed that I began to change but then refitted upon the mattress once time expired. In anticipation of my mother’s recent visit, I picked up a book about the Kennedy family. My mom cherished the Kennedys as so many of her generation did. She watched their lives unfold in the press with rapt attention, sometimes so transfixed, like during the investigation of JFK Jr.’s plane crash, that the only way to rustle up a meal for me and my brother was to whisper hauntingly, “John and Caroline are hungry….”

So I spent a couple hours staring at the glossy images of a strong-jawed President Kennedy with his nymph-like Jackie. As I read accounts of their life together, I was struck by how extraordinary she was. She wasn’t just America’s First Lady, she was the nation’s favorite lady. I tried to envision myself in her role and promptly realized just how fortunate the President — and all of America — was that it had not been me.

Firstly, Jackie was known for her fashion-forward ensembles. She was on the forefront of modern apparel staples like the little black dress and skinny jeans. The woman made tweed look good, for God’s sake. I, too, wear skinny jeans but only as a hair band, and I doubt President Kennedy would have been impressed watching me greet a dignitary in waist-banded denim despite not being pregnant. Jackie probably never strode into the schoolyard in her trench coat and oversized sunglasses only to realize that she’d forgotten a shirt.

An often-bandied rumor about President Kennedy is of his legendary lust for women. There are persistent stories that JFK was a lothario who courted women around the globe while Jackie waited at home, probably posed on a damask settee, penning him letters with a pewter pen that matched her earrings. Either Jackie was very naïve or President Kennedy must have been much more vigilant about clearing out his pockets than my own husband is. My husband would forget about the proof of his indiscretions in the way of receipts and hotel keys and likely leave the mistress herself stuffed in his pants. Either way, it was lucky for President Kennedy that Jackie stood by his side despite sultry birthday tributes from Marilyn Monroe and reports of hookers swimming in the White House pool. If I’d ever spied a prostitute doing the backstroke in my pool, I would have directed Air Force One to do an emergency water landing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Now everyone knows it is an imperative of First Ladies to charter a charitable cause the way Eleanor Roosevelt developed the NAACP or Rosalynn Carter championed for awareness of mental illness. Jackie, while a giver to many causes, was best remembered for her restoration of the White House, which she famously showcased on television to the thrill of all American housewives. I suspect John would have been less impressed had I overseen the renovation, returning home from a summit in China to discover the mahogany desks and Revolution era antiques had been replaced with Ikea particleboard pieces.

Decorating aside, had President Kennedy entrusted the formation of new civil initiatives to me, America would now have the following organizations to further deplete the national budget:

The Teaching Heterosexual Men to Value Brunch League

Free Nannies Who Speak French And Don’t Steal Husbands For All American Households Organization

Illiterate People Can Still Look at Star Magazine Society

Why Start A Cuban Missile Crisis When We Can Have Cuban Sandwiches Coalition

As valuable as these ad hoc committees would be today, the United States was better off having had the glamour and poise of Jackie Kennedy as Mrs. President, and John Kennedy was blessed to have joined with an inspiring woman from majestic stock. Had he married me, he’d have settled for a wife who knows Mexican swear words instead of French and whose family was never on the social register unless you count being on the dole as a societal Who’s Who. He would have had a wife who wandered pants-less around the White House, in search of the kids, muttering about the failures of National Security when the First Children can’t even be contained to their sleeping quarters.

He would have had a wife who can’t even change the bed sheets for company.