Just once I’d like to see a male politician caught in a sex scandal stand up there at the press conference all by himself. You want to be an alpha male with extra helpings of testosterone and appetites that cannot be denied? Fine, but if you get caught, Be. A. Man. Don’t drag your wife in front of the cameras to prove how strong your marriage is. Practice saying these words: “No, darling, I could never live with myself if I let you humiliate your self in public to help my career. I know people always want to blame the wife, but this is all my fault. Besides, I don’t want our children to think marriage means wives have to put up with their husband’s crap–that’s what prostitutes are for! No, wait…”
Silda Wall Spitzer looked so sad and stricken standing next to her husband, New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, as he issued a brief statement apologizing to his “family” and “the public”–in effect acknowledging the truth of revelations that he was Client 9, who had paid a prostitution ring called the Emperors Club VIP for (very expensive) sex. Has nothing changed since 1969, when poor Joan Kennedy faced reporters with Ted after Chappaquiddick? In just the past decade we’ve had, among others, Suzanne Craig, Wendy Vitter, Dina McGreevey and, of course, Hillary Clinton. I’m not saying the wife has to divorce her ethically challenged spouse, although, come to think of it, that would make a change. But just once I’d like to see her skip the press conference and fly off to Paris instead. And then I’d like to see a political husband stand by his wife when she’s caught, oh, I don’t know, giving a no-show job to her tennis instructor. Except that particular shoe never does end up on the masculine foot, does it? Because female politicians don’t go to whorehouses, or troll for sex in public toilets, or give a top job to their completely unqualified lesbian girlfriend while pretending to have the perfect white-bread family. They are too busy finding clothes that are businesslike but not mannish, and feminine but not sexy, which takes pretty much all day. But if the roles were reversed, do you think her husband would stand up there, bravely, nobly, silently, as Cuckold 1? No, he’d be in the corner bar–or down at his lawyer’s.
People may use words like stoic and dignified to describe the stand-by-your-man act, but really what they’re thinking is either doormat or enabler. (Dr. Laura Schlessinger, on the Today show, to a startled Meredith Vieira: “When the wife does not focus in on the needs and the feelings sexually, personally, to make him feel like a man, to make him feel like a success, to make him feel like her hero, he’s very susceptible to the charm of some other woman making him feel what he needs. And these days, women don’t spend a lot of time thinking about how they can give their men what they need.” This of Silda Spitzer, who gave up her career to facilitate her husband’s political ambitions! If the New York Post is correct that his use of prostitutes goes back ten years, he started when his wife was raising three small children–nice.)