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16 March 2008 @ 01:39 pm
The Spitzer thing  
This counts as your Hax of the Day, too.
Charlotte, N.C.: If nothing else, what happened with Eliot Spitzer has exploded the myth of the high price call girl. No, the guy isn't paying the big bucks to get a woman with the body of a Hooters waitress (nothing against Hooters waitresses, it's just a convenient icon) and a master's degree in particle physics who is also multilingual, spent summers in Paris, and spends weekends volunteering at a soup kitchen. No, the infamous object of Spitzer's attention was a girl from New Jersey with a high school degree, a myspace page, admitted drug use, and a vocabulary that includes the phrase, "like, dude, do you want the sex"? In other words, neither good nor bad, just normal. A normal girl. So what makes someone risk it all on normal, when at home sits a woman who is, by all accounts, rather special? As a 40-something woman myself, I'm genuinely curious and I bet I speak for many women like me. Our competition isn't a fantasy girl, it's the kid next door. Does it truly come down to age and looks? I'm not sure if I should be relieved or worried.

Carolyn Hax: Maybe the competition is competition precisely for her lack of ability to compete. But that almost seems too pat.

I had to think about that for a few minutes. And then register a huge, screaming OUCH.

Because this is a big fear of mine, as I'm sure it is for any woman who would kinda sorta not like to be cheated on... I can compete with brains, I can sometimes compete with beauty, and youth, hell, it's overrated. But what no self-respecting woman can compete with is the idea of this young girl who will do whatever you want with no questions, who doesn't challenge your authority, and who you can treat like a piece of trash without having to be accountable.

It can be argued that a man who wants that is a man not worth having. But really. After ten years of marriage, children, mortgages, all the rest of it, how many women escape the 3am night sweats wondering, "Am I boring? Am I too much work?" I mean, the whole cliche behind mid-life crisis is that the wife represents the part of the man's life he's desperately trying to outrun, not that she's done anything wrong. My mother worked in an office, right around the time that Travis left. She worked with a group of women between the ages of 45 and 55. At least 5 husbands attached to that group of women just flat up and disappeared. It's like a leukemia cluster... it's so damnably hard to deny that there's something awful going on, but you're still desperately hoping that it's not a pattern.

I think I'm an intelligent, interesting woman. I really am afraid sometimes that this makes me unattractive to men. You spend your life telling yourself, "No, that's just a stereotype, men rise above needing some little nothing to lord it over, men aren't like that anymore." And then here comes Spitzer... dropping loads of cash on a woman who couldn't lick his wife's boots. And the only reason I can think of is that she tweaked his need to be superior to his woman.

Women are left wondering, is it just a few men here and there who are like this, or is this something that every man, no matter how wonderful, is going to need at some point? Maybe not now, but later... after you've already given half your life to him. A wife is limited in her ability to make her hubby feel like a god when she's spent the morning washing skid marks out of his undies.

This is x-posted to another blog, and it occurs to me... this is one of the things I haven't blogged about in awhile.
Current Music: Split Enz - I Got You
Chriscrm17 on March 16th, 2008 06:51 pm (UTC)
A big and important topic. I have lots of thoughts on this but probably few answers.

call girl "myth" - I started out intending to say I don't see anything in this story that shatters that myth but partially changed my mind halfway through. First a disclaimer - I will talk about society's "ideal woman" but this in no way indicates I think this is reasonable or represents my own taste. So, that said, "Kristen" is in the ideal age range and has a body that is considered near ideal. But it is a very good point that the myth would lead me to believe that he could have discussed wines or foreign policy with her and while I cannot know for sure, it does appear that was not part of the equation.

I have a theory about part of what might make an exclusive call girl exclusive. A large part of the cost is discretion and knowing she is not going to do 5 other dudes that night. She might not even be with anyone else that week. She may be less sexually active, as far as multiple partners, than your average party girl down the street.

I think I'm an intelligent, interesting woman.

Damn straight you are intelligent and interesting. And pretty. This part I can answer easily. No way this makes you unattractive to men. No question it will make you unattractive to some men, just as another set of characteristics would make you unattractive to another set of men. So there is a set of men out there that will think the entirety of *you* is the cat's meow.

3am night sweats wondering

This is much much tougher. I am not a huge fan of my fellow males. *Most* that appear to assholes live true. *Most* that appear to be good are that way. But I have seen far too many examples of seemingly perfect guys that fucked up in unbelievably disappointing ways. Sex with the wrong person while committed to another topping the list. The only way I can say it is there are far to many males who have not fully become "men", or more likely completely misunderstand what that means. There is good news here though. If you were attracted to the hunky construction guy that cannot put a sentence together - then your odds would not be good. But if you are attracted to someone who "thinks" and has spent at least some time contemplating things like the nature of relationships - then I think your odds go way up.

Although it is certainly not an absolute protection it is still critically important to make sure your expectations are crystal clear when you start dating, when you move to sex, and when you consider making it permanent. Each of those steps probably has slightly different expectations but they should be fundamentally compatible with your bedrock principals. Neither of you should ever get surprised.

This might be the time to talk about my theory of having a list of 5 "have to have"s and 5 "cannot tolerate"s. Make such a list, stick to it, and share it with your prospective partner at the appropriate time. For you, it sounds like cheating belongs on the "cannot tolerate".
Wiseacreewin on March 16th, 2008 07:02 pm (UTC)
I can not tolerate betrayal. Oddly enough, I could handle a man sleeping with other women. It would just have to be something we agreed to (and yes, I've tested this, and it seems to work fine) and that we discuss before and afterward. That would be my top 5... whatever contract we drew up on marrying, that it not be broken.
Chriscrm17 on March 16th, 2008 07:12 pm (UTC)
Not odd. I feel the same way. And knowing that and expressing that puts you and your partner on the same page. In my case, my parter is very open, and has been even more open in the past, but at this point wants monogamy. So I know that, respect that, and make it so. Because "sex with others" is *not* on my "must have" list. (This is not to imply that I am often tempted, I am not).
Wiseacreewin on March 16th, 2008 07:16 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I hear ya on that one. These days I feel like I could pretty much stay monogamous... I was in my last relationship, and it never felt like a sacrifice. He was more traditional than I was.
Desparately Seeking Catnipornjkitty on March 17th, 2008 12:42 am (UTC)
I know that that was one of my peeves with my marriage. It seems like cheating just kind of seems to come built in. Not that Bryan and I have some elaborate contract regarding what would be considered cheating and what would not, what the consequences are for crossing that line, etc., etc. But we're pretty open with each other about what's going on and when (and to what extent). Granted, I haven't always known about all of his chatroom flirtations, which has kind of raised my eyebrows at times, but he's never actually met someone without letting me know he was getting serious first. And I've only once come close to crossing the line from flirtation to petting without getting his clearance first. Keeping secrets, though, that's guaranteed to get my dander up. You're right, that is betrayal.
Chriscrm17 on March 16th, 2008 06:57 pm (UTC)
I want to add another thought about this whole thing. I am very very tired of seeing women like Silda Spitzer standing "by their man" in these press conferences as their asshole husband pounds his chest and weeps about his weakness. Fuck that. Stay home and leave him up there to sweat alone.
Wiseacreewin on March 16th, 2008 06:58 pm (UTC)
Well, that's the problem, isn't it? She's obviously one of those women who takes the "one flesh" thing seriously. It's not just his life he screwed up, its hers too. She's not defending him so much as her family. I respect that, even while it's heart-breaking to watch.
Chriscrm17 on March 16th, 2008 07:07 pm (UTC)
I see your point. But her work is with him and their family. The press conference scene, especially the first one, is all about his political career. It does nothing for the relationship or the family. If he wants to work on things he can be the most loyal husband who sells insurance. I see no reason to help him salvage his political career.
Wiseacreewin on March 16th, 2008 07:12 pm (UTC)
Yeah, but I'm betting being the wife of a politician is like being the wife of a preacher. His career becomes your life. She's invested in it... no turning back now.

There are a lot of women who choose that. I couldn't do it. Probably better add it to my top 5. ;) "I have a career. I won't keep yours afloat."
Chriscrm17 on March 16th, 2008 07:23 pm (UTC)
Could be. It might also mean you are clear about not moving if your partner gets a great promotion in another city. Or might mean clarifying if he should be willing to do that for you.
Desparately Seeking Catnipornjkitty on March 17th, 2008 12:51 am (UTC)
I wonder, though, how much of that is being a doormat, and how much of that is being a subtle reminder that she's got his balls in a sling? He may not (i.e., "probably won't") apologize for what he's done to her face, but there has to be some small satisfaction in watching the man publicly grovel. Even if you KNOW he's only sorry that he got CAUGHT!
Desparately Seeking Catnipornjkitty on March 17th, 2008 12:46 am (UTC)
In these types of situations, I'm sure what prevents the wife from getting the "3 AM night sweats" is that he can't live a day without HER money (or, if it really is THEIR money, and not HER trust fund, that she'll get such a big chunk of it in the divorce settlement that he would never DARE leave her.) Not that that's such a big consolation for being stuck with the dumb jerk, but at least you have free rein to torture him mercilessly for the rest of his natural life, and to have "right" on your side. That seems to be what marriage comes down to for many people these days, the license to make the other person miserable.

Nope, not a cynic, not me, not at all! ;)
irene_adler on March 17th, 2008 01:39 am (UTC)
The "high class call girl" or courtesan died out in the middle part of this century, as women became free to pursue education, personal interests and sex on their own terms, without becoming outcasts. Courtesans were sparkling, witty, dangerous women when wives were expected to be docile, quiet, chaste ones. Now, no one needs courtesans -- women don't need to be them, and men don't need to seek them out.

What remains is the oldest part of prostitution. This girl wasn't being paid to have sex; she was being paid to go away afterwards. As a governor, Spitzer certainly had the influence to charm some pretty intern into servicing him, like Clinton did, but what Spitzer wanted was the power to consume arm candy.

There was a sad little article on Time.com recently about Spitzer's childhood with his emotionally abusive, high-pressure millionaire father. I do pity him, but not as much as I do his wife, or even Ashley.
Chriscrm17 on March 17th, 2008 02:16 am (UTC)
she was being paid to go away afterwards

Well said.

men don't need to seek them out

I don't think men should ever need to seek them out but we keep seeing proof that men with money and power continue to do so. I don't have any direct experience but one does not have to wander far to see ads offering intelligent companionship where sex is not necessarily even the main focus. No excuse, but I suspect if you have tendencies to wander from your marriage and have a public persona, you have limited opportunities for this kind of companionship.
Wiseacreewin on March 17th, 2008 03:16 am (UTC)
This girl wasn't being paid to have sex; she was being paid to go away afterwards.

Nor can a wife compete with that.
havenstonehavenstone on March 17th, 2008 04:00 pm (UTC)
Well... so far, so good? I can't guarantee I won't freak out and go for a manipulable, disposable, non-challenging relationship ten or twenty years down the line. But it's sure not thinkable now. And I don't mean that the temptation is incomprehensible, but that I can't imagine myself being foolish enough to think that living it out would be fulfilling. I've always been drawn to intelligent and interesting women.