Seeing the likes of former New York Governor and anti-prostitution “Crusader of the Year” Eliot Spitzer caught with his pants down around his ankles was no big shock. Flagrant hypocrisy often lurks just beneath the surface of showy morality, especially when it comes to sex.
It’s aggravating to see war criminals like Bush and Dick blithely continue to wreak havoc from their comfortable offices while johns like Spitzer are lynched by the mob, especially when the whole “Eliot Mess” seems to have been based on Federal wiretapping and bank transaction monitoring that has Big Brother watching us like a Peeping Tom. It’s disheartening to realize that we live in a Bizarro World where a politician can lead the nation into war on false pretenses and be rewarded with a second term in office, but where illicit sex is an impeachable offense.
Nevertheless, Spitzer’s “crime” does bring up some interesting issues regarding sex and money, men and women. Just listen to the chattering sexperts trying vainly to explain why the former governor was an active client of the elite Emperors Club call-girl service. Some declare him spoiled, self-destructive or just plain nuts. Some say “boys will be boys,” and politicians will be politicians. Some cite the “arrogance of power.” The nastiest explanation is Dr. Laura’s sisterly view that it’s all the wife’s fault. Talk about being vicious when someone’s down, and just to sell a few books. Poor Silda Wall Spitzer. Before all the trauma of recent days, she was quite sexy, as an old video of her showing off the Governor’s Mansion hothouse can attest. Maybe she should run for office.
But here’s the problem with all the hand-wringing analysis: There are as many different reasons why men go to hookers as there are men going to hookers. One thing we do know: It’s as natural as a bonobo female presenting her big pink vulva to the male who just gave her a ripe banana. When are we as a society going to grow up and face the fact that, although sex can be spiritual and emotional, it can also be a commodity for which some people (usually, but not always, males) pay some other people (usually, but not always, females)? It might be “wrong” in certain cases, like cheating is wrong. But should it be illegal? Cheating isn’t illegal. Nor should it be. And what about all the single johns? They aren’t even cheating. They just want to pay to play with a consenting adult. Why should that be a criminal act?
Some say that prostitution should remain illegal because it reduces sex to a business transaction. But many perfectly legal sex acts are business transactions, from employees who sleep with bosses to get promotions, to girls who go out with guys to get dinner, to guys who sleep with women to stay rent-free in their apartments, to golddiggers who simply marry for money. These approaches to sex are just as crass and materialistic as the regular ‘ho who asks for her cash up front, yet they’re not criminal acts.
With this in mind, I have some advice for Eliot Spitzer. Its such sound advice, I think I’ll write him an open letter
Dear Mr. Spitzer (may I call you Eliot?),
I have a great idea for how you could resurrect your now-dead political career: Admit the hypocrisy of your sex life up until now, and work to decriminalize prostitution in New York and in America.
I know, it sounds outrageous. But you know, in your heart of hearts, as well as deep within your balls, that it’s the right thing to do. And it just might work. Before New York was New York, it was New Amsterdam. Look at what they’re doing in old Amsterdam. When prostitution is decriminalized, crime goes down.
Come on, Eliot, you can do it! Use some of your family millions, your amazing Harvard-trained brain, your now substantial name recognition, your famously high testosterone levels, your legendary drive to win and your deep desire to be one of the Good Guys, to get this ridiculous victimless crime off the books.
If you succeed in “Amsterdamizing” New York and the country, I promise you will become a hero to many. Your current abject humiliation will be seen as a springboard to your greatest calling: the decriminalization of prostitution. You could then become an advocate of sex workers rights and safety, really truly helping some of the women you once patronized.
It would be a brilliant career move, as well as the best moral choice for you, considering your current politically hopeless circumstances.
In the interest of my country, as well as my own promotion (I’m not a hooker, but I am a publicity whore), I would offer my services to you as a sex therapist.
Susan M. Block, PhD
Of course, I don’t expect the disgraced ex-guv to take me up on this, not anymore than former New Life Church Pastor Ted Haggard took me up on my idea for him to admit he was gay, or at least bisexual, and then become the world’s most successful Christian Evangelical Preacher to gays and the Christians who love them, of which there are many more than you might think. Pastor Ted was another quintessential hypocrite, preaching that homosexual acts were condemned by God even as he was committing such acts with a male hooker, while snorting meth and grinning that big scary grin. But I felt that Pastor Ted was so crazily charismatic and so flamboyantly, well, gay, that I kept hoping he would “repent” by just admitting he was bi (or whatever he wanted to call himself). Then his wife could say she was bi too, and then they could both say being gay or bi was okay with God, and then they could start a massive mega-church for gays, lesbians, bisexuals, trannies and alt sex lovers in Boulder, Colorado. This could have happened. But it didn’t. Instead, Pastor Ted went into “counseling” and shortly thereafter, was pronounced, by his counselor/minister Tim Ralph, to be “completely heterosexual.” And everybody laughed and said “Yeah, sure.”
So I expect that Spitzer will also continue playing the role of sexual hypocrite that he has played lo, these many years. He will most likely just slink off into “counseling,” and then pronounce himself “healed.” And everybody will laugh and say “Yeah, sure.”
But then again, maybe he’ll have a genuine change of heart. Maybe he won’t go through the typical charade. Maybe he will see the error of his ways. Maybe he’ll recognize that when he went after prostitution “rings” as New York’s attorney general, he was wasting tax payers’ money and hurting people whose only crime was to exchange money for consensual sex. Maybe, he will join the ongoing sexual revolution, and use his formidable skills and resources to help bring about the decriminalization of the world’s oldest profession, then help make it as safe and equitable as it can be.
Then Mrs. Spitzer can run for office. Or write a best-seller. Or do her personal trainer. Or whatever she damn well pleases.
Dr. SUSAN BLOCK is a sex educator, cable TV host and author of The 10 Commandments of Pleasure. Visit her BRAND NEW BLOGGAMY & POST COMMENTS at http://www.drsusanblock.com/blog/blog.asp Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.