Powerful Men Are Weak Between Their Legs

Janelle Harris

John EdwardsIt’s more guaranteed than overnight delivery: When men get into positions of power, that thing between their legs takes on a mind of its own, roving and roaming its way into inevitable headline infamy. I’ve never been a man nor have I ever been a very influential person, but I can imagine it’s much like life in the Garden of Eden — you know, before the fall.

The world is your oyster, you’re the big man in town, and you’ve got a naked woman at your side. I guess I could ask John Edwards or Jamal Bryant. Maybe Jon Gosselin, Jesse Jackson, or Bill Cosby. Perhaps Eliot Spitzer, David Letterman, Mark Sanford, or Michael Jordan. And good gracious, I could always reference the silly tricks (literally and figuratively) of one Tiger Woods.

To run down the entire list of fools caught with their pants on the ground, butts in the air, or bodies twisted up in some otherwise compromising position would take me longer than I care to spend reliving their horny, distasteful man-tics. But if you’ve read a paper, watched the news, or skimmed a blog over the last year, you can probably name at least three. And those are just the ones that we know — and care — about. 

When he sat down for a recent interview, Newt Gingrich, who blazed the torch carried by the lynch mob against Bill Clinton during the Lewinsky fiasco, claimed that he cheated because he “worked far too hard” for this country — and apparently too close to his congressional aide turned third wife, Callista — and that’s why he fell into the miry pit of infidelity. Oh, Newton. That’s no justification for violating the vows of marriage. There are just as many everyday men and women who schlep cross-country to business meetings and work long nights in lonely offices in order to provide for their families without giving in to external nookie. But at least he married his side chick to make the indiscretion worthwhile.  

It boggles my mind and troubles my spirit that men never seem to learn from each other's mistakes when it comes to staying faithful to their spouses, especially when they're drenched in notoriety and leaving themselves open to public embarrassment and a spot on TMZ’s top news lineup. I grow so tired of this sense of entitlement that, because they’ve ascertained some fame or a few impressive degrees or a fancy title or become a household name (before they became immersed in scandal), that they have some sort of hall pass to do whatever the heck they want to do with whomever they want to do it to.

They should know going in that being a man in a position of power comes with an almost guaranteed legion of groupies and with that, a set of inevitable temptations. Is it possible chicks just show up in low cut blouses and itty bitty skirts, tackle elderly congregants for a spot on the front pew, and make a bee line to greet the new pastor because they want to know Jesus nearer and dearer? What sane reason would a 21-year-old college girl possibly have for fraternizing with an executive twice her senior and three times her income bracket aside from the fact that he’s got sugar daddy written all over him? Doesn’t seem like a lot of commonalities to chat about there outside of good ol’ body language. 

Being a notable figure doesn’t absolve these fellas from the responsibility of upholding integrity and decency. I can give them a margin of error for being human and susceptible to making mistakes, however major those boo-boos may be. I can’t give them a pass for being just flat out stupid, though. When they look at the many, many men who fell before them because of some lusty secret sexual love affair, what in the world makes them say, “Whew. That’s rough. Too bad for him,” and dial up a mistress (or, in some cases, a mister) and follow through with the same craziness? 

Then, when they get caught — because they almost always do — they overwhelm us, the innocent, non-hotel humping public, with mournful statements, press conferences, and Kleenex-clenching apologies. Someone hand me a Band-Aid for my bleeding heart. I don’t feel sorry for the lot of them. There’s too much precedence and too many opportunities to learn from other folks’ mistakes to justify falling for what is literally the oldest trick in the book. 

Does society give celebrity men too much of a pass when it comes to cheating? 

Image via alexdecarvalho/Flickr

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