Sewell: Can’t a guy just get laid?!

By By James Sewell and By James Sewell

By James Sewell

The last few weeks have brought us the spectacle of Eliot Spitzer’s spectacular fall from grace, power and the New York governor’s mansion. Although hypocrisy is surely something to seek out and attack — and Spitzer was most surely a hypocrite (he attacked the same sexually-oriented businesses of which he was a long-time client) — there is something that still bothers me about the whole affair (pun intended).

While almost no one rushed to Spitzer’s defense, one man stood on the floor of the House of Representatives and issued a statement that struck right at the heart of what I find unsettling. That man happens to be one of the last remaining candidates for president and probably the one candidate from whom we can expect more or less total honesty.

Ron Paul, representative of Texas and the libertarian right, quite accurately stated that the main reason Spitzer was brought down was because state power has become too powerful. Spitzer was essentially caught for transferring money legally between some of his bank accounts. These transfers raised alerts to folks at the bank who then, probably thinking that somebody might be tampering with those accounts, reported the activity to the authorities. No good deed goes unpunished, as they say. Essentially, he moved his money around like any American should be able to, and now look what happened.

I’m not defending Spitzer. But why are Americans so uptight about sex and, more specifically, prostitution? Our European friends find nothing at all unreasonable about a politician having a wife, a girlfriend or two and a mistress on the side to, you know, keep things fresh. Many European states have found that by regulating prostitution, they gain a measure of control and peace of mind.

The world’s oldest profession is sometimes called a victimless crime. I disagree. It might have many victims, but so do booze and tobacco, and neither are criminalized. Why is it that a guy can pay two people to have sex in front of a camera, make copies of the tape, sell them and make a ton of money when a man or woman isn’t free to cut out the middle man and buy his or her sex firsthand?

Our entire culture is inundated with sexual innuendo, but we become puritanically prissy when we find out that a politician (who is a pretty good representation of a human being) has given in to the temptations to which we’re all subject.

Plus, it’s infantile to think that the sex lives of our elected leaders affect their political judgment. JFK had more sex in the White House than probably every guy who preceded him combined — and not only with Jackie O. Slick Willy was being fellated in the Oval Office by an intern while he was handling the country’s business fairly well, if you care to remember. Hell, the incoming governor of New York admitted to numerous extramarital affairs (as did his wife) before he was even sworn in to replace the disgraced outgoing one. So, cheating on your wife is cool, but God forbid you pay a hooker for a few hours of fun, decompression and stress relief?

Spitzer was a rising star. He was someone who had rare gifts of intellect and energy, and although his style didn’t win him many friends, he was effective at rooting out corruption on Wall Street and in Albany. He could have been a presidential contender one day. Now, because he used his sizable family fortune to buy sex with hot chicks while married, he’s toast.

If we lived in a less insane country, we wouldn’t have bothered to read all about this in the papers. New York governor paid for sex? Who cares? Half the time that fancy dinner you’ve taken your date to is, in effect, the same transaction, although it’s been whitewashed and formalized and otherwise revered as a time-honored courtship ritual.

In the end, we’re just trying to get laid. So was Spitzer.

[email protected]