Eliot Spitzer: PG-13 Version

I was all ready to give you a post about the fun weekend I spent in San Francisco with three women friends — we stayed at the Kabuki Hotel, had dinner on Fillmore Street and in the Mission, drank martinis, saw that Miss Pettigrew movie at the new Sundance Theater next to the hotel, shopped at high end stores and one of us (okay, me) went to the Presidio Branch of the San Francisco Public Library, but I realize that it is far more urgent to tell you how one family (mine, natch), dealt with Eliot Spitzer’s little escapade.

I figured they’d hear about it, so I just told them. What did I tell them, you ask, reasonably enough? That it’s illegal to pay for sex. And he did pay for it. And he shouldn’t have. Plus, he told a lot of people not to do bad things, so that made him look especially stupid, the way I look when I tell them not to eat junk food and then am caught sneaking their Halloween candy. (But I was just, you know, saving you from it….)

William looked puzzled by the whole thing, frankly. But he did seem interested in making sure he understood the ins and outs of this rule. His question: “What happens if somebody says they’ll have sex with you and you’re just so happy about it that you want to GIVE them a whole lot of money? Is that okay?”

Sigh. It’s important not to get stuff and love mixed up together is what I said, a little preachily, in an Eliot Spitzer kind of way.

And then it was Charlie’s turn to get all U.S. Attorney on me and bust me for my hypocrisy — “But mom, what about that time dad gave you a bread knife for Christmas and you were so mad at him because you thought it was pearls and it wasn’t?”


The conversation moved on to whether we’d sacrifice Archie, our alpha rescue poodle, for a human life. (In other words, if you could save someone’s life by sacrificing Archie’s, would you?) It was not entirely clear that they would give their dog’s life for a human life, which I guess today sort of makes a little sense, given how unevolved humans seem. I kept quiet, given my issue with the bread knife that should have been pearls and my consumption of Halloween candy. (Can you say “glass house” and “he who is without sin”?)  I let them hash it out, because they are far better at what’s really moral than I am, or most adults are, come to think of it, including Eliot Spitzer and those who are up in arms about him today. They decided that they’d never have to give up Archie, but they would if they did, and then the conversation turned to why it’s not okay to call someone “gay” as an insult. I’ll leave that for another day. Eliot Spitzer has totally worn me out.


21 thoughts on “Eliot Spitzer: PG-13 Version

  1. Boy, am I with you about that bread knife.

    Your boys had me in stitches – I just love the way their minds work without being encumbered by ambiguity or grey areas. Straight to the heart of the matter, as always!

  2. Oh, I love “what if you are so happy you just want to give them money” – I’m going to chuckle about that all day.
    This Spitzer situation is such a mess, but hailing as I do from Detroit, where our mayor has been caught giving contract bids to his city, have an affair for years and years, and lying under oath, I sort of look look at Spitzer and think amateur…off to read about the query wars!

  3. Yogamum, I was quite young, and it was in the beginning of our relationship and what really happened is that I realized in the instant I opened the package that I’d fallen in love with a man who saw the utility in things, and didn’t want to suck up to me, and that really was just such a shock to me, because no man I’d ever known before him was quite that way. I was mad, too, because he’d defeated my expectations, and it took me a while to get beyond that. Still, dear reader, I married him, proving the bread knife is mightier than the string of pearls.

    Marie, It’s a dizzying thing, listening to them take on ethical and moral issues. The value of a dog’s life vs. the value of a human life, for example, is something I’d just rather not talk about. And that whole gay as insult thing? They know why that’s uncool, but they also do it to each other. They’re a work in progress, that much is clear.

    Courtney — Amateur indeed. Last night it occurred to me that Spitzer probably rationalized his behavior by reasoning that at least he wasn’t cheating on his wife with, say, someone she knew.

    Litlove, They travel light and unencumbered, which is why they are so exhausting to try to keep up with, seeing as how I have so much more stuff to carry than they do.

  4. Early in our marriage my wife gave me a saw for Valentines Day. I still feel loved every time I use it.

    In our home the conversation about Spitzer (after the kids were asleep), focused upon Mrs. Spitzer and what is the matter with American society that we have this expectation that the wives of politicians must appear at news conferences with their cheating spouses.

    We think she should be off in Italy instead.

  5. Italy! I love that.

    As a first step toward “healing” I’d say a long European vacation, one that involves buying oneself high quality leather goods, would be just the thing.

  6. I think early in my relationship with my husband I would have been peeved about the bread knife!

    Actually, in his family they say it is bad luck to give knives as presents, as it may “cut” the relationship.

  7. I remember supermum once told me she’d rather have potatoes than flowers. I dutifully failed to buy her any flowers for ten years until she told me that she only said that out of embarrassment at someone having bought her flowers at all and that actually she quite liked them. And never wanted to see a potato again, thank you very much. She hasn’t married me yet, mind.

    Eliot Spitzer. His big crime in terms of US/UK politicians, of course, is getting caught at being a hypocrite.

  8. sadly, the eliot spitzer saga is just getting started! all the sordid details are slowly leaking out. (at least i got a blog entry out of it.)

    one question that has never been sufficiently answered about something being “gay”: if something is “gay,” does that make it bad? musicals are “gay.” liking classical music and opera are “gay.” dressing well (for a man) is super, uber-gay. yet i’m not gay, but i like musicals, they symphony, and dress OK on occasion.

    so if something is “gay,” i don’t think of it being pejorative, per se. of course, your kids may have to be a little older to understand my point of view…

  9. That, Mr. Bookfraud, is one very funny post. As for the use of “gay” as an adjective, it is — at least on their school yards and our front yard — being used as an insult, as in you are bad. Because being gay is not bad, this insult is (a) lame, (b) inaccurate (aka lame) and (c) insulting to the many people who are, in fact, gay and not by virtue of being gay, bad at all.

    U-dad, my husband used to send me flowers at work pretty routinely until I did one of those potatoes for flowers things. I think I was stunned by the cost, but really, he seemed to get so much pleasure out of the giving of the gift, and they were always such beautiful flowers, that maybe I need to go back and revise that statement.

    Yogamum, that’s such an interesting superstition, and one I didn’t know about. I’m so glad you mentioned it.

  10. “But mom, what about that time dad gave you a bread knife for Christmas and you were so mad at him because you thought it was pearls and it wasn’t?”

    ROFL! Somebody is being very very perceptive here. Try wiggling out of that one, Lawyer Mom :-).

  11. I’m showing my ignorance because not only do I not know what the ‘escapade’ was neither do I know who Eliot Spitzer is. I’ll follow your link and find out. But, after too many years to count teaching young children, boy do I know your situation. Actually, I think teachers have an added problem because you don’t know if what you say is going to square with what their parents will have said. And when you go into teaching you think your worst difficulty is going to be keeping order! Little do you know.

  12. Another great post Bloglily. I did hear about the Spitzer thing on the news here in Denmark, but I guess in this small northern european country it´s just not considered quite such a scandal as in the US. Sure going to a prostitute is not really the thing to do, also not here, but I doubt it would cause a major scandal or for someone to resign their job if discovered. At the moment the discussion evolves around whether it should be illegal for the customer to pay for sex. It is illegal to accept the money. Talk about hypocracy.
    Being gay myself, in more ways than one, I´m looking forward to your post on the use of the word gay…

  13. I cracked up when I read Wm.’s comments about giving someone a whole lot of money cos you are so happy about the sex. Sounds like a born politician!

    Spitzer joins a long line of hypocrites, doesn’t he? Very sad. I think that this country has got to revisit and re-examine its puritanical roots.

    Oh, I look forward to hearing more about your SF trip. Sounds like you did some very fun things!

  14. Poor, weary, wrathful, debased, astonished, repulsed Mrs. Spitzer. She’s got to be looking for a pair of pliers so she can pry that wedding ring off her finger.

  15. i do love the category “icky stuff”.

    i’m quite amazed and perturbed by the Spitzer fall into addiction (i call it this, without reference to authority, but only because, like Bill Clinton, his actions seem so contrary and harmful to what he wants and how he thought of himself.)

    having discovered by own spouse’s infidelity, i do wonder what takes over in some lives at some points…my ex, when he could see his mother dying and his 65th birthday on the horizon, and my own vulnerability to cancer. Would I leave him?

    it seems a kind of madness. a last grasp at youth or freedom or adventure or just plain blind lizard brain activity. the problem is of course how many people bad behavior hurts. spouses, families, yes AND also hurts the idea of love, the possibility of living happily ever after, of being honorable even when it’s hard, the keeping secrets and telling lies. And as we cast aside the principled relationship, it’s not just our own families that are hurt, but the fabric of our social world that also wants to try for the ideals of honesty and of love forever, that includes and also goes beyond physical love into what it takes to be intimate and safe in that intimacy.

    safety? can we create it? it’s an unsafe world. can we make it more safe by promises and determination and grit? and what happens when one or the other person changes? beyond, perhaps the bounds of the relationship. What then?

  16. Archie — YOU Sacrified!? Nevah.

    Gail — what an eloquent plea for sanity in an overly- sexualized world. Thank you for that reminder.

    Dear Tai — a pair of pliers is just the weapon I’d be using now.

    LK, It’s true. So much repression. Not good. (SF trip was really fun. More on that later.)

    Jane, How crazy is that? To criminalize the provision of a service but not the purchase of it. Sounds very male-oriented. As for the gay as adjective question, if I can think of something sufficiently clear to say about that, I will.

    Polaris — Yes, they are all over any HINT of hypocrisy. it is what you do when you are a twelve year old boy apparently. And I think it goes on FOREVER.

    Ann, Lucky you, not to live where the Spitzer story is everywhere!

  17. Ms. Pine — Lucky for your children you will be the type of parent YOU are! But they are interesting, aren’t they? All kids do that — think in original ways about problems we have difficulty seeing freshly. And they’re not particularly judgmental, which I also like — well, they’re only judgmental when it comes to their parents. 0h, and their siblings.

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