Saturday, June 11, 2011

All in a Twitter

Washington is all in a Twitter about the latest sex scandal, this one involving Representative Anthony Weiner of New York. Weinergate tells us two things: (1) those who ignore the history of sex scandals are condemned to repeat it and (2) many male politicians are not too bright.

In the interests of avoiding future D. C. sexcapades, it’s time to provide the current crop of pols a brief handy guide to the dos and don’ts (mostly don’ts) of illicit sex in the nation’s capital. Here then are some useful guidelines gleaned from the historical record:

Don’t sleep with movie stars
Sure, JFK got away with it. And although I didn’t personally know the former president, I can guarantee you that you’re no JFK and you won’t be sleeping with the likes of Marilyn Monroe. Remember that movie stars crave publicity and you shouldn’t. If you absolutely have to sleep with a celebrity, make sure she’s a foreign star that Americans have never heard of.

Don’t share the stage in a burlesque house with a stripper
Back in 1974, Wilbur Mills, the powerful chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, had a late night incident involving alcohol, driving and his companion Fanne Foxe, a well known Washington ecdysiast who jumped into the Tidal Basin. Mr. Mills survived that incident only to later take the stage with Ms. Foxe in Boston which lead to his resignation. The moral of the story? If you feel the need for an illicit midnight dip, stick to a chocolate-covered ice cream cone at your local Dairy Queen.

Don’t challenge the press to follow you
Back in 1987, presidential hopeful Gary Hart answered rumors of infidelity by challenging the press corps to follow him around. They did and – surprise, surprise – they caught him and his paramour Donna Rice in a compromising position on the deck of the appropriately named "Monkey Business." Thus, if you’re engaging in hanky panky, no need to admit it but don’t get too bold in your denials.

Don’t smoke
As Sigmund Freud once said: "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar." If Bill Clinton had remembered that catchy aphorism back in 1995, he might have avoided all the hot water he got into with Monica Lewinsky. Better yet, since Clinton had earlier claimed that he never inhaled, it would have been better if he had avoided taking up cigars at all. Cigars or no cigars, he never learned the most important White House lesson: don’t cavort with interns.

Do try to avoid being a hypocrite
People who sleep with mistresses in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. One of the first to jump on the self-righteous, dump-Bill Clinton bandwagon was the then Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. But all the time Newt was wagging his finger at Bill he was also carrying on his own extra-marital shenanigans not to mention serving his wife with divorce papers while she was receiving cancer treatment. Lesson learned? Always check your own behavior before attacking others.

Don’t use public washrooms
Larry Craig learned this lesson the hard way in 2007 in a public washroom in the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Granted, sometimes you have no choice and simply can’t wait until you get home. But if you are forced to avail yourself of a public restroom, just be sure to keep your arms and legs inside the stall and absolutely no foot tapping.

Don’t send naked pictures of yourself by e-mail
Mr. Weiner’s current predicament is a modern cautionary tale. The only packages you should be mailing are by UPS. Nobody likes junk e-mail especially when it’s a photo of your junk. It didn’t work for Brett Favre and it won’t work for you. And if your name is Rod, Dick or Weiner, that goes double. After all, it’s one thing to be scandalized; it’s quite another to be ridiculed.

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