Thursday, March 27, 2008

Every Girl's Dream

We were sitting around the table on a Friday night. The best china, lovely crystal, typical keep-'em-coming-back-for-more presentation. Cham's dad is a great chef (men do make great chefs) and Patti is bringing idealism and hope to a perfectly set table.

We get past Barack and Rev. Wright. Patti has calmed me down, but I'm totally clueless as to who I'm voting for in November.

The conversation flows and flows until finally, finally, finally someone (oh, now I remember who) says, "And what about that Spitzer guy? Does anyone care?"

OMG, I pop out. It's been on my mind a lot! (The attention turns to me).

Now you may think I obsess a little about sex, but since it is a if not the centering dynamic of life for many people, and an excellent way to communicate love, I cannot help but follow the topic when it makes news, especially when influential people are busted for sexual improprieties.

It does seem that it is the influential married people who are busted. If you are married and have sex with other people, ala Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky, or Eliot Spitzer/Ashley Alexandra Dupre, "Kristen," then you run a certain risk.

Why do important people with everything to lose do this?* The short answer (in general, not specific to Mr. Spitzer) is that it's exciting, and people like excitement, and the risk of being caught factors in heavily, despite all that stuff about Freud and libido I spewed on about a few weeks ago.

Dr. Laura, by the way, made a huge faux pas in a Larry King interview, saying that Mrs. Spitzer hadn't attended to her man, so of course he looked for it elsewhere.

Please. Spare me this.

But I'm game for the whys, the motivations behind human behavior, and will entertain all kinds of notions. I told FD, as soon as I heard the story, "Someone stung Eliot Spitzer. What did he expect, he hadn't made any enemies?"

Jason Itzler, fresh out of Riker's, Kristen's pimp from New York Confidential (the escort service that launched her career) appeared on the Larry King Show. Jason tells the history of his relationship with THE most fabulous escort ("girl") he's ever met, with whom he's personally enamored, "Kristen."

Mr. Spitzer, you should know, busted New York Confidential and seven other escort services as Attorney General. Jason says he has no hard feelings, it's just ironic, it's KARMA! that the "girl" from Emperor's Club VIP, the club embroiled in the Spitzer case, also worked for New York Confidential. Providence.

Anyway, Jason spends most of this interview extolling Kristen's virtues, primarily her unbelievable girl-next-door looks and sweet personality.

Why do we care about this story? Why do I care?

Domeena Renshaw, the sex therapist I often quote, would probably say that in Europe nobody would give this story a second thought, but Americans live in a country founded by Puritans. And I would agree.

What's interesting to me, however, is Ashley Alexandra Dupres. "Kristen." The Kristens of the world.

Kristen had been the hottest, sexiest escort New York Confidential ever had, according to Jason, her former boss. She's an awesome, nice, sweet, girl. I adored her. Everyone adored her. She was making, probably, $2000 an hour. And on and on about what a nice kid she is.

Following this send up, Mr. King interviews our awesomely sweet escort's mentor, a woman who is a little older. You can see that she, too, is a real girl, a nice person. She taught "Kristen" the business. I can't find the link anymore, and don't remember her name.

But she said something amazing.

She told the story about another escort, whom they all knew. This woman dated a very, very, very wealthy john and the two of them fell in love and got married!

"Can you believe that?!" the mentor cried, staring straight into the camera. "Every girl's dream!"

Wow, I thought. Every girl's dream.

Look no further.

Just one more thing. What do you tell the kids, in such a case, when they ask,
Daddy, how did you and mommy meet?
Just wondering how that part works.


* Apparently Mr. Spitzer is being called everything from a sex addict to a sociopath on the Internet, and when I have time, I'll read more about him. See, I say I care, but I really don't. But if you're interested, the latest link sent to me is at the Love Fraud blog. Where would we be without the Internet, seriously. We would know nothing.


cordeliadarwin said...

I work in and around the New York State Capitol. The former Governor's transgressions were the focal point of everything around here for awhile too -- it's not just you!

It is pretty widely acknowledged here that had he not been so aggressive in his pursuits as Attorney General and his brief tenure as Governor, he would not have been outed. They say his aggressions created an environment that made exposing his transgressions almost irresistable.

And Dr Laura on Mrs Spitzer? That is crap. New York's First Lady is a talented Harvard Educated corporate attorney in her own right who ceded her legal career when her husband was elected as Attorney General to support his efforts. She rocks!

therapydoc said...

Yeah, I thought so. Thanks so much.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. I don't remember people being so sweet to Hillary. I agree that Silda is not to blame for her husband's $80K hooker habit. I just don't know how society decides to label these people. Hillary is supposedly asexual, a ball buster and possible lesbian who didn't give it up enough for her "sex addict" (former President Gerald Ford's words) hubby. Dina McGreevey is supposedly a poor, bitter Catholic girl... who happened to have threesomes with her gay husband ("those Catholic school girls are freaky"). Mrs. Kilpatrick is supposedly a violent idiot, assaulting her husband's strippers and then standing by him as one of his many alleged affairs became public news.

I don't know where the media and the general public gets off judging these women. Chances are that none of us will ever be in their shoes. We don't really know them. I have to wonder how people would react if Mrs. Spitzer didn't quit her job to help her husband follow his dreams. It seems like most of us are only empathetic when the woman is doing the "honorable" thing.

Dr. Laura is an idiot by the way. She gave the response you'd expect to hear from your drunk great-uncle after Thanksgiving dinner. What a surprise.

shrink on the couch said...

Not at all surprised "Doctor" Laura would say this. She has no business dispensing advice. She's all about "blaming the victim."

But back to Spitzer, Time Mag recently did an article about him you might find interesting. "Blame the father" genre, suggesting Spitzer's rise and fall is an attempt to make up for father's lack of praise.

I know exactly why I care when a story like this breaks. Here is a beautiful, intelligent, highly educated woman. In an instant she is humiliated before the world. And her three daughters (one who is the editor of her high school newspaper, I believe). Its unimaginable. Yet, I believe, every married person's nightmare that spouse is leading a secret life of promiscuity.

therapydoc said...

So funny the stuff on Dr. Laura. My dentist suggested I take her place a long time ago. But what can you say with a mouth full of cotton?

Anon, agree 100%, and PhD, too, that these scandals hurt and the press is so willing to blame the victim. And Mr. Spitzer's father joins the list?

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised at you, Doc! Where is that "family ecology" stuff that you always insist is necessary to understand what people do? (You have a word for it -- but I don't have the energy to go search your archives for it.) Is Mrs. Spitzer a victim? Gimme a break!

Dr. Laura gives stupid/simple answers because that's what most Americans want and understand. They give her lots of money and fame to spout her simplistic garbage... there's nothing mysterious there. We can ignore her off the bat because she caters to feeding the prurient interests of the lowest common denominator -- which is just not all that interesting. (No different from those sensationalist t.v. talk shows...)

Mrs. Spitzer is part of Mr. Spitzer's "family ecology" -- a HUGE part, no?. Was she aware of his behavior? You bet she was! Did she admit it to herself? We don't know. What we do know is what she did when she was forced to face the facts. She stood by him (or at least stood next to him). She gave up her career. Harvard-educated or not, the woman marched up the stairs and prostrated herself on the sacrificial altar. SHE chose to put his career first(presumably because there was something in it for her as well), SHE ignored the signs of her husband's behavior, SHE appeared by his side in public after he was outed. SHE gets to take full responsibility for the message that sends to the public -- and, more importantly, to her daughters.

I'm not unsympathetic to her situation - it really stinks. And responding with grace and integrity must have been very difficult in the moment. It doesn't change the fact that she made the choices that she made -- the first one being that she chose to marry him and to remain married to him. She got something from that -- even if it was self-destructive.

What is definitely NOT every girl's dream is to be taught that this is what father's do, and this is what you can expect from a husband...

therapydoc said...

Brilliant. Wonderful systems thinking.

Why didn't I say that? I have to tell you. It ain't easy being me. CONSTANTLY thinking systems. There are so many ways to look at so many things. And all I could see in this post was what that woman said,
Every girl's dream. It blew my mind that people grow up thinking this. I didn't really want to focus on the marital system and had I thought about it might have said, another story for another day, one with focus.

So I'm relying upon you, Estee (and the rest of you) to set the course straight.

And the dialog is priceless, isn't it?

Seeing it through the dreams of his daughters and what girls need in a father. It is sad.

Jack Steiner said...

I do wonder what his wife knew. What if she was aware of it and tolerated it.

I know of a couple who consider themselves to be swingers. They don't go out every week, but every so often they enjoy sex with people other than their spouse.

It is not my marriage and not how I live my life. I see a bunch of pitfalls, but it seems to work for them.

Unless you are a part of the marriage it is hard to know what is going on inside.

Maybe Mrs. Spitzer approved of this and maybe she didn't, I don't really know.

Truthfully, I am bothered that we spend so much time on it when there are so many other issues out there.

The war continues. Healthcare is a mess. Public education is in dire need of help.

cordeliadarwin said...

Gee, when I watched it, I immediately thought she stood there silently for her kids not so much as a signal of support for the Mr Spitzer.

True, she set her career aside but I am not so certain that it was to bolster his career so much as an effort to provide something extra for her daughters.

I do not view her as a submissive female but more of a cautious mother lion drawing her cubs a little closer.

I do not know what his family systems relationships were like. I do not pretend to know what they are like now.

But I do not think all public behavior is reflective of private behavior.

I know many people who seem kind and caring enough socially and professionally who are creeps to their partners and kids.

And I know a few who are abrasive, bristling and easily set off professionally (maybe it is more common in politics and government, but I am not so sure that is the case -- I tend to think it has more to do with people who have any kind of influence) who are so warm, tender and generous with their families that it is as surprising as it is touching.

Silda Wall (Spitzer) did indeed elect to set her successful corporate career aside while Mr Spitzer served as Attorney General and then briefly as Governor. I think she did it for her kids, the oldest of whom had not yet reached double digits in age when he was first elected.

And she did indeed elect to stand beside him when it all imploded. The possibility exists that she did that for her kids too.

I am not a parent. But I like to think that I would be able to find a way to set aside the immediacy of the humiliation to mitigate, in however small a way, the tumult my kids would be facing.

The 24 hour news cycle demands immediate attention. Working on the challenges the episode(s) created will take considerable time for all of the Spitzers. His resignation as Governor takes effect quickly. But he has not resigned as father.

I doubt she elected to 'put his career first' because there was something in it for her. I have heard her speak a few times. Seems to me she is (was) pretty idealistic and had high hopes that peoples' lives can be better. My impression is that she believes (believed) we are all capable of better.

I admire that.

I do think Dr Laura is a jerk. That is why I posted in the first place. I did not mean to imply that I think setting her career aside is the correct thing. But I respect her choice.

cordeliadarwin said...

Amen Jack.

We are capable of better.

therapydoc said...

So on that note, whad'da'ya' wanna talk about? I saw a good movie last night.

Just kidding, let's carry on.

The Spitzers need health care, just like everyone else. Oh. They can afford it, true.

We have to get away from this, you're right.

@Copyright AAP said...

I love this blog!

therapydoc said...


What's Going to Be with Our Kids?