The Anthony Weiner scandal is only the latest example of utterly predictable behavior being discovered and everyone rushing to proclaim how shocked and outraged they are. As others have pointed out, part of the rush to criticize Weiner no doubt comes from a desire of those critics to distant themselves from that type of behavior. Mind you, I don’t approve of what Weiner did. I just can’t muster the outrage.
Men are raised to believe that having sex with as many women as possible is a measure of how manly they are. Fathers protect their daughters from priapic teenage boys and look the other way when their sons figure out ways to defeat the defenses of other parents. (My parents were decidedly not like this. Stupid Christian morality.)
I am forty-two. My favorite show in high school and college was “Cheers”. After that there was “Seinfeld” and “Frasier”. One of my favorite shows now is “Mad Men”. The central characters in all of these shows all had enviable success with members of the fair sex. Why wouldn’t I aspire to reach the same heights?
Men in positions of power, like Anthony Weiner, have an even greater incentive to indulge their inner Sam Malone; it’s easier. As the great Chris Rock said, men are only as faithful as their options. Men like Anthony Weiner have more options than the regular Joe. It must be intoxicating for someone that looks like Weiner to discover that his range with woman has increased exponentially. (I wonder if he only figured this out after he started dating the woman he recently married. She is physically out of his league.)
Most men would rather that a woman think he’s stupid than that he’s ugly. (We know that women float the idea that they are attracted to intelligence just in case the ugly guy is rich.) So it naturally follows that a guy like Weiner would take things too far once he starts to explore the new boundaries of his appeal. A good-looking guy like President Obama probably exhausted himself years ago. (Former President Clinton was a good-looking guy but he had to overcome being from Arkansas. Sure he achieved a lot in college and law-school but that just meant he was smart.)
I don’t approve of Anthony Weiner’s behavior, but I understand it. Although I live in Brooklyn, I am not in Representative Weiner’s district. If he makes it to the next election, I won’t be able to cast a vote one way or another. That being said, I don’t think I’d hold all this against him. Maybe its one of those “there but for the grace of God” things but it’s just not in me to punish the nerd who finally was in a position to have as much as the cool kids.