I wouldn't want to be one of the 11 Secret Service agents who engaged in hanky-panky with hookers in Colombia right now. Not just because of the uncomfortable media exposure and forced resignations, but because when they get home to their wives or significant others, you just know there's going to be some 'splaining to do. And, "But this was the first time, honey, honest," probably isn't going to cut it.
"Why aren't there more (or any?!) female Secret Service agents?" laments blogger Kiri Blakeley. By her reasoning there should be because, "Women don't get into trouble the way men do."
True, you rarely hear of sex scandals the likes of this when you get a bunch of women together for a gals' night -- although who knows what really goes on behind the locked hotel doors in Vegas after a Thunder From Down Under show?
Women do indeed get into trouble "the way men do" -- we're just as capable of cheating, lying and all sorts of manipulative behavior. For a brief time there was even a prostidude at a Nevada bordello, so it's obvious that some of us are just as willing to pay for sex. It's just that we don't get in trouble en masse, frat-boy-style like so many men do. Women are just as lascivious, but we're a lot more discreet.
In fact, men could take a few lessons from us.
This isn't the first time we've seen men behaving badly in public, and that's part of the problem. When men act so scandalous in such a public way, whether hiring a bunch of hookers as the Secret Service agents did or just one -- at thousands a pop as former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer did -- it makes guys look bad. Not all guys, because we all know more men than not who would never act like that, as tempted as they may be. But those public sexual scandals confirm for many women that men are ruled by what's between their legs and not what's in their head.
Perhaps that's why most of us seem to be much more forgiving when women stray.
I'm not saying it's right or good; I'm just saying it's pretty much true.
Last year, Tom Matlack of the Good Men Project took objection to that. "When was the last time a woman got dragged through the mud for cheating?" he asked.
"Why do we have a national obsession with men's infidelity? Is it some kind of backlash, a hidden gender war buried in our collective subconscious? I just don't get it, and it's beginning to piss me off," he says. Then he rattles off a list of celebrity women who cheated and were "forgiven," including "Eat, Pray, Love" author Elizabeth Gilbert, who got a "free pass" because after her sexual shenanigans she went on a spiritual journey and found "real" love.
A few days later on that same site, Blixa Scott picked up where Matlack left off. In wondering why we forgive adulterous women, she notes that when women cheat we tend to (erroneously) think it isn't all about lust and longing -- it's about love and romance and soul mates. "The lesson here is that our culture is intolerant of adultery when it seems to flow purely from libido. But when adultery is bound up in (a) story of love, well, we're willing to look the other way. ... And until our culture stops polarizing male and female sexuality by insisting that men only lust and women only love, the adultery double standard will prevail."
Perhaps that's true when we're talking about celebrity cheaters, but not the world most of us live in. Look at your own friendship circle; I'm willing to bet that most of us tend to support the person, male or female, who was cheated on and, yes, for many of us, that more often than not is the woman. Men still tend to do most of the cheating, but give women time; we're catching up.
Of the women who are cheaters, sympathies tend to be divided; while friends aren't necessarily willing to justify an adulterous wife's actions (even if she herself is spinning a good story of why she needed to cheat), forgiveness often comes easier if her hubby was considered to be a jerk to begin with. But if he's seen as a nice guy, a cheating wife can and often is cast aside just as easily and quickly as if she were a cheating husband.
And please don't keep thinking that women cheat just for romance and love, or because we're not getting fulfilled at home; we also cheat for the thrill of it, the passion and the novelty, and because we can -- just like men. Sometimes, it really is just about the sex. Let's face it -- monogamy is hard!
But we don't tend to engage in the kind of sexual drunkfests that some men do, especially if we're high-powered women. It has nothing to do with boys-will-be-boys machismo in the name of our country either; the last time I looked, there were women putting their life on the line for all of us every day. You can't blame testosterone for being stupid (although as I've pointed out before, testosterone-laden guys are more likely to cheat, divorce and have marital woes).
So, just imagine how the Secret Service scandal might have played out if after the big booze fest, each man slipped off solo, hit up a hooker and quietly took her to his room (and paid her the asking price, obviously; you mean we're getting underpaid here, too?). No scandal, no disgrace, and his sweetheart at home would be none the wiser.
Now, that's the way to cheat!