Do you remember that J. Geils song, Angel is the Centerfold? It’s about a guy who discovers his old high school crush has posed nude for a girly magazine. Perhaps the people of Massachusetts had the same kind of double take moment when they discovered that one of their senatorial options, Scott Brown, had posed nude for Cosmo back in his college days. Or perhaps not. It’s not like the questionable decisions of our youth should have any bearing on the middle aged adults we become.
But as I pondered the prospect of a congressional representative for whom full frontal body scanning by the TSA shouldn’t be an issue, I wondered if a woman could have gotten away with it.
When I was in college in the 80’s, Playboy Magazine showed up on campus every year looking for female students willing to “audition” for a spot in their “Girls of the Big Ten” spread. Every year. Without fail.
One year I was sitting in my children’s lit class idly listening to a gaggle of sorority girls giggling about the prospect.
“So’n so is going to do it,” Muffy said. “Do you think I should?”
“Oh, you are way prettier than So’n so,” Buffy assured her.
“But So’n so has bigger tits,” Baby pointed out – rather needlessly.
Our professor had entered the room at the start of their conversation without being noticed, and it was at this point he intervened.
“Just an fyi, ladies, posing nude is a career killer for an elementary teacher.”
Because I can just see Muffy greeting her students and their parents on Meet the Teacher night.
“Hello, Mr. and Mrs. AveragePerson. I’m little Joe’s teacher, Miss Muffy.”
Mr. AveragePerson’s eyes do that roll up into his head thing as he tries to place her being locating her on his rolodex of 2D hotties,
“Girls of the Big Ten 1985!”
While he is delightedly hi-five-ing Junior – because what dad doesn’t want his son’s first teacher to be a Playboy bunny – Mom is mentally rehearsing her rallying speech for the PTA posse she intends to start rounding up the very second she exits the room in a icy huff.
Now picture Scott Brown as Sandy Brown running for the saintly old Ted Kennedy’s seat. Her nude Girls of the Big Ten Playboy picture – which is tame by even prime time television standards today and she only agreed to because she needed the money since she was paying her own way through school – circulating freely in the blogosphere. Probably has it’s own trending topic on Twitter and a Facebook fan page. Would Ms. Brown be a senator today?
No. She wouldn’t. Men can agree – and someone on my Facebook feed latched onto this like a dog on a new chew toy from Santa – that youthful “indiscretions” don’t matter, but that only applies to men. Especially in the world of politics.
Case in point. Mark Sanford, our darling little hiker of the Appalachian trail infamy. During his South Carolina State of the State Address to the state’s legislature, at some point after he recognized those in Iraq and implored his constituents to dig deep and sacrifice in these hard times, he admitted his “failings”, and by failings I mean little things like misusing public funds to tryst with his mistress, lying about it and publicly humiliating his wife. He promised that he would now stop – apologizing that is – after this one last public flogging photo-op where he humbly forgave himself for being weak and human – which he contends that we all are. Let’s pause here and consider the ways in which we too are week and human just like Mark.
He droned on to reveal that with God’s help, now knows the true meaning of success. I am going to guess that it is riding out a scandal and keeping one’s job. For that perhaps he – and the Republican party – are secretly thanking former President Clinton for setting the precedent. One that applies to men only because a female politico who cheated on the taxpayer’s dime, lied about it and then expected to keep her job only after being caught forced her to go the humiliation route pioneered by the televangelist of yore, would be out on her butt.
Eliot Spitzer can find new life as a pundit after banging escort girls, but Sarah Palin, whose only sin is preferring milking her fifteen minutes to actually working, has to profess to all manner of homespun Cleaverish nonsense about femininity, home and hearth while projecting warmth and genuine interest in Glenn Beck and making googley eyes at Bill O’Reilly while he pontificates.
My Facebook friend thinks the sexual indiscretion question should be moot (except where Clinton is concerned – that moldering pony should be whipped at every opportunity), and I agree with him. Brown’s nudie shoot is quaint by today’s standards.
“He can’t have much to hide. He’s barely even using one hand,” my husband pointed out, as we looked at the Cosmo spread. “I’d need both of mine.”
But, as other women in the blogosphere and on Twitter noted, a female candidate wouldn’t be greeted with such nonchalance. Women are held to higher standards in the god fearing world of less than god-like politicians.