Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Cost of Lust

If you've spent the last few days in a cave in Outer Mongolia, or if you are one of my readers outside the U.S., you may have missed the ongoing hysteria over the affair of Eliot Spitzer, the crusading New York governor and scourge of white-collar criminals everywhere, who has been caught up in a prostitution scandal. According to FBI investigators, Mr Spitzer employed the services of high-end (so to speak) prostitutes at least eight times in the last few months, spending more than $80,000 on the services of the ladies employed by the "Emperor's Club" escort service... including $4,300 for a 2-1/2 hour session on February 13th.

Let me see if I understand this. Here is a man who has made his reputation on crime-busting, including cracking down on prostitution and financial crimes, whose sexual misadventures were exposed because he moved so much money between various bank accounts to pay for them that it attracted the attention of those who crimes. How dumb is that?

It's said that sex makes men crazy because all their blood goes to the wrong head, thereby inhibiting their ability to think. That may be true, but it doesn't explain why a successful and respected man would recklessly risk everything he'd worked for - his marriage, his reputation, and his very livelihood - by paying for professional nookie. I have a very vivid imagination, but even I can't imagine what I would be willing to pay a lady $4,300 to do for 2-1/2 hours. Of course, if she were a first-class auto mechanic, I could see her charging that much to fix my car, but beyond that...?

Part of the problem, I suppose, is that we tend to want what we don't have, and the ability to control our desires is what sets us apart from the lower animals. The Ten Commandments enjoin us not to commit adultery or to covet our neighbor's wife...indeed, Lust - the uncontrolled exercise of sexual appetites - is one of the traditional Seven Deadly Sins, and it seems to bring more famous people low than any of the other six.

Now I'm certainly no prude, and I enjoy a little lustful activity as much as the next person (as long as the next person isn't Mr Spitzer), but I like to think that it belongs in the context of a loving relationship.

There seems to come a point in a marriage at which sex is usually practiced doggie style: the husband sits up and begs, and the wife rolls over and plays dead. At this time, perhaps sexual frustration can lead one to seek pleasure elsewhere. But is it worth the cost to one's reputation and the feelings of one's family? I don't think so.

A few days ago in writing about sex, I noted Lord Chesterfield's famous comment about sex that the pleasure was momentary, the position ridiculous, and the expense damnable. I think Mr Spitzer probably understands that now. Unfortunately, he certainly won't be the last man to be betrayed by the call of his untamed glands. And that's very sad.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.



The Mistress of the Dark said...

I just am totally baffled that he spent that much on call girls! Yikes. Sex isn't worth that much!

Amanda said...

WOW! I didn't realize that it was such a high paying job! It really makes me wonder what goes on in those 2 1/2 hrs.....maybe the price has hazard pay included in it.

KKTSews said...

I loved the NPR interview with a "legal" Madame from NY...who tried to defend Spitzer, but lamented that it would have been nice if he'd kept all that business in NY (the call girl service was in DC)!

I love your comment about doggie style. You are always so creative with humor!

Finally, I guess it's not just lust, but hubris. When the man WAS able to think, he had to be thinking that he was, somehow, above being caught. He must have known the system of checking on financial data would have put a normal person at risk. His arrogance and self-righteousness put him above the law.

Reminds me of a comment from Billy Graham about how he avoided the financial and romatic problems common with big-name evangelists. He claimed he had three rules--books are always open to inspection, never meet alone with a woman who is not his wife, and I forgot the third. For any public figure, I think those are good rules to live by if you want to avoid the usual problems of being human.