The New York Times has called for him to pull out. (Presumably they refer to the race for mayor). Three of his rivals have, with brazen political expediency, also called for his withdrawal. (It’s telling, in our heavy-breathing patriarchy, how much the language of politics is the language of penetration).
Yes, Anthony Weiner, America’s gyrating frontman of nominative determinism, has been a bad boy. Just weeks after launching his bid to become New York Mayor, and two years after quitting Congress for lurid chats with half a dozen women, he’s reportedly waved his wiener about. Again. And on the internet. To a woman who isn’t his wife. He’s even, allegedly, exchanged “sexts” with her.
Personally, I object more to the portmanteau - and to his hilariously unsexy online moniker “Carlos Danger” - than to the acts of apparent spousal betrayal. Given the widespread dissemination of his last X-rated “selfie”, has anyone not yet seen the Democrat’s penis?
I’m bored of it. But I’m more bored of the outcry’s hypocrisy, of a culture that clutches its pearls in public while receiving “pearl necklaces” behind the neighbour’s blinds, of Britain and America’s puritanical rhetoric around any whiff of sexual behaviour outside one’s marriage.
Infidelity only hurts or ruins relationships because we’re conditioned into thinking it is the “ultimate betrayal”; that it is “disloyal” and “unfaithful” to the sacred bond - proof someone doesn’t love us. Let us unpick this shaming, controlling guff, and grow up. When people rage at their “cheating” partner for claiming their one-night stand “was just sex,” they should instead listen. It really is just that. If you cannot separate emotions from sex it is invaluable to remember how many are perfectly capable of it. When “cheaters” cry, “It meant nothing,” all it really meant was, “I wanted sex with someone else.” Big deal. Check your ego. No one person can sexually fulfill another entirely. Can’t we look into our Aladdin’s cave sexual psyches and admit this?
To brand extra-spousal jollies “cheating” is to cheat ourselves: to suffocate our sexualities and shackle our relationships. Patriarchy’s boomerang stupidity can be seen clearly here: men tell women not to “put out” easily and to only have sex within a relationship – that anything else is filthy and slutty. They do this through a million shame messages (the site on which the Weiner allegations erupted is, illustratively, called TheDirty.com). Shaming helps shut women down sexually. Husbands become frustrated and go elsewhere, and their wife/girlfriend leaves, heartbroken, unable to accept the “just sex” line. What a ghastly waste.
It is often seen as anti-feminist for a wife, like Weiner’s, to “stand by her man”. But it’s the opposite: a woman giving oppressive Victorian values a huge V sign.
So if you find your spouse in bed with another consenting adult, I have a suggestion: don’t beat them, join them.