It’s a shame that I’m having to write about this topic after holding out for so long. Office “sex scandals” have been plastered all over the news lately, one after the other, and I’ve purposefully avoided discussing them because office sex scandals are about as common and as interesting to me as Honda Accords.
Oh my god, David Letterman slept with an employee! WTF, Steve Phillips did it too! So did Bill Clinton, Mark Foley, Jimmy Kimmel, and billions of other men in powerful positions across the globe! Snooze. At what point does it stop becoming a scandal every time we find out that a public figure had an affair with an employee? The only thing these men did differently from billions of other people was get caught.
A few years ago, I worked for a Congressman on the Hill who had left his wife for one of his staffers. After I put in my two weeks notice and we were interviewing candidates (all women, of course) to take my place, the Congressman told me, “I’m not looking for someone I can talk about the issues with– I talk politics all day. I’m looking for someone I could take to a titty bar.” Seriously.
And remember Jessica Cutler, the Hill staffer who slept her way up the ranks and blogged about it? Married Congressmen and affluent public figures were essentially paying her rent and giving her lavish gifts to ensure that she continued sleeping with them on the DL, and then she got a very lucrative book deal out of it (The Washingtonienne) because the public has such a voracious appetite for scandal.
I’m sure we could all go on and on about sleazy bosses, torrid workplace affairs that have made national headlines and plenty others that haven’t. Let’s be honest: the fact that Letterman slept with a co-worker is no more scandalous than the fact that I had yogurt for breakfast. Women have learned to use their bodies as currency, and men in positions of power are more than happy to barter. It’s been this way since the beginning of time; plastering the story all over the news and firing both parties is not going to curb the epidemic.
Let’s talk about something that’s actually interesting, like wiffleball or fat free salad dressing.