Stand Up Woman

Just wondering: The New York Times turned up quite a story on the governor out there. It was solid enough that the governor, a former lawman who prosecuted his way into high office, came out and all but confirmed it in a meeting with reporters. That’s all swell, and if one were to bet on the outcome, the governor will resign, and soon.

But there’s one thing I don’t get. When he went before the cameras, his wife went with him. She looked sad and somber but not shattered, which meant she was putting on a good show. But still: How does a guy who’s admitting to hiring a call girl persuade his wife to stand up with him for the rite of public exposure?

Maybe she’s demonstrating a love and commitment that is ready to endure the worst as well as the best of her marriage. That’s what we who have married all vow in some form; though a vow of facing up to a theoretical future trial is one thing and dealing with an ugly fact in the here and now is another. Maybe something else is at work: the wife having the responsibility to fulfill the public role to the end.

Either way, standing up with someone who had wounded me so deeply is more than I think I could do. I’d be tempted to say, hey, you didn’t need me when you were setting up your dates; you’re going to have to deal with this one by yourself.

(I will add, though, that the governor in question does score a point by not subjecting the electorate to an “I did not have sex with that woman” drama.)

7 Replies to “Stand Up Woman”

  1. Anne Applebaum had an interesting perspective on this in
    (I’m not usually a fan of fem-blogs – so often they seem to be scrounging for relevant material. And really, must we evaluate EVERYTHING that happens in the world from a feminist perspective? Who has that kind of time? I’d rather make things happen.)

  2. Hard to figure, not being privy to the dynamics of a shared history together.
    Could just be “better the devil I know than the devil I don’t know.”

  3. I often wonder if there’s some sort of power-dynamic driving the wife’s appearance beside the cheating bubba. Take, for example, the woman who’s given up everything… job, education, etc… to be Mrs. Bubba. What choice does she have? She’s got no credit history (as many divorcees sadly find out the hard way) on her own? All the credit cards in his name, perhaps?

  4. She really is a class act.
    And…Eliot blew it in a big way. Had it all and lost it all. I may sound a bit communistic but this is case of the powerful–and rich–exploiting the weakness of someone who is poor; lacking the means to survive; cashing in the only capital she possesses–herself. If he, the Harvard educated lawyer; son of a Manhattan Brahman, had looked at the situation more critically he would have seen that. Or maybe he understood all that and decided four grand an hour was enough to pay for the honor of exploiting somebody. Bottom line: He is privileged and therefore has a right to exploit others who are weaker and less privileged. By my reckoning that makes Eliot a real lout. All that said, Mrs. Spitzer shows remarkable dignity for someone who has just had pie thrown in her face.
    Nicholas Kristof had a good piece in the NYTimes today, talking about just this type of thing.

  5. C.O.: You’re right — there’s something going on there. I was more struck by Mrs. Spitzer’s second appearance than her first; in fact, in the video and still pictures I’ve seen, I’ve found her a lot more interesting to watch than her husband. One always tends to read things into another’s actions that may or may not exist, but I thought she had an almost challenging attitude to the cameras at the press conference. (As to her credit cards, though: I understand she was a Wall Street corporate lawyer with a top-notch pedigree; she’d have no trouble getting her own line of credit.)
    jb: Interesting way at looking at Spitzer’s actions. I honestly hadn’t thought about it that way. His behavior is even more bizarre in light of what Kristof writes — that Spitzer was bragging to him about what he was doing to crack down on the sex trade.

  6. when it comes to hiring a prostitute being exploitative of the weak (if I interpreted jb’s comment correctly) I would tend to disagree. there are many ways that one can earn money when one is poor and prostitution happens to be one of the easier (if far from pleasant for most people) ways to. he could have gone to a poor area of town and shelled out 50-100 bucks instead of the amount he did.
    As for the bragging about cracking down on the sex trade it is my experience that humans tend to hate the bad things they do more than anything else.
    the thing that bothers me most out of all this is not exploitation of the weak by the powerful but that the powerful can actually get away with it (well don’t go to jail anyway) while poor shmucks in the tenderloin in San Francisco get caught in sting operations and go to jail for their indiscretions.

  7. about my first paragraph… I meant to elaborate. I think more than exploitation it just comes down to weakness and the fact that when you are weak and have money it’s easier to feed the weakness.

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