Closet Compulsion

I am a practicing heterosexual.

I’ve been in the rest room of O’Hare Airport between flights and been propositioned by men. Of course, I’ve also been propositioned by men at the bars of some of the best restaurants in New York and San Francisco. As a woman friend advised me, “Gay men appreciate men. Take it as a compliment.” I have.

Women are propositioned by men at bars quite regularly, I’m told, as well as in a variety of other places, many being somewhat inappropriate, such as, say, the office. Some women have actually propositioned me. I’m assuming they had been drinking heavily.

None of us has called the cops, as far as I know. Why are we so obsessed with a senator’s unfortunate and stupid comments in a men’s room? Why is sex so threatening to us?

The local newspaper in this guy’s home town has been trying to “out” him, obsessively, for years. Who cares if he’s gay, straight, bisexual, or bi-coastal? This publication reminds me of Kenneth Starr and his mindless pursuit of Bill Clinton and the stained dress. Apparently, the only one in the episode more obsessed with sex than Bill Clinton was Kenneth Starr.

I’m not claiming that this senator is Abraham Lincoln, I only know that the voters in Idaho put him in the Senate three consecutive terms. If we hold our leaders up to a magnifying glass or under a microscopic scrutiny that virtually none of us could withstand, what are we left with? What kind of inspection does one have to pass in order to serve?

I can’t remember the last time I read a story in a major newspaper or heard a sound bite on network television about the great job some politician, or school principal, or member of the clergy was doing. The media seem to me as if they are crouched in the bushes, ready to spring on any real or perceived transgression. Their job has become one of destroying.

By all means, let’s expose the pedophiles, the thieves, the corrupt. But what is this morbid fascination about everyone’s sexuality or orientation? If, after three terms, a senator admits to having been bisexual, does that mean he hasn’t really served us well for the prior 18 years and we have to reassess his service to the state? The answer is “yes” for someone like the former governor of New Jersey, whose sexual peccadilloes involved state appointments. But does it matter for someone, heterosexual or homosexual, who keeps his or her personal interests behind closed doors? Does it extend to an ill-conceived public utterance?

Does it matter how many wives a male politician has had, or the age of the current one? Why on earth should it? Is the neckline on a woman’s outfit while campaigning relevant? Why should it be, and who says so?

We’re going to find something in just about everyone’s closet. Does that mean that they are all bad people and that we, the investigators, are morally superior? Or does it mean there are places into which we shouldn’t be poking our noses?

Where is Edward R. Murrow when you need him?

© Alan Weiss 2007. All rights reserved.

3 thoughts on “Closet Compulsion

  1. The issue isn’t sexual orientation or sexual activities, but hypocrisy. Rep. Barney Frank is criticized or lauded based on his legislative actions, not his sexual activities.

    When a senator rails against “threats to the sanctity of marriage” and then (admittedly) pays a prostitute for sex or (allegedly) solicits an undercover police officer, that tells us in dramatic terms that we can’t believe what these people are saying about their own values.

    Note that the Republican party is calling for the resignation of the foot-tapping senator from Idaho, but not the dallying senator from Louisiana. That’s because the governor of Idaho is Republican, and would appoint a Republican; the governor of Louisiana is a Democrat, and would appoint a Democrat. (Given the same situation, I’m sure the Dems would show the same selective outrage.) Behavioral and ethical standards are clearly shifted when they mean that power might be lost.


  2. The issue isn’t sexual orientation nor hypocrisy, it’s soliciting sex and engaging in said activity in a public facility.

    The cops were there because they were receiving complaints that there was sexual activity in the bathroom, not just pickups.

    I don’t want my elected officials engaging in sexual activity in public places, regardless of their orientation (sexual or political).


  3. In this particular case, what is at issue is not hypocrisy nor sexual orientation; it is sexual activity in a public place.

    The cops were staking out the bathroom not because it was a pickup place, but because sexual activity was taking place right there.

    I’d like to think we have at least a minimum standard of behavior for all people, not just Senators, for what they do in public restrooms.


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