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Dominique Strauss Kahn
Last uploaded : Monday 16th May 2011 at 23:14
Contributed by : Carol Gould



What is it with men?

I am sure every woman reading this has been through the ordeal of going out with a guy who, like Jack Nicholson in ‘Terms of Endearment,’ spends most of the date leering at the cleavage of the woman sitting at the next table or flirting with the waitress. Recently I was on a date with a man who was old enough to be the grandfather of our waitress but she could not stop swinging her breasts at him and getting him extra water whilst I slowly died of dehydration. When I asked for a glass of water she glowered at me and returned with said glass, only to slam it down so hard on the table that half the contents splashed out and into my lap.

Had it not been for events in New York this weekend involving a certain French IMF chief I had proposed writing a piece asking menfolk why they spit. In recent weeks there has been a goodly amount of sport on the box and the main feature is men spitting. If one watches women’s rugby do the lasses spit? No. My late mother, rest in peace, used to say that if something flew into one’s eye it would fly out if one spat. (Try it.) So, does this mean the constant spitting by male athletes means their mothers told them to do this if dust got in their collective eyes? I think not. It is something to do with testosterone and maleness but it is disgusting and I hate it. It used to be that in American baseball circles the players spat because they chewed tobacco. Now they chew bubble gum but they still spit.

So, getting back to the waitress syndrome, what is it with men? And instead of writing about spitting athletes and how I detest that dirty practice I have decided to write about the shenanigans being reported in the news at the time of this posting about International Monetary Fund supremo Dominique Strauss-Kahn (henceforward referred to as DSK) and the New York chambermaid. There is a story about seventy-five-year-old Benjamin Franklin that goes something like this: he was in the bath with a twenty-five year-old in his apartment in Paris when a ninety year old friend dropped by. ’Ohhh,’ cooed the nonagenarian, ’to be six months younger !’

In the film ’Moonstruck,’ the character played by Olympia Dukakis, a sixty-ish mother of two who has discovered her husband is cheating on her, asks a fifty-ish schoolteacher played by Michael Mahoney of ‘Fraser’ fame, ‘Why do men chase women?’ and he replies rhetorically ‘Because we fear death?’ Later in the film when her husband comes home from a date with his mistress she says,’ Cosmo, I just want you to know that whatever you do, you’re gonna die,’ to which he replies, ‘Thank you!’ and she in turn, ‘You’re welcome.’ It sounds like nothing but is a scene that evokes roars of laughter every time.

So, why did British conservative party chairman Cecil Parkinson ruin his career, which could have brought him to 10 Downing Street, by impregnating a co-worker? Why did Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott cheat on his wife? Why did Liberal Party star Paddy Ashdown do the same? ( Ashdown commented many years after his affair: 'There is something both unhealthy and captivating about the Westminster combination of late nights, the loneliness of weeks away from the family and the ever-present and intoxicating proximity of the dramas and excitements of power. Some time in 1985 Tricia Howard and I started an affair.')*

Why did Bill Clinton and Mike Tyson behave as they did towards women and why did Elliott Spitzer, on the brink of a glittering career, wreck it all with visits to prostitutes? Why did Moshe Katsav go from being Israeli President to court for rape? What about Berlusconi? It is said Golda Meir and Ethel Merman had as voracious sexual appetites as any man but the difference is that aggression and pain, as alleged in the DSK case, and as recorded in the scenario that befell CBS correspondent Lara Logan in Egypt, more often than not characterise male predatory activity.

My late father cheated on my mother time and again. It could be said that his affairs were consensual and never involved rape, but the degree of pain he cause my mother was incalculable. He was a cross between Clark Gable and George Clooney with the charm and personality to match; observers would say, ’What can he do, women can’t resist him?’ but I like to think there are a few men out there who stick to their wives. ( I think Donald and Joyce Rumsfeld are about the only couple whose acquaintance I have made to have remained true to each other for over fifty years.)

So, what makes a sixty-two-year-old man with a lovely wife and an enviable job and salary suddenly go mad and --allegedly -- rape? My circumcised friend has one explanation: ‘Men who are circumcised are constantly feeling the urge as their tissue (to put it politely) is exposed 24/7.’ So what is the excuse for the millions of uncircumcised men who cheat and rape ? Why do so many successful men self-destruct for a moment of ecstasy? Why, if the allegations are proven true, would a man of international stature throw away a future of political glitter to overpower and demean a defenceless female?

I suppose the answer given in ‘Moonstruck’ would be offered by men reading this article: ‘We fear death.’ I also fear death but have no desire to sexually assault anyone or ruin my career with a dalliance. Every bank, insurance and car executive involved in the economic crash of the past three years has been male. The huge majority of violent criminals in jail are male yet orthodox Jewish men pray every day thanking the Almighty they were not born female.

I am glad I was born female -- I have a clear conscience. And I don’t spit!

* The TIMES - 12 April, 2009

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/book_extracts/article6077219.ece .

The Rumsfelds on marriage:

http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/video/donald-rumsfeld-opens-marriage-13167671 .


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