Brad Paisley’s hilarious song “Online” talks about how easy it is to have romantic adventures online — even sci-fi fanatics (mild asthmatics) can suddenly lose weight and grow an extra foot by logging on and creating false profiles. You can forgive the girls with whom this George Costanza–character corresponds. He tells them he lives in Malibu and drives a Maserati, instead of revealing that he lives in his parents’ basement and drives a clunker on pizza deliveries. Even that loser can have a three-way . . . chat with two women at one time.
But what about women who enter into online relationships willingly, without being fooled? Anthony Weiner’s online romantic escapades are sadly now a part of our cultural consciousness. We now know that he’d send women photos labeled “me” to prove they were actually communicating with the real congressman. He didn’t hide who he was — in fact, he used his power to lure women into his web. The women willingly “went there” with him, in spite of the fact that he was married. He didn’t enhance his profile, he just relied on the fact that women would be so enamored to be conversing with a congressman that they’d keep it a secret.
And, come to find out, he was right.
Had he not inadvertently sent his now notorious photo to all of his followers, he’d no doubt be planning his next romantic endeavor.
That’s how America got its most recent evidence that women — in spite of what they profess — fall for jerks. How did Arnold Schwarzenegger have an affair? Because his housekeeper was willing. When Tiger Woods’s escapades were on the front page of every paper, he apparently had no shortage of willing women. Do these men have a special culpability because of their fame and money? Definitely. But if women would quit complaining that men are all beasts while simultaneously rewarding them for the vilest behavior, we’d see fewer of these problems.
At Pajamas Media, Andrew Klavan puts the blame squarely on Weiner’s women:
If this is the sort of guy you follow after in droves, this is the sort of guy we’re encouraged to be. And I have to admit: I don’t get it. I look at Weiner and I see a rude, arrogant, entitled and clearly dishonest little piece of Democrat thoroughly convinced of his wholly non-existent superiority. Physically, he’s a dead ringer for a turtle that’s been pulled out of its shell. And as for his manners… did I mention he takes pictures of his absurdly eponymous package and sends them to women on Twitter! And that’s the sort of stuff that wins you over, ladies? Well, if it is, expect to see a lot more of it. It’s Darwin 101: men evolve to attract the opposite sex. By natural law, women get what they want from men… it hardly seems fair for them to complain about it when it turns up in their inbox.
Klavan goes way to far. After all, Weiner is fully responsible for his own behavior. But men often complain that — in the game of love — nice guys finish last. And you know what? They’re all too often right. Visit any college campus, and you’ll see the most boorish behavior endlessly rewarded in frat houses and on sorority row. Watch the flocks of young women following everyone from congressmen to athletes to rappers. Entire subcultures of “pick-up artists” prey on the female tendency to seek “high-status males,” consequences be damned.
Women need to ask for better from men. But we need to demand better from ourselves as well.
— Nancy French is the author of the upcoming Home and Away: A Story of Family in a Time of War and can be followed on Facebook here.