Spitzer: It’s His Wife’s Fault
I was watching the Eliot Spitzer press conference yesterday and I kept asking myself: why is his wife there? And why does she acting like she is guilty of something? Then I saw Dr. Laura today on the Today Show and she gave me the answer. Eliot Spitzer’s wife was actually at fault for all his recent worries with prostitutes. Aha! It was so simple it never occurred to me. I taught Dr. Laura’s book (The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands) once during a Feminist Theory course years ago, so Dr. Laura’s explanations of marital behavior are old hat for me. Still, it’s amusing to watch her in action.
Basically, Dr. Laura’s typical argument goes something like this:
1. Husbands need sex (usually a lot of it).
2. It’s the job of the wife to provide sex (however much he wants) to her husband to fulfill that need.
3. When a wife fails to do her sexual job, she mistreats the husband because without sex he is “starving.”
4. Starving people have to eat, and so will resort to whatever (or whoever) gets them food.
Thus, when wives don’t do their sexual “duties” men are forced to seek sex elsewhere.
Thus, the blame for a cheating husband’s behavior should be found exclusively in the wife.
This is basically the argument she ran on the Today Show. You should watch it. Right around 2:00 she starts going on about what I have above. You need to see the look on the face of the anthropologist, she’s entirely stunned and dumbfounded. I’m not sure if she knew who Dr. Laura was. Not surprisingly, Dr. Laura never backs down. She’s been spewing this silly hyperbole for years so she knows the standard responses she gets.
What I’ve always said about Dr. Laura (after reading her book) is that her positions often start off in very intuitive places, but then they wind up in some crazy bizarre location through some really tortured (or nonexistent) logic. Take this case. Fine, I have no problem agreeing with a basic point: a healthy relationship requires sex, there’s no two bones about it (although if I recall from the book, if hubby wants sex every night, or three times a day, then the wife’s duty is to provide that — which is totally nuts). So if a person cheats in a sexless relationships, there may be a bit of blame to go around all over, though I doubt the husband becomes blameless because he’s “starving.” This strikes me as laughable.
It’s simply true: if a wife (or a husband for that matter) simply ceases to have sex, and the marriage becomes “sex-less” then that person is setting up a situation where basic relational needs are unfulfilled, and that may lead to cheating (though you might think that the “starving” spouse might just get divorced? But nah…men are just cavemen, that’s too complicated for them).
But Dr. Laura takes what I think is an fairly intuitive point and jumps to the moon with it, drawing a completely off the wall crazy inference. She assumes that all cases of cheating husbands are due to the failure of the wife to do her “job” (does she know Spitzer? No — but she knows men; Spitzer is a man, ergo…).
That’s completely ridiculous. Where she gets that conclusion from the intuitive point, I’d love to know. Often Dr. Laura does treat men as if they are merely deterministic machines. You give them X, they do Y. You withhold Z, they do Q. As if they have no choice in the matter. Not only that, but can’t a man have a psychological problem unrelated to the marriage that is expressed through cheating (maybe Spitzer has a need for power that monogamy doesn’t fulfill)? Maybe the guy is just a shit and likes to treat his wife badly? Hell, can’t marriages be unhappy for reasons having nothing to do with sexual “input” but yet that wind up expressed through cheating? I mean seriously. Where do you even get started with something like this? And she’s a marriage therapist. I’m laughing.
But Dr. Laura just loves to blame women. It’s her thing. She wouldn’t sell many books if she didn’t.
Update: I should add that my wife informs me that Howard Stern was saying the same thing today on his radio show (it’s the wife’s fault for above reasons). But he was kidding.