This column may contain strong language, sexual content, adult humor, and other themes that may not be suitable for minors. Parental guidance is strongly advised.
If the dick pic, as Alain de Botton ventured, is a sincere, if self-conscious, plea from a man to a woman to accept his vulnerability, what do we make of serial sexting-with-strangers offender Anthony Weiner, the disgraced former congressman and failed candidate for New York City mayor?
One could say his compulsive need to photograph his junk and send it via iMessage to whomever he is sexting at the time—usually a woman he has never met, has reached crisis proportions. It’s not the first time he’s been caught with his pants down, so to speak. In May 2011, an image of his “bulging crotch,” straining against his underwear, appeared on his Twitter account. Like all decent, upstanding men—Anthony was a Democratic Party congressman at the time—he denied the crotch in question was his, and claimed he was hacked.
“Look,” he said then, “this is a prank, and not a terribly creative one.”
But the truth has a way of poking out from under the constraints of lies, and the bulge, it turned out, did belong to the congressman, who happened to be married to Huma Abedin, an adviser to Hillary Clinton. It also emerged that Weiner had conducted online relationships of a lewd nature with several women, mostly on Facebook. More “self-portraits” of Weiner in various states of undress in a gym locker room also emerged.
To complicate matters, Abedin was pregnant with their first child. In the oft played-out American cycle of scandal, shame, rehabilitation, and eventual redemption and reinvention, the Weiners stayed together, had their baby, a boy named Jordan. Anthony Weiner laid low and ostensibly sought professional counseling for his “issues.” Huma continued working for Hillary.
Unfortunately for Anthony, the lure of politics was as irresistible as his urge to share his weiner on social media. His bid for New York mayor in 2013 was thwarted by yet more revelations of online indiscretions under the name of his sexed-up alter ego “Carlos Danger”; not even Huma’s claims that she was sticking by his side could sway voters.
“What I want to say is I love him, I have forgiven him, I believe in him, and as I have said from the beginning, we are moving forward,” Huma said in a press conference.
Anthony acknowledged his transgressions. “I feel that what I’ve done has hurt her, yeah. It has hurt her professionally. It’s hurt her personally. We made a decision that these things were behind us and we made a calculated gamble on the question of whether or not citizens would be more interested in their family’s future than in my personal failings that are behind me. She’s gotten roughed up and it’s been completely unfair in my view.”
Fast forward to 2016, Anthony is a stay-at-home dad and sometime columnist for the New York Daily News, Huma is on the campaign trail with Hillary. One could say that Anthony kept his part of the bargain in that he did keep his dick in his pants. However, he still could not resist photographing said dick in various states of excitement straining against the fabric of his jocks or pants and sending them off to yet another woman he had never met but had been conducting an online sex-laced relationship. One such image included his sleeping son in the background, whom Anthony liked to call his “chick magnet.”
At this point, Huma finally decided she had had enough and they were separating. In the meantime, Child Welfare Agency is investigating Anthony.
It’s clear that Anthony—who described himself in his texts as “cranky, horny and ready to get laid”—has a problem. This compulsive need to exchange sexually suggestive images and conversation with complete strangers despite full awareness of the potential risks and the consequences of his actions point to a pathological situation. This is not the first time he’s been caught, nor is it the second. Strike three and dude, seriously, get it together and get some help.
There is a debate raging as to whether what Anthony did constitutes child abuse, seeing as his four-year-old son was beside him in bed. Granted, the child was sleeping, but he also acknowledged his value as “bait,” saying he was “putting him to work” in order to attract women. The 40-something woman, whom he had been texting for about a year, apparently agreed and said “It’s like a puppy. Chicks love cute kids and puppies.”
While I personally don’t think it is child abuse, Anthony’s actions indicate an appalling lack of judgment. Take your child to the park by all means in the hope of being able to chat up a woman. Bring him with you to the supermarket and ask for help choosing cereals from the attractive mom down the aisle. But for the love of God please do not take a picture of your hard-on and send it to a woman who is not your wife or girlfriend or real-life lover while your son is sleeping right beside you. At the very least put the child in his own bed in his own room, keep the baby monitor on and go to your room and lock the door for f*cks’ sake. I guess for some people it’s not enough to jerk off to porn; they need to imperil not just their own lives to satisfy some sexual compulsion they cannot control, but the lives of their families as well. I mean, in the midst of the presidential campaign season? He could have shown a bit more consideration for his wife. In a scandal-marred season, this was the last thing Hillary—or Huma—needed. He couldn’t even keep his boner away from public view until after Hillary was in the White House?
And Huma? It’s about time she left him, went the collective clucking of commentators all over the world. What took her so long? That, I’m afraid, is a different column altogether.
B. Wiser is the author of Making Love in Spanish, a novel published earlier this year by Anvil Publishing and available in National Book Store and Powerbooks, as well as online. When not assuming her Sasha Fierce alter-ego, she takes on the role of serious journalist and media consultant.
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Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in her private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Preen.ph, or any other entity of the Inquirer Group of Companies.
Art by Dorothy Guya