Farewell, Year Of The Creep

Prince "Carl" (not his real name) is the heir to the throne of a major nation in Western Europe. Married to one of the most desirable women in the world, he nevertheless seems to Prefer having sex with a former girlfriend, who is 14 years older than his wife. His mawkish phone calls to her are secretly recorded and sold to the newspapers, making his entire country a laughingstock. The question is, who is more in need of counseling on sexual behavior and relationships: him--or a 16-year-old high-school dropout who just had her second baby?

We can't all be named Buttafuoco, but if 1993 proved anything, it's that birth, position, wealth and education are no protection against winding up in a list of the Top 10 reasons women rent videos on Saturday night. You don't even need to have a drinking problem; all it takes is the one thing that Prince Charles, Bill Clinton, Bob Packwood, Howard Stern and--thanks to the miracle of plastic surgery--John Bobbitt have in common. A new breed of sexual outlaw is on the loose in America. It would be dangerous if it weren't so laughable: married white males. They are vulgar, but with none of the redeeming vitality of adolescence; persistent, right up until they remember that this was their night to make dinner for the kids so their wives could see "The Age of Innocence." Stern's best-selling book, "Private Parts," captures them perfectly--the frenzied sexual energy that comes from guilt and desperation, the raw passion of a paramecium on the brink of dividing. In honor of the wedding of Donald Trump, who couldn't wait to get married so he could start dating again, 1993 was, among other things, the Year of the Creep.

Theirs is the love that all decent people abominate: exploitative, insensitive, a throwback to the phallocentric era that dominated human history from roughly the discovery of agriculture until the advent of Phil Donahue. But at the same time, kind of pathetic, like Bobbitt's claim that his penis actually became longer when it was reattached after his wife cut it off. By his own testimony, he was virtually asleep when he committed the fateful copulation that led her to reach for a kitchen knife, living proof that it's not necessarily true that sex is good even when it's lousy. Bobbitt was acquitted of marital rape but remains accused by his wife of willfully, habitually and gratuitously reaching sexual climax before she does. Accordingly we can all look forward to watching Shannen Doherty thrashing under the sheets next to a snoring Kevin Bacon, unless Congress passes emergency legislation to create a fund to buy up the rights to the stories of ordinary people involved in ludicrous sexual misadventures and sell them for exclusive showings only on Japanese TV.

Yet Bobbitt actually comes across like the guy in "The Bridges of Madison County" next to Packwood, who is trying to live down what appears to have been a lifetime of unrequited passion for campaign office workers and female lobbyists. This is bad enough, but the phrase that keeps cropping up in the accounts--"unwanted sexual advances"--is even worse. In his trail of gropings stretching from Washington, D.C., to Oregon, temptation seems to have consistently resisted him. The record shows allegations of a "sensuous" kiss in a restaurant parking lot in 1980, a lunge "out of the blue" at a fund-raiser nine years earlier. Say what you will about the Kennedys, they usually got what they lunged after. Yet Packwood is the one who might actually lose his job. Given a choice, most senators would probably rather keep the job and lose what Bobbitt lost. if they lose their job, they have to wait six years to get it back.

And if you give up your chance to be King of England, you never get it back. Charles should have thought of that before he babbled on a portable phone to Camilla Parker-Bowles his dream of living inside her trousers, something that most Britons found almost as revolting as the news that Princess Diana has a friend who calls her "Squidgy." What on earth was he thinking?

Well, that's a ridiculous question, of course; we know what he was thinking. He was thinking like a married white male. The same ones you see around truck stops on Friday nights, circling the parking lots in their station wagons full of groceries, torn between desire for the figures lurking languidly in the shadows and the thought of how they'll look in a police photograph with their throats cut and the blood mixing with the melted yogurt pops. The ones that fill the bars of airport hotels, flaunting credit cards billed to them at the office--prized passports to a life of guilt-ridden anxiety and potentially lethal disease. The ones whose patent yearnings fill the back pages of the Village Voice, where they are known, in the bureaucratic shorthand of sin, as MWMs. Married white males, professionals, nonsmokers, seeking stunning young women 15 years younger in high heels and tight black skirts with auburn hair that will run shimmering like warm sand through their fingers and for reasons they couldn't imagine, would let them spend a couple of hours in their apartments while their wives think they're at a basketball game.

Of course, like everyone else in America, they are victims as well as creeps--victims of a culture that tells them they should be having sex with beautiful young actresses and models but actually reserves people like that for billionaires and Hollywood guys who can advance their careers. Life is unfair, as a famous married white president once observed, and who would know better than the guy who was married to Jackie Kennedy and carrying on with Marilyn Monroe? If there is one good thing to say about 1993, it's that it brought all married white males one year closer to an age at which not even Amy Fisher would give them a second glance.

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