Mary Smith wakes up in her 300 square foot loft apartment in a rundown area on the lower east side of Manhattan. She looks at the digital clock on the end table, scattered with half-filled glasses of booze left over from a small party last night. For the last decade Mary has been trying to get into show business by taking bit parts in off-Broadway plays as she competes with numerous other wannabe thespians. Along the way she has met and slept with more producers and directors than she cares to remember. A tall slender woman with the physical attributes to turn heads at every construction site in the city, Mary has had her pick of beaus in and out of the entertainment field.
Yet, driven by her passion for the celebrity scene, she often ends her evenings with a guy who claims to have enough influence to give a boost to her flagging career. She’s passed up dates with handsome stock brokers, lawyers and business executives, unless they had connections with film production studios or the theater. Conversely, she’s had many liaisons with homely men who flattered her with descriptions of her talent, accompanied by assurances that they had the clout to bring it to fruition. Alas, after many nights on the casting couch, Mary has learned that men will say anything to get a woman into the boudoir. Moreover, she’s discovered that most of the men who use that approach do so because without it they’d be deprived of any feminine companionship. (Harvey Weinstein comes to mind.)
The clock reads quarter past eight and she has another casting call at ten-thirty. It’s for a small walk on part that she “earned” about a month ago when she slept with a guy who owns part of the building where the theater is located. Although there’ll be other women trying out for the part, Mary knows the “fix is in” because of her willingness to lie back and close her eyes. She slides out of bed and shuffles toward the bathroom shower trying to remember what he looked like. After a while all the faces seemed to merge into a composite of a middle-aged, obese, lecherous creep with 3 days worth of stubble on his puffy visage and the scent of a deodorant that failed at its job.
Mary is just one of thousands of women who aspire to prominence in the movie industry by attempting a short cut to the top. Sadly, most of them learn that promises made in the heat of passion are equivalent to strategic maneuvers used by males in pursuit of female conquests. Nevertheless, knowing that many before her have reached the heights of stardom by using their sexual charms to substitute for talent, Mary continues her search for instant fame. But, what happens to those who have sacrificed their scruples to no avail? Do they become embittered by their lack of success and turn their resentment on those who they believe used them? Do they look back with remorse and regret on the myriad nights spent with repugnant men?
One wonders if they stop to consider that they were being just as disingenuous as the men they slept with. Suppose some of those guys actually believed it was their male pheromones that cultivated the eroticism of the opposite sex? Perhaps the men were just as delusional about their looks as the women were about their talent. The fact is that each wanted something from the other, and each was being deceitful about their motives. Therefore, when a brief and voluntary encounter, that didn’t produce results, is used years later as a bludgeon to get revenge, we should take a hard look at the circumstances before putting a label on it and destroying someone’s reputation.
What about the reputation of the person who uses sex to obtain a reward? Why is it that we only hear from those who didn’t get the reward for their devilish pact? When an allegation is made years after the crime was alleged to have occurred, often after the statute of limitations has expired, it’s only reasonable to doubt the credibility of the accuser. Furthermore, when the subject of the allegation is a wealthy and prominent member of society, the motivation of the accuser becomes even more dubious. I know there are people who will claim that I’m trying to blame the victims, but, I think it’s important to establish who the actual victims are.
If a man abuses a woman criminally he should be arrested and brought to trial. Not 10 years from now, but immediately after the offense occurs. If he’s found guilty he should be appropriately penalized. On the other hand, if a woman uses her feminine wiles to seduce a man for something other than a rapturous rendezvous; what right does she have to complain if it turns out to be less than a successful experience for her? With all the civil litigation that always seems to accompany these sexual retrospectives, it’s easy to conclude that money is the central character in these mercenary melodramas.
Bob Weir is a veteran of 20 years with the New York Police Dept. (NYPD), ten of which were performed in plainclothes undercover assignments. Bob began a writing career about 16 years ago and had his first book published in 1999. He also became a syndicated columnist under the title “Weir Only Human”.