The real tragedy of the Anthony Weiner story: When engaging in a time-honored courtship ritual makes you an object of scorn
The sending of photos of one’s genitalia to the object of your affection is a beautiful expression of love, desire, and trust. By exposing yourself, you are opening yourself completely to another person. There is nothing so gratifying. There is nothing so perilous. “Here I am, in all my glory,” you are saying. “Accept me, please.”
It takes strength, courage, and genuine affection to express yourself so forthrightly.
Sadly, in our post modern, cynical society, any display of open-hearted and sincere devotion is perceived as weakness. It is something to be attacked, not celebrated. Despised, not praised. One need look no further than the tragic case of the American-style footballing quarterbacker, Brett Favre, and the seemingly beautiful Jenn Sterger, for a prime example of what can happen to a man who makes this romantic gesture.
The man who sends photos of his genitalia to a prospective romantic partner is engaging in a time-honored courtship ritual. Throughout history, man has sought to distinguish himself from other suitors by revelatory bravura. It is as much a part of our evolution as the opposable thumb, or the uvula.
Today’s man, the so-called “evolved” man, lives in a world of heightened angst. Technology has, in many ways, made him redundant. Whereas before a man might prove himself by killing a large, hairy animal, so as to feed his family of soft-toothed Neanderthals, today’s man has simply to go to a fine restaurant and order wild boar, and stuffed quail, and asparagus. At one time, a man could show off for a potential mate by building for her a hut made from sticks and twigs, and perhaps some of his own dung to act as a sort of adhesive. Today, once all the proper building permits and paperwork has been filed, one need only engage the services of a general contractor to build a house for him. In cases of dispute, men of the past might bludgeon one another to death with heavy clubs. Today, they sue one another in court.
In such a world, how is the evolved man to show his affection? How is he to prove his worthiness?
The New York congressman Anthony Weiner has recently found himself in the midst of a burgeoning scandal that throws into stark contrast the awkward predicament of the modern man. A photo of what might or might not be Mr. Weiner’s half-erect penis was posted to his yfrog account.
Mr. Weiner is no doubt aware of the terrible national hazing that greeted Brett Favre. Not wanting such a fate to befall him, he has attempted to cover his tracks. The yfrog account has been deleted, and he has given an oddly combative press conference. And some awkward interviews. And having finished with that, his staff is now calling the police on reporters who ask him questions about the subject.
He claims he did not send the photo. He claims, also, that he is unable to identify the photo as being one of his own private parts. Whether Mr. Weiner actually sent the photo of his (covered) half-flaccid penis is beside the point. The point is that it is shameful that, in our modern society, a man cannot send to a woman a photo of his genitalia without being made the subject of scorn and ridicule.
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