Tall Poppy Diaries

Observations and musings on life as a happy high-achiever (or what the Aussie's call a "Tall Poppy" ). "Unless you choose to do great things with it, it makes no difference how much you are rewarded, or how much power you have." --Oprah Winfrey

Saturday, August 14, 2004


  Misguided Senate Staffer...Savvy business woman...Does Indiscretion Pay?

Misguided or Brilliant? From the Washington Post

Drawn to the Title of a woman's blog called "Confessions of a Married Mean Girl" (fertile ground for research for my book, I thought?), I happened upon a story that, according to the details on the blog, will appear in TOMORROW's Washington Post.

ANYWAY, the title link above will take you to a story about a Senate Staffer who was fired after she "anonymously" authored a blog recording the details of her dalliances with some rather powerful men (by Washington standards, anyway).

The young woman now has a Playboy photo shoot and a six-figure book deal! NOT a good message to be sending to young women who are looking to get ahead on the Hill...or anywhere else for that matter! Having been a young woman in DC who was, for lack of a better term, "hit on" by some of DC's most powerful--including a former Speaker of the House and several Members of Congress (most of whom were married)--I can honestly say that I have never once regretted not having succombed to those advances. Instead, I always believed that if you wanted to be taken seriously and survive young adulthood with your confidence intact, sex should not be considered a mode of transportation. So, I kept my body off the bargaining table. Good decision.

Curiously, a certain President of the United States whom I knew and was photographed with on numerous occasions while I was single never ONCE made any advances toward me. But I digress.... Yes, I did eventually marry a single, never married Member of Congress--but he is the only Member of Congress I ever even kissed, much less anything else! And we were friends for months before we ever exchanged a peck.

My point is that many young women these days have an unfortunate lack of regard for their safety, health, careers, reputations and futures. It's one thing to be friendly with men, it is yet another to DATE them (which, by the way, is TOTALLY different from "hooking up"), and it is yet another thing to be in a relationship--a true relationship. However, the lines between one-night-stands, dates, relationships and commitments seem outrageously blurred these days!

Today it seems that sex is first base! But why? If a woman is looking for a relationship OR career advancement, the easiest way to screw things up (no pun intended...seriously!) is to go for a romp...or two...or ten with the people who make those decisions.

Some will scream, "Yeah, but times have CHANGED!" I beg to differ...I dare say the men I know who are engaging in such activity still want the exact same things they wanted 10 years ago--women to fool around with and women to settle down with--two TOTALLY SEPARATE GROUPS. Professional men who are playing the field still want women to fool around with and women who will do their jobs well and make them look good--once again, two totally separate groups. Unfortunately, there seems to be a growing dearth of the latter in both categories. It really is STILL true that the good girls win, but unfortunately that message has gotten lost on many girls who are bombarded with media messages that tell them the opposite. So sad.

I am no old fogey...I was single in the early to mid '90's in the not-so-distant era when a President, two Speakers of the House and numerous members of Congress and Senators saw their careers careen into the gutter as a result of their indiscretions. I also had friends who were used by powerful and not-so-powerful men until they were "old news" and then were left with nothing but sullied reputations, degraded self-images, and trash cans filled with tear-stained tissues. I had plenty of opportunities to jump on the "Free Love" bandwagon, but it just didn't look like much fun to me. Besides:

1) I cared too much about MY reputation, life and career.
2) My parents taught me better.
3) I have always thought that sex (of any kind!) was a dessert, and not an appetizer.

Why do young women these days feel that sex is their ticket to success? I can assure them, it isn't their ticket to anything, except in the rare instance that they can parlay a dalliance into 15-seconds of fame and a Playboy photoshoot. To the contrary, women lose their power when they give in to sex without any assurances of a return phone call, much less any commitment. And worse, they single-handedly bind themselves into a box that they can rarely extricate themselves from.

Having close guy friends most of my life saved me from finding my way into that Black Hole because I knew from my friendships with them how women were devalued once they gave in to No-Strings-Attached Sex. I also knew from my girl friends who were quick to give in to a moment of temporary insanity how badly those situations ended.

It breaks my heart to see so many "good girls" feel that they have to give up their bodies and reputations in order to get what they want. In the end, the stories don't ever end with any version of "happily ever after" and the hurt that is left is the most painful and degrading of all.

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