About two months ago, my publisher, Harper Collins, called me up to tell me that The Today Show wanted to interview me in the 8AM hour on Tuesday, March 11, the day that my new book, Stop Whining, Start Living was going to be published. I said, “Great!”
Last week, I did the “pre-interview” with one of their producers, and they called me back to say they wanted to have my interview go for two segments. I said “Even better!”
Then, at 4PM on Monday, March 10, they called up and asked if I would also participate in a “panel” segment entitled “Why Men Cheat.” I went “uh oh.”
I hate doing panels. I hate all the talking heads shouting over each other. And I feared they would end up asking about tabloid gossip and not the real topic, but they reaffirmed that they really wanted to hear my opinion about “Why Men Cheat.”
So, silly me, on I went. Meredith Vieira asked the three panelists, “Why do men cheat?” Panelist #1 said that the legacy of promiscuous cavemen has created an evolutionary tendency toward infidelity among today’s men. Hmmm.
Panelist #2 said something to the effect that men often cheat because they are missing something physically, mentally or emotionally in their relationship with someone. Who might be responsible for this missing “something” was not specifically mentioned. Hmm….could it be the wife? The boss? Co-workers?
So Panelist #3 (that’s me) responded:
“Men need validation. When they come into the world they are born of women and getting their validation from mommy is the beginning of needing it from a woman. And when the wife does not focus in on the needs and the feelings, sexually, personally to make him feel like a man, to make him feel like a success, to make him feel like a hero, he’s very susceptible to the charms of some other woman making him feel what he needs. And these days women don’t spend a lot of time thinking about how they can give a man what they need.”
Maybe I should have had a sign around my neck that said I was not talking specifically about the governor of New York’s current alleged problems with money transfers and a $5,000 an hour call-girl ring. Certainly a man who won the governorship of the second largest state in the nation does not sound like a man who needs validation to feel like a success. I was answering the question asked: “Why do men cheat?”
Suddenly, the topic WAS about the New York governor. To my utter amazement, Panelist #1 proclaimed that the New York governor’s high cheekbones and protuberant eyebrows indicated high levels of testosterone which would be a strong indicator of infidelity.
Panelist #2 said that, speaking of testosterone, highly testosteroned people tend not to worry as much about the consequences of the risks they take. (I guess that explains the use of steroids in baseball).
Ms. Vieira then asked why a man of such power as the New York governor would risk everything to carry on a tawdry relationship. Note: This was the first time that Ms. Vieira referred to the governor in any way in the entire segment. Panelist #3 (that’s me!) responded:
“When a person is in a high position of power, especially a man, there is a sense of entitlement and a sense of being…above the law because of the importance of what they do - because of the importance of who they are.”
Since that fleeting moment, I have been accused of the most heinous of crimes (apparently far worse than the foibles of politicians and celebrities): giving my opinion and advice. According to The New York Times, Meredith Vieira was “aghast” at my comments. In the 10 am hour, Ann Curry tried to take me to task for “things that were said about the governor.” Wrong! And finally the renowned News Team at The Huffington Post proclaimed “Dr. Laura Blames Spitzer’s Wife”.
In three segments over 2 hours I never made a comment about the Governor’s wife. And my only direct comment about the Governor was that powerful men sometimes feel an unwarranted sense of entitlement. I answered the question they asked, not the question I’ve been accused of answering.
Now here’s the good news. Thank goodness I had bought a new outfit for the program, and I was feeling pretty good yesterday morning, or else I might have gotten a little ticked off that my words were so ludicrously taken out of context.
If you don’t believe me, feel free to go to the videotape (click here). And don’t whine for me. I’m having a great time in New York – good friends, good restaurants, and almost-Spring weather.
On a more serious note: The stories that we see on the news and the Internet 24/7 indicate an epidemic of dysfunctionality in America in the relationships of the powerful, talented, and merely famous. The sad part is it is only the tip of the iceberg in our society. And sadder still is knowing that so many children are being hurt by these problems.