It recently came to my attention that opportunity once knocked on my door but unfortunately I was upstairs at the time taking a nap with a pillow over my head.
In light of the David Letterman extortion incident, it dawned on me that at an earlier time in my life I should have tried and might have had a chance to become the “Other Woman.” And not just any Other Woman (because I have standards), but the young Other Woman in a high profile sex scandal.
After every possible intimate, shocking and creepy detail of each sensational nooky story du jour is recited over and over for weeks and weeks on the nightly cable TV shows, the men involved always go back to doing what they did before (except for the ones who are occasionally shipped off to prison or forcibly shamed into resigning).
But the young Other Woman’s life is never the same. She becomes eminently unemployable by traditional means. While she vows to keep her head up, mouth shut, legs closed and return to work at her entry-level desk job, the whispers at the water cooler of her harlot-like ways eventually grow too loud and she becomes too emotionally drained to maintain a nine-to-five office existence.
So instead she sells her story to the highest bidder among the weekly tabloids, takes it all off for the right price in one of the monthly skin magazines, fights in a celebrity boxing match, appears on a schlocky reality TV show or practices law with the degree she was able to earn because the high-profile married man with whom she was involved paid the tuition bills. In fact, if she plays her cards right, post-scandal she’ll only have to work a handful of days in her life, which is key because, seriously, who’s going to hire a lawyer who can’t even ensure the contents of her own diary remain confidential?
My best shot at being the young Other Woman came and went in the mid 1990s. For a short time I did some side work as a personal assistant to a cast member on “Saturday Night Live.” As part of the gig, it was necessary for me to be involved in almost all aspects of his life, including spending time at his apartment with his wife and baby. I’d be kicking myself now for having missed out on the chance to be a (retired) star in my own right if I hadn’t since learned that he’s gay.
If only Monica Lewinsky had made a name for herself a few years before that I could have had the perfect role model. After all, Monica and I are the same age, attended good colleges, have loving parents. Like Monica, my people know people. My cousins have cousins who know people. In fact, I’m sure if I tried I could have been a White House intern, too. And with enough liquid courage and the right G-string, I totally could have out-Monica-ed Monica. (Although I would have been classy enough to destroy the blue dress or at least bright enough to sell it before it was seized as evidence.)
Prior to that, emulating the Long Island Lolita, Amy Fisher, might have been an extraordinary option for me. (Never mind that I grew up on the other side of the Long Island Sound in Westchester County, where it’s safe to say there aren’t too many Joey Buttafuoco-types. He’s 100 percent Long Island.) I’m sure my aim with a pistol would have been bad enough to maim but not kill, too. And 17 years later, Amy’s still making money on her notoriety, whether it’s through “stolen” sex tapes, starring in her own pay-per-view movies or performing regularly at a strip club. Some girls have all the luck.
Had I been on the receiving end of former Idaho Sen. Larry Craig’s toe tapping (forgetting that it’s pretty clear I’m not his type), I would have tap-tap-tapped right back and then type-type-typed it up into a tell-all tome (with the help of a ghost writer, of course).
And where has South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford’s Argentine girlfriend been hiding? Does she think she’s better than all the other young Other Women by remaining silent on the affair? Such a waste. Former New York Gov. Elliot Spitzer’s bimbo got it all wrong, too, by charging up front and not realizing the real money comes at the back end. Rookie mistake.
But all young Other Women, aspiring and otherwise, can take a page from Rielle Hunter’s playbook (although she’s not so young). She did and is still doing everything she can, including getting knocked up and hanging around like a bad case of the clap, until she can morbidly move up to John Edward’s first lady status with Dave Matthews as her wedding band. While she’s clearly one in a million, a girl can dream.
Follow Meredith on Twitter @MCCarroll and e-mail questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.