Wake us if he did it with Hillary while Bill watched after they all had the early-bird special at T.G.I. Friday's — and Obama's got the tapes.
Not that Governor Paterson's actual affairs don't sound titillating enough. But … they don't. They're the sex equivalent of Ny-Quil — something kind of icky that just makes you yawn. A friend of mine saw the headlines about this latest "bombshell" yesterday, and her first thought was: "God, it must be a slow news day."
It was. No hookers. No threesomes. No chain restaurants that specialize in "loaded potato skins." You call that a scandal?
Maybe if it had come out way back in early March. But in just a week, New Yorkers have become more French than a Jerry Lewis festival. Extramarital sex, even the ŕ trois with le chauffeur kind? Vive l'amour!
So when the spanking new governor admitted, Day One, that he had had an affair, and then admitted, Day Two, okay, he'd had a bunch, but only because his wife had one first and he'd exercised poor judgment, blah, blah, blah … the reaction was almost Bar Mitzvian. "He's always been a good friend and handled himself properly," an avuncular Senator Joseph Bruno declared. Speaker Sheldon Silver went so far as to call Mr. Paterson's "a nice story" — presumably because the governor had gone to counseling and stayed with his wife.
That counseling angle may well be what saves the man. "Most guys think that counseling is for wimps," the author of "Why Epiphanies Never Occur to Couch Potatoes," Mark Amtower, said. "Here's a guy who did it. Kudos to him."
The she-did-it-first angle might also be a mitigating factor, ditto the fact that it happened a while back.
But probably what will really keep Mr. Paterson from becoming a first-class punch line is his failure to follow the:
SEVEN SECRETS OF A SIZZLING SEX SCANDAL
1) TIMING: You don't come out with a sex scandal on the heels of two other sex scandals unless you can top 'em. Consensual, heterosexual, two-human sex cannot.
2 ) CATCHPHRASE : "Wide stance." That phrase alone will keep Senator Craig's lavatory legacy fresh for a long time. Similarly, "I did not have sex with that woman," and, "Listen dude, do you really want the sex?" So far, Mr. Paterson has yet to come up with anything more memorable than, "I betrayed a commitment to my wife several years ago." That's no, "It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is."
3) EVIDENCE: A stained blue dress. A chat caught on tape. A text message to a page: "Get a ruler and measure it for me." If all that's left is a 1999 credit card bill from a Days Inn, forget it. And speaking of Days Inn …
4 ) EXTRA-SPECIAL TAWDRINESS: Whether or not Governor McGreevey, his wife, and his chauffeur really had a thing going on, nobody's denying that they used to have regular Friday night dinners at TGIF's. "It's not that I'm the biggest defender of New Jersey, and I don't want my property values to go down," a pal of mine said. "But there's something very New Jersey about this." Bada bing. By the way, another tawdry place for anything affair-related is the Oval Office.
5) PHOTOS: Quick — picture someone who is 5-feet-5-inches and 105 pounds, most of them in the surgically enhanced chest area. 'Nuf said.
6) HYPOCRISY: Since Mr. Paterson never set out to be Sir Galahad, no one cares that he isn't. Now, think about Rep. Mark Foley co-sponsoring the Protection of Children from Sexual Predators Act of 1998. Or Mr. Craig voting against gay rights. Or you-know-who when he was New York's attorney general.
7) NICKNAME: Mr. Paterson may be a serial philanderer, but he's no Client 9.
Lucky for him.