Hotel Caribe, the center of the Secret Service sex scandal in Colombia (Getty Images )
When I first heard about this Secret Service prostitution scandal in Colombia, I bolted out of my chair and hollered, "Oh, my God! People enjoy having sex? Put me through to the Tribune front page—I have a scoop!"
Before I launch into my jeremiad, let me say to all men: Do not ever engage the services of a prostitute. Get laid by going to Gamekeepers at 3:30 a.m. like everyone else. According to all the research we have on human trafficking, the woman you're paying for was likely kidnapped or coerced into that appalling lifestyle.
Having said that, prostitution is legal in Colombia, so if a Secret Service agent owes a woman $800 for services rendered, take it out of his paycheck and let's all get on with our lives. Would those agents have been fired for attending an orgy? For swapping wives? For just generally being sluts and sleeping around? I missed the part where only upstanding, sexually uninteresting people could take a bullet for the president.
In fact, could we just stop being surprised by sex scandals altogether? Media coverage of the salacious has become the new opiate of the masses, distracting our attention from questions and issues that actually affect our society. John Edwards, Tiger Woods, Eliot Spitzer, John Ensign, Mark Sanford—it all bores me to tears. You know what would be way more surprising? If rich, powerful, athletic or famous men stayed totally faithful to their wives for a lifetime. That would be weird.
And women, don't think you're getting off the hook. Meg Ryan couldn't resist Russell Crowe's "a dingo stole my baby" Australian accent, Angelina Jolie snatched up a married man, and the beloved, nearly canonized Princess Diana had a slew of paramours while she was married to Prince Charles. Trust me, women, as you ascend in the economy, become our bosses and attain greater positions of power, you will start getting caught with your pants down more often. In fact, I'll throw it out there: If any of you wants to hire a snarky, contrarian 20-something writer, I'll make those "long nights at the office" fly by (unless I've been drinking, in which case just let me sleep).
Sex scandals aren't entertaining anymore because we're all just staring at our fingernails waiting for everyone to get caught. It's not that we have more scandals these days (look at the Kennedys); it's that technology has collapsed our privacy, and it's become way easier to get caught fooling around. Our unrealistic Puritan ideals are being exposed under the harsh light of actual human sexuality, which, let's face it, is kind of gross and would clearly have all you people humping on the train on the way to work if social norms allowed it.
Whatever takes place between two (or five) consenting adults is within the spectrum of normal human behavior, so if you're presented with near limitless opportunities to exercise that behavior—from Princess Di to Tiger to off-duty federal agents who spend their lives traveling to exotic locales—good luck to you in not creating potential tabloid fodder.
As for the rest of us, let's cast off our faux-shock and all grab a beer at Gamekeepers.
REDEYE SPECIAL CONTRIBUTOR STEPHEN MARKLEY IS THE AUTHOR OF "PUBLISH THIS BOOK." REDEYECHICAGO.COM/MARKLEY