What does $5,500 a night get you?

I just got back from a 50-year-long vacation on the dark side of the moon, and was shocked to find out that a politician was involved in sex scandal.

It seems the governor of New York had to resign after it was revealed that he’d been spending some quality time with a high-priced hooker in D.C.

I’ve learned to expect this sort of tawdry behavior from televangelists, pop stars, movie stars, truck drivers, lumberjacks, lawyers, farmers, writers, professors, doctors, motorcyclists, servicemen, contractors, consultants, IT technicians and musicians – but from a politician? When did that start? It’d be like finding out J. Edgar Hoover enjoyed wearing lacy panties under his suits.

It’s not even the sex, it’s the creepy-stupid factor that is so disturbing. Leaving New York City to find a hooker is like leaving Hawaii to find a nice beach. It’s just wrong. Yet people can’t get enough of it. Even the most straight-laced person I know wants to hear the juicy details.

Well, they’re in luck. While I’m ashamed to admit it, I know exactly where to get those juicy details. Yes, friends. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I know a politician. I should have told you before, but it’s not the kind of thing you brag about. And my wife has no idea that I know people like this, so don’t tell her. Oh, she’ll probably stay with me if she finds out, but there will have to be a lot of healing first.

My politician “friend” – let’s call him the Guv, since he’s actually a powerful senator – and I have lunch “meetings” in out-of-the-way restaurants where none of my friends will recognize me. This has been going on for many years. I’ve even taken “golfing trips” with him to places like Las Vegas and Myrtle Beach, where we’ve stayed in expensive hotels.

Now and then I try to get him to give up “the life,” but he says he likes it. He gets to pick his own hours and even though a lot of his clients are repulsive old, bald businessmen, the money’s good – especially the tips.

“So sue me,” he says, “I like nice things. Who doesn’t? How many of the men on the floor of the stock exchange who cheered when the news about Gov. Spitzer hit the wires were at home with their wives the night before? How many were out at topless bars or at Hooters? How many have used the same escort service he used or ones just like it. How many of them have done the same thing and not been caught?”

“But two wrongs don’t make a right,” I said.

“Yes, but three do,” he snaps back. Sure, his moral compass is out of whack, but he is charming and glib. That’s why he keeps getting elected over and over. It’s almost as if so long as the snow gets plowed and the potholes get fixed, people don’t care about is moral failings.

I didn’t know how to say this delicately, so I just blurted it out, “What exactly do you get for $5,500 a night?”

“It depends on what floats your boat. Some men like a contract to fix all the potholes on a state road, others just want some bureaucratic paperwork to go away, some are really kinky and want special favors – like making oil the state bird or proclaiming April 3 National Rebar Day or something.”

“Aren’t you filled with self-loathing and disgust after a night of ‘shaking hands’ with these guys? Don’t you feel unclean?”

“Oh please! What goes on behind closed doors is nobody’s business.”

“Have you learned anything from this whole episode?”

“Yes, I have,” said the Guv. “I’ve learned a very important lesson that will stay with me as long as I’m a politician – don’t use the same escort service the reporters use. They blab too much.”

Jim Mullen is the author of “It Takes a Village Idiot: Complicating the Simple Life” and “Baby’s First Tattoo.” You can reach him at jim_mullen@myway.com

Copyright 2008, Newspaper Enterprise Assn.

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