December 4, 2007
The Giver of Pain and Delight
By Mary Lyon
The original "Star Trek" series had an episode called "Spock's Brain" - that boasts an exquisitely descriptive line that's stuck in my brain for decades. The episode explored one of those male-versus-female societal structures in which the men, savage, near-Troglodyte types, spoke of the dominant opposite sex as "the givers of pain and delight." One of those hapless men, lo these many years later, is Rudy Giuliani.
I've been thoroughly enjoying what many have now termed "Bootygate," "Sex on the City," and the business of the "Tryst Fund" and "Shag Fund." How the worm has turned. The republi-CONS now have their very own St. Monica of the Sex Scandal. You'd think after years of getting drunk on Bill Clinton's Monica, they'd know how to handle this one. It's straight down their alley anyway, because it's paved with other people's money.
The dynamic between Rudy and Judy (aha! Another Judith! The conservative world sure can come up with these real-life "givers of pain and delight" - Judith I'm-in-bed-with-the-WMD-liars Miller, Judith I'm-in-bed-with-Bernie-Kerik Regan, and now Judith Nathan I'm-in-bed-with-Giuliani Giuliani) is fascinating. I think it's also most revealing as to what kind of undercurrents would rule Rudy himself if he were ever to reach the presidency. Wife Number Three would cast a very long and expensive shadow over his behavior and his policies.
So since she is a factor, whether she or her man OR his campaign would like to admit it or not, how 'bout let's take a moment and look at this. And at her. After all, wives are fair game these days. Karl Rove already said so. Besides, it'll be fun! I reserve the right to be catty. And I won't be the only one. I predict this lady will inspire at least a few books of her own by the time this is over (paging Judith Regan?).
What we have here, in my opinion, is the classic royal courtesan. She latched onto a VERY good prospect, smart girl, and hung on for dear life. It even meant First Lady status for a brief time, since Rudy dumped his second wife, Donna Hanover, for the chic little brunette with the champagne tastes while he was still New York City's mayor. Of course Judith hopes for more because, once you get used to the luxury treatment, especially sweet if it's on the public's dime and not your own, it's hard to go back to a simpler, more humble, and less lavish lifestyle.
But as they say, uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. I might start worrying if I were Her Ladyship. After all, Rudy now has an established track record for throwing over a wife for a backstage girl. The concubine may have scored, but would be ill-advised to rest on her laurels. After all, what's to stop him from throwing HER over, eventually, for some younger, cuter little honeybunny? And if he had the power and weight of the federal government at his disposal to hush things up and move money around to pay for secret little love shacks and on-demand police escorts (for her, AND evidently her extended family also) and city employees specially diverted to Milady's dog-walking duty, just imagine how easy it could be to cheat on her when you've got the Secret Service looking out for you?
I think we see evidence of that every time Rudy gets one of those adorable, charming, "humanizing" cell phone interruptions from Lady Judith when he's out in public without her on his arm. Oh, SO sweet! Look how lovey-dovey they are! Kiss-kiss, smooch-smooch! I think it goes deeper and perhaps a little stickier, and residual "worries" prompted by 9/11 are merely an excuse here. ANY "other woman" who stole her man from his now ex-wife, newly suspicious about ANY signs or signals that it might happen to HER, too, would do what any calculating person on alert would do: check up on him. Thus we have those random cell phone calls she places, butting in on whatever speaking engagement or personal appearance Rudy's making. That tells you at least that she wasn't near a TV at the time she felt it necessary to confirm where he was, what he was up to, and with whom. Someone as shrewd as the former Mrs. Nathan would understand instinctively how power is the ultimate aphrodesiac. Someone such as she would also recognize that others feel the same way. She won't be resting easy in her "sample size" designer duds, especially as her ill-gotten gain grows in fame, stature, and political clout. She already has been known to throw a hissyfit when she discovers seating arrangements at formal affairs - in which she and Rudy are placed at separate tables.
Let's further examine that penchant for royal trappings. Nancy Reagan once tried to joke away her own Marie Antoinette image by saying she'd never wear a crown - it messes up your hair. That evidently hasn't been a problem for Rudy's Judy. The prominent diamond tiara she wore on her wedding day and the fancy hats she sometimes models are among the samples that betray her blueblood-wannabe complex.
The women of British royalty and aristocracy wear hats. It denotes their station in society and serves, I suppose, as a more understated substitute for a flat-out crown or jeweled tiara - when you're out in public in regular business attire and the BIG baubles might seem, well, a little, um, unseemly. But even those hats can be a bit over the top - making statements of their own. A recent photo of Judith Giuliani in one of those rather large and overpowering bonnets screamed this to me. It reminded me of something you might see on Camilla or the ladies arriving at Ascot wearing Rose Parade floats on their heads.
Then again, sometimes Judy's designer objets don't even have to be worn to enjoy their own private high life. Just ask the "Baby Louis" Vuitton bag that merits its own seat in first class next to Milady in flight. Judy Bachrach writing in "Vanity Fair" recently observed that Mme. Giuliani's spending and big-ticket demands were driving Rudy crazy. But then again, such is the nature of a "giver of pain and delight."
Perception is everything, everywhere - particularly including presidential politics. We females entering the job market on the cusp of the women's movement a few decades ago were often advised to dress for success. Dress for the job you want, not the job you may have at present. Observers say you can see it in Judith Giuliani as she attempts to expand from her already-established princess image into flat-out queendom. And what better way to graduate from Her Highness to Her Majesty - as the title First Lady of the United States of America would subtly confer upon her? She's quite accustomed by now to the royal treatment, thanks to the people of the City of New York. Imagine what's in store when taxpayers of the entire country are there to foot the bill! As it turns out, Mistress Judith won't be merely a golddigger in Rudy Giuliani's life - she'll be OURS, too: the Great American Golddigger.
I suppose if we can afford extravagant expenditures for private armies and security details, un-supervised billion-dollar crony contracts and wars-of-whim that have been charged to our account by the current Dauphin, we can be expected to be able to pick up the tab for the Rudy-and-Judy show. The "Punch" is understood. What's also understood in the "Bootygate" scandal is hubby's willingness to go along with it, moving the money around to obscure little city cashiers and prepaid credit cards so that the public need never know. It's not just her entitlement attitude. It's clearly his also.
Which brings me to those fun photos of Mr. Giuliani himself, dressed in drag, whether it's leading a line of long-legged chorus girls or tapping into his own inner Dame Edna. The once and future under-slogan for the Clintons was (and is) "buy one, get one free." With the Giulianis, perhaps that means the purchase of two diffrent and, without question, full-priced kinds of "givers of pain and delight" (no freebies here, folks, and only the "delight" part comes cheap). Buyer beware.