Anthony Weiner: Some Unsolicited Advice on What to Do Next

The Congressman from New York is struggling with how best to handle his imploding career. wOw’s own Dear Margo has some answers

In my line of work, giving advice, people write to me … but when someone with a problem is so overwhelmed by publicity, I just assume he would have written if he’d had the time. So herewith, I offer, unbidden, my counsel to Representative Weiner during this clearly tumultuous and regrettable period in his life.

First, ignore everyone making fun of your name. Most people with a handle that is also a nickname for one’s privates do not wind up in the middle of a sex fiasco. (True, a couple of well-known Dicks have come a cropper here, but, like you, they were victims of linguistic coincidence.) The nature of your transgression (for which you’ve apologized tearfully and endlessly, God knows) indicates several things. For one, being in your 40s may not have allowed you to gain the tech savvy necessary to understand that any message or picture sent through so-called “social media” has the capacity to duplicate itself with the instinct of a rabbit and the speed of light.

The basis of your trouble is neither your thumbs nor ownership of a Blackberry; it is your exhibitionism. While Andrew Breitbart has done you the courtesy of not releasing the picture of your penis sans covering, we nonetheless know (from the picture in the gray underpants) that while you do, indeed, have something to exhibit, this is nothing we do in polite society. And the fact that you hold elected office makes you seem particularly lacking in judgment. Were you out of the country when one office holder (oddly, a New York Congressman) posted a shirtless picture of himself on Craigslist? I mean, not even his schwantz, just his bare chest! Granted, he was advertising for a playmate, but still. Video, as well, can be lethal. Poor John Edwards allowed himself to be filmed while he and his mistress were engaging in, well … never mind. The point is: There is more expected from public servants. You likely may have misunderstood an old Washington political saying: “Gain enough power to be a big, swinging dick.” There is no instruction to photograph it, however.

Your timing, too, was unfortunate. Although admitting a history of “chatting” with strange young women, you resumed this practice when you’d been married only a month. Your bride, Huma, beloved by many, has clearly been Huma-iliated. Although you sent us her well wishes at your press conference, she is now, mercifully, out of the country with her boss, the Secretary of State—a woman who knows a little something about these matters but, as the kids say, we will not go there. Then too, her just announced pregnancy has everyone gasping. This, however, works in your favor in The Second Chance Department. It is for the sake of your marriage that I recommended checking into a place for, oh, maybe 30 days, and have your office announce you are seeking help for a disorder (to be determined). This is the dog whistle to everyone who is angry with you that indicates you are seeking help and that you know something is wrong. I did notice that a therapist in New York has already offered her services—the first one free—but I would not suggest you take her up on the offer. She is 24 and goes by the name of The Naked Therapist. She says it’s good to knock down the barrier of clothing for problems such as yours. Guess what? It’s not.

Try to be positive. Put it out of your mind that Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are ready to kill you. This is on the record. We will just have to guess about the Clintons, the Weiner family, and dear, broadsided Huma. “For better or for worse” is an established part of the marriage vows, but who really expects this? It’s important for people to understand that you were not comparing these porn stars and college girls to your wife. I’d wager you were not thinking of your wife. But now you must. I have a hunch you will yet have to resign, but that will fit nicely with your entering a mental health facility. (Let us hope your gold-plated Congressional health insurance kicks in, even if you’ve left the House.) Also, time and tradition have proven that a quick trip to Cartier does wonders for any husband in the doghouse.

I personally do not believe in “closure” or “healing,” but I do believe in moving forward, chastened. As the great drama coach, Stella Adler, said, “Don’t go back; go on.” And perhaps try to adjust your language. Your remark, before the axe fell, that you could not say “with certitude” that the crotch shot was yours was a guilt giveaway. You just didn’t sound cocksure, which really opened the door … if only for Mr. Breitbart, who apparently didn’t appreciate your suggesting he was behind your troubles. Also, the fact that your cyber-pen-pals sent your, uh, correspondence and pictures to him suggests you may have been consorting with right-wingers. But all that is history now.

Like everyone who’s lived through trauma, you no doubt believe you will always feel as down and beleaguered as you do right now. This is not so. A time will come when you will have your life back. You may have a different job and a different wife, but there will be good times again. And for myself—admitting to an ethnocentric fear for the way my people are perceived—I just want to say that I am grateful that, unlike, Mr. Strauss-Kahn, you do not have two Jewish names.

Margo Howard is wowOwow’s advice columnist. This article also appears in The New Republic



28 Responses so far.

  1. avatar David Bolton says:

    I think your advice is spot on, with one exception—the “check into rehab for 30 days, etc.” suggestion. We all know rehab is a stall tactic and a spin manufactured by a publicist, and that is exactly what is wrong with this country. We’re tired of liars, game-players and rule-benders. This is a job, and like any other job—Rep. Weiner would, and should be fired immediately for such behavior.

    I agree that he should take time off and concentrate on becoming worthy of the position to which he was elected. To that end, he should quit and take his chances at being re-elected. We don’t—or need—to be convinced that there’s a magic, thirty-day fix for your personal problems, Mr. Weiner. If you truly are serious about changing yourself, then you go do that and leave an already-difficult job to someone who isn’t currently burdened with an extreme amount of personal baggage.

  2. avatar flyonthewall says:

    Great advice, Margo. Hopefully, Mr. Weiner will heed this advice and get back on track for the sake of his child. Maybe. Then again, did he do something else we have yet to know about? Does he even care about getting back on track? Anyhow, enjoyed reading this piece.

  3. avatar Baby Snooks says:

    I joked about this elsewhere earlier today but what isn’t funny is that some men truly have no sense of identity, if you will, apart from the appendage between their legs. One can only wonder if he named his “alter-ego” and if so, what he named it. 

    As for the Clintons, well, pots really shouldn’t call kettles black.Which apparenty they did. But they’re good at that, you know?  They set the standard for having no standards at all.

    So maybe Huma Weiner can get a book out quickly, easy to do these days with Kindle, and blame it all on his being abused as a child.  Worked for Hillary Clinton.

  4. avatar Anais P says:

    I disagree with suggestions Weiner quit. He did nothing illegal. Vitter never resigned and he WAS accused of something illegal, soliciting a prostitute. While Vitter’s GOP colleagues called for Weiner to resign, they recently APPLAUDED Vitter! Weiner only needs to answer to his constituents. If he puts his nose to the proverbial grindstone, works hard for them, works hard to atone to his wife and be the best husband and father-to-be he can possibly be, he could actually repair his tattered reputation. Maybe.

    • avatar David Bolton says:

      I disagree that he should be given a pass. Like I said before—he should have to earn it and go through the system again. If people buy into his redemption, then so be it. I don’t care about the sanctity of his marriage vows or whether he did something illegal or not. He had the opportunity to come clean and say: “wow, I did something incredibly stupid and I’m not going to lie about it.” Unfortunately, he chose to lie repeatedly about it and would probably still be lying about it if his bluff hadn’t been called. This whole “the rules don’t apply to me” mentality is what has destroyed our political system. Consider that it took thousands of man-hours and likely millions of dollars to put him in office. And this is how he chooses to repay his constituents? With dirty pictures and texts?

      If Weiner wants to regain any sense of dignity, he needs to understand and accept that his place is at the back of the line and start there.

    • avatar Baby Snooks says:

      We forget that he is not “our” representative but simply the representative of the congressional district which elected him. It is really not our place, nor our right, to demand anything. It is the sole place, and the right, of those who elected him to represent them. 

      That was one of the things that was wrong with the demands that Tom De Lay resign.  Like him or not, he served his constitutents well. And that was what he was elected to do.
      The reality is the “demand” on “our” part is always partisan and that of course is one of the reasons why this country is in the mess that it’s in.  Divide and conquer.  The problem is a house divided always falls.  

  5. avatar Claudia Marek says:

    As to resigning, I think this is between Congressman Weiner and his constituents. Unlike Bill Clinton who was “our president”–he represents a distinct area. I believe they have the right to demand his resignation, not re-elect him or recall him as they wish.

    And cheating..well, each couple has their own definition of that. It’s up to them to decide if vows were broken and what they intend to do.

    It is a sad sorry mess that distracts us from the very real problems in this country. That is what disappoints me the most.

  6. avatar mary burdt says:

    This thought keeps coming back to me…How many women are turned on by the sight of a man’s penis? Big, little, or in-between. Let’s stop pretending we care at all and maybe, this exhibitionist behavior will just go away.

    Margo, I thought you were fair in your article on Weiner’s weiner. Loved it.

  7. avatar BeanCounter says:

    My problem isn’t with the actual action of sending a pic of his privates to anyone, it’s with Weiner accusing Breitbart of illegally HACKING his online account to obtain a private picture (as I read about on the Huffington post).   This, I believe to be completely unacceptable and shady.   If he hadn’t done this, I would be on his side.   Because of it, however, I think he owes a big fat apology to Mr. Breitbart.   Also, just so you know, Breitbart showed a picture of the uncovered organ to a couple of shock jocks who took a photo of his phone and posted it, so Breitbart isn’t some sort of honorable fellow either.  lol. 

  8. avatar macwoof woof says:

    ick.. who really wants to see some guy’s penis. and balls. nope. the only one who thinks it’s hot is the owner. ick.

  9. avatar Katharine Gray says:

    As a right winer or is that weiner or is that winger…I really don’t have an opinion on people of whatever political persuasion sending naked online pictures to others …. unless of course…the recipient didn’t want or solicit which case it is sort of like the neighborhood flasher and just icky.  And illegal but I recognize that as a right winer, weiner, winger, I am *judging*.  Our neighborhood flasher was a young man about 7 years older than me  who used to flash us from his bathroom window…at the time I was a very naive 13 year old who wasn’t aware that men had pubic hair too..which is the only thing memorable about his flash to me (which suggests that the penis is not all that interesting even to sexually curious naive 13 year olds who have never seen an adult one before).  A  conversation between my father and the young man ended the incidents directed at my sister and me although for all I know the guy is now a hit on the oldster penis twitter hit parade.  

    I really have no advice at all for Weiner or his wife.  I gather his constituents think this is no big deal and I guess you get what you vote for and if they want Weiner they get Weiner.  I thought Chris Matthews was a bit of a pig for saying Huma was partly to blame but I have to admit I have always thought Chris Matthews was a bit of a pig.

    And frankly, I cannot say I have less respect for the man now than I did before.   I always thought he was a little worm.

  10. avatar Karen Ferguson says:

    Funny and wise piece! Apparently you don’t have to have crossed into the 40s to be inept with the social media. Queen Elizabeth must have heaved a heavy sigh when the press got hold of photos of the Middleton son, who’d gone hiking up a hill to drop trou and have a friend snap a photo of his backside (which appears to be unfortunately hirsute). The classy Middleton touch came when the family went to the authorities to protest that he’d meant the photos to be private –when he posted them on Facebook!

    • avatar Tulip O'Hare says:

      They are actually trying to take advantage of a strange quirk of English privacy law. If the press is judged to have invaded the privacy of a a “public figure,” the “public figure” can get an injunction against the press that completely forbids all news outlets and magazines from talking about what they found. In some cases they can even get a “superinjunction” where the press can’t even say there’s been an injunction and thus can’t even run a blind item or mention the person they’d like to talk about.

      The original intent of a law was to stop things like what happened to Princess Diana (tabloid photographers standing over the wreck snapping pictures as she lay there dying). The country has long debated the legality and feasibility of this law, including the definition of a “public figure.”

      I doubt it’s going to stick for the Middleton son in this case, but you never know.

  11. avatar Maggie W says:

    There will always be a Client # 9 or some elected official tapping away in a public bathroom stall.  That is a given. There is something in our deep rooted Puritan background that will also prompt outrage and collective disgust that will drone on and on.   Whether Weiner survives this or not is no concern of mine, but if we tossed out every congressman who behaved foolishly or in a hormonal adolescent manner, we would be far short of the 535 needed.  Yes, he lied.  And that is a Congressional first ??  Pawlenty recently gave an economic speech that few people noticed.   They were far more interested in Palin’s altered history lessons or Weiner’s briefs .  

    That is problematic and then some.

  12. avatar D C says:

    I think perhaps I should become a director of pornography. 

    Pornography is to blame for men believing that the image of their erect penis will make women drop to their knees, mouth agape, begging for it.  It’s the reason men around the world whip it out and take pictures of it and proudly share them with the world.

    What we need is a woman to make “women’s pornography” — show what really turns a woman on — and make sure men who want to turn women on watch it. 

    For my first pornographic movie I will employ Hugh Jackman (but we’ll bill him as Huge Ackman) sans shirt, wearing tight jeans pouring a pitcher of water over his … oh… wait… they already did that. 

    OK… then I’ll Tom Hanks sending witty emails to … no… wait… dang it.  Already done. 

    No… NO… THIS!  I’ll have Tom Hanks be a widowed father who loves his son and desperately misses his wife… damn…

    Perhaps the women’s pornography idea has been done and men just aren’t paying attention.  Maybe a billboard campaign aimed at heterosexual men seeking to attract hetereosexual women:  “The Only People Interested In Pictures of Your Penis are Men — is that what you’re looking for?”

  13. avatar Lila says:

    There is a difference between weiner and wiener, but alas for Weiner, not enough to save him from the inevitable jokes. Hope he has a thick skin.

  14. avatar Rho says:

    He will be okay, at least I hope so.  I wrote somewhere else that I know him.  I just hope he learned a good lesson.

  15. avatar Lisa Richards says:

    This just goes to prove that some of us use social media responsibly and some of us don’t. Unfortunately I can’t say that women are necessarily better than men as I’ve seen questionable tweets and FB postings from women too.

    Great job, Margo. Dead on advice with a sense of humor.

  16. avatar Bonnie O says:

    In order to avoid any serious psychological discussion as to Weiner’s behavior, it appears that the Congressman’s constitutents who politically support him are willing to simply sidestep the issue by saying “this is a private matter”.   Hogwash!  Representative Lee, also of NY, resigned after it was discovered he had put a photo of only his bare chest on the social network.  Weiner by refusing to resign will be forever a figure in the Democratic Party for ridicule and speculation.  He should resign and let another probable Democrat (inasmuch as his is a Democratic District) carry the banner for the constitutents …. one without the risque baggage.

  17. avatar Briana Baran says:

    What amuses me is the mixture of arrogance and a curious sort of naivete that seem to coexist in these men that allows them to make these sometimes insignificant, and sometimes awesomely grand sexual blunders. From pictures of one’s bulging underpants, to toe-tapping in airport restrooms all the way to spending tens of thousands of government dollars on high priced call girls, South American adulterous escapes with “The Other Woman” and fellatio in the Oval Office performed by interns, one must wonder precisely what is going on in this sort of man’s mind…or lack of such. Even more spectacular are the lies, the best by far being, “I did not have sex with that woman”. I’ve always thought that finding a man’s semen on a woman’s dress might indicate that some sort of sex had occurred, but, golly gee, I guess all of these years I’ve been wrong. Thank you though, Uncle Bill, for giving thousands of teenagers an excuse to give and receive all of the fellatio and cunnilingus they want, even as young as 12 (read the news, those of you who have your eyes wide shut). It isn’t sex, after all.

    I find their outrage amusing and ridiculous when they are caught. I find their lies even more so. I do not put pictures of chock-full Jockey shorts, or even penises, in the same league as inappropriately messaging minor pages, or missing Father’s Day with your children to be with your mistress. However, Mr. Weiner seems to have been in the habit of developing these online exchanges with 20-something honeys (I have heard no evidence yet that it went beyond internet exchanges). If he were my husband, I’d certainly want to know what his problem was. We’d be doing some serious talking. If I was married to a Mr. Clinton, Spitzer, the toe-tapper (forget Schwarzenegger, he was a womanizer when Maria married him, and scorpions don’t change their essential natures, so I would never even have considered him) or any of the other…public opinion, lifestyle, and all of the riches in the world wouldn’t have mattered a bit to me…I would have walked. How can I say that? Been there and done that, and for what some people might consider lesser offenses than infidelity. If I were a constituent of Mr. Weiner’s, I don’t know if I’d be calling for his resignation…but I’d never support him again because he’s a damn fool. Period. End of story.

    O, I must mention something before I go back to my deep, dark cave. About, ahem, all of this disgust directed toward, well, the male genitalia. The poor, beleaguered penis, to be specific. Now, someone out there must like pictures of penises, because lots of men apparently send them to their female significant others (no, no, not just to gay male partners, girls), who apparently enjoy receiving them. Cosmopolitan magazine, in its heyday (it is now a loathsome bit of fluff full of anti-aging and how to look like an Auschwitz victim advice like every other purported pro-female rag out there) was constantly bombarded by its female readers for pictures of the male anatomy, preferably in its aroused state. So what, precisely, is the problem? Yes, not all penises are created equal…but then, neither are all vulva. ‘Tis true, thou knowest. Men are actually acutely aware of imperfections in their equipment…well beyond size (which, for the under-educated, cannot be judged in the, mmm, quiescent state, as some are growers, and some are showers). Once again, I find myself bemused by the level of stereotyping (all men are irrationally proud of and willing to display their manhood to the world) and misandry (all penises are ugly and revolting…what woman in her right mind would want to look at one?) I see here.

    Well, then, I don’t find the human body revolting. And, I am bisexual (no, that doesn’t mean a larger dating pool on Saturday nights…it means that I find people sexually attractive first, without considering their gender, which means nothing to me. I am very monogamous by nature). Nude humans and their bits are what evolution gave us, and neither male or female genitalia are repulsive to me. If I am in love with someone, and intimate with them, I love all of them. Some of the comments on this thread gave me an uneasy, sad feeling. Soon, we will be
    like Mr. Morrison, of “Sex and/or Mr. Morrison” — Carol Emshwiller (Dangerous Visions, ed. Harlan Ellison, 1967).

  18. avatar elaine s says:

    The man is a joke.  It soulds like he has always been an arrogant jerk.  No big surprise that he isn’t ashamed enough of himself to resign.  Let us hope he gets redistricted out of a job, to never be heard from again. 

    Why are some men so intrigiued with their genital apparatus?  The first thing I though of when I saw the underpants picture was, “Look Ma, no hands!”

  19. avatar Rain says:

    Great advice, Margo!  Of note, sometimes men who have been treated for ED will become overly-consumed with their own erections and take photos of same.