86. The Tanganyikan Shell-Brooding Cichlid. And Anthony Weiner.

This fine little fellow is a Tanganyikan Shell-Brooding Cichlid.

His name is longer than he is.

His name is longer than he is.

If he has a certain haunted look about the eyes, there’s a good reason for this. Sex. Sex is very complicated for the poor little Shell-Brooding Cichlid. Because they are just like us. At a glance, he finds himself a nice little Shell-Brooding Cichlid female and settles down to a happily married Cichlid life. He and his mate find a cosy little shell, he drives off any competitors, and then sets about raising a family. He wishes. It’s not all plain sailing for the Shell-Brooding Cichlid. He has some concerns. Pirates. And sneakers. A pirate Shell-Brooding Cichlid is a bigger male. Once our poor little male has done all the hard work, setting up his happy home and driving off potential rivals, the pirate simply moves in and takes over. Poor little territorial male.

I have some concerns about this pirate.

I have some concerns about this pirate.

But all is not lost. Because he still has a chance of being a sneaker. Which is ironic, because he spends a lot of his time trying to drive off sneakers. Fish don’t breed like us. The female lays her eggs in the water, and the male fertilises the eggs by releasing a cloud of sperm into the water. And that’s where the sneakers come in. Sneakers are smaller male Cichlids. They’re not big enough to settle down and hold a territory. But they are big enough to release their own clouds of sperm. They lurk around on the outskirts of the breeding grounds, waiting for the right moment. While the male is busy fertilising his mate’s eggs, the sneakers dash in, release their own cloud, and then dash off again. And the territorial male will settle down to raising a brood of little Cichlids that aren’t all his own.

I looked up sneakers on the internet, but it kept giving me pictures of takkies.

I looked up sneakers on the internet, but it kept giving me pictures of takkies.

Is this all sounding a little familiar? It should. How many men do you know who found the right girl, settled down, and then watched a pirate move in. And how many men out there are happily raising a brood of children that look suspiciously like the postman. This fine man is Zwelinzima Vavi. He’s the Secretary General of COSATU, our largest trade union movement. And he’s a territorial male. His wife has just given birth to his twins. He’s also a pirate. Or a sneaker. You decide.

He is certainly under investigation by the fashion police.

He is certainly under investigation by the fashion police.

You see, the good Mr Vavi has just found himself in a spot of bother. He’s been accused of rape. Maybe. A young subordinate at COSATU accused him of raping her at the COSATU offices. But it’s complicated. She did not bring a criminal charge against him. She also, by all reports, demanded two million rand from him to buy her silence. Instead, he broke the silence himself. She did bring a charge against him before COSATU’s disciplinary committee. Which she later dropped. It’s all one big sordid mess. One thing is certain. The good Mr Vavi did, beyond a shadow of a doubt, roger a twenty-nine-year-old married subordinate, standing up, in his place of work. I’ve just got one question. Why would you be so damned stupid? Mr Vavi is a public figure. He is a man of immense power. And he has taken the moral high ground. He’s not afraid to criticise our eminently criticisable government for their love of corruption and their dissipated lifestyles. He’s just handed them his head on a plate.

Be grateful I didn't go with the more popular "handed them his ass on a platter.

Be grateful I didn’t go with the more popular “handed them his ass on a platter.

Because we are not fish. Fish are robots. They are guided by a limited number of drives and live out their lives without ever having to face tabloid journalists. We have been given something more than this. We have been given common sense. Or at least some of us have. We have been given self-control. Or at least some of us have. And that makes the Vavis of this world so hard for me to understand. I’m not talking about morality here, or my own views on fidelity or the sanctity of marriage. I’m just talking about common sense. That’s all.

It's a superpower!

It’s a superpower!

If you’re a doctor, or a plumber, or an oil pipeline inspector, getting caught cheating on your wife is a private tragedy. Your partner will be deeply wounded, and whatever the outcome, your relationship will never be quite the same again. The neighbours might talk. You may lose a little respect. But the next day, you can go back to doctoring, or plumbing, or oil pipeline inspecting. Life will go on and you can pick up the pieces of the mess you left behind. Lots of people evidently feel it’s worth taking the risk. But if you’re a major political figure, that’s simply not the case. The press will eat you alive. The tabloids will bully your partner into a response. And you stand a very good chance, particularly if you’ve been breathing in the rarefied air of the moral high ground, of losing not just your job but your livelihood. For two minutes of vertical nookie with someone else’s wife in a dingy, fluorescent lit office in a soulless concrete office block.

Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

Like I say, it’s just stupid. And it’s where the self-control comes in. I drop my kids off at school three times a week. There are mommies there. Women my own age. Some of them are quite attractive. Some of them are on their way to gym. Yoga pants are involved. And yet somehow, I managed not to roger anyone in the parking lot yesterday. In fact, I’ve somehow managed to do this for years. The head mistress frightens me and besides, it would frighten the geese. Not rogering someone is actually pretty easy. I popped into the local supermarket today, and didn’t have sex with anyone at all, despite the fact that they had a pretty comfortable looking fresh produce section. I stopped to check up on our post box. Did I get me some action there? I did not.

Oh, my!

Oh, my!

Peoples’ lives are complicated. All manner of things can go on. You can fall out of love with your partner. You can unintentionally drift into love with someone else. It happens. But surely if you’re a prominent politician with the press watching your every move and powerful enemies lurking around every corner it’s worth sitting up and thinking “maybe not today, thanks.” Which leads me to this guy.

Guess how many pants I'm wearing, ladies?

Guess how many pants I’m wearing, ladies?

You’ll probably recognise him immediately. That’s Anthony Weiner, a hugely successful American politician, and member of congress. Once upon a time. Now he’s the dong picture guy. Anthony, you see, had a bit of a hobby. He liked to send pictures of his aroused dong to women who weren’t his high-profile wife. On his Twitter account. How stupid can you be? Or how driven are you to take pictures of your dong? But it doesn’t end there. Anthony got caught. And lost everything. His wife stayed with him, but his career was in tatters. It was all over. No more congress. No shot at the presidency. It simply couldn’t have been worth it.

They were good pictures! It was an art thing!

They were good pictures! It was an art thing!

But Anthony is no ordinary Weiner. He clawed his way back from the shame and the embarrassment, and ran, successfully at first, for mayor, in New York. But it’s not going so well any more. After it all came crashing down, after he had torpedoed his career and set fire to his dreams, Anthony did something a little silly. He took pictures of his dong. And sent them to a woman who is not his high-profile wife. It’s simply breath-taking. His life is in tatters. Again. How much do you have to love taking pictures of your dong and sending them to women to do this to yourself twice?

They say it never strikes the same place twice. Let's go and live in that tree.

They say it never strikes the same place twice. Let’s go and live in that tree.

Maybe I was wrong about us being smarter than fish. Or maybe I’m just imagining the wrong picture of Anthony Weiner. Maybe the proper picture of him is the one we never imagine. The picture of a funny little man standing naked in his bathroom mirror, the moment after the message has gone through, his head and his manhood both hanging down, while a single tear of shame and self-loathing rolls down his cheek.

18 thoughts on “86. The Tanganyikan Shell-Brooding Cichlid. And Anthony Weiner.

  1. Yes, it’s always been a matter of incredulity as to why these public figures don’t get it that THEY WILL BE CAUGHT.

    I chose to pay not to have advertising on my blog….this was after accessing it on other peoples computers and getting offended by the ads that showed up. Spoiling my carefully constructed aesthetic.

  2. Narf77 leads me to wonder if those of us with ad-blockers in our browsers are missing the full Guffin experience. Now I’m feeling slightly cheated.

    Having got over that sense of loss, I wonder if the awareness of doing something terminally stupid to your political career by dallying sexually is actually a real thing. It may only be a cultural deal. Parochial Anglo-Saxon even.

    For example I’ve been led to understand that under a regime as ancien as the French one, this sort of thing is not at all harmful to one’s political career. One’s sex life and one’s political life are regarded as quite separate and the French Press basically don’t give a toss about it. They’ll report it and scurril (?) it up, but it’s not seen as damaging, just gossip, and almost expected. Only WASPs get worked up about this sort of thing. It may be. Possibly.

    Of course this may simply be successful French propaganda.

    • 23thorns says:

      In general, this sort of thing wouldn’t be a big deal at a all in South Africa. Just Google our president, Jacob Zuma, and you’ll see what I mean. Vavi’s problem is that he had taken the moral high ground. Infidelity is no big deal round here, but hypocrisy never looks good.
      As for Weiner, boy did he choose the wrong country to play that game in…

  3. narf77 says:

    Sorry Mr 23Thorns…I was all ready to go on some indignant tirade when I got a gander at that advertisment at the bottom of your post. I haven’t got time to get outraged by dongs or fidelity or anything really…I am off to adopt a Guffin…I might even adopt 2 of them!

  4. sisteranan says:

    I think Mr. Weiner would definitely have to be classified as a ‘sneaker’.

  5. Mary Southon says:

    It’s a tribute to your kindness to imagine Anthony Weiner being ashamed, but sadly, he is not. He is completely and utterly shameless…as are the people who continue to work for and endorse him.

    • 23thorns says:

      I suppose I blew it with that paragraph, but the point I was making was that this goes beyond shame. It’s career limiting. You don’t have to feel bad to understand that you keep finding your livelihood in the toilet.

      • Mary Southon says:

        You didn’t blow it; you are projecting what you would feel if you were he. Weiner shows absolutely no understanding that he has damaged his career and family beyond repair. He is a sociopath and sees only what he wants to see. He believes and continues to believe that the rest of the world loves him as much as he does.

  6. Typehype says:

    Weiner must cease tweeting his manly parts at once and get some help. Enough already with his jockey shorts and his dong. Either that or take his act to the subway, like the rest of the flashers here in NYC.

  7. On a humorous note, what johnjroberts said. On a more serious note, you’re last sentence paints a truly sad picture. I feel for him and his family (he apparently can’t help himself) and wish them well.

  8. johnjroberts says:

    I’ve heard sex described as that thing that happens when your brains melt and run out through your dong. Seems apt regarding Mr. Weiner.

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