Love & Sex, Sideways

I have no clue why a member of the U.S. Congress thought it would be cute to put a picture of his private parts on Twitter.

Absolutely no clue.

The fact that he is married (and less than a year at that) makes it extra unfortunate, but he could be single and I would still be like a deer-in-headlights over his decision.

I would be, that is, if I had not remembered Thomas Haden Church in Sideways.

Recalling Church’s character Jack Cole helped me at least begin to process what could be at the heart of the craziness.  Jack is an actor losing his edge in his career.  His fiancée Christine is elegant, beautiful, intelligent, wealthy, and she loves him.  Much of the movie Sideways takes us on a ride with Jack and his friend Miles Raymond as Jack roams the countryside looking to have sex with anything in a skirt.  Jack seems at first to be completely panicked about the expectation that he will be with one woman for the rest of his life, and he can’t get busy with random women fast enough.  After all, the clock is ticking, and his wedding day is right around the corner.

It’s when Jack picks up a star-struck waitress at a franchise steak house it begins to dawn that he’s not really sowing his wild oats.  He’s looking for someone to whom he can feel superior.  He does not feel worthy of Christine, and when he loses their custom wedding rings whilst being chased by the waitress’ husband, he breaks down.  Jack has been arrogant and dismissive of his fiancée up to this point, but at the prospect of losing her his world collapses.  We see a man walled-in by insecurity and self-doubt.  Only when he lies about who he is and engages women who respond to his artificial persona does he feel in control.

Jack’s true panic about getting married is that one day Christine will realize who he actually is and that she does not love him.  Through his tears be begs Miles for help finding the rings, “I can’t lose Christine, Miles!  I can’t lose her!”

The first time I saw this movie I had the aforementioned deer-in-headlights feeling.  Huh?  Jack loves Christine?  What kind of person acts like this if he loves someone?

With time I’ve learned that, unfortunately, a lot of us numb our vulnerability with stupid behavior that contradicts our real feelings.   No one wants to be hurt, or disappointed, or found out to be not quite all the packaging promised.  My gut tells me that this incident with the Congressman “putting his junk on Twitter” — as a friend of mine so descriptively phrased it — has a little Jack Cole in it.

The one thing that keeps it from being too neat and clean is that when I look at Anthony Weiner, I don’t see Jack.  I see Miles Raymond in his eyes.

Sounds like my strange prayer list just got another name.