Thursday, July 25, 2013

Anthony Weiner? Catfish? Internet Sex Scandals are SO Last Century (Or More)

Amid all the seemingly modern stories of internet-fueled romance and trysts gone awry - culminating with Anthony Weiner's latest dick pic debacle - it's worth noting that the same patterns of these social media-fueled sex fantasy scenarios played out over a century (or two) before.

Before there was Catfish (and You've Got Mail) there was Wired Love, a novel written back in 1880 about falling in love with a stranger...over telegraph.
They see each other as often as they can, but they discover something odd: Much as they enjoy hanging out together, they also miss the experience of communicating via telegraph. There’s something about the banter and repartee they enjoy when they’re talking in dots/dashes/text that’s qualitatively different — and delightfully so — from talking F2F. Again, this is a freakishly modern emotional experience.
And before there was Weiner, there was...Alexander Hamilton?
Maria Reynolds, a 23-year-old blonde, came to Hamilton’s Philadelphia residence to ask for help. Her husband, James Reynolds, had abandoned her—not that it was a significant loss, for Reynolds had grossly mistreated her before absconding. Hamilton, just 34, was serving as secretary of the United States treasury and was himself a New Yorker; she thought he would surely be able to help her return to that city, where she could resettle among friends and relatives.
Hamilton was eager to be of service, but, he recounted later, it was not possible at the moment of her visit, so he arranged to visit her that evening, money in hand. 
When he arrived at the Reynolds home, Maria led him into an upstairs bedroom. A conversation followed, at which point Hamilton felt certain that “other than pecuniary consolation would be acceptable” to Maria Reynolds. 
And thus began an affair that would put Alexander Hamilton at the front of a long line of American politicians forced to apologize publicly for their private behavior.
Technology may change, but the grand dramas of human opportunism (and hormonal mistake-making) always stay the same.

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