All right this one is sort of a doozy. Florida Lt. Governor, Jennifer Carroll (yeah I'd never heard of her either) is currently embroiled in a steamy "she said, she said" political sex scandal in which a fired aide claims Carroll enjoys lesbian afternoon delights on the taxpayer's dime.
Carletha Cole, a former aide of Carroll's was fired and then arrested after being accused of leaking secret recordings of the Lt. Governor's chief-of-staff to the media. Cole claims her innocence and says that, in fact, she was fired because she caught Carroll in a "compromising position" in her office with yet another female aide.
There's an old joke in Washington that it's better for a politician to get caught in bed with a dead hooker than a live man. Your constituents, the wisdom goes, would forgive murder and infidelity but never gayness. Never that.
So it stands to reason that Carroll, a wife and mother, would defend herself against lesbian "accusations" nobody was really paying attention to until she defended herself against them.
The problem is that when you have these accusations that come out, it's not just one person you're attacking. It's an entire family. My husband doesn't want to hear that. He knows the type of woman I am. I mean, my kids know the type of woman I am. For 29 years... I'm the one that's married for 29 years. The accuser's the one that's single -- for a long time. So [giggles] usually black women that look like me don't engage in relationships like that. [GIGGLES]
OK, obviously there's a lot going on here. As most everyone with eyes has pointed out there is no smell test for lesbians. To say that black women who "look like me" aren't lesbians is to say that pretty women can't help but like peen -- or more insidiously, that black women can't be anything but normative. It's a dumb (sorry, no pretty word for it) defense at best and a dangerous one at its worst.
But there's another, less sexy and more accepted, implication Carroll is making in her statement besides the "too cute to be into cunnilingus" theory.
"The accuser's the one that's single -- for a long time," Carroll explained to a reporter before heading to the opening of a Mitt Romney campaign office. At first I thought she was using her marriage as a shield. I can't be a lesbian, I've got a husband! But really, Carroll's using her accuser's singledom as a sword. Look at her! She's single! For a long time. Who do you really think the lesbian is? It's her! It's her!
That didn't die with the classic mid-90s rom com? When a single and approaching 29 Jennifer Aniston or Meg Ryan has to constantly swat down questions about her sexuality from her co-workers or maybe even her mom in Idaho because she hasn't had a date in months? Because we all know women become lesbians because of the lack of available penis and not because of attractiveness to available vagina.
When I was around 25, and fresh out of a horrendous relationship with a man (just to make that clear since that's the name of the game these days), I told my family I was "taking a break" for a while. My cousin immediately piped in, "Well, don't do that, then everyone's gonna think you're gay!" Really? Is that what everyone will think?
Apparently Carroll subscribes to the same mantra. Any woman without a man -- "for a long time" -- is clearly suspect. She can't be trusted and the rest of us should just laugh her off. Ha ha!
I don't know about you all but that line of reasoning really upsets me not because I'm fending off lesbian rumors left and right, but because it devalues homosexuality as some sort of consolation prize for the lonely spinster. Is single still the secret gay?