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xmag.com : June 2004 : I Love Las Vegas


I was a teenage babysitter.
I started babysitting when I was ten. I needed Guess jeans and Benetton sweaters and ballet lessons and Aveda products and that was the only was i was gonna get ‘em. I babysat probably twenty hours a week from ten to fourteen. That’s more than I work now. I was richer than I’d ever be again. I was saner, too. I’d say the last time I had my wits about me I was fourteen. Then the hormones hit. But before that I was cute, I was smart, I had tits, and I was sane. How irresistible is that?
I remember the palpable awkwardness when the dads drove me home. I remember doing everything I could not to encourage any kind of misbehavior. I remember the shock four years later when I was hit on by my geology professor and my calculus teacher. And I remember feeling the pressure drop when I started stripping and finally PERMITTED the boys to look and flirt.
A writer for this magazine wanted to know my thoughts on former governor Neil Goldschmidt’s babysitter scandal. Truth is I feel quite conflicted. But I’ll say for the record that everyone should mind their own goddamn business, that we are all fucked up hypocrites. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.
People! We are all just people. We are all fucked up. Each society invents rules a majority feels everyone should live by. But some of these rules are wishful thinking, like, for instance, America’s fundamental rule that sex should be fair, honest and good. WHATEVER! We are animals. We have sex because we are bored and it feels good. Womyn who think that the playing field should be level in terms of power and money and age are living in a fantasy world. They should date their vibrators. But you can’t sue a vibrator....
So our former governor fucked his babysitter. Who was fourteen. That is sex abuse. As defined by our society. Whose rules we must live by. Gov. Goldschmidt obviously felt himself above the rules. But ain’t we all? And though I might find his relationship with a girl so young kinda gross, I know it’s all part of our programming, that we all fuck up, that he was and is contrite.
I can’t help but smell the familiar scent of “sex is bad.” America is very naive and optimistic to believe that we can pass legislation to protect us from ourselves. Fifty years ago fourteen year olds were acceptable mates. A hundred years ago girls were over the hill at eighteen, old maids at twenty. But now a fourteen year old girl is absolutely inviolable, a precious impenetrable virgin beyond reproach or approach. And really, I agree. Fourteen is NOT fair game. Fifteen is a bit fairer. Sixteen, almost. Seventeen—fair enough. And at eighteen, have at it!
Goldschmidt’s “victim” is a screwed up adult. But who screwed her? Her grandfather, who sexually abused her before Goldschmidt? Goldschmidt, who at least stuck around for three years and evidently evinced some trust from the girl? Or did we—society—by preaching that what happened is unforgivable, life-destroying and beyond-the-pale front page scandal fodder, requiring the guv and the girl to keep this secret for twenty-five years, poisoning both of their lives?
Fourteen year olds are sexual beings. Four year olds are sexual beings. I was rolling around naked with a girl from church when I was seven. At ten I was masturbating to John Taylor from Duran Duran. At fourteen I fell in LOVE. With, lucky for me, a fourteen year old.
Neil Goldschmidt performed extraordinarily as a public servant but only ordinarily as a mammal. He knows what he did was wrong. He’s apologized. He cannot do anything more. The families and the Fourteen-year-old Babysitter now need to try and forgive him. The rest of us should mind our own goddamn business.





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