Scoundrels, scandals and why politicians get caught cheating

Here we go again, another political sex scandal.

Is it just me, or has anybody else noticed that these things never seem to happen to women?

Oh, women are involved all right - they're usually either being wronged or participating in the wronging.

Yet I can't recall too many instances where a high-profile female politico was run out of office because she couldn't keep her skirt zipped.

Can you imagine the press conference?

Picture it. Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi or Elizabeth Dole takes the podium, her faithful forgiving man standing by her side, as she stoically apologizes for spending campaign funds on a Chippendale dancer.

I'm having a hard time picturing Bob Dole with a hanky and pearls telling the world that, despite her wandering eye, Liddy really is a good wife and a fine public servant.

"I've forgiven her; this is a private matter. I've accepted her apology, and I'm standin' by my woman."

It's only funny, because it never happens that way.

I'll refrain from comment about the current scandal, except to say, Elizabeth, you've been dealt more hardship than any one person should ever have to deal with. How you handle it is nobody's business but yours, but please know that we're thinking about you.

However, this incident, coming on the heels of oh-so-many others (from both parties I might add) makes me wonder, why doesn't it ever go the other way?

I know women cheat; statistics show that the number of married women having affairs is on the rise. But why aren't more powerful, middle-aged women caught in sex scandals?

Several reasons. First off, they're tired.

Let's be honest here, if you're a 50- or 60-something woman, and you're a bigwig, and you're married, and you have kids, and you have a staff and you have to wear pantyhose everyday, you're exhausted. You've probably spent your whole life taking care of other people, and the last thing you need is one more man to please. I'm no senator, but I can't imagine that battling it out all day with Larry Craig or Orrin Hatch puts a woman in the mood for love.

Which brings me to another reason high-powered women don't fool around - mirrors.

A saggy, baggy man may ignore the aging image greeting him above his sink while shaving, preferring instead to seek (or even purchase) a more flattering self-image as reflected in the eyes of a younger woman. But middle-aged women are under no such delusions. They know exactly what they look like, and getting naked in front of some smooth-skinned young guy only makes them feel old. Women who want to recapture their youth know that plastic surgery provides better results than boy toys.

But then again, maybe I'm wrong. Perhaps every congresswoman, city manager and council woman in America is whooping it up right now in a cheap motel.

Maybe the real reason we don't see women in headline-grabbing sex scandals is they're too smart.

While men are notoriously careless and boastful when under the influence of lust, women are a bit more calculating. They don't brag, and they have a lifetime of experience arranging dates and handling their own affairs without anyone ever noticing at all.

Because as every philandering politician knows, it's only a scandal if you get caught.

Snellville resident Lisa Earle McLeod is a nationally recognized speaker and the author of "Forget Perfect" Contact her at www.forgetperfect.com.