My first reaction to Anthony Weiner's sexting buddy Sydney Leather's new guide on how to seduce a politician was some version of "This is why we can't have nice things, Sydney Leathers!"
Leathers is doing what so many in her situation do: seizing on her 15 minutes of fame by pretending like she's a published author and calling more attention to her own scandal. Released in near-conjunction with her Weinergate sex tape, it's an opportunity for Leathers to remain visible a little longer, and reap all the benefits of being relevant while she still can. Others have done it before her, and they will continue to do so until the end of sex scandals (that is to say, forever).
But the attempt here is more than just an obnoxious cry for more attention. It's both narcissistic and insecure, both tongue-in-cheek and completely serious. In the end, it's just kind of weak and sad, and leaves the reader (or this reader, at least) feeling vaguely depressed, and more sorry for her than I ever intended to feel.
To start, I don't know how heavy-handed the editing was, but the guide is surprisingly articulate. It's not going to win any Pulitzers, but it was written better than I, at least, expected. There's a bit of snark in there ("in case anyone wants to be as stupid as I was"), and Leathers concisely defends her actions and lashes back at the Maureen Dowds and the Thomas Roberts of the world who have been criticizing her.
But the snark doesn't go far enough to cover how invested she was in this "relationship" — jokingly acknowledging that it was "pathetic" that she scheduled her days around their sexting and began to alienate her friends over it doesn't make it any less pathetic. She mocks him for his neediness and for thanking her after phone sex, but at the same time glorifies their time together, idealizes him, and calls his NC-17 texts "sweet." She revolved her life around him and did anything he wanted or asked for. And now that he has publicly apologized and distanced himself from her, she comes across here as a woman scorned, desperately trying and failing to prove she didn't care about any of this.
To be clear, I don't think that Sydney Leathers has really done anything wrong. I know this is at least a gray area, and other people are going to violently disagree with me. But like she says: she's "not the one who is married," and Weiner's wife and child were not her choice nor her responsibility. But her attempt to knock him down a few pegs falls kind of flat. The guide tries to be a takedown of self-absorbed, needy politicians, but it doesn't tell us anything we didn't already know — about them. But it tells us all we need to know about her: she's self-absorbed in the worst way, willing to do anything for another second in the spotlight, and more spurned by this relationship than she would ever care to admit.