In the March 1999 issue of Maxim there's a picture of me in a cow costume drinking malt liquor outside the nastiest strip club in New York City. I can say this about the club - the Show World Triple Treat Theater on 42nd Street - because A) I woke up there once, and B) I've been in many, many others. We visited a particularly ugly place in Toronto, during a roadtrip for the magazine, on Easter Sunday. George Will wrote an angry, pretentious column about how the magazine cheapened American culture, and all of the articles he referred to were pieces I'd helped write or edit. I was an assistant editor there during the height of its popularity, and I wrote for it as a freelancer for about eight years after. It was everything you think it was. Everything.
We drank at our desks, often heavily. There were sex toys lying around all over the place. A staffer was secretly crapping on the floor of our bathroom, and we started having meetings about it trying to find the culprit by process of elimination like some kind of scatological version of Murder, She Wrote. Once, during an intense deadline, I opened the door to the supply room, and saw someone on the fire escape shooting bottle rockets out into midtown Manhattan. The experience felt like the opening scene in Martin Sheen's hotel room in Apocalypse Now, only with more T&A. It wasn't as bad as my time at Mademoiselle, but it came close.
I'm not going to defend any of it, pretend I speak for everyone who ever worked there, or lie to you and try to say I didn't enjoy myself.
I will say this: Donald Trump skeeves me out, and I've seen it all.
The recent video is just one more example of who he is, and it shouldn't surprise anyone. But this guy's problem goes beyond lewdness or crudity. I have a PhD in lewdness and crudity, and I should know. He brags about trying to break up someone's marriage, and he brags about using his celebrity to commit sexual assault. That's not "locker room talk," as his team has tried to spin it. One of those is a serious crime and the other is an awful, mean-spirited thing to do.
Donald Trump doesn't love women or obsess over their bodies - not even in that superficial way that you can see on a million websites. He hates women. It's obvious.
One of the things I've learned over the years is that when we objectify women in the culture we normalize people like - let's point it out again - the nominee of the Republican Party. I'm more careful now about what I say and what I write.
But don't pretend Donald Trump has gotten into trouble because he used profane language or likes looking at boobs. People are rejecting him as a candidate because he has shown a complete lack of respect toward women, and an aversion and fear of them as well. He would not respect their rights if he ever became president.
And if he were working at my magazine, he'd be the chief suspect in our (still!) unsolved bathroom crapping mystery. There's something wrong with that guy, you know?
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