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My Hillary Factor

By Eric R. Columbus

I have a confession to make. I'm in love. But the object of my devotion is pledged to another. In fact, she's been married for nearly 20 years. My prospects don't look good.

Her husband, you see, is the next president of the United States.

I'm in love with Hillary Clinton, fortysomething wife of Bill and soon-to-be First Lady.

Don't get me wrong--I realize the problems. She'll be in Washington; I'm in Cambridge. She's Protestant; I'm Jewish. She hates Tammy Wynette; I like her.

But in spite of these admittedly daunting obstacles, I plan to proceed. It's not every day that we get a Democratic woman in the White House.

My friends tell me I'm crazy. "You're crazy," they tell me. "You're writing a thesis. You won't have any time for her."

True, they'll probably tease me about our relationship. But I can take it.

I have to admit, this really is a new thing for me. I've never been in love with a First Lady before. Barbara Bush was too old, Nancy Reagan too mean, Rosalyn Carter too boring, Betty Ford too clinical. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, is a babe.

Allow me to define my terms. My love for Hillary springs not from her svelte physique nor her ersatz-flaxen locks. (I'm not even sure what that means, but whatever it means, that's not it.)

Sure, it helps that she's a looker, at least by presidential-spouse standards, but looks alone don't cut the cake. Or, as her husband would say, that dog won't hunt. (Whatever that means.)

Many of my female friends assume that all that guys want in a woman is an ample bosom and a working cardiopulmonary system. Well, cleavage is fine--I wouldn't turn down Madonna if she strode into my bedroom and started whipping me. But man does not live on breasts alone.

Like love, Hillary is a many-splendored thing.

High-powered lawyer, Children's Defense Fund board member, outspoken lefty. Unlike some previous White House women, she's got a mind and a mouth of her own, and she's not afraid to use either.

Of course, the same could be said about Eleanor Roosevelt. But she's got buck teeth. And besides, she's dead.

During the bitter primary campaign, Hillary was called a conniving careerist eager to impose her communistic agenda upon the White House. At the Republican National Scarefest in Houston, Pat Robertson surmised that her goal was to sabotage the institution of marriage altogether. (That was right before he declared that feminists were really witches who want to kill their children.)

But while some compared her to Lady Macbeth, I'd liken her to another stage character--my favorite female literary creation, none other than Sophocles' Antigone.

Now that's a female to die for--a woman who shot from the hip and didn't take shit from any man. Of course, Antigone poses some problems. She's dead and fictional.

I hope I'm making myself clear. This is more than just another Harvard guy hitting on another Wellesley (class of '69) woman. I've finally found that ideal female, that perfect combination of brains and beauty, warmth and wisdom, legs and leftism. So she's married. Details, details. He travels a lot on business.

Some Harvard women think their male peers are pigs. But the 10,000 men of Harvard aren't merely testosterone-dripping, skirt-chasing, porn-grubbing phalluses. (We're that, too, but we're not merely that.) Those of us who don't scrape our knuckles against the ground when we walk (possibly a majority) do value mind over body.

And we're not lusting after June Cleaver. Our fantasies forswear feeble-minded females. What's in the head trumps what's in the bed.

It's more self-interest, I admit, than enlightened gender consciousness. Elevating physical attractiveness above all other virtues can have pernicious effects. You run the risk of marrying a moron, and you'll wind up bored out of your skull when she (or he) begins to sag.

And this brings me to Hillary, truly a woman for all seasons. Isn't it remarkable? A First Lady who isn't old enough to be my grandmother. Hillary, in fact, is young enough to be my...mother. We're making some progress.

It's not like my other options are that stunning. The women of Winthrop House, where I live, know me too well to love me. The women of The Crimson, where I occasionally write, won't go on the record with me.

And I don't like Tipper Gore, because she's big and she doesn't like obscene lyrics, whereas I'm small and I do like obscene lyrics.

It all comes back to Hillary. And yet the commandment forbids me: Thou shalt not covet thy president's wife. But Bill has done a little outside lobbying of his own, has he not? Isn't Hillary entitled to equal play for equal work? Seems only fair.

I think I stand a decent chance. I'm fairly witty, mildly charming and over five feet tall. I brush my teeth, wear clean socks and shower several times a month.

They say the Harvard name goes a long way. Let's see how far it will take me inside the corridors of power. This piece will probably prevent me from ever getting a job with Bill, so Hillary's my only shot. Let's see if she'll let me bake her cookies.

And like everyone else seeking a position in Washington these days, I know how to get attention. It's easy: I'll just send Hillary my resume. I can start in June. References available upon request.

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