About the Dentist who Fired His Assistant for Being Attractive

Three readers have asked me to comment on the story about the Iowa dentist who fired his assistant because he was attracted to her and felt this was jeopardizing his marriage. All I can say, folks, is that I really don’t want to comment because this is a story about weird people doing bizarre things, and it makes no sense to analyze the story where there is too much unexplained weirdness.

The man wanted to save his marriage and this is why he made his extramarital erections a subject of discussion on thousands of blogs, articles, radio shows, and news programs? Does anybody really believe this shit? Of all the strange things people do to save their marriages, creating a very public brouhaha about the exact physiological symptoms of your attraction to somebody other than you spouse seems too outlandish even for Iowans.

The fired assistant is running a close race with the dentist for the prize of the weirdo of the century. She receives sexually charged comments and answers text message from her employer asking how often she orgasms and just takes it in her stride because she “saw him as a mentor”? A mentor in what exactly, if I may ask? And then she goes to court because she wants to keep working in a place where she is harassed and where her presence has become hugely conflictive? Yeah, makes total sense. Of course, it is entirely possible that everything she did (including putting up with harassment) was simply a way of accumulating evidence in order to sue and wrench a good settlement out of him. Which makes the whole story even more disgusting.

I believe that the participants of this brouhaha are lying. For some reason, they need all this drama and exposure and they are very successful in manufacturing interest towards themselves. Maybe the dentist’s business wasn’t doing all that good. Dentists lose a lot of profit in a recession. I know that my dentist is positively desperate to get patients to her office. Alternatively, they might simply be bored. Imagine living in Iowa all your life. You just might get to a point where turning some tawdry office flirtation into a major media event will sound entertaining.

In any case, contrary to what people are suggesting (see linked post), I don’t see any feminist issue here. Just a bunch of weirdos who are probably huge fans of the Jerry Springer show.

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8 comments on “About the Dentist who Fired His Assistant for Being Attractive

  1. Thank you for this very sensible and measured reply. I have apparently gotten banned at Feministe for saying something other than what an outrage it is and not condemning the eeeeeevviiiilllll Iowa Supreme Court. I actually might cut the dental assistant a little more slack than you do. She might have just been inexperienced about handling this kind of thing and lost her chance to make a claim of sexual harassment that might have stuck and held up in court, instead of a claim of sex discrimination, which it clearly wasn’t. Expect to get flamed from Feministe if they read your comment over there.

      • Wow! I didn’t see those posts, but you were 100% right. In fact, I’ve written elsewhere that Morsi is just another autocrat lunatic and that women and religious minorities will continue to be oppressed. It’s even scarier how their president attended college at one point in the United States. It seems to me that we have a lot more in common than I thought.

        As I said before, I currently have no specific political label for myself so I won’t get caught up in all the extreme dogmatism that can come with getting too entrenched in the label itself or the leading figures behind these movements. Religious fundamentalists tend to have the same problems and neither take criticism well usually.

  2. It’s interesting how some people seem to embrace their oppression. When the Egyptian protests were going on, an educated Egyptian woman appeared on TV to say that it didn’t really matter who got into power in Egypt, even if it was the Muslim Brotherhood, so long as the West kept out and Egyptians determined their own direction.

    Well, it looks like identity politics produced its usual fruit of arch-conservatism.

      • Zimbabwe hasn’t quite, although some people might wish to argue that point. The war for independence was fought for real things, not some feeling of self-esteem or feeling of self-determination (without the substance of it). To the degree that the revolution has been sent of course more recently, that has been because of identity politics. In particular the redistribution of land was almost entirely an identity politics ploy — which corrupted the economy.

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