Irin Carmon, a staff writer for Salon.com,wrote a piece that asked an intriguing question: Was Ginger White, the single mother of two who claimed she had a 13-year affair with former presidential hopeful Herman Cain, a victim of sexual politics, or a savvy player in a transactional economy?
“Even if there’s no reason to pretend that Herman Cain matters anymore, it’s worth stopping for a moment and pondering the peculiar story of Ginger White — and what it tells us about transactional sex in our age,” Carmon wrote.
Carmon goes on to say the story behind Cain and White is “how lack of money made White feel powerless, and sex (which, yes, she didn’t much enjoy) proved the next best commodity.”
We get a deeper look into White’s background and how she says she got involved with Cain from an interview she gave to Leslie Bennetts of The Daily Beast. That’s also a fascinating read. In Bennetts’s article, White says: “I was getting divorced, and I had two small kids. He would send me extra cash and things like that. When he first started, it was pretty sporadic, but the last 2 1/2 years, there was consistent financial help every month. It was ‘Here’s something to help with this; here’s something to help with that.’ I was appreciative of that. I said thank you, every time.”
Cain has denied he had an affair with White and said they were only friends. White admits in her interview with Bennetts that she received financial help from a number of men. “I’ve supported my kids, and I never wanted to let my kids go without,” White told Bennetts. “When I was having trouble making a payment on something, there was this powerful man saying, ‘I’ll help you out.’”
There are so many money-related issues that come up in the Cain/White story. In my column Wednesday I wrote that although Cain has denied White’s claim, at the very least he had what could be called a financial affair. He was slipping White money on the sly, something a spouse should never do. As Johnnie Taylor sang in “Take Care Of Your Homework,” “the downfall of too many men is the upkeep of too many women.” Surveys continue to show that a great number of spouses keep financial secrets.
Then there’s White’s role in all this. Based on her interviews, I think White was playing Cain as much as he may have been playing her. She was using her body as a commodity as so many other women, unfortunately, feel they are forced to do. But as those women eventually find out, such transactional behavior can still leave you emotionally and financially broke.
I want to hear from you. What do you think of Carmon’s question? Send you response to the Color of Money Question of the Week to email@example.com. Be sure to include your full name, city and state. Put “Friends with Benefits” in the subject line.
Toys to Go
Here’s an interesting way to give your kids the Christmas they want, without the hefty price tag: Rent a toy.
Eve Tahmincioglu of MSN.com reports that among the growing trend of renting consumer items, now some parents are renting the latest toys. The consumer product rental industry generates about $20 billion in annual sales and is growing at a 3 percent annual rate, the article says.