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Opinion Mike Pence and the temptresses

Vice President Pence, left, takes the stage with his wife Karen Pence on Feb. 24 in Las Vegas. (John Locher/Associated Press)
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At least according to one interview, Vice President Pence never eats alone with a woman who is not his wife. Nor will he attend an event without her where alcohol is served. Mike Pence knows all too well what will happen. Mike Pence must avoid temptation at all costs.

But I must ask: How can he possibly serve as vice president when he is constantly battling such a horrible weakness? I cannot help feeling that this is a bit unfair to him, and that already there have been too many concessions made to his feebleness  — keeping women out of the Cabinet, by and large, and seldom inviting them for photo ops.

Perhaps it might be worse if he were president, yet even as vice president, this condition presents a constant danger. Why are we tormenting this poor man, incapable of dealing with women as people, by placing him in a position of responsibility? So much could go wrong. One day, he might look up from casting a tie-breaking Senate vote to issue small side arms to fetuses and discover that all the senators had left but Elizabeth Warren. Could we expect him to do anything but rush at her in a wild frenzy of passion? Should he be allowed to cast votes there at all, when this danger always looms?

What if he had to meet with Elaine Chao for any reason? Or Betsy DeVos? Potential grizzlies are not the only thing she has to fear.

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Suppose at a champagne reception, Pence reached for a cocktail shrimp at the same moment as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and their fingers were to brush. Could we reasonably expect this poor man to do anything but seize that siren temptress in his arms and do what our cave ancestors did? Reasonably, we should break off all diplomacy with Germany — that is, if President Trump has not already done so.

I hope that when the CEO of Campbell Soup came for a White House meeting they warned her not to let a single can of soup peer seductively from her purse, lest it give Pence the idea that they were eating a meal together and he were to fling himself bodily upon her.

How can he leave his house? At “Hamilton,” how was he restrained from leaping onstage and announcing “I’M INSERTING MYSELF IN THE NARRATIVE” whenever Eliza sang alone?

What will happen when he must see the face of Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill every day? This may snap the frail thread of his remaining self-control.

I have enough to worry about without being terrified that the vice president is a wild beast whose ardor cannot be contained.

During the campaign, great pains were taken to prevent Pence from standing next to Hillary Clinton at a buffet, as a woman in such proximity would cause him to smear a salmon patty seductively down his shirt front and emit low growls, and he would have to be restrained by aides. He cannot help himself. This is how he is.

If he ever showed up for a dinner meeting with an Alex that he assumed was a male aide, only to find that she was female, he would drop to all fours and begin sprouting hair from all his pores.

So we must keep him from temptation. Temptation is all women, a monolith that wants nothing more than to seize Pence from his loving wife and inhale his rare musk, like Axe body spray but eight hundred times more potent. This must not be. Pence is only human, after all. And women are something else.

Unfortunately, instead of saying, “Anyone with this condition is not fit to be put in a position of power,” they decided it would be easier to just keep women out of the room. And I have heard this kind of logic before. Don’t let women in! Because the second there were women there, the men would cease to be able to relate to People as People and begin to beat their chests and thump the ground and chaos would reign. Nothing bad can happen to women if they aren’t admitted, as the all-male Harvard Porcellian Club famously explained. “Forcing single gender organizations to accept members of the opposite sex could potentially increase, not decrease the potential for sexual misconduct.”

Women are not people, so it does not matter if they are excluded from rooms. Women are distractions. Their mere presence is like a horrible miasma.

This idea that what is negotiable is whether or not women belong in the room, not whether or not men can be expected to keep themselves from dropping to all fours and growling, is intensely frustrating. Trump exhibits a different version of the same problem, where women are something other than people and deserve to be treated as such. Women are temptations, not equals. If you’re in a room with them, they are for grabbing. The solution? Stay out of rooms with them. Or keep them out.

And for anyone who says that this “Billy Graham rule” is an example of praiseworthy self-control: No, it’s not. This is someone who is living life with the assumption that he lacks the modicum of self-control involved in eating dinner with another human being and not committing adultery. This is not what “lead us not into temptation” means.

I would humbly submit that if this is how you feel, the problem is you.