We should be allowed to pick our own pictures at times like these.) A great dresser—she wore some black '70s number, kind of, but not in the slightest bit revealing or inappropriate. When my brother returned in '94 from a year of studying ancient texts in Israel, he was incredulous and disgusted with our national obsession with Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan.
When you emerge into a media maelstrom directly from a media-free world, whether it's Jerusalem or the bottom of the ocean, alleged semen on a reportedly navy blue dress purportedly ejaculated by the leader of the Free World seems rather unimportant, not to mention, well, seedy.
(You know how some photos of yourself can make you cringe? My sum total experience is a meeting of eyes at a boring bar party and a B-minus date afterward.
3.) As most of us believe, it was some hazy amalgam of the first two choices, a disconcerting land where Chuck Robb's oral-sex-is-OK rules and Monica was addled by a close brush with power. No matter which curtain you pick, there are dozens of people I've met in this town with empty, self-serving, loathsome characters who deserve life-ruining scandals long before Monica does.
But I am not my brother, and it didn't take long—about a second, actually—for me to go from glimpsing the Caymanian Compass to joining my fellow townies in an obsession.
I couldn't watch enough airport-bar CNN-blaring televisions. When the gong of scandal ringeth, count on me to be the first in line for the hanging, salivating in expectation of the next tidbit.
I write, clearly, because I want a piece of this story just like everybody else. "Just some extra I had." So, ignoring the usual coy mating rituals, Monica felt free to actually be nice. I was intrigued enough to approach Joe, who was the raison d'être for the going-away party. I thought it odd that she was leaving the Pentagon job without a new one to go to, but she explained that she was anxious to leave D. After a few plans fell through—about which she was unfailingly polite, understanding, and as far from aloof as you can get—I picked her up at her mom's place at the Watergate.
That imperative distinguishes me not at all from every other journalist in Washington. Upon gentle inquiry, Joe told me that Monica was bad news, that she had left the White House because she had kept wandering into the Oval Office and inappropriately striking up conversations with the commander in chief. "Stay away." But Washington, in its own polite way, generates more trash talk than a Bulls game. The conversations were terse but friendly; we made plans to get together when she returned from a job interview in N. I'm 15 minutes late for everything, and I always get lost around the Kennedy Center, but she waited in front, no big deal, seemingly psyched. Her job meant she wasn't getting out much, so any place sounded great to her. Her last day at the Pentagon was rapidly approaching, for which she was grateful. Her good mood and light manner indicated that she had no idea that in a matter of days she would become a chew-toy for Ken Starr.