We all know this type of guy: smug-but-mildly-heartwarming smile; squinty eyes wet with either tears or allergies; strong jaw line just low enough below the ears to suggest that he wants to hear everything you have to say, to tilt his head like a cocker spaniel and tell you that everything will indeed be all right.
As John Roberts awaits his political slip-and-slide into the chief justice position among the robes of the Supreme Court, I got to thinking a little about him and all of the other men who have broken my heart along the way to my current starched cynicism; the warning signs I so willingly skipped over to save my size-7 Prada soul(s); the whispered nothings that wrapped my heart in sentimental satin; my mother telling me to marry a lawyer. And the decision I came to is quite clear: John Roberts is a bad boyfriend. Stay away.
Poring through hours of research about case studies, I ripped at least three nails from my latest manicure in search of anything that even resembled an angle. While John Roberts may be the most significant example of human beigeness presently surfing the upper stretches of the high end, there's something oddly cunning about him (apart from the whole puppet theory, which, invevitably, involves a hand up your ass). His Wally-Cleaver surface easily dusts away to reveal an Eddie-Haskell core. Plus, he has no lips. I'm here to warn you: Never trust a man who has no lips.
PERCEPTION: John Roberts graduated from Harvard College in 1976, then received his J.D. from the Harvard Law School in 1979.
REALITY: Oh, who didn't? Sure, it's nice that Johnny, born in 1955, zipped his way up the ivy lattice to gain his doctorate by 24, but is that enough for you? Your requirements as a lady (or man) of today involve a little bit more than a framed-and-signed pedigree and an intense ability to argue. Plus, remember how easy school was in the '70s? Yeah, sure. Watergate was really, really hard. Really hard.
PERCEPTION: He was special assistant to the attorney general at the U.S. Department of Justice from 1981 to 1982, and was soon after named associate counsel in the Reagan administration, serving from 1982 to 1986.
REALITY: Somebody knew somebody and somebody benefited, perhaps using somebody's nonexistent lips. These are the sort of sneaky success stories that make the Republican Party so undatable. It's a boys' club, decorated by menopausal hair-picked women in Chanel with codependency issues. Iran/Contra gives us a headache, and no doubt that wouldn't help in the bedroom, either.
PERCEPTION: While working under George Herbert Walker Bush, Roberts fought for the inclusion of religious ceremonies in graduation programs (Lee v. Weisman, 1992). Fortunately, the Supreme Court shot it down.
REALITY: Unless those religious ceremonies include holy matrimony (even gay holy matrimony), you have no reason to be interested. An intentionally timely grasp at family values and the decaying morality of this, our beloved country, this particular shenanigan is just the kind of heavy-handedness that could involve you waking up with a bruised eye and having to explain at the water cooler to your co-workers that you "fell down the stairs." Believe us, after three times nobody believes you. This particular fact gives us an eerie John-Lithgow-in-Footloose vibe, although we're not sure why. Carry on.
PERCEPTION: Roberts is known to many as a "reliable conservative."
REALITY: There is no such thing.
PERCEPTION: In United States v. Brown, 2004, Roberts overrode the Constitution (as did others, unanimously) by suggesting that a police officer had the right to search the trunk of a car without the driver's consent, resting legality on the proverbial hunch.
REALITY: Nobody likes to have his trunk searched without consent. Your trunk is where you keep your junk, after all, and sometimes searches of the back end can be painful. A good boyfriend would alert you to his intentions prior to busting in and disturbing your wares.
PERCEPTION: Roberts won't really cling to either side of the abortion debate, claiming that any positions represented in his extensive fetus-saving legal career were representative of his clients or worse, the administrations to which his professional umbilical cord was attached. "Roe v. Wade is the settled law of the land. … There is nothing in my personal views that would prevent me from fully and faithfully applying that precedent," he told senators. Sure, as long as Operation Rescue isn't involved. Roberts notoriously defended the procreative terrorists in the Bray v. Alexandria Women's Health Clinic case in 1990, which in turn launched the charmingly named Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act.
REALITY: Roberts knocks you up, throws you in a ditch with the Bible and a coat hanger and pretends nothing ever happened. When asked of your whereabouts, he squints and walks away with some other blonde who sports both a promise ring and a small diamond crucifix pendant around her neck. It could happen, you know.
PERCEPTION: Roberts is (or was) a member of the Federalist Society. Sure, he may say that he has no recollection of any such right-wing membership, but thanks to the serious journalists over (and up) at the Washington Post, we know that he was, at least from 1997-98, "a member of the steering committee of the organization's Washington chapter."
REALITY: So, yes, Roberts is in bed with Kenneth Starr (which, depending on your sexual preferences, could be a bad thing anyway) and no, your personal freedoms are not safe. In a sense, the Federalist Society seems to us like a cross between the Elks Club and the Freemasons, but we don't have much sense; not that kind, anyway.
Instead, we can offer you this. Anybody who says that he is a nice, middle-of-the-road kind of guy makes a severe effort in a PR kind of way to do so probably isn't a nice guy at all. And if you find yourself slung up in a hotel room along the Great White Beltway, lying next to a snoring bore with devastating potential for harm and stretching from the belts tied around your ankles and wrists, don't say we didn't warn you.