“You want me out of your life,” Monica Lewinsky wrote in a draft of a letter to President Bill Clinton in December, 1997. At that point, their sexual encounters in his Oval Office study, which had begun two years earlier during a government shutdown and were facilitated by a pizza delivery, were still secret. “I will never forget what you said that night we fought on the phone—if you had known what I was really like you would never have gotten involved with me. I’m sure you’re not the first person to have felt that way about me. I am sorry that this has been such a bad experience.” But, she wrote, she had some Christmas presents for him.
“Should I put my life on hold for another 8 to 10 years?”
In what remains, sixteen years later, a remarkable story of sub-tabloid Presidential behavior, they met twice more in the White House, and in one of those meetings she gave him an antique cigar holder, a tie, a mug, a book, and a “Hugs and Kisses” box. He reciprocated with a stash of tourist swag—a Rockettes blanket, a pin with a New York skyline, a stuffed animal from the Black Dog restaurant, in Martha’s Vineyard—and what Lewinsky described as a “physically intimate” kiss. By then, she had been subpoenaed in a sexual-harassment suit that an Arkansas woman named Paula Jones had filed against the President. Lewinsky soon came to the attention of Kenneth Starr, who had been appointed to investigate the Clintons’ connection to a land deal and ended up looking into everything he could find. The Monica experience was just beginning.
“I turned 40 last year, and it is time to stop tiptoeing around my past…”
Last week, Lewinsky published an essay in Vanity Fair about her life as an object of extreme mass voyeurism. Read the rest of this entry »