Introducing him to flog a new book, Stephen Colbert admiringly cites the days when Henry Kissinger chased women in his “Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac” days, an arresting contrast to the fate of Anthony Weiner for pursuing similar urges in our time.
In fact, by all accounts, Kissinger actually netted some of his quarry (“When I’m boring, they think it’s their fault”) while Weiner came up empty. Have Americans become more prudish in the intervening years?
One difference is that the 20th century diplomat, widely branded a “war criminal” (I prefer self-serving snake) for his lethal secrecy, was not furtive in sexual matters. Another was that the now 88-year-old gnome, thankfully in pre-Twitter days, did not transmit photos of his body parts.
In fact, Kissinger was proud of being “a secret swinger.” When I sent Nora Ephron, in her pre-“Sleepless in Seattle” days, to interview him, a staff member, while introducing her to the alleged Great Lover, remarked, “Another Hunebelle?” The reference was to a French journalist who had written a book about her infatuation titled “Dear Henry.”
In it, Danielle Hunebelle described him as “a species of monster.” Yet at first meeting she noted, “With his sloping forehead, aquiline nose and heavy, skeptical chin, he looked like a libidinous bird…Suddenly I realized that Kissinger’s skin color was yellow, a grayish ashen kind of yellow…I looked at him tenderly. What a poor lover he must be…”