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Don?t try this at home

If our prime minister announces that he will abstain from sex, chances are that we will be choking on our morning tea to know that he has a libidinal side to him at all.

india Updated: Feb 07, 2006 00:25 IST
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If our prime minister announces that he will abstain from sex, chances are that we will be choking on our morning tea to know that he has a libidinal side to him at all. With Silivio Berlusconi, though, it’s a different matter. The prime minister of the country that gave the world Casanova and Rudolph Valantino — not to mention the very concept of the Latin lover — recently announced that he will give up sex until the Italian general elections are held on April 9. One wishes Mr Berlusconi the best of luck, but what is the reason for such a sacrifice?

As sportsmen know — sporstmen that do not include people like Mike Tyson or Shane Warne, that is — sexual abstinence reserves energy that can be channelised elsewhere. While the mind boggles to think of the power that resides within the politician who has embraced brahmacharya (bachelorhood, dear friends, is not the same thing at all), Mr Berlusconi’s gesture could be more to do with him projecting himself as a man completely driven by a desire to win elections rather than driven by, well, desire.

It will be curious to see what the Italian people make of Mr Berlusconi’s temporary withdrawal from the world of earthly delights. Will they see it as a grand gesture in which every waking second is devoted to planning how to give maximum pleasure to maximum people — the hallmark of a good democracy? Or will they see it as a 69-year-old man trying to gain something advantageous out of an unhappy byproduct of gathering age?