Charlie Rose, My Late-Night Husband
I have watched ďThe Charlie Rose ShowĒ almost every night since the 1990s. Iíve called him my TV husband. Iíve spent more time listening, absorbing, looking at him than most spouses do their partners. Iíve learned things: his vulnerability with dogs, his gratitude to the doctors and woman who helped him through his heart surgery and aftermath, his working with his father in the family store in North Carolina. His regret for not interviewing his parents when they were alive. His love for politics, sports, the arts, architecture, music.
I am faithful, I love him though weíve never met in person. Iíve had many dreams in which he invites me to his apartment. I am thrilled, wary in the way one is when one is in new territory. The atmosphere is erotic. We talk. I would like to be embraced, to be desired, to fuse.
And now I hear about the women who did go to his apartment apparently to talk about work. And he did make sexual overtures to them. Did not one of those women welcome his advances? Want to go to bed with him as I would have? Understand the dimensions of the work?
CBS fires him and PBS drops his show. I hope he finds another distributor. I donít think heíll fade slowly into the night. I am in mourning, experiencing the stages of griefódenial, anger, bargaining, depression. Iím far from acceptance.
When Iíve expressed my feelings on Facebook, women come back with attacks: he should have in-depth psychological treatment, he ďbulliedĒ his interviewees, how dare he receive ďa pass.Ē One day heís winning journalistic awards, the next heís mean and creepy. I donít see any women who seem aware of the programís depth and scope; in fact, they seem to want to jump in and kick him while heís down.
I donít get it. Iím a long-term feminist. Iíve experienced men putting their hands on my body in an unwanted way but I can leave. I feel sorry for poor women whose jobs depend on bosses who take advantage of them; these women should be protected.
We are on a wave of men being fired for sexual misconduct. Men can be made more aware as Kobe Bryant and Tiger Woods were but they can continue in their fields. Einstein had romantic affairs while married, Benjamin Franklin, Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower too. Why is the public now so keen on denouncing men for their sexual behavior? Is it a move to make men act like Mike Pence. How boring that would be.
Arenít women also part of the picture? They dress to seduce, they touch, they caress with their voices. Are they innocent?
Should they wear burkas, no, standards in the work place must be enforced, men must control their urges. But can we not be tolerant, patient, and forgiving?
I want Charlie back in my life as I watch at my favorite time in my nightgown before bedtime.