On Being Charlie

“That’s just Charlie being Charlie.” That was the rationalization Charlie Rose’s right-hand woman gave the young ladies who told her disturbing stories about their boss. She just chalked it up to …I don’t know, eccentricity I guess.

A cavalcade of clay feet have been revealed to be little more than heels in recent weeks. I, for one, appreciate the stink. It’s long overdue and there is nothing eccentric about this. From CK’s exhibitionistic Onanism to the barring of a District Attorney from his local shopping mall all of these stories have been “creepy.” As our soon-to-be President said on tape, “When you’re a star they let you do it,” adding, “You can do anything.”

I’ve put a lot of thought into the sexual proclivities of men since my best friend told me how he persuaded a neighbor kid to pimp his twelve-year old sister so that my buddy could have sex with her. We were high school freshmen. I would be five years older before my first such experience and it would be with an older woman where the power differential was more nearly equal.

I made new friends in High School and most were more of the Andy Hardy persuasion but not all. I remember how nonplussed I was when one of them described how he had talked his girlfriend into having reluctant sex with him. I was content with innocent kissing at that time and fully aware of the threat of pregnancy. I was also particularly taken with the 1963 movie “Love with the Proper Stranger” starring Natalie Wood and Steve McQueen. It showed the beginnings of a back-alley abortion. I’ve been pro-choice ever since if only because women were faced with the entire burden of pregnancy as well as 90% of the attending opprobrium leavened only slightly with pity. Since that era contraception has become an alternative, at least in the hands of the prudent, but men haven’t improved much.

Through college I got an eyeful. On guy bragged about giving his date the option of sex or being kicked out of the car miles from town and walking back in the dark. I was regaled with the legend of the fellow who tried to sleep with a different woman every day for a month but who only managed it for 24 nights straight. And then there was Brad, (not his real name).

Brad had been a year behind me in high school and I considered him to be a very sharp fellow until the night I met him at a party drunk on his ass. He came with a young woman from his graduating class that I had known and liked myself. Brad walked up to me in a half stupor and told me “You can fuck Xxxxxx. I’ve fucked her.” Some people might tell you that it was the alcohol doing all the talking but not me. It was Brad letting his true misogynist out for all to see. I did not like it and nursed a passive aggressive grudge on Xxxxxx’s behalf from then on.

In the Spring a group of us went to a strip joint for beer. Brad came along drunk once again. He stumbled up to the stripper and began spitting on her, dry spitting I think. He showed not a trace of chivalry or the sentiment, “There but for the Grace of God go I.”

Our group met Sunday nights to have a brotherly meeting and before our adjournment each of us would get a chance to offer up a little homily. When it was my turn I feigned good humor and heartily congratulated Brad on our visit to the strip club and his efforts to lubricate the stage.

After the meeting Brad accosted me and angrily asked why I had embarrassed him by telling that story. He brushed off my genial suggestion that I meant it in good fun, and he was right. He wasn’t a dummy – when he was sober.

I attribute my own sense of right and wrong where sex is concerned to my parents as much as anything having to do with me. I am hardly a prude having been a silent witness to a great many young men through my college years. I saw a great many Charlie Roses in the making. How is it that young men can so quickly become such jerks?

There’s a lot of blame to go around and I don’t mind pointing fingers. I’ve been hinting about it in recent blog posts and for the last couple weeks our news has been deluged with such stuff. I am adding my voice to those of a great many women who have been exposing the shabbiness of famous and powerful men. I’ll confess that I’m partly motivated by that same old passive aggressiveness that humiliated poor old Brad. The fact is our society goes to great lengths to protect favored men who come to expect protection from a very tender age.

The strangest conversation I ever had with other school board members took place in the wake of a closed meeting to discuss the seamy events which had just taken place at one of our high schools. It relates to my recent “Our Little Thing” posts.

A teacher had attempted to get someone to alter their testimony to spare a young man from disgrace. A rash of oral sex was being performed at one of our high schools and judging by the complaint of a young woman who had suffered its indignity not all of it was consensual.

After our meeting we went to a local pub and one of our members, who taught in a neighboring school district, explained the facts of life to the rest of us. She told us that the young people at her school were simply practicing “safe sex” by making it oral. My memory may be faulty, but I don’t recall her describing it as “oral sex” but with a synonym having the initials BJ. Although its not germane to this matter I’ll add that our colleague also told us that her women teacher friends got together and talked a lot about extramarital flings. As a singleton herself she evidently took a dim view of this. As I said. It was a very strange conversation.

For generations young men have been able to avoid much of the trouble caused by their pursuit of the flesh. They weren’t sent to convents to give birth. Sometimes they have avoided child rearing expenses all together. If they avoided a shot gun marriage the problem might be solved through a back-alley abortion that came with the threat of accidental sterilization, illness or death – to the woman. Damn Roe vs. Wade for opening the floodgates of irresponsible sex.

We have only to look to our President to see how this works. Much like my friend Brad, Donald Trump described one failed seduction, again on tape: “I did try and fuck her, she was married.” How prudent of him!

Unlike the sex obsessed young men I watched growing to manhood Donald Trump was just using “locker room talk.” Or, just maybe, the President grew up with a few teachers who did their best to look out for the reputation of a millionaire’s son.

He could have found them in Duluth.

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