Yes, he may be Dinosaur Dave, according to sexual harassment experts. And yes, he's Dumbo Dave for repeatedly romancing female members of his staff. After all Dave, we're in the second decade of an era where office nookie is a no-no.
Nevertheless, as clueless as Dave has been, he's still not about to destroy his career and drive off hordes of women who watch him. No matter what the pundits predict, there's a very key reason why Dave won't drive off his female audience.
Women are still in the powerful clutches of the Cinderella fairytale. The allure of being picked out and romanced by a wealthier, more powerful man who is capable of carrying you away from all your cares and woes, is still enormously alive and well. What little girl doesn't still grow up hoping to be discovered and swept off her feet by a handsome, rich prince? Show me the shrink who says that women aren't still striving to marry "up" -- I doubt you'll find one.
Despite recent cultural censures against the office affair, it is quietly thriving. Admit it, how many people do you know who met their mates at the office? And why wouldn't they -- most people are working harder, longer hours than ever before. Where else are they going to meet people? This fact seems to explain Dave, a famous workaholic. He met women at work -- including his wife, Regina Lasko -- because he never went anywhere else.
According to statistics on the October 5th "Today" show, 8 million Americans have had office affairs, and 42% are with the boss -- the ones most likely to be well-off and able to pay for dinners, limos, flowers...and engagement rings. Old fairytales die very hard.
Meanwhile, even modern generations of young women continue to have been raised on multiple versions of old fairytales.
I remember that as the Editor-in-Chief of the girls' teen mag, YM, my readers' favorite film was the Disney cartoon, "Beauty and the Beast." Yet if there was ever a romanticization of sexual harassment, that was it.
The rich, powerful Beast imprisons Beauty in an attempt to "nicely" force her to marry him. Ultimately, Beauty, like many kidnap victims, begins to empathize with her kidnapper/harasser, then tames him and finally falls in love with him
As for Dave, and his younger female staffers, Stephanie Birkitt and Holly Hester, he didn't have to imprison them, he just kept them busy with work and plied them with kindness, consideration and romance. That explains why less wealthy, less powerful women would fall for a gentle, romantic prince, even if his looks were a little beastly. I bet Dave's young women hoped to "tame" him and have as happily ever after an ending as Beauty and the Beast.
"Beauty and the Beast" is just one example of the Cinderella diet fed to little girls and young women. How about the films "Pretty Woman," "Working Girl," "Two Weeks Notice," or the movie classic Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell's "His Girl Friday?"
Plus, in addition to movies, literature -- often taught in women's lit courses -- also teaches women to lust after men in a position of money and authority. Jane Eyre is required reading in many schools, and what does the heroine Jane do? She, the lowly poor tutor, falls for her rich boss, Mr. Rochester, and is in ecstasy when he deigns to fall in love with her, too. So think about it -- we're actually schooled to believe that it's desirable to date the boss.
It's because of this powerful cultural/historical force -- this yearning to be rescued by a prince -- that ultimately means women will not be able to honestly condemn Dave or turn his show off. As long as there are no other revelations that his behavior was threatening or demeaning to his love object employees, Dave will ultimately dance away from this sextortion scandal.
Deep down, many women know that given their druthers -- right or wrong -- they still wouldn't turn down the opportunity to date a rich, charming, and seemingly non-threatening man, even if he happened to be the boss.
For more on David Letterman and his illicit affairs, follow Bonnie Fuller on twitter.com/bonniefuller
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