What’s Sexual Harassment and What’s Good Times?



I only ever watched the Late Show during that period when Stephanie Birkitt was on the air a lot. I loved her. Neal made her a “Crush of the Week” on Nerve. (“Stephanie Birkitt, seems like she’d be the perfect girlfriend. She’s one of those people who seems exceedingly normal but is in fact deeply mischievous, totally game and most importantly, knows how to carry a joke way beyond its logical ending…”) Little did we know they were totally sleeping together! So my first reaction was: “Hot! I was so right about them being into each other!” My second was: “Wow, I thought Dave Letterman was asexual.” My third was, “That doesn’t seem like such a bad thing, his sleeping with people on his staff, because he’s so non-threatening, and by all accounts he was a good boyfriend (except to his actual girlfriend, of course).

But then this morning a friend of mine was like, “Sleeping with members of your staff always makes things weird for everyone who’s not sleeping with you.” The 90s were very much about raising awareness about sex harassment and zero tolerance for any sexy relationships between people in power and their underlings.

Now I don’t know. I’m having trouble feeling like this is a Very Bad Thing. But I totally know about hostile work environments. Is this just a total double standard? Andrea Peyser called for Letterman’s firing in the NY Post today. What do you think?

P.S. Was just channel surfing and saw this quote: “Sexual harassment on the job is not a problem for virtuous women.” — Phyllis Schlafly



Filed under Ada

2 responses to “What’s Sexual Harassment and What’s Good Times?

  1. April

    Like many a 90s woman, I coveted, met, fell in love and married a shoe-gazing, emo 90s man. Top reasons – a sincere, appropriately insecure dopey cute dude who’s pairing results in mutual adoration and a solid belief that neither of us WILL EVER CHEAT. The reason this Letterman situation bothers me is that I believed Dave was one of those guys. I also enjoyed watching the Stephanie years and rooted for her even as Dave leered at Julia Roberts as she leaned in a leetle far while on her “Sleeping with the Enemy” promo tour. Finding out that he was going home with Stephanie gave me an initial thrill until I conjured up the image of Steph being bent over Dave’s desk while he pursued a commitment and future family with another staffer. Hmm, not knowing the time line gives me enough wiggle room to not completely dismiss Letterman’s foibles but still. Emo boys don’t cheat. At our worst, 90s women cheat on them. Except we don’t because they’re so sincere we can never bring ourselves to be anything but completely honest about our intentions – but I digress. Dave was supposed to be one of those guys. Now it appears, he is not. And that sucks.

  2. Hannah

    Loving this blog ladies.
    My take on co-workers in office having sex: I worked at a large company where two of the big bosses were in a relationship. Everyone knew, but we weren’t SUPPOSED to know. I kept talking about it at home, and my husband would correct me when I described it as an “affair.” You see, they were both divorced and so technically not cheating on anyone. But by carrying on and making everyone pretend we didn’t know, it felt like we were all complicit in a dirty secret. The worst part was the man had a bad habit of leering at the younger women on staff especially at company dinners. I once was trapped at a table with the couple, as the man leered, and the woman (my boss) pretended not to notice. Icky.

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