I don’t often watch late night TV, but the first day of this new year, I flipped on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert while I had a snack before retiring. His first interview was with Steve Carell (of The Office series). It consisted of the usual pretty pointless repartee.
However, things changed quickly when Colbert asked Carell if he’d sing Dance with Me (Orleans) with him. Carell looked nonplussed, then feigned mild annoyance. But the two began singing the song: they both have good voices and carried it off with some excellent harmonies. Dance with me/I want to be your partner/Can’t you see the music is just starting/Night is calling and I am falling/Dance with me. An intimate song.
When the second verse came round, the pair jumped up and sat together on Colbert’s desk, arms around one another. Carell planted a kiss on Colbert’s cheek and even laid a hand on his leg, momentarily. The audience roared.
Optimism in Men Being Playful and Affectionate
At the beginning of this new year, here was something novel and edgy, and while it was certainly not the first time men have allowed themselves to be playfully, publicly affectionate, it can be seen as another breakthrough in men’s progress to let go of the strictures of conventional masculinity.
As a therapist who believes that man’s problems are not only a matter of conventional DSM diagnoses but also a product of their struggles with masculinity, it’s always gratifying to see men opening up when the walls come down. For me, this late night bit provided a moment of optimism in these dark days of violence across the world and at home. It was a portent that in some quarters, in some situations, men can be playful, even publicly loving towards one another. Thanks, guys.