I Once Saw Louis C.K. Eating Alone in Times Square

I once saw Louis C.K. eating alone at a Japanese restaurant, in or around Times Square.

“That’s Louis C.K,” my friend whispered.

“Oh,” I replied.

I looked back.

He looked a lot like this:

You can take my celebrity tunnel vision with a grain of salt, because the only time I’ve ever been starstruck was in the presence of Ramona Singer, who cradled a pink Blackberry with Swarovski crystals and seemed unremarkably drunk. If you don’t know who that is, that’s probably a good thing because it means you don’ t watch Bravo, but I happen to like Bravo and I happen to like Ramona, even though she’s a terrible drunk and a (presumably) terrible person. Bravo’s full of terrible people.

But from what I remember, Louis C.K. was the only other person in the restaurant that day. I didn’t notice him because I hadn’t watched Louis, but I know who he is and he always looks bored. He always looks horny and he always looks sad and he’s not very attractive so I’m hardly surprised, because as is the case with Weinstein and Spacey, these are open secrets that could and should have been dislodged a long time ago.

*****

Most of us don’t need news outlets to turn rumors into facts. I’ve worked for four different networks and two different agents and I happen to know a lot of journalists, so I’ve seen and heard a lot of things I wish I could forget. I tend to assume the worst in people, but I try to divorce their content from their character because if I didn’t I’d have nothing left. I’ve since watched Louis and I still like Louis and I still like Louis the character, even though Louis C.K. is a terrible person. The industry’s full of terrible people.

I’m still not sure if I’d recognize him, though. I’m still not sure things will change. I’m sure he’s not sorry, I’m sure they’ll continue, I’m sure they’re still horny and sad. But they’ll still be successful and financially capable of hiring bodyguards and lawyers and private detectives to cover their tracks. These men are just as guilty. I hope they stop taking the money.

I really hope men stop masturbating in public, because happy, healthy people don’t do these things.

I guess it’s physically possible, but I can’t imagine a woman getting off in front of an unwilling participant, and I hope one day we can give some of these women their own autobiographical dramadies. I hope we can Lorenna Bobbit the shit out of any man who uses his penis to manipulate or intimidate others, because they don’t deserve to have one if they can’t use it properly; respectfully; consensually — and behind closed doors, in the comfort of their homes.

But don’t take away their statues. Take away their jobs and their time-slots; their right to act as they please. Move forward and goddammit, give it all to women, but don’t hate the things you love because you hate the men who made them. I believe, on occasion, it’s possible to separate the two.

I’m sorry for thinking this. I’m sorry for tweeting it. I’m sorry I’m not a better feminist. But my favorite movie is Hannah and Her Sisters and American Beauty is up there. My favorite comedy is Seinfeld and my favorite character is Kramer, even though Michael Richards once went on that racist rant in West Hollywood. These men made me a writer and a filmmaker and shaped who I am — there’s Midnight… . and The Usual Suspects; Interiors and Annie Hall, not to mention the four hour docudrama I saw alone at Film Forum because everyone hates Woody Allen. He’s a terrible person and I should hate him too, but don’t and I can’t and I’m sorry.

I wish we had more women at the helm of popular culture, but we don’t and we can and we’re starting to.

I’ve tried and I’ve failed. I’ll try forever.

And while I’m not rich or successful or even happy just yet, I did have a dining companion for lunch in Times Square, which is all anyone wants, and all I can ask for. It’s more than I can say for Louis C.K., and — correct me if I’m wrong — it’s really all that matters in this lifetime.

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Debbie Saslaw is an award-winning writer, director, producer, and digital strategist who writes satirical thinkpieces and assorted musings on pop culture and our behavior. Her dining companion was Sara, whose work you can view here.

You can follow her on Twitter @butlikesrsly, and on YouTube, Instagram, and all the things.