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[My Husband’s Note: this is written at 1am. If you find any part of this confusing, just read the conclusion first as I am sure it will contain my most lucid thoughts]
To begin, let me offer a few disclaimers: This post is just my observations and in no way a guarantee that you will not have an affair, so there is no “full refund” policy attached to this post. Also, as it seems that mostly women read this blog, my comments, being not-a-woman, are both aimed at that specific audience, as well as intended to offer a perspective that is not innate to the reader. Additionally, I have not desired, nor possessed the desire, to have an affair at work, but being “analytical” as a defining characteristic I see certain patterns readily apparent. Even at 1am when I am suffering from insomnia. Which leads me to my last point – take this post for what it is (p.s. thank you Bebeh for editing for spelling and grammar).
1) This is not a fashion show
I wrote this point second (and it’s 1am) so if this seems out of place, go read #2 and then come here. I just decided after writing it that it fit better in the middle. And it’s 1am. So anyways…
You women literally have no clue what a guy thinks when you dress yourselves, do you? I want to give the benefit of the doubt, but you make it SOOOO hard. I have seen highly intelligent women wearing articles of clothing in the workplace that might as well literally shout “HEY MEN, CHECK OUT THIS SEXY LADY!” If that is the effect you want to achieve, go to a bar or something. That’s not what work is for.
I get that women achieve some sense of validation from looking pretty and nice, and I wouldn’t suggest that they do otherwise. But work is work. Professional football players don’t wear dresses because it would hinder work, so don’t dress in a way that will take away from the effectiveness of what is being done at work. Or do, and just know that you are literally inviting men to look at you in an inappropriate way. Again, if you want that, go someplace else.
So do this: ask a male whom you can trust explicitly to tell you what part of your body your work clothes draw the most attention to. If they don’t say something that makes you feel uncomfortable, they may be lying (guys do this), or it may be an appropriate outfit. Be safe and press them for more info. Because all guys….literally ALL men, even the good ones who went from homeschool straight to Bible college, know when a woman’s clothing is a little inappropriate for the workplace. We just don’t say because we are trying to be nice. But if you push us hard enough we will answer truthfully, because after all…you asked. (On a side note, this is why a woman really should never ask a guy “Does this make me look fat?”)
Again, the point isn’t for you to go to work dressed like a nun, but for you to NOT create a situation where guy will want to give you inappropriate attention. For an illustration of inappropriate, consider the following extreme example: after a touchdown, guys might butt slap, chest bump, tackle, or even hug eachother; they don’t start making out. Using the words of Robert DeNiro from The Deer Hunter to emphasize the singular function of work: “Stanley, see this? This is this. This ain’t something else.”
2) Be nice, but not too nice
On the subject of not creating opportunities for men to desire you, this point naturally follows (even though in reality every part of it was written before point# 1 except for this sentence; I would say weird, but again…1am)
If you are not a woman in the workplace, you may ignore the rest of this post; I guarantee that you will NEVER have an affair in the workplace so long as you remain out of it. But for those of you who do work….it’s where you work. I generally advise all people everywhere to not be jerks to eachother. So you have to exhibit a certain level of niceness/friendliness/teamwork/etc. in order to not only function well, but even succeed and get promoted. (If you work in a place where being a jerk actually gets you promoted…yeah, I would change jobs/employers.)
So the first danger presented, from a guy’s perspective, is when a woman is too nice. I will give women the benefit of the doubt at this point and say it’s purely innocent and women who are excessively nice to men they work with are just being friendly and in no way seeking validation that they should be getting elsewhere (like from themselves for starters), but it still has an effect. Women go to work, men go to war. We expect to be attacked, criticized, insulted, and generally put down. It is in our nature to fight for the things we want until we get them. That being said, when a woman in the workplace offers the solace of friendliness it can lead to a temptation to get too friendly. I am relieved that there are women I work with whom I can be honest with when they ask how I am doing and say, “It’s been a crappy day,” but I have to watch myself so that I don’t let them become a source of comfort for me. I have a wife for that. And if I didn’t I should get one. Which I shouldn’t be doing at work. But I have rambled. I’m just telling you that giving a guy a chance to open up and be friendly with you more than he really should in order to keep work a happy functioning place literally creates an opportunity for him to begin pursuing you. Which leads me to my last point.
3) Work is not a contact sport.
Let me go back to the football analogy. If I saw a blocker lead the way for a QB to run a touchdown in and then they both took off their helmets and the dudes started making out….I think I would laugh. As inappropriate as I would find it, it would be way moreso unexpected and therefore hilarious to me. Maybe I’m weird. And its 1am. What was I saying? Oh yeah, contact.
You don’t need to be all touchy-feely at work. Unless maybe massage is part of your job. I guess I could understand that. But for like regular office type work, what do you need? Handshakes, maybe a very quick and innocent pat on the arm to get someone’s attention…..yeah that is pretty much it. There is no reason I can think of for some woman to come up to me and put her hand on my shoulder or start rubbing my back. Or for her to put her arm around me in a welcoming hug or anything like that. Not at work. I mean like…. two football dudes kissing.
But this happens. Every day. I see it. I don’t really experience it but that is because I have anxiety issues and don’t respond to well to people touching me that I am not very very close to. But women do it ALL THE TIME. Why? Do you want a man to come start groping you? You do realize that is how it works right? No?
“She touched me first!”
Yes that does sound like something a 5 year old would say, but you did start it. Plus, just like how all men know which women at work dress provocatively, ALL men know that touching = like. As in like like. If you don’t like a guy, don’t be the first one to cross the touch barrier. I’m not saying do not touch anyone ever, some touching at work is appropriate (as I mentioned), but keep it clean. If you don’t, you are literally inviting a man to touch you back. And if you want to/allow him to touch your shoulder/arm/etc. you are in fact in no uncertain terms telling him it may be ok for him to touch you in other places. And women respond to being touched when they find a guy not completely disgusting or rude (so my wife tells me). So not only are you giving a guy a green light, you are putting yourself in a place where you will be more tempted to open yourself up to this guys affections rather than closing off and being professional.
Conclusion (or something like it):
If you want a husband there are seriously better ways than to go trolling for one at work (and I mean like fishing trolling, not the complete trolls on the internet who pretty much ruined free flow of information and will likely spam the comment inbox on this blog post with needless drama, which won’t get posted by the way, you are welcome). Um…got sidetracked there.
Yeah, work is work, so be cool with dudes at work. Even be friends. Even share stories and parts of your life because that’s what friends do. But keep it well within certain limits so that you are not …. um ok I don’t know what I was saying because I realized I needed a header here so I will start again. Be friendly at work because you got to get stuff done and it’s better to be around people at work you like rather than hate. Just don’t invite opportunities for guys to begin pursuing you (or consider the idea of pursuing you) by how you behave.
I’m not going to say that women are at fault for creating workplace affairs. It is my job as a dude at work to recognize women who are basically failing to do these three things and then not allow myself to get too friendly with them. But it takes two to dance, and if you aren’t dancing with me then I am just dancing with myself. And while that is in fact a cool tune from the 80’s, the point is that a guy who is trying to be nice and close to you when you are not inviting that kind of thing will be obvious and will look really awkward (like someone dancing with themselves) and someone will eventually say something. Although the first person to do so probably should be you.
Sorry for the mishmash of thoughts in the middle of the morning. I hope this helps. If it doesn’t then feel free to ignore it.
Aprille’s note: Thank you for, once again, allowing my husband into this space. As jumbled as his thoughts were, I appreciate them and the heart behind him and his willingness to share areas of male vulnerability to a predominantly female audience in order to protect both his marriage and the marriage of others. This opened up some good conversation between the two of us and I was able to share some “blind spots” that I had noticed in my husband’s interactions with women that could be misinterpreted by the women he works with.
I am also considering a companion piece from my perspective on things I’ve noticed with male friends and acquaintances. There are definitely times when I have found myself unexpectedly disarmed around a guy who didn’t understand what his innocently-intentioned actions did to me – and had to really go to battle in my mind to protect my heart and my marriage.
Feel free to sound off in the comments! I would love to hear the thoughts of women in the workplace, because I am not one and don’t know what it’s like to be in that position.