February 6th, 2008
In honor of Valentine’s Day, I bring you this interview I did with Judy McGuire (Seattle Weekly Dategirl columnist) on love in the workplace for nine-to-fivers, freelancers, and temps alike. Judy’s hot-of-the-presses book, How Not to Date, which features more women and men behaving badly than a Jerry Springer show, had me guffawing out loud. Whether you’re looking for the perfect antidote to this incredibly meaningless holiday, need a few tips on how not to behave around potential paramours, or are happily shacked up but could use a good laugh, I highly recommend it. And if you’re in New York or like getting your giggles by web radio, check out Judy’s east coast events and weekly broadcast.
Q. I can see how screwing your boss, your underlings, or anyone else on your immediate team could come back to bite you in the pants. But what if you hold lust in your heart for someone you don’t interact with on a daily basis, like Darcy in Accounting or Dirk in Marketing? Should you go for it? Any tips as to how?
A. I had a long-term relationship with someone I started off sharing an office with, so I don’t really go in for that whole “don’t poop where you eat” way of thinking. Sure, it might get uncomfortable if things don’t work out, but if you look at the bright side, the resulting drama could entertain your coworkers for months.
Sadly office party season has ended so you can’t do the tried and true drunken lurch under the mistletoe, but there’s always happy hour. Invite your intended out, ostensibly for a group happy hour, but “forget” to ask anyone else. This works best if you can catch him or her while they’re on their way out the door (thus assuring no pesky tagalongs).
Q. Any departments you should never, ever, ever touch, not even with your Mother’s vajayjay? (I’m thinking HR might be a no-no.)
A. Mining the Human Resource department for tail is definitely a bad idea, but I think fooling around with anyone in the IT department is far worse. Those techie types can hack into your email, which is a no-win for any dater. In the beginning, he can read all the mushy crap you’re telling your girlfriends about him — thus costing you any pretense of game — and then after you break up… well, that can be even worse.
Q. What if you’re a temp or contractor who’s going to be out of there in three months? Do the same rules of office chastity apply?
A. But being a temp is like being bisexual — it simply widens your dating pool. Who cares if you’re banging the boss if you’re onto the next job in two weeks? What is it my Nike sneaks are always telling me — “Just do it!”
Q. Many a nine-to-fiver meets their romantic match not at work, but through it — a coworker fixes you up, or your eyes lock across the color copier with that sweet young bike messenger. We work-from-home types miss out on all these potential cubicle hookups. Any suggestions as to how we, too, can exploit our jobs to get laid?
A. Even if we’re lucky enough to work at home in our PJs, most of us still have to either talk or email with other humans. I’ve found that married people are almost always anxious to fix a sister up. They’ll try to fool you into thinking that they feel sorry for your sad single self, but really, your uncomplicated, uncommitted sex life is utterly fascinating to them, so let them have at it. The only problem being is that they’re going to want details. “Wait, you didn’t meet him until ten! At night?!? Did he kiss you? Did you guys, you know, do it?!?!”
That can get kind of annoying, but if you’re the indiscrete type anyway, it’s a small price to pay. Plus, spilling dirty details will inevitably spice up your tragically married friend’s sex life, so you’re really just repaying the favor.
Q. You’re a freelancer who’s lucked into an invite to her star client’s annual holiday party. Do you teetotal, or is it okay to have a glass of wine or three and hit the dance floor?
A. Um, you’re asking a woman named McGuire whether or not you should drink? I’m afraid I don’t understand the question.