Savage Love

Co-Workers of the World

Comments

1
Yayeah! nothing like some good work place advice!
2
good selection of letters. I really liked your answer for NOCLUE.
4
NMP should definitely say something. Not only is is just plain wrong to be silent, it's also bringing everyone else down and reducing the creative output of the entire department.
5
there's lots of alt answers for NFW, but most likely, the coworker he's flirting with is HELLO! FLIRTING. Not trying to get laid--flirting. As long as he's putatively monogamous, that's safe enough, but once it becomes a serious possibility, she's out of there.
6
Whatever happened to good ol' Ally McBeal-style co-ed "gender neutral" bathrooms? That would ease some of these gender-bending growing pains.
7
the theme seems to be people unable to seize (squeeze?) the moment; to say something on behalf of others or for oneself. Boring! That's 90% of the population. And as for the first guy who's trying to seize his own moment, well he's boring too.
8
I agree with 5 - I don't think NFW or NOCLUE's piece on the side is actually interested. Maybe they should hook up.
9
Great advice Dan!

For NOCLUE, isn't part of the thrill of "cheating" the anxiety and stress of it all? I think when it's no longer stressful, it'll also be no longer interesting, right? Yeah, human behavior is fucking weird, just go with it.

SKIRT's coworker should definitely inform HR before just showing up dressed as female. Let people know ahead of time so no one mistakes it for a punk'd episode or is left confused or something.

10
As usual, spot-on advice! It saddens me that NMP needs someone to tell him to speak up. Hate speech is hate speech. Period.
11
I'd think of it more as what a man has to offer a woman, what he brings to the table. All women should really know this already, that married men are never going to leave their wives, but for some reason hope springs eternal. That is, unless you make totally clear that they will never be anything but a fling, a meaningless piece on the side to be used sexually and then thrown away. Such as when you're in a nonmonogamous marriage thats going to stay that way. Then as Dan says, the women go, meh. Even the ones who sleep with married men think they're worthy of the possibility of something more. When its made clear that thats not where they rank, they're not interested. This of course doesn't make it ethical for you to stop disclosing and pretend otherwise, so as to get your flings. I totally respect people who have the OK from their spouses. But no one's obligated to sleep with them. Its just the tough break that is life.
12
Does not seem to be legal grounds for discrimation complaint if HR vetos the male cross dresser from wearing skirts - and more so if the guy identifies with males. This would not be discrimation based on gender, and would be hard to make an arguement for discrimination based on sexual orientation. Company could argue to allow it would cause disruption to the workplace and potential loss of clients. I dont think the HR tribunals in 2009 would support this complaint.
13
NMP really should say something, and I'm surprised he hasn't. Dan, I'm glad you pointed out that they would want a white person to say something should the N word be used in their presence.

Also, sounds like SKIRT's got a serious "I don't want a penis touching my public toilet seat" complex. What is she so worried about happening?
14
The advice regarding which bathroom to use seems a little off. Why are the coworkers obliged to feel uncomfortable because some gender fucktard can't make up his mind? You have male anatomy - use the Men's Room -- female parts - use the Ladies Room. Christ, it is not rocket science, and this system has worked for millions of years, why make it fucking confusing now? When Janie boy goes under the knife THEN he can change restrooms.

16
I'm always sad when I finish the last letter... no more til next week. But I just found a hilarious advice column written by a foppish scoundrel born in 1578 or something... check it out. Google Ask Rodger Goodwyn and you'll find it. You can even write him a letter and he'll answer! http://askrodgergoodwyn.blogspot.com/
17
Google Ask Rodger Goodwyn for advice from a bawdy, Shakespearian dude from the 15th century. HILARIOUS!
18
Is anyone else having trouble accessing the rest of the comments beyond the first 5?

I've tried the link immediately above the "add a comment" window, which shows there are 17 comments at this point, and also the "all comments" link at the top of the comments section.

I don't see an opportunity to sign in w/o posting a comment. Am I missing something?

Oh yeah! Great stuff this week, Dan.
19
@5: Yeah, I didn't read it as the co-worker getting a bigger ego boost when she assumed it was cheating.

But that she was FLIRTING. With the safety that nothing would happen. And if something started to happen, or more than she wanted, she could always threaten to tell his wife.

But as a free-range husband he's just as "risky" as most other guys. And she only wanted to flirt when options were limited and greater control was hers.
20
really silly answers this week. why do you suggest in your answer to skirt that her coworker could use the women's toilet? just because he's gay? he's a man, and what if he wears a dress? why should he use the women's toilet???

and to the people with open marriages. flirt, etc... but a full disclosure of your marital status and your deal with your wife/husband is not necessary to flirt., even to fuck someone. as long as you let them know that you are committed to someone elkse, I don't really see why you sould explain which are exactly the rules of your commitment.. .5 is right on the spot.
21
What if the coworker had a bad habit of calling people names like Ligger, or Gigger because the N word was offensive?

Dan, when you changed from calling people "retards" to calling people LeoTards you did not change much.

Would you give advice to cut bigots a break if their hate speech changed to shouting insults that sounded like "Fagot" but did not start with "F".

Dan, you can't stand the hypocrisy of Santorm, nor can I. But will you please do what you say and clean up the hate sppech, aka use other adjectives than "retard". Nobody is forcing me to listen to your podcasts, but you sliped in "Tard" recently. barf.

22
That is right for NMP: In most state civil rights laws, you may complain if you are offended by a discriminatory slur even if you are not in the "protected category." --Employment Discrimination Attorney.
23
"a workplace that tolerates racist remarks is a workplace that tolerates homophobic remarks. "

Likewise....Newspapers are justified if they have a problem with people who use remarks that rhyme with the N word, and they should not tolerate Dan or anyone who frequently and recently uses remarks like "Tard" and "Leotard".

Please Dan, check yourself. offer a real apology to people with mental disabilities and their friends. Open up your Thesaurus and avoid your history of bigoted adjectives.
24
NFW - I agree with the red-headed cubs etc.: the woman wanted to flirt, as many women (and men) do. Actually, I give her props: once she found out that for NFW consummation was actually a possibility and he was seriously pursuing her, she didn't continue to "lead him on," but withdrew completely. 'Cause she wasn't interested in sex - just in flirting.
25
To No Clue: Theory and fantasy are one thing, reality may be something entirely different. Things may work out fine, but they could also turn out to be disaster for you and/or husband. You (plural) may think you're fine with an open life style, but realize after the fact that you're not. Once fantasy becomes reality, there is no going back and you will have to deal with the consequences. This will forever change your relationship with your husband, you will no longer be the same people, and your (plural) commitment to your relationship and each other may well change. So think long and hard about what you are risking and whether sex is really worth it?
26
I agree with Kim. If she is offended, there is a good chance others are, as well, and are just afraid of speaking up. If she doesn't feel comfortable with pulling this co-worker aside and saying, "hey, cool it with the slurs; it's making me uncomfortable", that's fine, but someone needs to have a talk with her. She needs to grow up.
27
The co-worker and the writer, both. I'm so tired of this PC bull-shit. Why is everyone so afraid of offending everyone else? Speak up! That's the only way people like this are going to know they need to behave themselves. Not everyone is OK with hearing homophobic slurs every single day at work.
28
I think another issue with the flirty co-worker is that as long as she thinks the guy's cheating, then she is in the position of power - she's in on the secret.

But when she learns that his wife knows and approves - then the wife still has primacy in the relationship and flirty co-worker is just his piece on the side - not so powerful.

I believe flirting is often as much about power dynamics as about sex.
29
I have two questions about Dan's response to NMP:

1. What does POS stand for? Pieces of Shit? Plenty of Sex? Penises Off Site? Please Offer Service?

and

2. When he says "And vice versa" what exactly is he referring to here?

Thanks, folks!
30
All you workplace people, some advice from a corporate-cubicle veteran: be a boring stiff who does not make waves at work. These letters evidence way to much concern about this or that personal choice or concern intruding into the workplace. Need something exciting in your daily life? Fine, get as freaky as you want at 5:01 pm. until 8 am the next day. Wear beige at work, though.

When you start involving yourself in dramatic scenes others are creating at work, or worse yet, start making your own scenes, bosses start to see you as one of the headaches in the office.

Guess who is first to go in downsizings? If others are creating problems, let them stay other people's problems.

so, Dan says, "If someone at my office were tossing the word 'nigger' around, NMP, I would lodge a complaint."

Stupid advice. At most go talk to the person, tell them others may react like you do, and that would be bad for the hater. If that doesn't end the behavior, and the company actually gives a rat's ass about "faggot"-epithet slingers, that person is slitting their own throat. Let the person keep slitting their own throat and stay well clear in the meantime of that walking corpse. If the company does *not* care about such epithets, lodging a complaint will be taking a piss in the punch bowl around the office. If you care about the job much, don't do that--you may end up looking for a new job 6 mos. from now because of some other alleged reason.

Oh, and that middle aged woman about to hit on a coworker 17 years younger than you? Eeeek. I was that late twenties something guy with tight abs in a corporate office working with women old enough to be my mom. When gals old enough to be my mom cougared up on me, it usually creeped me out. To be really blunt, most of them were not women I did want to have sex with. Even if I found them attractive enough to sleep with, I would rather not have had them bring their mid-life crisis into my work-life. I am sure you gals who had to deal with paunchy, bald guys hitting on you at work know what I am saying. Why do you think it is different for guys that same age facing the advances of older women?

And for both the guy and the gal looking for a bit on the side and doing so at work, you have absolutely no one to blame but yourself if the office gossip becomes you are involved in a swinging, deviant marriage and you hunt for new meat at work. The workplace rumor mill will most likely turn your discrete advances into slobberingly aggressive overtures. That is why people always say keep that stuff well away from the office. Ever heard of Craigslist?
31
@29: Dan means if a workplace tolerates homophobic remarks, it'll probably tolerate racist remarks; and if it tolerated racist remarks, it'd probably tolerate homophobic remarks. Hence: "vice versa."

Really great collection this week, Dan, and loving the workplace theme.
32
@29: "Why do you think it is different for guys that same age facing the advances of older women?"

Who says it's different? But who says older, paunchy guys aren't allowed to make a pass for younger women? Just be nice, not too pushy, and if she's clearly not interested, back off immediately and don't pursue it.

More often than not, it's the manner that offends, not a person's age or appearance.
33
Oops, sorry, my last remakrs are for @30.
34
There was some study or another about how married men are more attractive because they're a proven product. In other words, some woman has taken the guy out for a test drive and likes him enough to keep him so he must be desirable.

here we go:
http://www.infoniac.com/offbeat-news/sin…

So according to that skeeviness, those women wanted to get the whole new wife package not just to be an add-on
35
My wonderful university is making all the bathrooms unisex. Yay for post-genderism!
36
So if I start identifying as female, I can go sit in the women's room and jerk of to them peeing?
37
Re: NFW... I suspect that 5 and the rest of the "it was only flirting" theorists have the highest likelihood of having gotten it right. (DS's answer presupposes that most women who fuck married men do so because they're surreptitiously competing with the wife, and my experience is that that's only true of a small and particularly skanky subset.) I'd like to suggest an alternative theory, though. It is admittedly low-probability, but if correct for at least some cases, it could increase NFW's chances. It is this: they're guarding against a three-way with the wife. It's unfortunate, but the "open marriage, happily non-monogamous" approach has been used more than once as a foot-in-the-door technique to get a third for the guy and his wife. There are a lot more women looking to get laid than there are looking to be a third for an established couple, NFW. Tell them from the start that it'll just be the two of you, with no chance that the wife will join in later, and you might have better luck.
38
NFW.. This may be a 'duh' moment, but women usually abhor interaction with emotionally unavailable males (unless you want that guy to go away... quickly) much less emotionally unavailable married males whose wives encourage them use other women like playthings. The world doesn't revolve around what makes you and your spouse happy, sorry.
39
Holy moley, there's a troll on the loose! One post cannot contain his outrage! There must be MANY two-sentence, gramatically questionable posts under different names in rapid succession! WAAAHHH!
40
Small addition to the response to NFW: a woman looking to sleep with a married man usually harbors some wish that he would eventually leave his wife for her. The fact that the man has his wife's permission to fool around on the side drastically diminishes the possibility, so the woman decides not to bother.
41
@38: Where does it say that his wife encourages him to "use" other women like "playthings"?

"women usually abhor interaction with emotionally unavailable males"

He SAYS the women who flirt with him are interested in him at first *because* he's married.
42
I think most guys, married or not, get turned down when all they're offering a woman is a fling. Its the eternal problem for guys who are just wanting to get laid. It doesn't make women incomprehensible creatures. I think we have another polyamorous person drumming up some trite faux-confusion.
43
To all the people saying this woman "just wanted to flirt," I think Dan did well to pick up on this part of the situation described:

"Today she asked me what my wife would do if she found out I was sneaking around on her."

This makes me believe she has an investment in what the wife thinks. It doesn't sound like she was just flirting for fun.
44
Nothing says "You're just a piece of ass" more than revealing you're in an open relationship. Insist all all you want that you're not a "wild swinger type", but as soon as you share that info, it's all gold medallions and chest hair.
45
I found the last letter slightly annoying. What's so freaking scary about sharing a restroom with a cross dresser? I get why men might be uncomfortable with a woman coming into their restroom since they are pissing in the open, but as far as I know, ladies' restrooms have stalls and I doubt this guy will be waving his penis outside a stall, so don't go and share a stall with him, for heaven's sakes.
46
I have some advice for all of these people thinking about hitting on their co-workers. Please consult your HR department's sexual harassment policy first. (Something Dan never seems to bring up whenever this situation arises.) Sometimes even the most benign behavior can have ugly repercussions. You don't want to lose your job in this economy (and have to explain in future job interviews why you were fired). Food for thought.
47
Sorry, but that advice to NOCLUE is clueless. Starting an extramarital relationship at work with someone much younger (and probably much lower in rank) is a recipe for disaster. Sexual harrassment complaints from the young man, other complaints and resentment from men and women who do not receive the favoritism this young guy will get, and just plain unprofessional drama when it comes to break up time. Not a wise move in this economy.
48
karey (@11 and @42)

i think you're making some dangerous assumptions about what sex means to people.

"unless you make totally clear that they will never be anything but a fling, a meaningless piece on the side to be used sexually and then thrown away."

as a woman in a very stable, successful and happy polyamorous relationship, i take issue with this characterization of sex. i have several relationships that are primarily sexual, and i wouldn't define any of them as "meaningless." they are fun, casual and each is extremely fulfilling in its own way. no one is "using" anyone in these relationships, and we all have far too much respect for each other to "throw [anyone] away" when the relationship reaches its conclusion.

and as for my male partner and his other female lovers (and male lovers, for that matter), he has yet to become involved with anyone who wants to usurp my position in his life. you see, we don't respect these gender norms that dictate sexual ownership, entitlement, conquest or manipulation, and we don't get involved with people who buy into that bullshit.

i will agree with you that the perspectives you discuss are very prevalent. however, i think it's a tragedy that many people subscribe to these beliefs, and i choose to live my life without them. it's ignorant and presumptuous of you to characterize casual sex for others as it is for you.
49
Re: People puzzled by SKIRT:

I don't think it's the issue of sharing a bathroom with a crossdresser so much as it is an issue with sharing a bathroom with a man.

For most women, the societal understanding is that if a man you don't know or don't know well is in the women's public restroom, he's a pervert or he's trying to rape you. Women are socialized to think of dudes in there as something that should trigger a fight-or-flight kind of response.

Which, maybe is something that needs to change, but I can understand why someone would be made uncomfortable by it without being especially conservative or a homophobe.
50
I agree that NFW's co-worker was most likely doing some innocent flirting, expecting it would never lead anywhere since he was married. But I also agree with @15 that it's possible she thought there was an opportunity for a "no strings" one-time-only fling since he'd keep it quiet, but felt intimidated when she found out that he wouldn't be sneaking around. Dan's answer was fun, and a take I hadn't considered, but seems somewhat less likely IMO.
51
Damn, how did I post a response almost like the one right before mine? Sorry, Kevin-94.

As to the outrage over hate speech towards retards, this is getting to be too much.

"Please Dan, check yourself. offer a real apology to people with mental disabilities and their friends."

I understand that using the word or words that refer to another group is insulting to that group, and that calling them "leotards" doesn't fool anything.

But suddenly making a perfectly respectable word like "retarded" off limits because it used as an insult is ridiculous. It's not like the words "faggot" and "nigger" which are used to insult because their connotations. "Retard" is used for it's denotations, and is usually reserved for people who the speaker knows perfectly well are *not* retarded. Nobody over the age of 13 calls retarded people "retards". Change the rules about what words are permissible, and people 10 year olds will just switch to other words or phrases like "short bus" (and also people who think it's cute to use playground insults from when they were 10 year olds). You're not going to accomplish anything that way.

Did the retarded people manufacture this outrage themselves? Most retarded people wouldn't have known any differently, unless some unretarded person is coaching them to be offended. And "retarded" is itself a euphemism for the old words people called them, like "idiots" and "fools". Are those words off limits now too, or has the statute of limitations run out? If we agree to say "mentally disabled", why can't we use "retarded" the same way those other words are now used? Just recently lots of people got offended because Sarah Palin referred to her child as retarded. Then she had to pretend she would never use such an offensive word (because lying is her first reaction to anything).
52
The reaction of women to the married gentleman in the open relationship sadly confirms my worst suspicions about the female mind. Many (though not all) women feel "empowered" by sabotaging a relationship, whereas in reality they are human cum buckets for these attached men. Don't think I'm letting off men who cheat on their spouses - instead of seeking therapy for their insecurities they effectively whack off into some hapless chick who is equally insecure.

In an ideal universe we'd all be well-adjusted and secure, yet in reality most of us make stupid decisions because of unresolved fear, anger, etc. To be perfectly clear, I'm perilously insecure, yet instead of hurting innocent spouses/girlfriends my wounds tend to be self-inflicted. Smart? Nope, but I feel better knowing that I haven't left too many victims in my wake.
53
Thanks Dan! I work in the HR group and I alawys welcome people to come and let me know what's on their minds and what needs they have. Thanks for the nod that it's perfectly ok to come here. Only in rare circumstances do I take a big permanent marker and write the word "fink" on their foreheads when they leave my office. ;-) just kidding...but there are certainly those, like the foul mouthed woman listed here, who would earn "POS" for all to see...sigh, if only I had that much leeway and power. Someday...lol
54
The reaction of women to the married gentleman in the open relationship sadly confirms my worst suspicions about the female mind. Many (though not all) women feel "empowered" by sabotaging a relationship, whereas in reality they are human cum buckets for these attached men. Don't think I'm letting off men who cheat on their spouses - instead of seeking therapy for their insecurities they effectively whack off into some hapless chick who is equally insecure.

In an ideal universe we'd all be well-adjusted and secure, yet in reality most of us make stupid decisions because of unresolved fear, anger, etc. To be perfectly clear, I'm perilously insecure, yet instead of hurting innocent spouses/girlfriends my wounds tend to be self-inflicted. Smart? Nope, but I feel better knowing that I haven't left too many victims in my wake.
55
No unisex bathrooms! I've already had to deal with pissy toilet seats at home, at least keep some public ones free from the guys!

As to NFW, maybe the women think he's lying. Of course, if they're flirting with married men, you'd think they'd be OK with a guy who lies. However, maybe once he says "My wife's OK with it," they think he's a delusional liar, and change their minds.
56
@43: I am not sure that comment necessarily meant anything. Could just be part of the flirtation.

And just for the record, it's not just women...men do this too. I can't tell you how many times guys flirted hardcore with me only to reject me once I expressed that I was actually interested in them (I was a bit of an Ugly Betty back then and they smelled the desperation). Some were nice about it, and we stayed friends, some were not so nice and it was a bit painful. But such is life...
57
offwhite (@48)

Will you marry me? Oh wait, I forgot, I'm gay!

Oh wait, that's okay! Can I join your co-op?

I LOVE reading postings from evolved individuals,
or groups even... Many blessings!

BTW... My question from last night, (#18) has resolved its self.
Today, all postings are showing at first access, as usual.
58
As a lifelong homophobe, I am extremely upset by the accusation of being a racist. You have no right to judge my prejudices with your ill-conceived notion of what goes on in a homophobic mind. It's actually very easy to maintain a single-minded approach to hate and not to jump all over the place with loosey-goosey, limp-wristed, typical liberalism while complaining about the "injustice" of hate. What a bunch of hooey
59
"As for 'handling situations' where you find yourself in the same restroom with your newest coworker, SKIRT, unless you routinely offer to zip up your coworkers or wipe their asses for them, I don't see how his presence—or his attire or the particular brand of genitalia tucked into his panties—really impacts you at all."

Damn, that's brilliant.
60
Great advice to all the people this week Dan. I must take issue with the last letter though - not the person writing it, but the person she's writing about.

Yes, I believe that we all should be free to be who we really are, regardless of what that is, but this is about the WORKPLACE.

Most people in the workplace have enough sense to either not display their whole lifestyle, or tone down who they are in the workplace. It's a professional environment, so why does this guy feel the need to put his personal business on display? That should be reserved for when he goes out AFTER work to the tranny bars, or places where others like him congregate.

This whole situation brings the recent controversy at Morehouse to mind.
61
#5, are you a sensible Cubs fan (a rare human being, in my opinion), or the sensible wife of a Cubs fan? This female Chicagoan and sort-of sensible Cubs fan wants to know!
62
Oh, and for the posters who've wondered about problems with posting/viewing comments: The Stranger appears to be using a third-party comment application now.

If your comment doesn't appear right after you've posted it, give the app a few minutes to make your comment appear. If you can't link to the comments at all, you might need to wait an hour or two and try back.

If a link Dan's included in a post doesn't work, email him directly with a link and the address of the page on which it appears, and he'll take care of the problem quickly.
63
@55: you've never been in a ladies' room after someone hovered? You get pissy seats either way.
64
Gay is not a race. Even in the workplace. You want her job and you're trying to save face. An excuse to talk to DS, and get a little taste. Of attention to you and your sensitive, worldly embrace. To me, you are just full of s - and your letter was a waste (of column space).
65
#30, your advice is terrific. The coworkers will want to be "discreet" rather than "discrete," though.
66
Goodness. The first letter is easy to answer. The woman may have only been flirting. Hello--she works with him! She was probably never serious about it past that point. Lots of people flirt, esp when it's with someone equally coupled. When he made it clear that he'd like it to be more than innocent flirting, he was no longer safe.

Or perhaps she was actually interested and would have been willing to cheat with him, but only if it could turn into something more. Knowing from the outset that it would never be more than purely sexual--i.e. no possiblity for great love--then game over.

No matter how good a man might be in bed, most women want at least the hope of something emotional/something meaningful to be part of the deal.

Or it could be what Dan said. In any event, I do applaud this guy's honesty about his intentions. That kind of frankness will be rewarded when karma sends the right candidate along his path. Good luck to him.
67
@56: Possible too. Still, I don't think we'd really know without asking the co-worker herself.

@55: #63 is right. Hovering is definitely a problem with a lot of women.
68
@48, that's great but there's also a lot of people who are just looking to get laid. Its just as presumptuous to assume anyone wants to be your fling, as it is to presume someone is flirting with you because they're interested in you as a person or might want you to be their primary. When the op discloses, the women stop flirting because the fling is not what they want. This does not make the women ignorant crazies. They just aren't signing up for it. The reason you don't get involved with people who buy into all that, is because they don't want to be involved with you either. This is the phenomenon NFW is experiencing and complaining about, and who I think is just pretending to play dumb to point out he's morally superior to these monogamists who seem ok with cheating. He's right I'm sure, but its still transparent and obnoxious.
69
A person considering a fling with someone in a monogamous relationship views him/her like a dog on a chain: you can control how close you get; you know he/she cannot run free and invade your life. This is probably most appealing to those who tend to feel crowded/suffocated in a standard relationship; either finding it hard to set boundaries and enforce them, or maybe tending to feel most attracted to fuckups who won't ever respect reasonable boundaries.
70
NFW: maybe when she found out that you & your wife swing, she realized that her risk of going home with an STD cocktail between her legs just went up exponentially. HIV & herpes can ruin your whole day.

NMP: I would print out an anonymous letter as follows:

"Dear Carole: I work with you. I am not gay but that's no reason I should have to listen to you use the epithet "faggot" when you are upset about your competitor Hank. If I EVER hear that word in the workplace again, I will file a complaint with H.R. I am writing anonymously to allow you to save face but do NOT mistake that as fear. If getting you to stop means keeping a record of incidents, gathering witnesses and getting you fired, I'll do it. It is 2009. I will not tolerate intolerance.

Thank you."
71
SKIRT's co-worker is right to bring this up with co-workers openly, *before* he decides to go for it and come to work in a skirt. Yes, this is the workplace - but this isn't about his sex life, it's about his lifestyle. I would be the first to agree that bedroom activities shouldn't come into play at the workplace (that includes the kind of flirting the first two letter-writers were doing) - but wearing a skirt has nothing to do with sex.

By floating the idea out there, SKIRT's co-worker is giving the management a chance to quietly tell him there will be a problem, *before* he bites the bullet and shows up in feminine apparel. Any issues would be relatively minor as long as the idea is hypothetical - but once he shows up to work in a dress, then everything is official and HR and lawyers and who knows who else may be dragged in. Even if the immediate co-workers don't have an issue with it, it could turn into an HR nightmare.
72
First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak out for me. (by Martin Niemöller)

73
Wow, 64 is a shitty poet and he doesn't know it.
74
Re Not My Problem:

Don't have a word with HR ... yet.

You owe it to yourself to have a word with the co-worker before you go to HR. You don't need to mention your orientation, which has nothing to do with this. All you need say is, "Look, you keep saying 'faggot' and I find it highly offensive and unprofessional. I'd like you to stop. I don't want to go to HR because maybe you haven't thought about how offensive that word is."

You'll atone for your sin of silence and you might even help her understand that she is being hurtful and stupid. If she's a deep bigot and keeps using it, THEN go to HR.
75
NFW: I am a single woman, and I have a married male friend with whom I share an acknowledged mutual attraction. I would be deliriously happy and consider myself very lucky if his wife gave him permission to fuck me (unfortunately for me, they are monogamous and it's not open for discussion). Being the second to someone in an open marriage has some points in its favour: the lack of strings, the relative safety, the relatively low drama factor. I'm sure there are other women out there who feel the same.

@74: totally agree.
76
Oops missed this one, from MT3:

"It's a professional environment, so why does this guy feel the need to put his personal business on display? That should be reserved for when he goes out AFTER work to the tranny bars, or places where others like him congregate."

His personal business? Like, say, the pictures of your wife on your desk? (Why do people need to advertise their sex lives?) Like, your photo of Kirk Gibson after he hit the homer for the Dodgers? (How do your hobbies have any place in the workplace?) Like, say, any mention around the water cooler of what you're doing after work or on the weekend? (Stop wasting work time!)

No straight person ever thinks they're putting their personal business on display when they talk about their spouses. No man who identifies as male and wants to dress as a male ever thinks he's advertising that fact when he wears a pair of pants in public.

MT3, shut up unless you're willing to wear a unisex smock to work. How could it possibly matter to you how your coworker dresses, so long as it's a professional skirt or professional pants?


77
I just went through every comment to see if Dan's last sentence offended anyone else, other than me. That is not the correct use of "impact." And Dan show know that.

See:

http://books.google.com/books?id=z_VmtjA…

To use "impact" improperly is leotarded, Dan.
78
I have a coworker that uses the word gay to describe things she dislikes or thinks are stupid. She's aware that I'm gay, she seems to have no problem with it. She has even asked to come to the gay bars on several occasions. Imagine my shock when she hollers, and I mean hollers loud while we're in the middle of a conversation standing in a parking lot. Literally hollered GAY to her friend across the lot to tell her how ridiculous she thought the outfit on her daughter was. This has turned into a trend which I cut short by telling her that I don't give a shit if she doesn't understand why I find that incredibly offensive but I expect her to respect the way I feel about it. Haven't heard it since but frankly I certainly wouldn't be surprised that someone that self involved still uses it when i'm not around. sad...
79
NMP is none other than Savage himself. All slurs are inappropriate and on those grounds none should be used in the workplace. But there's is no comparison to be made between the slur that 'NMP' has supposedly heard and the one Savage used in the 'response' to 'her'. There's a long clear history of murder and all imaginable atrocities associated with the N word that bears no historical nor social comparison whatsoever in this country with any other slur that can be uttered. All African Americans know this all too painfully well.

SKIRT's coworkers shouldn't have to be the ones dealing with this problem, this matter should be taken head-on by the his employer as soon as possible cause this has the potential of creating a very uncomfortable work environment. Based on the fact that SKIRT as a male in his previous job did the same thing and remained as a male, his intentions are not of someone who identifies with any clear gender. This is a very frequent behavior expressed by people like him and coworkers of his both male and female have every reason to feel uncomfortable and talk with HR if they don't address this matter with SKIRT and he decides to present himself in women's clothing and make use of the restrooms. Because the freedoms of expression we all enjoy are not a green light to inconvenience and disrupt upon the lives and work of those around.
80
"There's a long clear history of murder and all imaginable atrocities associated with the N word that bears no historical nor social comparison whatsoever in this country with any other slur that can be uttered"

@79 and several others:
You're suggesting that the word "faggot" has not been used in association with oppression or murder? Or that it still isn't? What if someone said that "The N Word" can't be compared to "faggot", and that "faggot" is the more oppressive one because it is used against people who still don't have their civil rights.
81
@ 79 again.

I'm not done. I can think of other terms that stand a chance against "The N Word", in regards to your statement that no other slur can compare. What about "The G Word" and "The J Word", used against Asians or Asian-Americans. Consider that the Chinese were banned from entering the US for decades, and the Japanese were put in internment camps during World War II.

I could come up with more examples if you require them.
82
ooh, thanks ggg@17, that was amusing.
83
re:NFW (the suddenly disinterested female at work) Be grateful! I actually gave permission to a woman to fool around with my husband, and she fell for him SO HARD that she tried to fuck with his head and get him to leave me! Sheesh! FWIW, I think flirting at work is fun, but bringing someone from work into a non-monogamous situation takes just too much work with boundary issues. Thankfully, we're back to sane, reasonable extra lovers, not insanely jealous ones!
84
To Not My Problem:

Homosexuals are not a protected class under the constitution (yet), so you will likely not get the same reaction from HR that you would if your coworker was using a racial slur. The outcome will likely depend on how liberal your company is, so perhaps you should raise the issue with your coworker first. If she knows you are offended, she may stop using the offensive language. If she overreacts to your suggestion, that may be more evidence to take to HR.

85
I agree with eaglecrowgirl.

Before running to HR, I'd suggest just telling the coworker you're uncomfortable with how she's talking. Ask her not to use that kind of language in the workplace, straight out.

Sometimes, peer pressure is enough to get people behaving the right way.
86
Dan: 'This woman didn't find the idea of cheating with you "okay," NFW, she wanted to fuck you because you're married and presumably monogamous.'

This is along the same lines of that phenomenon that every guy is familiar with: many women find you more appealing when you're involved with another woman than when you're single and available.
87
#42/Karey: "I think most guys, married or not, get turned down when all they're offering a woman is a fling. Its the eternal problem for guys who are just wanting to get laid."

Absolutely. It's much harder for a typical man to find a woman for casual sex than it is for a typical woman to find a man for that. Men like an emotional connection but they don't require it in order to fuck to the degree that women do.

I'm not excusing lying in order to get laid but the reason men do it is that most women require some profession of feelings from a guy before they're willing to get naked with him. Women don't have to lie in order to get laid because if a woman is honest with a guy and says, "I just wanna have sex", his response is "No problem!"
88
The words "nigger" and "faggot" are completely inappropriate in the work place, as is the word "tard" and "retarded" for any publication with a modicum of integrity. Dan and The Stranger, I'm looking at you. See Slog posting: http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archive….
89
*applauds #76*

I worked with a woman once who talked endlessly at work about her ex-husband and her troubled son. One time, when I'd heard enough from her about how gays "should keep their personal lives private," I turned to her and asked, as sweetly as possible, "Nancy, do you leave your personal life at home?"

I never heard her use the "gays should keep their personal lives private" line again.
90
#77: To say "show" when you mean "should" is leotarded!

People in glass houses, bitch. Ya know?
91
@40, 42, 44

You're all spot on about what's happening here. Not exactly sexy for her to find out that she really is just a piece of ass for him. Woman can get laid any day of the week. No thanks - she's gone. Either that, or this chick really *was* just flirting and had no intention of making it a reality.

@57

Oh wow, you're both just soooooo "evolved" from the rest of the lower species of monogamous people. STFU, dickwad. Accept the fact that people are all different when it comes to what they want/can handle in love and relationships and most people are just comfortable with monogamy. Are bisexuals "evolved" because they can have sex with both genders? Are gay people "evolved" because they can have sex with people of their same gender? Of course not. They're just different. You ain't better than nobody, asshole, and it's pathetic you've led yourself to believe that. Get a life.
92
@91: I still find that sentiment ironic. When you're the woman a man is cheating with on his wife, she's generally a "piece of ass."

I mean, sure, there could be an emotional connection there, and it'd be a full-blown affair, but we've heard so many cases of women who hope that a husband would leave his wife for her after fucking around for a while -- and he doesn't, because he'd be risking kids, his bank account, whatever, etc., and he was just looking for some fun.
93
"If your coworker is female, she should use the women’s room. If he is male, he should use the men’s room."

FIFY.
94
@5 "there's lots of alt answers for NFW, but most likely, the coworker he's flirting with is HELLO! FLIRTING. Not trying to get laid--flirting. As long as he's putatively monogamous, that's safe enough, but once it becomes a serious possibility, she's out of there."

Good call. An old friend recently put an abrupt end to the 'dirtier' aspect of our now long-distance friendship when I suggested we hook up when he comes to town. He'll flirt - hell, he'll talk dirty and send homemade porn - but the thought of actually fucking a married woman apparently did him in.
95
I have an observation along the same lines as Dan's to NFW. I traveled a lot in my job and was away from home weeks and months at a time. I eventually had to stop wearing my wedding ring so that women would quit hitting on me. I guess in their minds the fact some woman, my wife, wanted me, I was worth persuing. Without the ring I was just another single guy .
96
@90

Fuck, you're right. Whoops. But I was right too.
97
I am in a strange situation. I work in the corporate sector in marketing and sales. It is a high-stress, fast-paced job, and everyone has a short fuse. I have a coworker who is losing business to a competitor who happens to HAVE A MENTAL DISABILITY. In her fits of anger, she keeps calling him a RETARD. I hate it. The thing is, I am not MENTALLY DISABLED. And if anyone in our office is, they are in the closet. She has used the word in front of other coworkers and even our boss, and no one seems to be bothered.

I am torn about what I should do. I am black, and if she were using the word "nigger," I would call her on it and raise issue with our HR department. Can I file a complaint on behalf of a group I do not belong to? If she found out I complained, she would see it as a threat to her own job, which could lead to a decidedly hostile workplace. But if it were a racial slur, I would not let that deter me. I want to do the right thing. How would you handle the situation?

Not My Problem?

If someone at my office were tossing the word "RETARD" around, NMP, I would lodge a complaint. I would resent the assumption on my coworker's part that since I'm NOT MENTALLY DISABLED she can use HATE speech in my presence, because, hey, all us NOT MENTALLY DISABLED people THINK IT'S FUNNY, right? And I would complain because a workplace that tolerates HATEFUL remarks is a workplace that tolerates homophobic remarks. If people are using "nigger" when there aren't any black people in the room, they're doubtless using "RETARD" when there aren't any MENTALLY DISABLED people in the room. And vice versa. Have a word with HR.

Awesome advice, Dan Savage. You hypocrite.

http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archive…
98
Re: #95 and others who've made similar comments about married men being more attractive.

Sure, maybe it's some unconscious female competition, or maybe it's just harmless flirting...

But, maybe? Maybe married men are more attractive because they're not trying so hard. One of the things I hate about being single is that so few single men just "talk" to me. They're always working an angle, trying a pitch--and I feel manipulated and, on occasion, repulsed by them. I often wonder, "If they have to go to such lengths to present such an orchestrated script/scenario/line, is it because they've got nothing real to offer?"

With married men, they interact more naturally cuz they're not trying to score with you. That leaves you more of an opportunity to get to know them...and, surprise surprise, feelings can develop.

I also find that I'm less guarded about myself with men that I know to be taken... so maybe that's part of it too.
99
Following the track that a number of other folks have picked up on, if you substituted "retard" for "nigger" or "faggot," though, that would be okay in Dan Savage's world, right? Just a different kind of discriminatory and hate-filled word based on someone's genetic makeup (hey, kind of like having a different skin color or being gay!) that's okay to throw around without regard for the consequences. 'Cause "if people are using "retard" when there aren't any disabled people in the room, they're doubtless using "faggot" when there aren't any gay people in the room", right?
100
Well, damn. I think OSA just made a fantastic point there, Dan.

Care to respond? How is this different, exactly?

101
Regarding the first letter about the married man in open relationship. I think Dan hits the nail on the head, but don't forget about the fact that in your open relationship you could possibly be spreading cooties from one woman to another instead of being a married guy with one outside relationship and a lower possiblility of cooties.
102
Regarding the first letter about the married man in open relationship. I think Dan hit the nail on the head, but don't forget about the fact that in your open relationship you could possibly be spreading cooties from one woman to another instead of being a married guy with one outside relationship and a lower possiblility of cooties.