Sex in the Workplace


The reports of inappropriate workplace behavior flooding the media are not just sad.  They’re disheartening. As a man, I know it can sometimes be difficult to keep our minds on the task at hand when we’re distracted by an attractive coworker.  But it’s inconceivable that the attraction should lead to the behavior that’s being reported.

Surely, we men should have enough self discipline to keep our clothes on and our hands to ourselves?

I imagine women are not all impervious to sexual instincts. For example, there are reports of female schoolteachers being tempted by their male students.  But apparently women usually manage to restrain any inappropriate impulses they might have. Especially in the workplace.

I notice that some of the men accused of unwanted sexual overtures say they thought their feelings were reciprocated. I wonder what gave them that idea. A sidelong glance, perhaps? A sly smile? An affectionate touch on the arm?

Women have been known to use their allure to advantage. Did they occasionally go a little too far?

Of course there’s no excuse for the behavior I’ve been reading about. But dare I say a word in defense of Al Franken? He stole a kiss. He posed for a photo that was in inexcusably bad taste (at right).  But what prompted him to take such liberties? A misunderstanding perhaps?

And Bush the Elder. How old is he? Ninety-three?

I am 83, and I suspect any inappropriate intentions he might have are only in his mind. I imagine the physical contact he has with women at his age are meant as expressions of affection or something just as innocent. They might even be the result of failing eyesight.

Yes, I know, some of the alleged incidents occurred years ago. But even so, they seem relatively innocuous compared with some of the other reports..

Roy Moore is something else. He is accused of preying on high school girls. I know it happened a long time ago but so did Bill Cosby’s atrocities. And Cosby didn’t get a pass despite his advanced age and poor health.

I believe in redemption. I believe in forgiveness. But they must be accompanied by contrition. And Moore is not contrite. He is defiant.

The way the media lumps together the avalanche of accusations is unfair.  Soliciting sex from a minor is very, very different from making a pass at an adult coworker. Both are wrong, of course. But one is heinous, the other is stupid.

Without a doubt, the attention being given the problem is welcome. It’s time men and women had this talk. Obviously, our mothers didn’t level with us. They let us think women and men were more or less the same when it comes to impure thoughts and the like.

Obviously, we’re different.

As the French say, vive  la difference. If only we men could better understand the difference. It’s high time someone explained it to us.

2 thoughts on “Sex in the Workplace

  1. Don’t blame your mum. Your mum told you to keep your hands to yourself and mind your manners and that if you pleasured yourself you would get a hairy palm. They NEVER talked to you candidly about sex. Come on admit it. I told my boys to be gentlemen and tried very hard to teach them not to behave as if they had no brains and were led completely by their hormones and impulses. And I think I did a pretty good job. I think that teenagers should be given a pass on boorish behavior as long as there is no assault. But grown ups should not be allowed to get handsy with women who report to them. It is a clear abuse of status. But I also think that there are some women who would think that there is room for bawdy banter with their male colleagues. What we need to do is use our common sense and stop the purge of all men from society. Most men I know would be hard pressed not to think of some time when they went for the kiss or said something sexy for a joke. We need to calm down a bit. Admit it, assault has a different feel to it. Charley Rose evil abuse of power over his staff, Al Franken bad tasteless boorish behavior.

  2. Many of the complaints seem entirely justifiable BUT there are some that seem merely petty transgressions….and may even be something that I could see women themselves doing. A question: Are the women being asked to provide proof of any sort when they make these complaints? Please do not think I am in any way sympathetic of what seems to be widespread predatory abuse of women and even girls and boys, but suggesting that a pat on the bum is on the same level as assaulting young girls seems ridiculous to me. It sort of trivializes the whole affair.

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