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.

gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com

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