The old saying goes “don’t dip your pen in the company ink.” First of all, we use computers now, Dad. Secondly, where else do people meet anymore? Americans work hard, and are working harder than ever before. We spend our entire lives punching clocks, shuffling papers and filling spreadsheet rows with nonsense numbers.
Offices are pressure cookers of erotic fury, and the idea that human beings shouldn’t take advantage of lusty, consensual opportunities in a broom closet is as antiquated as mimeograph machines, Dictaphones and health benefits. Be free with your desires, cubicle monkey! Surrender to your passions, data entry drone! Follow these 10 simple rules, and start proactively facilitating synergistic facetime strategies. Nekkid!
Just because you spend budget meetings exchanging aching, longing stares with Meredith from Sales doesn’t mean you can drop your corporate façade. Embrace the politically-correct vernacular and let the simmering subtext bubble up. Imbue your TPS report request with sexual urgency. Compliment her choice of mugs. Engage in non-controversial water cooler conversation, like “I enjoy the dancing stars on Dancing with the Stars.” Allow for the occasional eyebrow arch and/or amorous nostril flare.
As a rule, IT guys are a lonely, vindictive lot with a lot of time on their hands, as “network is down” is just code for “we’re reading your e-mails.” Electronic communication is the greatest thing to happen to office romance, but make sure the slow slog from innocuous queries to steamy declarations of raw want is conducted on secure servers, like Gmail or Facebook.
They call it “happy hour” because everybody is happy to stop acting like robots. Casually invite her with the usual gaggle of after work drunks. Prove your worth by making the group laugh at your impression of Gladys in Accounting (she puts on so much lip gloss!). But show her you are still all business by talking about brand-positive initiatives. Then walk her to her car and let nature do the rest. Whatever you do, don’t try to smooch her in the office. Doing it offsite reinforces the enduring lie that your newborn office romance isn’t an office romance.
One of the perks of an office fling is the fact that your tedious, soul-crushing day can be interrupted by thrilling, adrenaline-inducing trysts. Offices are risky, as locked doors are suspicious. Conference rooms can be opened. Stairwells are perfect because A) one of you can leave before the other and wait on a prearranged landing and B) you can hear people walking up or down. This location is ideal for making out and/or lifting skirts, unzipping pants and doing it against the railing. Feel free to make a mess, but do it quietly.
Maintain your corporate poker face at all costs. Everybody will know, but until either of you screws up or leaves obvious clues, it will just be conjecture and unconfirmed gossip. One of the biggest tell-tale signs are offhanded giggles over inside jokes no one else is privy to. Your affair will be uncovered, and therefore a lot less fun, if you are both any less than totally diligent. No snickering at the copy machine because you said “But aardvarks don’t fart!”
There is no way to get drunk at an office party and make out with a coworker without everybody knowing. It’s like blood in the water: The sharks can smell it from miles away. Practice self control and allow Fat Kenny to nervously pound whiskey sours and slap tongues with Moustache Dorothy on the dance floor. They will provide cover for your fling while you happily finger blast your 9-to-5 lady between the fifth and sixth floors.
It’s tempting. They buy drinks. And it’s not so odd when they lock their offices. But once discovered, and eventually all office romances are discovered, it will make you an office pariah. The boss will ignore, nervously fawn, or just generally interact uncomfortably with you. Even worse, you’ll be radioactive to any other potential hookups in the office.
You know who is the office gossip, as it’s usually the person with the worst bung breath in your cube forest. That bad breath? It’s the smell a rotting soul makes. Do not avoid this person. Endure their petty chirping, if only so you can cleverly plant gossip in order to throw him or her off your trail of debauchery. Recap the office party. Relive the nervous breakdown Sharon had in the coffee nook. Slyly suggest that a rival is an out-of-control cokehead. Occupy them with entertaining falsehoods, and pray it distracts them from the scandal that is right under their nose.
It is of the utmost importance to never come to work the next day in the same clothes you were wearing the day before. This is a cardinal sin, and a dead giveaway that you are doing what everybody else silently dreams of doing. They will resent your happiness and judge you harshly. Keep a fresh button-down shirt and tie in a drawer handy, as well as a toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant. Take a quick whore’s bath in the company bathroom. Don’t bother with fresh boxers—no one will ever know.
All good things must come to an end. But office flings don’t really end; they are abandoned, banished to the bottom drawer of the filing cabinet of your heart. Once the affair has become untenable due to profound incompatibility, dramatically divergent priorities or her husband, it is essential to never, ever mention it again. But at least it was fun while it lasted. Now back to work! Keep up appearances. Stay businesslike. When you see her by the copy machine, nod, and if you must, remark about what an excellent quarter the company is having. Then start throwing smoky eyes at the new temp with the perky sweater puppies….
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