Ask TSJ: Am I Funny or Am I a Dick?

Ask TSJ 

LIFE IS HARD. It seems like every new day brings a new question that, try as you might, you’re just unable to find an answer for. The Smoking Jacket understands this, and we’re here to help. TSJ’s editor, Melissa Bull, and Headshots’ columnist, Mike Spry, set aside some time in their busy schedules to answer your questions in a feature we’ve cleverly named “Ask TSJ.”

This week’s incredible question comes from our a friend in need in Bethesda. And you know what they say about a friend in need is a friend indeed.

Dear Melissa and Mike,

Thanks for all of your great advice. Especially your stance against the pro-pants lobby. Along those lines, I have a question about propriety. I am the only man in an all-female workplace. I enjoy the work, and for the most part my co-workers are great. Only problem is, when we go out on staff outings (after work drinks, company picnics, softball tournaments) I’m afraid of making any joke that could be deemed sexually insensitive. My question is: How do I know where do draw the line between funny and misogynist?


Raymond H. in Bethesda



Dear Ray,

This is a great question, and one that’s best answered here in TSJ, a place where the celebration of women is often confused with their exploitation. Here’s good rule of thumb: Would you make the joke in front of your mother? Your sister? Your wife? You’ve been a minority in a workplace long enough that you must have developed some sense of limits. Remember, this isn’t a frat house. But women aren’t rigid beasts. They like the funny. Just don’t use the C word, or the P word, or the word “moist.”

Here are some more quick don’ts: No motorboating, no walking around with your dick sticking out of your slacks, and for the love of god, don’t make fun of Madonna. All the ladies loves them some Madge.

Good luck,




Heya Raymond,

So glad you came to us for tips on how to be politically correct at work! Did you know that TSJ staffers all had to go through sexual harassment training? That’s what they called it, and, despite what it sounds like, we weren’t being trained on how to sexually harass so much as we were being trained out of doing that stuff because it’s very wrong and super bad and we hates that.

What I’m trying to say is I’m sort of what you could call an expert. From the training and all, and also being a girl, firsthand. And not to mimic Mike or nuthin’ but what else can I do, really? Let me give you some big ole DON’Ts to keep you from being a dick to your coworkers.


  • Talking about your personal sex life/play-by-plays = EW
  • Statements about what things women can’t hack = DUMB
  • Commenting on your coworkers’ bods = GROSS + YOU’RE PROBABLY GETTING FIRED

But if you don’t already know these things I have to wonder where you are on the spectrum scale. Seriously. Just be nice.

K? Thanks for calling!



Got a question for Melissa and Mike? CLICK HERE and fire away. If we use it… your life will improve immediately.