Oh, OK. You’d ‘hit that thing hard?’ Thanks for letting me know.
A professional conversation between a woman and two men should not end with one of the men breathlessly informing the other man what sort of perversions he wishes to perform on the woman who just walked away.
Can we agree on that?
If you’re the guy who skeeves out the rest of us with lurid details of your sexual escapades, let me say loudly and proudly: shut up. Forever.
What makes a man think other men want to hear about his sexual adventures? And at work! Is there something—some gene, some recessive trait—that makes certain guys think the workplace is their very own Penthouse Forum?
Or is it me? Am I the weird one? The uptight mook who calls human resources when the Creepy Sex Dude leaves a slime trail in his office. It could be me.
But let me back up and ask you if you’ve experienced anything like this scenario that followed an impromptu gathering in the office hallway.
PROFESSIONAL WOMAN: OK, then. I’ll send you a meeting request.
ME: Good. I can make it any day next week.
(WOMAN WALKS AWAY)
SEX DUDE, OGLING THE WOMAN’S ASS: Lemme tellya, I’d like to send her a request to meet with my big …
ME: Whoa! Easy!
SEX DUDE, ELBOWING ME: Y’know. A little … y’know. She’s hot, dude. I’d hit that thing hard.
If you’re Sex Dude, you and I aren’t friends. What’s more, I’ve given you every signal that we aren’t friends and that I think you’re fucking gross. You know what that signal was? It was when I told you you were fucking gross.
Sure, we have to work together. But Sex Dude can’t possibly not know that I loathe him.
Sex Dude is the guy who complains that it’s a damn shame he can’t even eyeball a goodlookin’ woman anymore. His complaint comes at the end of the 45-minute sexual harassment PowerPoint; the one we all had to sit through because, according to rumor, Sex Dude stepped out of bounds with that summer intern over in Billing. And rather than call Sex Dude a sexual harasser, management brought in a PowerPoint-ing lawyer to give us all an embarrassing refresher.
The PowerPoint itself should count as “creating an uncomfortable workplace.” There’s a snicker here and there, but mostly we all just avoid eye contact. I seethe quietly as Sex Dude spends the entire presentation playing Tetris on his phone.
So who are these guys? Who is Sex Dude?
I’m sorry to report that I don’t have a great handle on that question. Though I’ve studied these guys with a morbid curiosity for a long time, this is as close as I can get to a demographic.
He’s usually middle-aged, though I’ve seen guys in their 20s act like Sex Dude. The young ones are easy to smack down. Tell them that kind of shit’ll get them fired. Point out the comb-over Sex Dude losers in the office and tell them that’s where they’re headed. Scare ‘em straight.
Sex Dude is typically a mid-level type. He’s not bright. Very often, he reeks of Axe body spray. Y’know. Those commercials might be real.
For as long as I’ve had jobs, I’ve encountered Sex Dudes. They’re the guys who walk into your office, sit down, and ask you if you’ve been to any of those “gentlemen’s clubs” over on the east side.
When you tell him you haven’t, you try to distract him, knowing full well you can’t. You bring up sports, politics … hell, you even bring up work. He fails to follow your conversational lead and he fires up a story about a lap dance.
I always wonder, what’s the end game here? Let’s pretend, just for a second, that this kind of conversation is welcome. Then what? What’re we trying to accomplish? The guy sits in my office, describes a lap dance, gets a little sweaty on his upper lip and … what? What’re we supposed to do now? Lock the door and close the blinds?
Without exception, I have no desire to witness any of my colleagues in any state of arousal. And there is no place on earth less sexy than the workplace. The stale coffee smell. The buzzing florescent lights. The multi-purpose industrial carpet. All that toner.
I regret that it has taken me this long to mention the women. How would that woman feel if she heard what Sex Dude said when she walked away? Would she be angry? Would she wheel on him and tell him what a piece of dirt he is? And would he just laugh at her, with hate and dismissal?
Or maybe she’d be ashamed. Would she just think Sex Dude is an asshole? Or would she think you are too?
And what if she was your wife or your girlfriend? Or your sister or your mom or your daughter? Would you want to punch the holy shit out of Sex Dude? Cause I would.
So next time you see him, tell Sex Dude the jig’s up. He’s making the rest of us look bad and we’re sick of it.
Do what you do, Sex Dude, but leave it at home.
Or at least, don’t bring it to work.