I’m 20-something and I publicly identify as a lesbian. I’m primarily into women, and I’m only interested in relationships with women, but I’m sometimes attracted to men and have enjoyed sex with men in the past. This worked great pre-pandemic, but now, with no dating prospects, I find myself attracted to a male friend/coworker. He’s 30-something, single, straight and we’ve hung out a few times since Covid (outside, while socially distanced). Neither of us has a management role at work, and we’re in different departments and rarely interact professionally. So, hypothetically, the coworker part wouldn’t be an ethical issue if we get involved.
I have a feeling he’d be down for a casual pandemic thing, but I have no idea how to broach this subject. He’s a respectful person and he’s not going to flirt with me since I identify as gay. How do I flirt with him without endangering public health, messing up our friendship or making our work situation incredibly awkward if he’s not into me?
— Craving Organic Viable Earthly Touching
There’s no way to ensure that a sexual and/or romantic relationship with a coworker won’t end badly. But if your relationships and breakups are generally drama-free, COVET and if this guy’s relationships and breakups are mostly drama-free, I think you should tell him how you feel. Ask him if he’s interested in finding a Covid-19 sex buddy, and if he is, tell him you would like to apply for the position.
People who find themselves attracted to coworkers need to be thoughtful about power dynamics and cognizant of company policies where workplace romance is concerned. And it sounds like you are thoughtful and neither of you have power over each other and are unlikely to ever be in positions of power over each other.
If he’s up for being your Covid-19 sex buddy, swear to each other you’ll handle the inevitable end with grace and compassion. For while awkwardness can’t be avoided, COVET, stupid and unnecessary drama can. It’s been my experience that promising in advance to act like grownups ups the chances of everyone acting like grownups. Similarly, saying, “Well, this might get awkward,” in advance of awkwardness or, “This is awkward,” if things get awkward, reduces awkwardness by at least half.
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