Wound Up Over a Co-Worker

Flirtation, hook-ups, slurs, and cross-dressing.

I am a happily married, happily nonmonogamous male. We are not
wild swinger types. For us it’s more about the fact that monogamy does
not work than about nailing everything that walks by. Anyway, I have
encountered an odd situation a few times now, and again last night,
where I’ll be flirting with a potential fling and she knows I’m married
and she’s very interested. But when she finds out my marriage is
nonmonogamous, she suddenly backs out. Case in point, a co-worker: We
have been flirting since I started my new job a few months ago. Today
she asked me what my wife would do if she found out I was sneaking
around on her. Good time to make a full disclosure! But when I told her
my situation, that was the end of our flirtation.

Any idea why women find the idea of cheating with me okay, but
once they find out I have a free go of things, they walk?

No Figuring Women

This woman didn’t find the idea of cheating with you “okay,” NFW,
she wanted to fuck you because you’re married and presumably
monogamous. Try to look at it from her perspective: When she thought
you were willing to cheat on your wife to be with her, NFW, that meant
you found her so attractive, so utterly irresistible, that you would
break your marriage vows and risk everything to get into her pants.
Sleeping with her with your wife’s permission? Meh, where’s the ego
boost in that?

I am a fortyish married straight woman living in New York. I have
been happily married in a monogamous relationship for eleven years. My
husband and I met when we were in our early twenties. After listening
to all of the Savage Lovecasts together, we started to talk about the
idea of “some degree of openness,” as you put it.

In the past year, I have had a crush on a co-worker. My husband
is okay with me having something on the side with this co-worker. This
co-worker is single (last I heard) and seventeen years younger
(yikes!), and he knows I am married. We had a great working
relationship while we were assigned to a project together, but now he’s
in another department. My question is, how to go from here? After
having a few good talks with my husband, I am excited about this idea
and terrified. I’m having a private lunch with my co-worker soon. This
is fine with my husband. What can you tell me to calm me the hell down
and not be so stressed? After being conditioned my whole life that
monogamy is the only way to go, I am having a hard time
shifting!

Newly Open Couple Lacks Understanding & Education

Have that lunch, and tell your co-worker/crush that you and the
husband are just beginning to explore the idea of openness. For all you
know now, your much-younger co-worker may not be interested in being
your piece on the side. If it turns out that he is interested, take
things very, very slowly and keep your husband fully informed. But even
if I could relieve you of your stress and anxiety with a few words,
NOCLUE, I wouldn’t. You should be anxious and stressed out; it’s
appropriate to be anxious and stressed out. Your nervousness is
prompting you to take things slowly and to be careful and conscientious
about your husband’s feelings. If this works out — for you, for
your co-worker, for your husband — it will be in large part
thanks to the stress, NOCLUE, not despite it. Enjoy.

I am in a strange situation. I work in the corporate sector in
marketing and sales. It is a high-stress, fast-paced job, and everyone
has a short fuse. I have a co-worker who is losing business to a
competitor who happens to be gay. In her fits of anger, she keeps
calling him a faggot. I hate it. The thing is, I am not gay. And if
anyone in our office is, they are in the closet. She has used the word
in front of other co-workers and even our boss, and no one seems to be
bothered.

I am torn about what I should do. I am black, and if she was
using the word “nigger,” I would call her on it and raise issue with
our HR department. Can I file a complaint on behalf of a group I do not
belong to? If she found out I complained, she would see it as a threat
to her own job, which could lead to a decidedly hostile workplace. But
if it was a racial slur, I would not let that deter me. I want to do
the right thing. How would you handle the situation?

Not My Problem?

If someone at my office were tossing the word “nigger” around, NMP,
I would lodge a complaint. I would resent the assumption on my
co-worker’s part that since I’m white she can use racist speech in my
presence, because, hey, all us white people are racist POS, right? And
I would complain because a workplace that tolerates racist remarks is a
workplace that tolerates homophobic remarks. If people are using
“nigger” when there aren’t any black people in the room, they’re
doubtless using “faggot” when there aren’t any gay people in the room.
And vice versa. Have a word with HR.

I have a new co-worker, a young man who is gay and quite
effeminate. He’s slim, wears makeup, has boyish/feminine features, and
has done some modeling work as a woman. He said in a lunchroom
discussion today that he prefers to wear women’s clothes. He said he
had worn women’s clothes at a previous workplace, and no one had been
offended. I suggested he talk to HR to protect his job before coming to
work dressed in women’s clothing. Good advice or should I just mind my
own business? One co-worker suggested that he work up to it, while
another said he should just do it and let the chips fall where they
may. The question of what restroom he should use when dressed as a
woman came up. I’m not 100 percent comfortable sharing the ladies’ room
with him. Though I am certain most of the men won’t be comfortable
sharing the men’s room with him either.

Do you have any suggestions on how to handle situations where I
might find myself in the same restroom as my newest co-worker?

She Knows It’s Really Trivial

If your co-worker identifies as female, she should use the women’s
room. If he identifies as male, he should use the men’s room. And
seeing as he’s using the men’s room now — despite his wearing
makeup and being openly gay — I don’t see how the addition of a
dress should change things for his male co-workers. And from the way
you describe that lunchroom conversation, SKIRT, it sounds like your
effeminate new co-worker has at least some support at work — but
yes, he should have a talk with HR.

As for “handl[ing] situations” where you find yourself in the same
restroom with your newest co-worker, SKIRT, unless you routinely offer
to zip up your co-workers or wipe their asses for them, I don’t see how
his presence — or his attire or the particular brand of genitalia
tucked into his panties — really impacts you at all.

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