The Continuing Saga of The Nice Guy

Workplace Edition

Only puppy kisses are allowed in the workplace!

When two people spend a lot of time together, for instance, working together, it is common for a few lines to get blurry.  People in close connection to each other develop a rhythm, a way of speaking, joshing around, and often times a set of inside jokes that perplex the outsiders.  Human’s make connections, it’s what we do.  We bond, and create social order out of chaos, which if any of you are currently working have had experience with at least one job that needed a sane shoulder to lean on to get you through your days.  As a result, the bond you create with this comrade in arms, often grows beyond the friendly co-worker stage and into this hazy, maybe not quite on the up and up territory. 

Now here is the thing about this, if this type of relationship is mutual, then by all means, you do you and love it.  I personally know a great many people with whom this pair bonding extended far beyond the workplace and into lifelong friendships, and in a few cases, incredibly strong, full on, relationships.  While many may judge a sexual relationship developing in the workplace, the reality is, it happens, and let me tell you first hand, the majority of them work so well that you have no idea they are even happening.  However, that is not what this post is about.  I want to discuss what happens when one party is not on board with anything happening outside of the workplace, and in fact, wants to put the brakes on the intensity of the workplace bond.

It took me years to learn how to be my assertive, and defined self.  It was not how I was raised, and I fought hard to find the balance between being a bitch, knowing what I want, and finally figuring out to say no, in a way that made me comfortable.  If you read my post about The Nice Guy, you already know that this type of dynamic really throws me for a loop.  Having an adult man cry because I asserted myself is a feeling that can leave me feeling drained, and horrible.  It also makes me question if I am borderline bitchy, which is not a sensation I enjoy.  As a result, I have more than once, been in a position where I have to walk this fine line because I have a co-worker who is crossing that line.

In regards to this post, the so called Nice Guy, is showing the true colours that I knew were going to come out.  Since my last post, I have told him no.  I have texted him (so he has in writing in case he forgets) that talking about personal stuff, touching me, or sharing feelings at work is completely out of question and I do not want any part of it.  And yet, he reverts back to the same behaviour after only a few days of “trying” not to be that creepy, touchy, feely dude.

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How do you explain to a boss, that someone just makes you uncomfortable?  How do you get through to an individual who has a lifetime of feeding off the negative feedback loop of rejection, poor me, and ultimately tears?  How do I ensure that I am worth keeping at the job, and not just one of those troublemakers who is complaining about feelings, rather than tangible violations of policy or procedure?  Why am I writing this post?  Because it is something that I have faced at every single job I have ever had, even when working with an all female staff (Yup, this is not a gender specific problem, but for the sake of clarity in this post I have written it that way).  It is something that countless women have faced in their workplaces.  It is a question that we all ask, and more often than not, choose to keep our feelings to ourselves, and try to find ways to work around the uncomfortable situation.  In short, we enable the problem.  We do not call the individuals to task, and we get creative in how to avoid the person, overcome our emotional discomfort, or worse, our denial hacks away at our self worth because if there is no evidence maybe it is all about perception and just in our heads.

Men, if you are reading this, and you feel like a female co-worker is avoiding you, I want you to pause a minute.  Or if you have notice a co-worker that you used to feel close to has changed the dynamic and frequency of being near you, breath, and reflect.  Could it be possible that you have made them uncomfortable?  Have you perhaps over stepped your boundaries?  Have you at some point made a personal question there financial security at work?  By that, I mean, are you aware of processes and procedures that a personal can comfortably use if they felt that something was making them uncomfortable?  If you were ever called into HR, how would you react?  Would you be in shock?  Defensive?  Would you lash out, and destroy that person’s career?  For you see, that is what I have feared in the past.  Losing my livelihood over something without tangible proof.  Something that made me not want to even go into work, and yet, I couldn’t prove happened.  Could it be merely a misunderstanding?  Did that invite for drinks, or brush of my butt, or lingering look that just squicked me out be all in my head?  Was it all accidental?

If I say no, to anything sexual happening in the workplace, or even discussing my personal life while on the clock, I want that to be the end of it.  Graciously accept my assertiveness and NEVER cross the line again.  Don’t plot, how to get me alone, or plan ways for us to hang out after work.  Just be a co-worker, who respects your job, and much as you respect your fellow employees.  If you have a cutie in the workplace, just appreciate that you have a little eye candy on the job, and move on.  Do not obsess over the fact, because I guarantee that the person on the other end can tell!  As someone who frequently crushes over co-workers, I assure you, it can be done in a healthy, sex positive way, that does NOT turn you into a creep.  

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A Rant: Respecting the Word No

No means no!

I’m feeling raw and vulnerable, because it happened again.  It always seems to happen.  Here I am, trying to be open, fun, and authentic and then boom, some jackass takes it too far.  They stop respecting when I say no.  And they try… wait… they do push my boundaries, simply because they believe something inherently false, that women do not know what they want.  That I, do not know what I want.  Why?  Because they have their best intentions at heart and I can trust them.  I have heard this argument so many times in my life, that it really has done a mind fuck on me.  And yes, there is a time and a place when this may be true.  I.e. when you are in a committed relationship and your partner knows you better than you know yourself.  Or when there is an established, vocalized, and consent based trust that they will not ever push you into a place that would harm either of you.  Then, of course, there is an exception, and perhaps the good intentions hold true.  But even then, if I or anyone else says no, the demand is that it be heard.

Good Intentions VS Perceptions

But that’s not where I find myself right now.  I have numerous people in my life with whom I have to keep re-iterating my boundaries.  How many times can I say, “no, I don’t want a hug” or “no, I don’t want to have sexualized conversations with you, because we don’t have that type of relationship”.  It becomes exhausting steering the conversation away from sex or relationship topics or even something as simple as talking about my personal life.  That nice guy adage of talking about your feelings will make you feel better is bullshit.  I’m not playing those games or letting you into my mind!  It makes you feel better to see someone hurt or vulnerable, not me!  How many times do certain men need to be shot down before I have to up the ante, and get really mad or worse, cut them out of my life completely?

There is a huge difference between being playful, flirty, and fun, versus just pulling out all the stops and ignoring the word no.  If I say, no, I demand that to be respected.  I know myself.  I know my body, and I know my comfort levels.  On and on this note, body language plays a huge role in this too.  If you reach out to touch someone, and they do not reciprocate the touching, it’s time you took a pause and ask them if they are OK with it.  I think we all know what that uncomfortable hug from someone you don’t want touching you feels like, and when you’re in an emotionally vulnerable place it is so much worse.  You begin to dread having to ever see them again.  You need to get consent before you touch someone, and crush that part of you that thinks your touch someone is more important than their answer.  And no, it not OK to look crushed and hurt or make them feel guilty for whatever their answer is.

Why Do I Feel Raw?

Now you may ask why I opened with feeling raw and vulnerable because I seem to have a very clear picture of what I want.  But the truth is I am getting very tired of feeling that this is my fault.  That writing this blog, sharing sexy pictures on Patreon, or posing for Instagram with my beer and boobs, somehow means I deserve to be ignored.  Or that I must be open with everyone.  Or that I identify as a sex positive individual and therefore, I want to talk sex all the time, and be touched by everyone.  Or worse, that you think you are special because you read my work, understand me, and now feel that you somehow are a part of my intimate life.  Let me be very clear, I share what I want to share, and I want to be free to continue doing so.  I do not owe you anything, and I do not have to expand on topics for your own delight.  And again, if I say I don’t want to talk about it, respect that.  Do not give me your puppy dog eyes, and put your hand on my thigh, telling me that you’re always here if I need you.

A Little Math to Help Clarify

Let’s put some math into this to help me explain.  Let’s say you have read 10 of my blog posts, and we have had 1 conversation in person that lasted about 10 minutes.  Do you think that in that short amount of time what you know of me, versus what I know of you is now equal?  Do you honestly think that somehow, magically, you have put enough work into building trust and a relationship that we are on equal footing and you can ignore when I say no?  Or to ignore when I blatantly brush you off, and do not reciprocate to a single one of your advancements?  If you’re wondering, each one of my posts takes at minimum of an hour of my time (keeping the math simple here as some take days).  So, from a simple algebraic formula can you get this to balance?  Remember, I have already put in 10 hours of my life, to your 10 minutes.  Are you seeing the inequality here?   

And let me tell you, I am sick and tired of men taking advantage of that and thinking they don’t have to put in any effort with me.  More to the fact, I am exhausted from working so hard to let me guard down, and then boom, feeling like I am faced with blatant sexual harassment that some how I feel is my fault.  Because I was open, sex positive, and shared my vulnerabilities publicly. 

In Short, Respect the No!

The world is changing.  The #metoo movement is real.  It is no longer acceptable for men to just keep pushing until they get slapped or the woman changes her mind, mind you that was never a great tactic but if you lived through the 80’s and 90’s you’ll remember that being pretty common.  Remember those days are over.  Wake up!  If you have ever had a woman claim that you crossed the line, you are the problem.  You need to change your tactics and never do that again.  Respect the no.  Do not push it.  And here’s the thing, even if a woman has been uncomfortable even one time, I have to re-iterate that you have done something wrong.  Woman should never feel uncomfortable.  It means you have not put in the time required to build trust, you are ignoring clearly established boundaries, and/or you are not respecting the person you are interacting with.  I don’t care how “good” your intentions may be in your head, your actions are clearly in violation of your intentions, you are not the nice guy that you think you are, and you need to stop that behaviour immediately!

End rant!

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Making an Honest Woman Out of Me

Black rings are so sexy!

When I first used this phrase in this 2012 post, it was akin to its original meaning, whereby I was told that getting married was the only way to make an honest woman out of “me”.  Well, I am here to celebrate the fact that I am honest woman, I am not married, and, are you ready for the actual bombshell here?  I am very attracted to married men/people.  I have been reluctant to admit this for a while, because I have worried about being called a homewrecker, or having friends of mine worry that I am trying to steal their husbands, or worse, the entire post I needed to write because apparently being married should mean you may never flirt again!

The thing about it is, I believe in ethical non-monogamy.  So when I meet a person who is married, and they are willing to chat with me about open relationships, ask intelligent questions, and then show me even the slightest bit of humanity I swoon!  I cannot help it.  Everyone has a type and this one seems to be mine. 

I can only describe the feeling as “safe” or even secure, when I chat/flirt with someone who is married. Further, I just find it super attractive that they are willing to settle down.  I love the family man as someone to flirt with, have some fun, and just basically get those incredible butterfly feelings.  The other aspect is that a married person typically puts zero pressure on you. Why? They have nothing to lose, as no matter what they have someone amazing to go home to. So, it can be far more relaxing and organic if you will.

Now, if you want to me lay down on a couch and bear out my soul and delve deeper in the psychology of the married man and why I find them so easy to let my guard down with, it is probably because in my long-term relationships I choose men who are not looking to get married.  I find people who believe in autonomy and self confidence, and all the things that I strive for (and if I am honest have been failing at hard core these days).  But back on point, my long-term men are stubborn, self assured people with whom I have never chosen because one day I will get my fairy tale ending and be swept off my feet. The long term attraction is something very different, it’s chemical, and more often than not it gets my little heart hurt.

So knowing that dichotomy of what I choose for myself long term, versus what I fantasize about in the short term (or longer if that’s possible and we can get the wife and my partner and… OK, I need a moment here) is again, dare I say, swoon worthy for me.

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Now of course, at this point I need to mention that this can be very dangerous territory.  My partner and I have dated a few married couples and I think we are sitting around the 50% mark for them getting divorced.  And while I won’t go into any details here, the overall theme, in its most simple, base form, is that they got into non-monogamy to save their marriages and it failed.  Nothing to do with us.  But that does make the waters a little murky.  I don’t want to be a homewrecker.  I don’t want to put a strain on anyone else’s relationship, and I want to be free to explore and build something awesome without the fear of ruining what already could be an amazing thing.  And that really makes this tricky.  I am leery when I see couples fighting or not showing respect for each other when they are out in public, or not fully in love with each other.  I want to expand on the love, add something beautiful, or hot to it.  NOT be that person who is a catalyst to the end.

At this point, I am going to say flat out, I do not want to be messaged for threesomes.  I am not looking to be a third wheel, a unicorn, or anything of the sort. For myself, I find relationships in even numbers much easier to navigate, and by that I mean pairs, foursomes, or moresomes. In fact, I will say, I am not soliciting for anyone to reach out to me for relationships or hookups.  It is not what I am looking for right now, I am simply celebrating the fact that I can be open with digging the married men that I have met.  Making an honest woman of me has nothing to do with the antiquated belief that I need to be married to be whole.  Nope, nadda.  Instead I need partnerships, and to admit that I love married people, who also believe in ethical non-monogamy is one of the more bold statements I have made of late, and I look forward to what adventures this new realization may bring when I am ready!

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My Sexiness Conundrum

Aka – Celebrating my mid 30’s

Can I confess something to you?  Well, here goes, I just celebrated a milestone birthday, aka, reaching my mid 30’s.  And here’s the thing, for the first time, I am struggling with it, because I am really feeling my age.  Not in the aches and pain sort of way, but rather, in the realization that youth is fleeting (which is in striking contrast to what I felt when I wrote this).  While I fully accept my body just the way it is, I am suddenly coming to terms with the reality that others may not.  And while, I know this sounds incredibly superficial, being regarded as attractive matters to me.

I wish so badly that it didn’t.  I wish that I could just go out into the world not giving a damn what people think 100 percent of the time, but honestly, I do care.  Every so often, this weird feeling overtakes me where I am not sure how I am portraying myself to my friends or even those around me.  Again, I want so badly to spout off about how looks don’t matter, and it’s what’s inside that really counts.  But if I’m being honest, first impressions do matter.  How you look, smell, smile, or even just carry yourself can make a lasting imprint on a person.  And I cannot help but worry that as I age, I may have to put more effort into ensuring that I project the image that I want.  That statement alone puzzles me, with deep conflicting emotions of wanting a devil may care attitude, but also, craving a little bit of attention from time to time.

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Take for example, an event that happened on my birthday, which might better illuminate where I am at right now.  I have a friend that I find quite attractive (OK I actually have quite a few because honestly I love my inner circle to pieces), but for this story let`’s just focus on the one.  He`’s a man that I would find myself quite attracted to if things were a little different, ie valuing the friendship far more than incorporating anything sexual.  Yes, that is a mutual thing, and not some cheesy friendzone nonsense.  For me, a friendship with this guy just makes complete sense and anything physical just wouldn`’t.  But in a moment of drunkenness, he mentioned something off the cuff about me being gorgeous, as an almost afterthought during a conversation where I was trying to figure out which of the fine ladies at our table he was most interested in so I could encourage him.

Booze was a factor, and we have never talked about attractiveness prior to this, so while I could completely be missing the mark about context here, those words were uttered.  And without rhyme or reason I found myself awash with this complete wave of relief.  Sweet, a friend I find attractive thinks I am attractive too.  That`’s awesome, quick mental high five, and I happily went on with my night.  But days later that`’s where I find myself in a bit of a conundrum.  Why was just being friends with this guy not enough?  Why did it take him telling me I was attractive to give me that additional validation of our friendship?  Why did I feel that incredible wave of relief?

Again, this isn’t one of those posts where I really want to sleep with the guy.  This has nothing to do with sexual chemistry, but instead everything to do with some innate desire to be viewed as sexy by those around me.  I guess it’s just startling that I have not yet grown out of that phase of my life.  I genuinely wanted to be the lady in red, when I was in my early 20’s.  That woman who would walk into a room and turn everyone’s head.  Why? I just cannot describe exactly why, because the reality is, if that ever happened I would turn beet red, be overcome with emotion and either start giggling or crying.  But again, reaching 35, I sincerely wonder, if I have missed my chance to turn all the heads in a room.  Was that a mere fantasy of youth?  Are these moments of feeling sexy going to become less frequent?  Am I seriously going to have to start doing yoga and taking care of my body on a daily base now?  Do I just have to accept that I am always going to have this superficial urge to wow people from time to time and that’s just part of who I am?  Perhaps though putting a little extra effort in now isn’t this horrible beast of an idea…?  Oh how I wish my looks didn’t matter on the level they do.

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Is it OK to Flirt When You’re Married?

One of the social constraints that monogamy places on a relationship is the notion that once you are married any sort of flirting is suddenly taboo.  That you must close off your sexual identity to everyone except your life partner.  I can see the beauty and sanctity in the ideology behind this thinking, and more I used to subscribe wholeheartedly to it.  You found your soul mate, and all your love should be saved for them.  On paper, it’s sweet, endearing and a fantasy that many of us longingly thought about in our youth.  But, is this practical, real world behavior?  Does this actually make the relationship healthier, and stronger or does it instead plant a seed of jealousy and possessiveness?

Depending on if you are a monogamous or a non-monogamous reader your relationship biases are going to play a major role in answering that question.  The beauty and trust in knowing your partner will never flirt with another human could be an integral part of why you got married.  That idea that you never have to worry, can be incredibly comforting and allow you to explore many other facets of your relationship.  Pair bonding is an incredible experience and not something I want to diminish the importance of as it’s critical in all partnerships.  I fondly remember how incredible it was for me, to tell people, that my first boyfriend and I were each others firsts and only sexual partners (well until our first breakup around year 6 anyways).  We were fully committed to each other in every single aspect of our lives.  And that was a really significant factor in us staying together for 9 years or so.  It gave us something extra to stay together for, something meaningful and gave our relationship an almost added importance.  Additionally, in the no flirting when married school of thought, I must add that many people hate dating and flirting, so they were all too happy to give that all up with marriage and not think about it again.

Now let’s talk briefly about the other side of the issue, the married people who think it is OK to still flirt.  And there are tonnes of us out there, many who would identify as monogamous too.  These are the people, who like me, absolutely love to flirt.  To push the envelope of friendship just slightly past the normal everyday pleasantries.  I for one, see, just how freeing and liberating it is to flirt.  How much a part of my sexuality comes alive when I get to talk, and be playful with new people.  It not only invigorates me, it also revitalizes my relationship with my partner.  Any swinger will tell you that often, they have the hottest sex with their partner when they come home from the club or a date.  So, the idea of flirting actually strengthens many relationships in direct conjunction with a solid foundation.  Having been in long term relationship on both sides of the spectrum I believe flirting, even when married is a true sign of a relationship that trusts, and ultimately has their shit together.

But the reality is that, what I think doesn’t matter.  What really matters is what we as a society publicly do or say.  And that is where I think the meat and potatoes really are because as much as you may agree with me in your head, what you support publicly is what gets noticed.  Take a fellow blogger, who shared her experiences with “bigger than friendship” feelings for a married man.  The public outcry from her followers, on Twitter, was predictably close minded.  The shame, finger wagging and instant judgement that she crossed lines by even talking to this guy, because he was… wait for it… married, was quick and very decisive.  And further that he was in a moral obligation to never have a female friend outside of his marriage, period.  Of course, there were a few open-minded comments speckled in, but until she came out with the piece called Aftermath the critics were outraged.  Was she and the married man engaged in some form of flirtation, how scandalous!  But was it harmless?  Well that depends on your prerogative and what you have negotiated as your own personal marriage terms and boundaries or your base belief system.  Wait scratch that… it actually has nothing to do with anyone but him, his wife and Lucy.

See the thing of it is, us non-monogamous folks, we talk about these things like is flirting ok when we get married.  There are no assumptions made in a healthy and communicative partnership.  We negotiate and re-negotiate our wants, needs and our boundaries.  And what’s more, we implicitly understand that all the people we interact with in the community, are doing the same.  So, we don’t make assumptions for their relationship boundaries either. We ask, we talk, we respect what works for them.  The monogamous world, doesn’t do this.  Instead there are harsh guidelines that public opinion dictates as a result of whomever speaks loudest or often who presents an argument that involves the most public shame, and that becomes the standard.  Protect the sanctity of marriage even though we don’t talk about what that actually means!  Nowhere did anyone ask or suggest, that Lucy, and the married man have a discussion about their friendship boundaries or if that that worked with the wife.  Instead, Lucy, developed feelings, understood that having feelings for a married man was wrong, shameful and ended things.

But what if there was another option?  What if it was permissible to flirt in the married couple’s relationship?  And further what if as a standard for monogamy the conversation about what cheating actually entails occurs?  What if public opinion did not dictate relationship norms, and instead we embraced the idea that each partnership is unique, respected and we went on with our merry little lives?  What if, it is OK to flirt when you’re married?

Curious about Lucy’s story?  I highly recommend you giving this 3 part blog post a read, not only because @LucyGoesDating said I could share!  But also because her blog is super fun to read, and so completely opposite from mine that I adore it. So here is part 1 to get you started, Married Man Part 1.

*** If this piece got you thinking, or you want to support it, or even just continue with the discussion (because, I didn’t want to make this a two part rant ), I would love for you to join my Patreon community!***