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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Questioning My Sexuality

My Sexuality

Many years ago, when my partner and I were first starting to navigate what our open relationship could look like, I made a bold claim.  I said, in what he probably would describe as a moment of desperation, that I wanted us both to have a girlfriend.  Someone that the three of us could hang out with, but more than that, a female that I could confide in.  I wanted a sexual new best friend.  If you have read any of my posts in regards to women, I was not raised to believe that women could support each other. Instead, I had that whole females are in constant competition myth going on in my head.  So, in an attempt to get on board with my partner dating other woman, I hatched a plan that would involve me as well. 

It was a terrible plan, born out uncertainty, mistrust, and just basically a place where I knew if I asked a female on a date, things would go terribly.  I was not in a head space to date women.  I didn’t ask myself what I actually wanted, or what I would be willing to offer a female.  So, I went back to my norm, and decided that if a female fell into my lap it would be in an organic way, and zero effort would be required.  Flash forward 8 years, and other than foursomes, I have been on exactly 2 dates with women.  And both times, it was with the pretence of just doing it to making the dating of four people easier.  So that whole, it will happen organically, has not proven to be the case.

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I think part of the issue, is that, while I will fully admit that I am attracted to humans, and not specific genders.  The underlying fact is that women make me nervous.  And not for the reasons that you may think.  I am nervous about hurting a woman’s feelings, or not being able to be my assertive self.  What I mean by that, is I set ground rules, then expect them to be followed implicitly because I am a passive lover.  With women, I wouldn’t even know how to start.  I have this whole, romantic notion in my head, and nowhere in that scenario is a discussion about likes, dislikes, or who leads versus follows.

And this ambiguity, has ensured that I do not make any first steps when it comes to women.  I have on our couple profiles that I am sexually comfortable, but primarily straight.  It feels wrong to say that I am curious or bisexual, because I have never felt that connection or intimacy with a woman that has tipped the scales.  In fact, my female experiences have been drunk, or from incredibly aggressive women that have actually scared me off.  I can say for certainty that having a stranger force their tongue down my throat while I am getting off is NOT a kink of mine. 

So, why do I write this post?  Honestly, because I am questioning if my relationship fluid nature, also extends to gender fluidity.  I am curious what it would be like, yet, feel held in place by not wanting to lead anyone on, or worse, make a female feel that I was just using them to really find out if I have more of a bisexual tendency than I realize.  And I am nervous about opening pandoras box.  I don’t know if I would be able to handle the attention of being non-monogamous and a little bit bi-sexual.  That feels like far too much responsibility to handle.  And to all you incredible people on Twitter that are both, I am in awe daily of how you navigate that, schedule and maintain the complexity of the relationships, and just live so authentically!  So here I sit, on the sidelines, questioning my sexuality, and wondering what having an actual girlfriend would look like…

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Sex and My Mental Health

Is the mischief being managed?

No matter how hard I try to pretend that my sex life is not intrinsically linked to my mental health, I cannot.  When I do not orgasm for a few days, my capacity to handle day to day tasks diminishes.  And when I have not been hugged, kissed, cuddled, or am starved for intimacy for any length of time I flounder.  I want to be better than this.  I want to be independent of my dependency on intimacy, but I just cannot do it.  I can be brave and strong for a while, and then, before my eyes, I see my judgement and basic autonomy over my own emotions faulter.  I see my confidence fade and worse, I begin to make negative correlations such as, my life is this way because I must have done something dreadful in a past life, and other such rhetoric.  And to be clear, I don’t even believe in past lives, so this dialogue makes absolutely zero sense.

I will admit, that I don’t enjoy asking for sex or intimacy.  It is one of those things that I take for granted and usually just falls into my lap (this is not a brag, just a pattern I have noticed).  Or I have developed a dynamic with a person who loves being the instigator and we fall into an incredible thing whereby I never quite know when I’m going to get laid (and I love that!).  But this time around, things feel different.  I’m not sure if it is age sneaking up on me, or what, but I just feel like I am looking for connections in all the wrong places.  And that is making me fail even harder.  I mean, I usually love a great challenge, and the thrill of something forbidden. This works well for me, because up until recently, I have always had something to fall back on.  So coming back from the “hunt” empty handed, was never an issue.  I have never felt this starved before. 

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And it is wearing me down.  I have questioned my self worth, my sex appeal, my value, and basically the whole, do I even deserve to be loved?  I can honestly tell you that being non-monogamous (a post about where I have been in the non-monogamous world for too long) does not make any of these feelings easier.  I feel the same loneliness I would if I was in a partnership with just one person.  Just because I am able to see multiple people does not mean that I am free of feeling this void, this emptiness.  And it would be melodramatic to state that it is even harder, because I am doubly or triply lonely.  That I should already have my tribe and never feel this way.  That somehow the whole point of this expansive relationship norm, should prevent this total collapse into my pity party.  But, I am no different from any other lonely person, figuring life out, and trying to get their needs met, both emotionally, and physically.

I just want to love with my whole being, and be loved the same way in return.  And until I can find a rational, and ethical way to get my physical needs met, I am going to struggle mentally.  I need the orgasmic release of endorphins to get me through this next little while.  I cannot fight this battle as it’s just a part of who I am.  I want to be wanted, and I want to continue going after things that make me feel amazing. And in this, there is no conclusion, simply putting out into the void the rock and hard place I find myself in. 

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Being Sexual and Laughing It Off

Being Sexual

Recently, I rejected a guy on POF by stating that we were only looking for couples right now.  If you have heard me say this before, it is my standard rejection, and I state looking for couples right on my profile.  As sometimes happens, he got very upset with being told no, and responded with the length of his penis, followed by a picture of it.  True to form, I reported him, blocked him, and then went on to Twitter to vent my frustration and ask the age old question: Why do men still do this

While I received the usual support, I also received a shocking response.  While I am usually pretty level headed about the garbage I get being sex positive online this one got under my skin and rattled me.  A guy responded with “I can honestly not understand how you can be so humourless, yet pretend to be so sexual. And yes, block away”.  Wait a tick, my sexuality is being called into question because I was angry at receiving a non consent based nude image, also known as sexual harassment?   Did you know that in Texas, and possibly soon to come into law in NYC that sending an unsolicited dick picture on an online dating site is actually now illegal

This isn’t me just being a prude here.  This is such a rampant problem, that people are beyond sick and tired of it, and we are taking legal action by demanding laws to protect us.  I don’t think it’s funny to laugh about an unsolicited dick in my inbox.  This is harassment.  It’s not funny.  Unless the thought process is that men want us to start laughing at their penis’ I just do not follow the logic.  How many more posts, podcasts, blocks, and laws do we need to pass to make it clear that this is not funny.

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I recall my mom being exposed to on a c-train about 20 years ago.  The crazy thing about the whole situation is how many people were around her, and did nothing.  They pretended not to see it.  When the cops arrived, there was only one man who came forward as a witness out of nearly 10 people who should have seen something.  My mom pleaded with the woman who was sitting beside her to come forward, but she refused.  Should we as a society just laugh that off?  Should we just laugh it off when someone is rejected by a complete stranger and they lose their shit and send what may or may not be their fully erect penis?  Is complacency the target here? Or worse, making it a joke? 

And now let’s deal with the fact that this random guy on twitter, took the time to comment on my own sexual nature because I didn’t laugh.  I felt publicly shamed.  My sexuality was openly called into question.  How is that OK?  Why did this guy (twitter) who claims he has never sent a dick pic himself still rationalizing that I am somehow in the wrong for standing up for what I believe in.  I think sending a dick picture should be a criminal act just as exposing yourself in public to a stranger.  I do not think that this stance should be a reflection of my sexuality, or my sex positive stance.  That is an asinine correlation and positively disgusts me.  That`s as dumb as saying I asked for it, because I rejected the guy on the online dating site.  NO!  My sex positive nature will not be on trial here.  No, my sensual boasts hold firm.  I have a right to consent to what level of nudity I see in an online world.  That does NOT diminish my sensual nature.  In fact, I think it increases it, because I know what I want, need, and what turns me on!

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A Post About Reason

Harmful Comment or Compliment: You Decide

After nearly a decade of living, researching, and blogging about non-monogamy, I decided it was high time to share a little bit of what I have learnt with the masses.  And thus, I am creating a series on Medium.com whereby I am writing a how to “non-monogamy” guide.  It is an exciting endeavour and so far, the responses have been overwhelmingly positive.  And, if you’re thinking that I am going to rant about a negative review, have I got a surprise for you!  No, this post is about something that surfaced when I queried a local Facebook group for input on future articles. (Which if you would like to add some suggestions I would love to read them!)  And after I go off on my side of things, I am going to show a completely different perspective of the same events, and then I am going ask you to decide where you sit on the issue. No, it’s not a test, and you don’t have to publicly share your answer.  Instead, I want you think about how your intentions are coming across on social media, especially in light of the #metoo movement, because for better or worse, it has changed the tone of how we relate to each other, and more importantly our ability to reason. 

So without further ado, I present harmful comment, or compliment: You Decide!

Yesterday, I was asking a group of lifestyle people on Facebook for their suggestions on future articles in my non-monogamous how to series.  A female member of the group requested that I write a piece for a male audience, and when I asked further what she meant, it turns out that she has troubles opening or even saying hi to a person in the lifestyle.  In short, she explained that she was looking for more of a how to guide with starting conversations with other people in non-monogamy, and agreed this would be beneficial for both sexes.  I graciously thanked her, as this was exactly the sort of thing that should be included in a series like this.  Now, here is the point of contention, a male commented with the following using our thread:

I think all you would need to do is say “hi”. Pretty sure it would get your point across if he’s from a LS group.

My Side

While I kept my reply fairly mundane, in my head I was reeling, and I rushed to type out all of my thoughts. Firstly, a female asked me for help.  It was specific to my article, and yes, although it was a public forum and everyone is welcome to add their input, we were in the middle of a question and answer thread.  In short, a guy butted into a place that added zero value.

Second, she specifically said she was having troubles just saying hi.  So random guy ignores that, and just suggests that she say hi anyways?  What point does saying “hi” ubiquitously get across, even on a lifestyle site?  Hi, is not consent, negotiation, or really anything other than a pleasantry.  And listen, if a “hi” on a LS club is like some secret handshake, then honestly, there needs to be a very bright neon warning sign for all of us who were unaware of this fact.

Third, this woman was a very good looking brunette, and my Spidey senses went off in a flash of an objectifying nature. She asked for help, and the guy turned around saying, no, you don’t need to do anything but show up and all is good.

This in general, is why, I reasoned that women have difficulty asking for help publicly where men are, and why so many of us have private groups for sharing our thoughts and expressing ourselves.  I hate writing pieces with such a strong gender bias, but in the social media realm world this exists all the time and the word mansplaining had to be coined. 

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Flip Side

But now, let’s flip perspective. Let’s remove my biases, and just try and put ourselves into the male writers, or readers shoes.

Firstly, the guy was just trying to give a compliment.  He saw a woman asking for help, thought to himself, nah, she doesn’t need that, look at her! She is already amazing, and he wants to tell her so.  Completely benign, harmless, and ripe with good intent.

Second, he honestly thought offering her words of encouragement would make her feel better, and boost her ego.  Ergo, he was being helpful, and thoughtful.  At the end of the day, he is a really great guy, and wanted to tell her that in a way that has worked for decades, the negging method. 

Third, he is being completely honest in that he imagined receiving a message from her, and was expressing that truthfully, no further work was needed beyond the initial interaction.  He would take it from there. A woman just saying hi, is hot, confident, and should be encouraged.  That’s just what he was trying to do.  No ill intent meant, and he would be happy to take the lead, after her initial interest.

In summary, he is doing what he has always done on social media.  He has typed a comment based on his gut reaction and impulse.  Perhaps he cares little for how it is interpreted because he is just being himself.  That freedom to do, say, or type whatever you want is what makes online interaction so fun and easy.  He doesn’t see her body language, reaction, or any idicators to show whether it worked or didn’t and this he is going to continue acting in the same manor until he is told otherwise. And if she does respond, but not in the way he wants, no sweat, she doesn’t get him and will move right onto the next person.

Takeaway

I hope you have made it to the end of this post.  Because what I am about to say gets to the real heart of this two perspective issue.  Times have changed.  Our online social interaction is, impacted by the #metoo movement.  We have all felt it, in one way or another.  We have seen even the most innocuous comment get blown way out of proportion, as some of you may think I have done.  We have also seen the flip side, of people using humour, or negging, or just saying absolutely anything to get noticed in an interweb where it often feels like you have no voice and have to shout incredibly loudly to be heard or stand out.  Any attention is good attention right?  Type as fast as you can, and do not spend even a moment to think about how your words will come across because we only have a 3 second attention span, and you need to be noticed above all, good, bad, ugly, it doesn’t matter.  Trolls seem to have more followers and interaction than anyone right?

Wherever you initially were sitting on this little choose your own perspective piece, the main thing I hope you takeaway is, right now, everything you put online is being interpreted from different biases.  We are not in a place where we are just getting along, and existing in bliss amongst a multitude of diversity and opinions. Instead we are clashing, clamoring, and crying out foul whenever our biases are superseded by that which makes humans so unique, our ability to reason. We keep asking How Should We Behave, but we are not actually doing anything to listen to the answers.

So, pause, and think about how your words are going to be viewed and interpreted online.  Decide what your intent is when you type those words on a page, and if they are not received the way you intended, tweak them next time.  Change your tone.  Find a new way to stand out in this new world of social interaction.  Don’t waste the ability to reason and think.  There is more to life than just being right.

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