Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Friendship or Flirtation?

My standard Dr. Laura disclaimer applies. I love the show, love her, love her books, agree with her 98% of the time, and think she’s helped me and millions of other people. If I didn’t listen to every minute of her show, I couldn’t write posts like the ones before.
 
During Dr. Laura’s third hour yesterday, a woman called who said she works with her husband and went on to say that she’s have a problem because her husband has developed a friendship with another female cowoker. The caller went on to say that he texts that coworker and they hang out together during many of their breaks. Rather than first asking, "Why isn’t he hanging out with you on break?" Dr. Laura jumped in and said it was a flirtation, not a friendship.
 
Uh, really?
 
Based on texts and spending break time together?
 
What if the coworker had been male? Would Dr. Laura declare the husband gay?
 
During my wayward youth, at one job during a certain time period, I had three peer coworkers. All three were heterosexual females. I did end up having a fling with one. The other two, with whom I was working before the one with whom I had a fling, I also texted and spent break time with. Hell, we went to Happy Hours and I was in their homes and did other things together. NO FLIRTING. I did not have designs on either of them (even though they were attractive enough) and as far as I can tell, they had no designs on me, and there were plenty of times they could have flirted if they had wanted. There was no flirting. (Now, as I’ve said elsewhere, if those women had offered themselves to me, I would have taken them up on their offer, but that had nothing to do with them being coworkers or the amount of time we’d spent together. That’s normal male behavior without abiding strong convictions to do otherwise. Should a man never have waitress serving him in
a restaurant because he’d be willing to have sex with her?)
 
Now, one could say the texting and hanging out are inappropriate for a married man. But to categorize it as flirting automatically… nah.
 
Regardless, the older, wiser me now would tell the guy not to interact with women in the workplace/company any more than absolutely necessary, and to keep that interaction to the driest, dullest minimum required by the work. And these days, if you read my blog, you know that my advice would be not to have married in the first place.
 
Now, how many people are going to live the way? Not many. We have the reality of the sexually integrated workplace. Are men to treat male and female coworkers equally or not? Does getting married mean a man is no longer permitted to network or form friendships with approximately half of his coworkers?

This is not the 1950s. No, I’ve never thought “This is the 21st century” is a valid argument to ditch morality, and I can like the roles, values, morals, and manners of the 1950s as much as the next person, but the reality is we now have a sexually integrated workforce, and the reality of today’s professional climate often means socializing is necessary for surviving and thriving as an employee. On the other hand, it is dangerous for men (unmarried or married) to do so. Unless he is self-employed, a man is at risk either way. Or am I missing something here?
 
Then the call went on, with Dr. Laura telling the caller her marriage is already down a hole because:
 
"He was willing to have you be upset not to lose her."
 
Hmm.

1) How many times have we heard that being upset is a choice?

2) Where is the line drawn on something like this? If a wife says, "I don’t like that male friend of yours" and can’t give a rational explanation as to why, is a husband obligated to drop that male friend rather than being "willing to have you be upset not to lose [him]"? What about where he works? The car he drives? The clothes he wears? The books he reads? The approach of "if it upsets your wife, then it is wrong" is only a good and hard rule if you’re wife has perfect judgment, instincts, security levels, etc. Guess what? The only being there is whose upset reaction is always the determining factor is God. I feel like advising men in such situations to randomly pick something the wife does and insist she stop, because it bothers you.

 
"The minute a man is willing to hurt his wife to hold on to another woman, it’s an affair."

Yes, depending on the definition of hurt. Otherwise, this kind of rule could lead to requiring a man to be a hermit.

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