Thursday, November 16, 2006

Opportunities Abound

A couple new ones hit my email today! 'Been on the phone all morning!

It's going to be a great day. I am hopeful with regard to an interview tomorrow morning, and then it's off to the attorney's office afterwards. (Simply to have my severance paperwork looked over.)

In other news...

An odd thing happened, and I hope I handled it right. I am a firm believer that in any relationship at all, it's not necessary to disclose everything.

But at the same time, I don't believe in keeping any secrets from a spouse that can be considered major things.

There is probably a fine line between there.

An ex-coworker of mine used to be fairly flirtatious, which is not a problem. He'd joke about going on business trips together to hook up. It seemed very much like he was referring to needing to do something as outlandish as hook up to make business trips in our industry palatable, if that makes any sense. Our industry is not glamorous, and trips to plants can be long, dry, and boring. So that's how I took it. And it was dismissed as common office banter. Same as when he and others would crack jokes about things like asking me for help since I was a woman engineer and all, and everyone knows they are less competent. The would say something like that with a tone that shows they are really mocking the tone of the industry for being so stupid and chauvinistic. We typically work in such a stuffy environment that if you don't joke around and become good friends with one another, the tendency for one to wish to hurl him/herself out a fourth story window onto an active freeway below is unavoidable.

The ex-coworker wrote to me. Post lay off. And he propositioned me. In very serious terms. He was very specific. "At least one night... you don't tell your husband, I don't tell my wife... if you think it's good we can keep it going..." And so on with detail.

My first, immediate reaction was a sense of guilt with previous office banter, because it became clear that all through it, this guy was more serious than I realized. And somehow, I felt instantaneously as if I should have known that. But after grasping my reaction with both hands, and contemplating it, it was horseshit. There is no way I had any indication that he wasn't joking around the same way at least 12 other guys did on a regular basis. And the joking around? Sure, it was always a two way street. But I never said anything that I wouldn't say in front of my husband or in front of any priest.

Here is an example of the nature of typical banter...
Me: This stupid routing is like spaghetti. It's never going to all work out. Sorting this out is like splitting an atom.
Male coworker: Your cute when you're pissy. I'll split your atom for you.
Me: Yeah, you appear capable of that level of physics. Shah.
Male coworker: What? You want a physical? Step into my office.
Me: I'd have you for malpractice. But you'd look cute with a stethoscope around your neck and a white lab coat.
Male coworker: Hey, man, as long as you "had me" some way, it'd be cool. But seriously, good luck with your routing issue.
Me: See ya.

This whole conversation would carry on with smiles and a joking nature. There is no physical contact. Sure, maybe it's sexual harassment, but I've got news for the world out there who hasn't worked in automotive - this is as good as it gets. So you make the best of it and adjust if you want to work and be prosperous. And on that same note, being a super-prude is not an answer. Not only is it not in my nature to be super prudish, the environment is so political that you sincerely can't risk being an outcast from the boys' club even if you would prefer it. I'm a very relaxed, outgoing, flirtatious person by nature.

But I would never cheat on my husband.

So here is the dilemma that I carried, heavy in my heart, for a couple days. Do I tell my husband about the proposition? What if I don't, and he wants to know why we never made plans to go out with (insert this coworker's name and his wife) as we had talked about in the past? (They live near our house.) What if I have to mention it then and he's hurt I kept it from him? I played all sorts of scenarios in my head... What if we see them at a movie theater or restaurant or shopping mall and my husband doesn't understand why I keep things really distant and don't carry on making plans with them as he'd expect? Will he possibly wonder what the tension is all about, and perhaps wonder if I really DID have an affair?

On the other hand, what are the odds of that. Is this something he really needs to know? I was very sure he wouldn't take it with a grain of salt. He'd be offended at the thought that this other man tried to breach the perimeter of his private kingdom of marriage. I know I'd feel a little sting of emotion if I came to know that a woman from my husband's place of employment was actively pursuing him sexually. I'm not a jealous person by any far stretch of the imagination. But I take the marriage thing seriously. My husband is my safe place. We belong to each other. That means no sharing of naughty bits with other people. So we can both feel safe and comfy in that trust, and not worry about catching cooties. And even better than that? The sense of purpose from knowing that we are each the sole person to satisfy the other's every need. That's hands down one of the best parts of marriage for me.

I eventually told him. Just so I could stop thinking about whether or not I should or shouldn't tell him. And, because I decided that I'd want to know, if the tables were turned. His response? Really angry. I hope I didn't make the wrong choice.

But I do feel like I kept the lines of communication open and didn't keep it locked away.

Would you have told him? Or kept it private and just dismissed it?


Blogger The Imperfect Christian said...

I would have told, immediately. I don't like things that can come back to bite me on the bum. He has a right to be mad, just like you would be in his situation, but he'll calm down. You did the right thing!

Fri Nov 17, 07:51:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Quality Weenie said...

Been there, done that and if I would have told hubby each and every time I have been propositioned at work we would be having those conversations weekly.

It's something that happens to females in a male dominated environment, you learn when to blow things off and you learn when matters need to be taken higher.

Tue Dec 19, 09:19:00 AM GMT-5  

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