Something occurred to me this morning because of an exchange of emails I had with an acquaintance the other day. It concerned the issue of sexual impropriety in the workplace.
Without going into the details of our email exchange or what the facts were (we were discussing an actual case), I was thinking to myself today about — was reminded of — a remark I once made to my former therapist. We were discussing my own experiences in the workplace.
I do not recall the discussion exactly, but I said something to my therapist like: Sometimes situations in life occur — it could be in the workplace — where there is chemistry between a man and a woman and they find that they not only like one another and get along, but find one another attractive. But a sexual relationship is not contemplated (probably because they’re both married or already “taken”).
I said to my therapist that such warm, positive feelings could enhance a professional/collegial relationship and were a positive thing. They can add zest to life, without there being a sexual imbroglio. And, incidentally, sometimes being able to convey to someone of the opposite sex that you find them to be attractive — without coming on too strong, importuning, or being impertinent — can actually be a very nice, affirmative thing which conveys a sense of appreciation, fundamentally, of life.
My therapist fully concurred.
— Roger W. Smith
I was in a Starbucks a few weeks ago. The young woman at the counter was extremely pleasant, as well as customer focused and efficient. I told her how much I appreciated her friendly service, then added, “I can’t help saying, you have a beautiful smile.” It was not a case of me coming on to her. I am certain she will remember what I said and think of it with pleasure from time to time.
I can just hear some readers of this post saying: It was clearly INappropriate. It wasn’t.
Once, about twenty years ago, I was crossing the street on a rainy day near my workplace on Fifth Avenue, across from the New York Public Library. The wind was nearly tearing my umbrella apart. An attractive woman bypasser (also carrying an umbrella) noticed this and started to laugh. We exchanged pleasantries for a minsecond. She asked me if I was married. I said I was. “Too bad,” she said, “you’re cute.” That was it. It made me feel awfully good.