It seemed like a harmless flirtation at first. I had begun working on a campaign with a new creative hot shot who teased me about my obsession with squats.
We worked on an athletic brand, so talk often turned to the gym. When he found out that squats were part of my morning routine, he ragged on me relentlessly.
"How many squats did you do this morning?" He'd ask and then he'd follow with something like, "When are we going out? Can we do squats together?"
Our banter continued in that tone for a few weeks. I didn't think of it as something that could lead to anything. There were lots of men at the office who flirted with me and even one or two who had asked me out to dinner. As far as I was concerned, workplace flirtation ended where it began – shitting in the cafeteria wasn't an option.
To even further make the case against the creative hot shot, he was far from my type. If we were at a bar, I wouldn't look twice. He was at least an inch shorter than me, out of shape and didn't go a day without eating fast-food. Since I had left my personal trainer, I was hitting the gym six days a week and I hadn't eaten at a McDonalds since junior high when it was on the itinerary of a school field trip.
He was also a pompous asshole. Unfortunately, that helped his case.
I find confidence extremely captivating. I love the battle for dominance with a guy. Sometimes I like to win, but often I am
more content losing. I spend my day giving orders and setting other people's priorities. At the end of my day, I'm over it. The
fact that this short, slightly pudgy guy was oozing with so much confidence was sadly appealing.
My journey down shit's creek started when I invited him to a party in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. The train ride was over an hour long,
giving us plenty of time to chat and one up each other with
scandalous stories. My stories about cutting high school to go to concerts didn't rival his stories about being mistakenly arrested in Hawaii. Twice.
At the party that night my friend Michael went out of his way to tell me that this guy wasn't good enough for me. Did Michael think I was sleeping with this guy? Or that I was going to sleep with him? I began to wonder myself. Was I going to make an even bigger shit-storm than I had when I slept with my personal trainer? I was confused.
Meanwhile hot shot staring at me. I gave him my standard "Are you serious? Leave me alone!" face. He looked away.
On the subway ride back to Manhattan we continued sharing scandalous stories. The conversation turned to sex – where was the craziest place, with who, what was the most shocking story…
He leaned in and tried to kiss me.
I gave him my face again, this time with a side of shock in the expression. I hadn't made up my mind yet about what I was (or was not) going to
let happenwith him. Every force in the universe was telling me no, but I was actually having a lot of fun. Then again, he did just try to kiss me on the subway which was not sexy at all. Think about it - underground at 1am with complete strangers on an ancient train car with finger-printed metal poles from greasy unwashed hands and an underlying smell of rancid liquor and urine in the air; why would he try to kiss me here?
"Okay…." His voice trailed off, rejected but not defeated. We rode in silence and eventually he changed the subject.
When we finally reached 42nd street, I still hadn't made up my mind. I decided to roll with it since I wasn't tired yet.
We went to a lounge about 20 blocks from my apartment and sipped martinis until the lights went on at 4am.
When we got outside, it was drizzling. The alcohol was pumping through my veins and with my inhibitions low, I pressed against his lips. We kissed until the rain became unbearable and before I knew it, we were stepping out of a cab in front of my apartment. He followed me upstairs.
In the morning I pondered aloud, "Did we really do that?"
We did that again. It was fantastic.
Work got a bit more exciting over the next few weeks, despite how wrong I knew it was to be sleeping with someone on my team.
I was addicted to the high of it all, but I knew the shit was inevitable. It was completely hedonistic and not at all realistic. And even with the fun and the rush of it, my head began to cloud up with questions. Mainly I wondered if he was sleeping with other women, particularly his ex.
Though he didn't talk about his ex much, I knew they saw each other pretty often. I had a sense that there were unresolved issues with her.
In my gut I knew that if I asked him about it, I'd probably ruin what we had. But what did we have, anyway?
"Are you still sleeping with your ex?"
The beginning of the end.
Don't shit where you eat, don't shit where you eat! The office was about to get stinky.
His answer was no, but he was frustrated with me for asking about it. He wanted to know what I was looking for from him because a relationship was "out of the question."
I didn't know what I was looking for and having him tell me that a relationship was out of the question was a curveball. Did I want a relationship with him? How would that work? The more I thought about it, the question was actually: how would it end, because surely it wouldn't last.
In asking friends about shitting at the office, most agreed that it is a no-go. However, there was one friend I spoke to who had actually married a coworker. And this has helped me come to the following conclusion: if you don't think there is potential for an office fling to lead to marriage or a long-term relationship then you must just say no.
But I didn't get to be the one to say no. I was the one getting turned down. I didn't want to lose this battle, but I was beaten.
I craved him and it messed up my judgment. I never considered the ending stench when I made my move.
We stopped having sex. We stopped talking. My ego was trampled. I was rejected by the short guy whose cardio was playing Wii on Saturday nights.
I have to walk by his desk every morning. There is no other route to the water cooler, the kitchen, the bathroom or the
printer. It is a constant reminder of my carelessness. But that's what it took for me to learn my sister's lesson.
*By a still completely anonymous and even more ashamed PV staffer