Mostly rambles, few brambles
Workplace Sexual Harassment Compliance Quiz:
Our organization is committed to providing a professional, respectful environment where everyone is able to perform his or her job effectively and free from harassment. Read through the following scenario and then select the appropriate action to demonstrate your comprehension and understanding of our policy.
Violations of this policy can include disciplinary action up to and including termination:
Drew, your department’s manager, has always been quick to commend your work and, after a particularly strong quarter, he has summoned you to his office.
Ever timid, even when expecting good news, you entered and he asked that you shut the door behind you. He was standing at the window in one of his designer suits, one perfectly tailored to flatter his broad shoulders, minimal waist, and ambiguous sexuality. “Would you please, take a seat,” he said in his most gravely of power tones. You fumbled as you pulled the chair to you—you’re such a charming klutz—and you tittered a little to stave off blushing. His steely gaze ignored your lovable bumbling. Instead he said there was a promotion coming available next month. Though he wasn’t sure as to whom he would tap for the honor, he did want your input.
“I don’t know,” your voice fluttered and hemmed. You knew that you wanted this promotion. Objectively, you couldn’t justify anyone else for the job. Plus, you had brought up these aspirations to both your immediate supervisor and Drew multiple times over the past two years. You knew Drew’s smart, sexy brain wouldn’t have forgotten that.
“You know, Alex,” he played coy, like this idea was just coming to him. “Would you have any interest?” He undid his cufflinks. Your hot mouth had parted open unconsciously—just a fraction of an inch—and you snapped it shut before nodding. “Interesting,” he ran through his hand through his thick hair, “we’re flexible. Maybe we could talk, or, rather, get naked about it later?”
For the first time ever, you saw him flat-footed, as if he’d come unprepared or had let something slip. It didn’t seem possible, but he was right there, his offer out in the ether, remaining un-volleyed. Some called this sort of thing quid pro quo, carnal bartering, or “Lucifer’s Abacus,” but you didn’t quite see that. Drew was handsome, he was fit, and he was a height and ethnicity that you had always been attracted to sexually. The promise of a promotion had only sweetened the prospect, like a coupon for a buy-one-get-one pizza. “Your place or a hotel?” you said back, your gaze narrowing and your whole body tapping into a confidence you never knew you possessed. You were no erotic arbiter, but you found you could play the part.
There was this tingle, this little charge, running through your entire body now. You knew it was wrong. Drew knew it was wrong. But you were going to do it anyways.
That night, you met him at a hotel bar downtown for a drink together. It felt like hiding in plain sight. He drank something single malt and seemed genuinely interested in you and your story about something that happened back in high school to your friend. How did he know you would comply, you thought, but maybe knowing and truly understanding other people is what makes Drew so incredible at selling vending machine parts.
When you had finished your drink, he paid the check. He turned to you and all he said was, “Shall we?” At that moment, you knew you could have left and returned to your normal life. Yet, you persisted; you wanted this promotion and, also, you did want to see Drew naked.
In the room, he didn’t explore, didn’t care to find where all the light switches were or what the cable situation was. He spoke not a word and instead used four different hangers to expertly hang his suit, shirt, tie, and boxer briefs. You followed his lead and undressed as well.
At first you were a little reticent. Drew understood you needed time to get used to these muddied waters, though, not touching, you soon found, just made everything that much hotter.
In the soft glow of the television, you could just make out the sculpted angles of Drew’s rigid body. You let out a slow, heavy breath and kissed him harder and sexier than any car accident.
You bodies tangled together, a living knot finding new ways to tighten itself. At one point you fumbled with the desk chair and you could hear the faintest shadow of a laugh come from Drew, but, to be fair, your toes were crammed pretty far into his mouth then.
Neither of you were willing to relent. Even after a thunderclap of a mutual climax, the two of your were starting up again within fifteen minutes. Drew had started a kitty for housekeeping. Throughout the tryst he would make a show of adding more bills as more and more of the bed, sitting area, TV remote, and Bible were subsequently defiled.
You awoke to find yourself alone the next morning. Any trace of Drew was gone, with the exception of the money pile on the dresser. Scrolling through your inbox, you found an offer sheet for next month’s promotion. It was rewarding, but you did feel a little off; you weren’t sure if it was something in your soul or maybe part of that room service cheese casserole you had eaten off his taut stomach around midnight. It hadn’t even been on the menu. You had to admit, Drew knew how to get things done. Last night and the Lucifer’s Abacus aside, he did seem like a decent person to have as a boss.
What Do You Do?
A.) Confess everything to HR. Walk them through the whole sordid evening, and provide them with details back through the past fiscal year, and all the way back to your own sexual awakening, should they ask. Rationalize that your own willingness didn’t justify the encounter and that your punishment should be to stay in your current position and henceforth be informally known around the office as “rat fink” or “greasy porkball.”
B.) Never tell HR anything. Your promotion goes through without a hitch, as your figures and façade of professionalism speak for themselves. You wonder if this situation was maybe just a pseudo-buy-one-get-one-free pizza and beneficial from every perspective.
C.) Arm yourself with research and settlement figures for instances of objective quid pro quo in similar sized corporations and, through sobs, tell HR that Drew’s height and ethnicity are the opposite of what you’re attracted to in a lover. Leverage social media to brand yourself as a whitleblowing martyr. Claim that, as part of your regrettable night, Drew said he was using his corporate card for the room and, also, that he made you eat dog food. Feign sympathy when Drew is fired, relish the promotion that corporate begs you to take in addition to a huge payout, and move yourself ten years closer to retirement.