The Opposite Sex 

All in the game

All in the game

Dear B&D,

This guy recently started working in my office who is a total flirt. He’s cute and really charming. All of the girls in the office trip over themselves to get his attention, myself included. Here’s the problem: I have a serious long-term boyfriend. I’m not interested in this office guy, but I love to flirt with him. Thing is, at the end of the day when my boyfriend asks me how my day was, I feel guilty for not being honest and saying, ”Well I got no work done because I spent the whole day playing ‘who’s quickest with a double entendre?’ with the new guy.“ Am I cheating on him in some sort of nonsexual way? Or am I making a mountain out of a molehill?—Ms. Grabass

DANNY: Oh, how I love to flirt. Besides making money for food and shelter, it’s really the only reason I go to work. In any business, there’s always an element of flirting with clients or customers—it might help you with a sale or get you a bigger tip. It’s what my friend Sue calls ”selling by your skirt,“ and most of the time, it’s totally innocuous. But between coworkers and within the confines of an office environment, the rules are slightly different. And when one or both of the people are in a relationship, the stakes are a bit higher. So listen to me: Quit now while you’re ahead.

First, a word on The New Guy. New Guys are usually young, handsome, and capable of engaging in tantalizing conversation. They’re mysterious and a welcome diversion from both the old stable of office guys who bore you and the work you’re trying to avoid. But flirting with The New Guy is the equivalent of meeting a smart, cute guy in a bar—sooner or later, you’re going to notice that he has an abundant amount of nose hair, or he collects NASCAR memorabilia, and all of the sudden he’s not as cute as he was. Certainly nothing to risk destroying a relationship over.

That said, I don’t think that by exchanging XXX barbs and making yummy face at New Guy you’re nonsexually cheating on your boyfriend—as long as it stays at that. It’s a common misconception that as soon as you start dating someone exclusively, no other person can seem attractive or interesting to either one of you. The world is full of guys that you’ll click with, and that’s OK as long as it all stays aboveboard.

Every once in a while, though, there will be that after-work drink or a company function where there might be an adult beverage or two, thereby making it harder to see the line you shouldn’t be crossing. You spend so much more time at work than you do at home, and teasing can easily work its way up to fever pitch in no time. First it’s a few comments in the hallway, then some verbal volleyball at the copier, and before you know it, you’re sending e-mail messages that resemble porn scripts. It’s a dangerous road to travel, and there’s only one thing waiting for you at the end.

Where I work, flirting is only secondary to the amount of time we spend talking about sex. Whether it’s a restaurant or a buttoned-down corporate gig—and I’ve done both—the topics rarely change. Nine times out of 10, the boys and girls who come out with the dog-nastiest lines, provocations, and questions are the ones with boyfriends and girlfriends, even husbands and wives—who are somewhere else and none the wiser.

Should they know? No, but I will admit to thinking that I wouldn’t want to be the unsuspecting significant other. Most of this flirting is in jest, and words and actions are two different things, but have a little respect for your boyfriend and the unspoken rules of dating. Keep it light and fun, and nobody gets hurt. If done smartly, flirting is a delicious little ledge to balance yourself upon. But imagine your boyfriend doing the same thing with another woman in his office, and you might consider looking for safer ground.

BEN: Let me tell you about the one girl from high school I still lust after nostalgically. She was pretty, smart, funny, and completely out of my league. Not that I was on the playing field much back then anyway. There were several attractive fillies that I would have liked to have been lucky enough to go out with back then, but they all have faded in memory except for this one girl. And reason is because she was the most accomplished flirt I have ever known.

There’s an art to innuendo and suggestion, and it all comes down to leaving the room with the other person wanting more. This girl could do that in spades. The key was that she didn’t just make me want her, she made me feel wanted. She had a way of making me think that I was the only guy in the room she was even remotely interested in talking to. Then she’d leave me thinking I’d just worked her like a pro when it was the other way around. That’s why I still think back on her very fondly. Even though I was clearly out of her league, she made me feel the complete opposite.

That’s what flirting is all about, really: ego-stroking. It’s putting out the feelers to see if others find you attractive and interesting. When you’re single, this can be a jumping-off point to something else. When you’re involved with someone, though, you’re just gratifying your ego. And there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, I highly recommend it. You need to know that others find you attractive, funny, or interesting. Because when you get into a relationship, those things don’t come up quite as often. Not because your partner doesn’t think that way about you anymore, but once you’ve settled into a routine, he isn’t necessarily going to feel the need to pump your ego all the time.

So I’d say the one thing you really need to consider is who you’re flirting with. It may all be an ego-stroking exercise to you, but if this new guy at the office is single, he could be making serious designs on you, regardless of your situation. It’s always wise to make sure the other party realizes that while you’re having fun teasing, the significant other is never far from your mind. Having done that, go ahead and put on your tightest blouse, smile big at the boys, and have fun pretending that you’re footloose and fancy free. Then, after spending all day getting your motor running, go home and nail your boyfriend like you just went on your first date.

Send your questions to Danny and Ben at


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Recent Comments

Sign Up! For the Scene's email newsletters

* required

More by Danny Solomon and Ben Taylor

All contents © 1995-2014 City Press LLC, 210 12th Ave. S., Ste. 100, Nashville, TN 37203. (615) 244-7989.
All rights reserved. No part of this service may be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of City Press LLC,
except that an individual may download and/or forward articles via email to a reasonable number of recipients for personal, non-commercial purposes.
Powered by Foundation