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SHUT. THE. BARN. DOOR.

A slightly flustered employee asks:

I was sitting at my desk at work when a female colleague came to ask me a series of questions.  Without any untoward interest, I noticed her fly was down, as her waist was at eye-level.  I didn’t say anything, for fear of appearing like a pervert.  If it was a male colleague, I would have said something and probably given him a hard time, but I couldn’t think of anything to say to a female colleague.  What should I have said?

LISTEN:

Some woman shows up at your desk partially dressed and you’re the perve?  Huh.  These times are a changin’.

Anyway, look – or rather, don’t look.

It isn’t what you should have said – which was “Oh, Brynhildr, you need to tend to your chain mail!” – it is when you should have said it.

The deal is this – you should say something as soon as you see it – provided you don’t embarrass her in front of anyone else.  It’s the key element of shock that protects your innocence.  As soon as your oh, I’m sure, so very innocent gaze is challenged by the gaping maw of your coworkers déshabille – you must visibly start (that is, make an involuntary motion of surprise) then look away, while quickly stage-whispering your concern.

As soon as the situation has been remedied, ignore any protests and brush away any embarrassment you feel, or that she may express…and do. not. look. at. her. crotch. again.

But failing that, your instincts to ignore it were just as good.  If you don’t feel comfortable telling someone calmly in a professional manner in a business environment that they have a something slightly askew with their costume just because their fiddly bits don’t match yours, it’s best to pretend the whole thing isn’t happening.

Now get back to work.

 

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