I Am Begging You to Stop Sleeping With Your Co-Workers


I have more than one older male colleague who makes a regular habit of clipping his nails at his desk. Not the quiet way, with the tiny nail scissors. The loud, hear-it-from-across-the-open-office, echoing-in-my-nightmares kind of clipping. These men are senior in age and, at least to me, in rank. But it bothers everyone around them who isn’t also an older male. Do I ask my manager to make them stop? Most important, why do they think this is an O.K. thing to do outside the comfort of their home bathroom? I’m not a squeamish person, but the sound, accompanied with the fear of having another person’s nail detritus flying over the cubicle barriers and into my tea or lap or keyboard, is too much for me.


The level of fake office-based civility (actually, docility) that your workplace has inculcated is next level! Men going around willy-nilly doing gnarly home grooming tasks? It’s notable that you see speaking to your manager as the only choice here. Anywhere normal, people would bring this up to a colleague. Email is fine: “Hey, Jeff, please do not trim your nails in the office.”

I had a secret relationship with a guy twice my age, and on top of that, he is a manager at my company. We dated for about two months, and everything seemed to be going great until one day he called it off because of the age difference, etc., and offered to be friends. We haven’t spoken since, and there is tension at the workplace (at least I can feel it). We don’t even look at each other. Should I get a new job, or try to deal with the awkwardness?


Pal, you are misreading the situation. The tension, if it even exists, is not your problem. It is his problem. Leave if you want, but you don’t have any obligation to make him comfortable or do anything but your job, which is what you are there to do, instead of doing other people, which is what you have been doing. Maybe it was a mistake, but do not make accommodations for some dude who wanted to sleep with you, then dumped you because of the age difference which, LOL. Knowing men, I bet he is actually not thinking about you at all except to make you feel uncomfortable so that you quit. Don’t give him the satisfaction. And watch your back. Men will go to great lengths to make problematic women disappear.

I don’t work in an office. I am a blue-collar schmo. However, often in my work I serve many people who work in offices, on floors, in big buildings. I hear them talk about their “work group” before raving about their new “Tesla” or some other nonsense I have no comprehension of. I can’t help feeling like your advice is tailored for them and not for me, possibly because of the demographics of your readership. How do I deal with dozens and dozens of rich, vapid and condescending office workers daily? Good Lord, PLEASE, how?

Sam, San Francisco

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