Saturday, August 13, 2011

For Real?

A German etiquette group has forbidden kissing coworkers on the cheek, suggesting that if people are okay with the practice, they announce that with a sign on their desk. (As an aside, I think such signs have a bright future as gag gifts.)

I've been sexually harassed by coworkers in vile and disturbing ways. Not one of the offenders has ever kissed me on the cheek. The only coworkers who kiss me on the cheek are dear friends who are welcome to visit me in my home, who know why I've been in the hospital, and who would--in an alternate universe where women over 40 fall in love and get married--be invited to my wedding.

This is the sort of thing that just boggles my mind. Clearly someone, somewhere is being kissed on the cheek by humans they don't care for in a way that makes them feel icky. If we assume that the offending kissers aren't all hell-bent on making people feel icky, then we have to accept that they're not good at picking up social cues. But the idea that I would just put a piece of paper on my desk indicating that I enjoy being kissed on the cheek by my coworkers really seems like an inadequate solution. I can think of coworkers who shouldn't be allowed to kiss me on the cheek. I have (in the past, not necessarily right now, mind) worked with humans whose kiss would drive me to scour myself with antiseptic in a really hot shower. Do I put a list on my desk? These humans are allowed, these humans are expressly forbidden? Am I allowed to put my boss on the forbidden list (no, no, not you--a theoretical boss). Do I maintain the list on company time?

I'd love to dismiss this as ridiculous. Then again, I'd love to tell you that I'd never worked with a coworker who thought he could "honk" my boobs as a joke. I'd love to tell you that a friend of mine who works at a very decent and progressive company didn't recently attend a meeting where a coworker said, "Give this task to someone in a skirt." And I'd love to tell you that when I watch Mad Men, I never watch them chasing secretaries around the office and think, "maybe we could have done better than just driving this behavior underground where it's harder to catch it." So I guess it's not ridiculous. But I really really wish it were.

No comments: