Right you lot get your thinking caps on. Mrs T's friend, who shall be known as Mrs Doe, needs some advice on a tricky situation at work.
Let me explain:
Mrs Doe has been working in the same job for a good few years. It's a specialized job and requires quite a lot of time in a small, confined room. Mostly, Mrs Doe is by herself but sometimes with a male colleague. Mrs Doe works part time so she doesn't see this gentlemen all the time so when they meet he is always pleased to see her and quite generous in his greetings - in that he likes to hug her and give a peck on the cheek. Now this friendly greeting has been going on for a number of years and although Mrs Doe is not really comfortable with it, she has accepted that it's part of his nature and with him being in a happy (in so far as she knows) relationship she thought there was nothing to worry about.
Or is there?
A couple of weeks ago she had reason to call him on the phone regarding a work matter. There was no answer and after a while she was able to resolve the problem and no further contact was necessary. However, the next day he politely texts and apologizes and enquires what the problem was. She replies that everything is taken care of and that no further action is required. Then she gets a text that reads;
So, no chance of gratuitous sex then?
Now Mrs Doe is a little disturbed by this and not sure if it's a joke or not. So she decides to ignore it and the following day he texts saying "You do realise that was a joke?" Mrs Doe decides that it probably was and texts back to that effect.
All well and good. Everything back to normal.
Until they meet again in their small, confined office. The gentlemen is the same as usual with his effervescent greeting.... but somehow or other he also manages to slip his arm round her waist. Nothing more. It's a momentary touch....but now Mrs Doe is not sure that the text was just a joke. Was he just testing the waters? Alarm bells begin to ring.
Now Mrs Doe likes her job, it's very convenient and fits in well her family commitments. She also likes her colleague but being very happily married she's not up for gratuitous sex. What's more, she's not even sure if what has happened means anything at all and whether it was just a series of unfortunate events. Was it a joke that went wrong and he's tried to make up for it, not realising his behaviour is even more inappropriate? Hmm. Questions, questions....
Now Mrs Doe asked Mrs T for her advice.Obviously I thought we should job share but Mrs Doe thought that maybe I wasn't ideally suited to a specialized job. She kindly refrained saying "Any job" so I took the refusal quite well. Humph. Anyway, so my initial thought was that until the point where there was the touching business it was probably a joke - that's how I would have taken it. Although I have to say that if Mrs Doe was uncomfortable with all the hugging and kissing beforehand, even though it seemed inoffensive, that could have been the women's early warning system triggering off. But now, after the second incident even Mrs T is not so sure...
So what do you lot think? What should Mrs Doe do, if anything? Should she clear the air and, if so, how? Or should she bide her time and see what happens? One thing Mrs Doe does not want is for the situation to escalate or to be put in a position where she feels so uncomfortable she has to leave her job. So what should she do?
So let's have some thoughts please both Gentlemen and Ladies please!
( Don't forget - those of you who normally read but don't comment you can leave a comment anonymously or under a pseudonym. Let's give Mrs Doe some help here!)