Monday, December 14, 2009

YOU make the call: Was my coworker hitting on me at the xmas party, er no?

First, before we begin, HELLO NEW FOLLOWERS! Welcome to the love fest that is Mrs. Hall!

And for those lurkers out there, I still enjoy your visits! (wink)

So- let's begin the discussion, shall we?

First, let me explain my work. I am a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. I work at a mental health outpatient clinic as an advanced practice nurse. I prescribe mental health medications and tend to my patients as a nurse. I love my job.

Next, let me explain the coworker. His name is Herb and he's a psychiatrist, one of three I work with. He is older, mid to late fifties, good looking and very laid back. He has very un-politically correct sense of humor. He is subversive and very kind to me. I liked him immediately.

Of the three doctors, I go to him the most with my newbie questions and concerns. I could say to him, "I set a patient on fire!" And he would say, "Meh, just spritz him with a bit of water and see him back in two weeks, it'll work out." He listens as I struggle. He teaches me the art psychiatric care. He shows me how to practice without burning out.

He is my mentor.

This is where it gets tricky. I am the youngest woman in the office by 10 years. He notes this. He also notices my fashionista tendencies. Not in an uncomfortable way, but he notes it. There's a line here. A weird professional line between different generations and different genders.

He is a ladies man, never been married. He's funny. And like his off color jokes, I take it all in stride. Because I know who I am.

Now let's get to the Christmas Party.

We are sitting on bar stools directly across from each other. He is gregarious and funny, as always. I am not drinking. Mr. Hall is at home, watching the kids. Herb is drinking with class. But perhaps he is drinking too much. The man enjoys his brews.

He keeps looking at his phone because he's being getting a slew of text messages. He holds the phone far away, squinting to read the text. I told you he's older.

I call him out, asking him what his girlfriend is texting him about. Because that amount of texts can only come from one place, a woman. I ask him why he's never been married. I tease him about being old. There is a slew of us, all sitting close and almost yelling to be heard. The bar is getting crowded.

He starts to talk about his girl friend. She's twenty three. Ten years younger than me. And she's a stripper. I all but do a spit take. I think he is kidding. But he's not kidding! He shows me a photo and yes indeed, there they are- her stripper boobins.

I ask him what he was thinking, dating such a young girl. He replies, "I wasn't thinking much besides she has a body that's out of this world." I smile because he is being honest and owning who he is. These are admirable character traits. He whines a bit that they don't have anything in common, nothing to talk about. I laugh because it's funny.

It's getting late and the women of the office have all but left. I stay, utterly fascinated by the men and their talk. I laugh and really enjoy myself. I really focus on being myself because I am not one of them. I am not part of a bawdy boys club. Just a coworker who blushes at such things.

And I am honest throughout this chatter. I see each of them, gauging my reaction. I am not shocked or offended. Just fascinated and happy to be there. It is a Christmas Party after all.

Then the doctor drops a bomb. He tells a really disgusting and really dirty joke. I feel it gently explode in my belly. I avert my gaze, look down, practically shutting my eyes.Everyone gives a hardy laugh. I open my mouth and mimic their laugh. And I squirmed. And laughed.

I laugh because it was funny, yet I squirm. Dirty jokes are about sex and here we are, telling jokes about sex. I am much too innocent to be here but yet here I am. And I did laugh. Cause it was funny. I closed my eyes and laughed.

And THAT'S when the good doctor leaned forward and put his hand on my knee. FOR THE ENTIRE DURATION OF THE LAUGHTER FROM HIS JOKE. A good fifteen seconds while people laughed. It was a funny joke.

It was at that point I decided it was time for me to go. Gathered my coat and switched seats. And I stayed about twenty minutes more. I stayed because the underbelly, hard drinking and carousing of men fascinate me. But . . . I knew it was time to go when they planned on hitting the club where his girlfriend worked.

And no matter how fascinated I am, that is not a place for me.

Well, not without my husband I mean.

for photos of Mr. Hall, who is not an older man, click here.

And when I get home I tell Mr. Hall all of this. He says, "Herb was just trying to comfort you, trying to make you feel comfortable."

But maybe he was just hitting on me.

YOU make the call, which is it? Was my coworker hitting on me at the Xmas party, er no?

24 Left a message at the beep:

Cam said...

I think the duration, and the location, are key factors here. That length of time is pushing the limits of how long a man should have his hand on another man's wife's knee. If he were trying to make you feel like one of the guys, or soothe you, he should have slapped you on the back, or gave you the ole' chin punch. Not hard, you know what I mean, the chip off the old block thingey.
I mean, did Herb put his hand on "Gary's" knee that night? Or, "Paul's", or "Bill's"? If he did, then Herb is in the clear.

However, if he tries to apologize later on, this might be a trick. Because if he seems genuinely upset about it, and you say, "oh, that's okay, Herb. we're all friend's here, and I know you respect my marriage, so no harm no foul." All the old player might hear is "oh, that's okay, blah blah blah, no harm no foul." and then try to take it up a notch next time. I mean, you never know.

Okay, let's see what the guys say...

the queen said...

I think he wasn't making a pass. It sounds more like a comforting "I didn't mean it honey" knee squeeze. What's more important would be his reaction to your reaction. Did your brow furrow and then he removed his hand? Then he's cool.

Verdant Earl said...

Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of men?

It could go either way from your description of the evening. Whether he was or not, you knew when it was time to leave. Good girl.

James said...

No, he wasn't hitting on you. I am 100% sure that he has respect for you and he has the same proffesional code that you do towards him when you are working together. You feel that most of the time because it is truly there.
What this is is that with the alcohol his judgement slipped and his own sense of where the line is got his own mind he was still on the right side of it.
But you did the right thing and left when when it was time.

Mrs. Hall said...

Cam: interesting take on the gesture itself. I did see him briefly the next day at work-he was at the front desk as usual, chatting away. He was on his way out and we smiled but then he left. no biggie :)

Earl: Yeah, you never quite know eh? So yes, best to high tail it out of there ;)

James: Oh so sweet James! The alcohol can blur anyone's judgement really. So yeah, with the drinks still pouring, I left :)

Mrs. Hall said...

Queen: I am not sure if his reaction, I gathered my stuff and said I needed to make a phone call quick. Then I came back. and yeah, it was more of a 'honey it's ok squeeze' I believe :)

Bruce Johnson said...

My vote....probably not.....not hitting on you. (just a guess).

Mrs. Hall said...

Guess harder Bruce! :)

Poindexter said...

probably not, with the collective audience you described. But I wouldn't put it past him in the future, if the audience is not there... Good instincts to relocate promptly.

Mrs. Hall said...

Poindexter: Hmm interesting.. i did not factor in the audience factor... but I doubt we will ever be alone in pub. Unless i got a brain tumor and went crazy or something.

And really, when I think about it, I switched seats and left because I was missing my kids really. I didn't feel weird, I just wanted to head home where the real fun is ;)

GiGi said...

Totally hitting on you. Totally.

Mrs. Hall said...

GiGi: you are the one voice of dissention here and so clear with your vote! interesting take on the situation! Good to hear from ya!

Susan Higgins said...

Oh, I think he was hitting on you.

He told you that his GF and him have nothing in common... blah blah - you on the other hand have a profession in common.

Mrs. Hall said...

Good call Sue!!

Yes, it's true. He was kind of bitching about his girlfriend . . . common angle for men to use . . .

but I assure you... our profession is the only thing we have in common :)


Maureen@IslandRoar said...

I vote yes. In the context of the conversation leading up to the joke, and the duration of contact. Guys that age know what it means to rest their hand on a knee for any length of time over a pat.
Always go with the gut.

Big Pissy said...


I think he was putting some "feelers" (no pun intended) to see how you would react. Your reaction would determine his next action...and so on.

He's in his 50's, good-looking, a doctor, never married.

He knows EXACTLY what he's doing.

You, my dear, did the right thing by leaving when you did. :)

Poppy said...

Psychiatrists know what their actions mean.

I think he was figuratively and quite literally feeling you out, to see what you'd do to his advance.

He might have just been doing a social experiment, though.

But, his bad for making you feel VERY awkward.

I personally would have placed my hand on his, picked up his hand, and put it on his own leg with a "thanks for thinking of me, but back the fuck off" look.

Mrs. Hall said...

Maureen: You are the first person who asked me about my gut . . . and my gut was not feeling hit on . . I did actually feel comforted but at the same time...I felt it was time to go. So yeah..the gut never leads me astray ;)

Pissy: Interesting-I do believe it was intentional-the touch. I mean, he's not a touchy feely person . . . and yes, he is quite a bit older . . . i think the alcohol loosened his judgement a bit . . .

Poppy! This is your 3rd official visit . . . welcome back :) Has Dawg read this . . I wonder what his take is . . :)

I can say that it didn't make me feel awkward . . the joke made me feel awkward . . . the hand on the knee felt . . comforting actually . . so that's interesting eh?

And I have seen him since and made very direct and undeniable eye contact. He broke it first. So yeah... we all know who's in charge I guess ;)

Bonez said...

Not hitting on you. Reassuring and gesturing appreciation for you putting up with an out of the ordinary situation in an unprofessional setting with class. His lack of any real reaction to you when you run into each other again at work is further indication. No regrets or fears on his part and an air of comfort with you as his professional colleague.

Mrs. Hall said...

Tony: Very true there Tony. I mean, this life he has, with the strippers... it sounds fun and exciting. but at the end of the day, he goes home alone and really, is sort of stuck being a 17 year old.

this is no good but maybe he likes it. It's got to be lonely though. So yeah, there was an appreciation for me i do believe.


Slyde said...

i'd say he was just kinda putting a 'feeler' out there, to see how you would respond to take your relationship further...

my guess is, after your reaction, it will no longer be an issue...

Mrs. Hall said...

REally Slyde?

That is dissapointing. I thought you would side with Mr. Hall, being alike in so many ways with him.

oh well, I'm still the shizzle cause I am woman hear me roar and stuff.

cause I knocked his offer off my lap and he's still stuck dating a 23 year old stripper with less than 2 brain cells which is fun but in the end lonely.

Whereas I have a hot husband and that's not going to change. So I win :)

GeologyJoe said...

hmmm. ? first of all when did George Clooney become a psychiatrist?
it dosen't sound like he was hitting on you.
now if he had invited you back to his place WITH the stripper g.f., you'd have a problem.
Im betting the -hand on knee for too long- was more of a 'im drinkin' and told a dirty joke, don't hold it against me' deal.

but you left me hangin'. what's the joke?

Mrs. Hall said...

funny that out of all these comments, no one asked me what the joke was.


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