Post 3.15 - Olympus

As I mentioned on Monday, while I still reside in Arizona, I have been working in California. Specifically, I have been working at a site about 30 minutes north of San Francisco. I have spent much of the last several months on site, but in 2013, we are adjusting my schedule so I can divide my time a bit more fairly and effectively between the two states.

Since relocating to Arizona in 2005, I have spent most of my time working from home, leaving me outside of typical office politics and human social interaction. It hasn't been all bad - in fact, I have found that it has made my work more productive and efficient. Unfortunately, I am still human, and there is much to like about being around other members of the species.

Not the least of this is what I refer to as "eye candy".

And oh, is there much to see.

Post education, we meet most of our social contacts through our places of employment. Even with all the social media options we have now, there is no substitute for actual human interaction. In person. And I've been surprised how much we all notice eye candy. Not so much surprised in that it happens, but in how easily some folks will talk about it.

One colleague, who I'll call Ares, has commented on several of the female co-workers with whom we work. At first, I thought he might be trying to gauge where my interests might lie, but I've learned that it's just a natural part of who he is. And as a straight male, sharing these things with me as another male is as a safe outlet. It doesn't descend to locker room type banter, but a release.

Another colleague, Hyperion, is more subtle. He is one of my favorite people to begin with, because he's just so intelligent and warm, but when his sexuality is expressed, it's just even more fun. His style is much more under-your-breath kind of commenting, that if you heard randomly, you wouldn't even completely register what he'd said. It's an amazing gift he has for that.

That's not to exclude the women, because they do it, too, although it takes an increased comfort level to express it with me as a male.

My colleague Ananke is a somewhat naturally shy person, but it is very clear in watching her and listening to her when and for whom there is that extra layer of interest present. Aura, another colleague, is very tight-lipped, but I've learned she is the object of interest for a number of my male colleagues.

And then there are the objects of my own interest, which thus far, I've revealed to no one... and there are several.

So with all this tension and attraction and things going on below the surface, what are sexual beings to do?

There are two schools of thought here.

First, there is the position that mixing business and pleasure are bad ideas. A relationship gone bad can make a mess of the working situation. Even a misplaced crush or expression of interest can be a problem. And don't forget the entire sexual harassment situation that may be perceived. I have noticed among my LGBTQ colleagues that there is next to no discussion of interest or even LGBTQ-type activities, even here in California.

I think a lot depends on the maturity of the parties involved, and of course, I would be against any sort of situation involving someone married or already otherwise involved. But suffice to say, this can be a significant can of worms.

On the other hand, we spend a lot of time with these people. I can confidently say that I have a lot of affection for my colleagues, and I consider several of them to be actual friends. As an adult who does not enjoy the bar scene, is no longer involved in higher education, and who has little time to socialize heavily in other ways -- my options are limited. Shouldn't I go for it?

For me, specifically, the decision is actually much easier, because I am not interested in building a life in California - I am here for a job. Companionship, affection, even sex would be nice, but in the end, it can't really go anywhere unless my paramour is open to moving to Arizona. I'm selfish that way.

I think the bottom line is that life is too short. There is no reward without risk, and things can be handled in the right way to allow for any number of possibilities. My advice is this:
  1. Be honest about what you want and expect.
  2. Be amenable to a negative response, as in, s/he isn't interested. And be a grown-up about the rejection. There will be others.
  3. Keep personal time separate from professional time as much as possible. Remember that this will be an adjustment for co-workers, also, and the best road to travel is to be discreet.
  4. Do what you can to ensure your potential partner is on the same page with these points.
  5. Workplace drama doesn't help anyone.

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