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Work, romance, sex

Reading Time: 7 minutes

The issue of romances that start up by people meeting at work has come to the fore recently, as a MacDonald’s boss has lost his £12 million a year job. While it may be hard to sympathise with someone on that level of ridiculous salary, it does highlight that even great wealth and high position are no safety from those who want to stamp out romance. Indeed, high positions are in some way the target, for Steve Easterbrook might have been safe in his job if only he had found someone else also at the top of the company to have a romance with.

But life — and attraction between the sexes — isn’t like that. Women generally want to have a relationship with a man in a better position, and earning more, than themselves. Most men don’t mind that. But there are minority elements in our societies that don’t want to allow it.

To be very clear: there is no question of any improprieties involved between Easterbrook and his lover. Both single, both adults, both fully consenting, neither putting any pressure on the other of any kind. In fact, the only ‘inappropriate’ part of their liason is that one was higher up the ladder than the other; and to they did is that they both worked for the same company.

Well, having the man in a higher position than the woman is normal. It’s what most women want.

And busy people, who commit much of their (single) lives to their large international company don’t have much chance to meet anyone outside of the company. Sometimes, they will only see family and workmates for months on end. So where are they supposed to find that special person in their lives?

Justice for Men & Boys report on a Spectator article:

I wonder if we are beginning to see the end of assortative mating. For a long while now we have tended to select our life partners from the place in which we work — rather than, as before, from our home towns or places of education. This process began with the long march of women into the workplace in the early 1970s, a development which, while overall being undoubtedly both benign and just, nonetheless slightly widened the gap between rich and poor. Men and women who worked together had a tendency to, if I can put it like this, cop off. This meant we had many more families where both parents worked, and many more families where nobody worked. Assortative mating of this kind was exacerbated by the fact that we were ever more transient and mobile, and marrying later and later.

But new and wonderfully woke employment laws may be starting to reverse this trend, and both men and women may soon be thinking: if we can’t sleep with anyone at work, who actually can we sleep with?

…What I found remarkable about this story was the almost complete acceptance it was afforded in the media, as if this was a perfectly just decision taken for decent reasons by a caring and mindful multinational company.

I remember about 25 years ago hearing John Humphrys interview the somewhat odd feminist author, the late Andrea Dworkin, on Today. As you might imagine, it was not a meeting of minds. At one point Ms Dworkin said to Humphrys: ‘Any act of sexual intercourse between a man and a woman is necessarily coercive.’ John harrumphed a little and replied: ‘Not in my experience it isn’t.’ Dworkin’s extreme views were considered hilarious back then — and yet it seems to me today that this is the precisely the view implicit in the regulations laid down by McDonald’s. Because Easterbrook was in a position of authority, the coercion was tacit: he had the power, she didn’t. She might have found his advances — if he made advances — unpleasant but difficult, because of her subordinate position, to resist. That there is not the slightest evidence to support this thesis does not matter one jot. In a Marxist sense, the woman was objectively exploited. It is odd to think of McDonald’s as a Marxist company, but there we are.

I was working at Today when that Dworkin interview was aired. And I can tell you — everybody was at it then, all the time. All over the place. Most memorably for me underneath the giant satellite dish on the top of the White City building, so cold we both kept our coats on: happy days. The BBC back then had an extraordinarily hierarchical structure and I worked out during one long night shift that when male members of staff and female members of staff had sexual relations, the average gap of grades between them was two, almost always with the male being in the more senior grade. I daresay that this would now be seen as a toxic working environment and that women were being sexually exploited through tacit coercion on an epic scale. In fairness, I do know at least one woman who felt used and exploited by a senior member of staff, justifiably so, and the bitterness and anger remains to this day. Those not persuaded by #MeToo might suggest that old notion that women are attracted to more powerful men. My guess is that it’s a bit of both. Either way, with that one exception, most went on to form long-term relationships with their co-workers and later have kids. Assortative mating.

But the Dworkin thesis has us in its grip. A kind of reversal of feminism — that sexual intercourse is something that men do to women, that women are the ‘gatekeepers’ and men insatiable predators. And now it’s in the workplace — because what America does today, we do tomorrow.

Rod Liddle: Beware the workplace romance

As Rod Liddle almost questions, why are large corporations behaving like Marxist communes? Large companies don’t tend to do things like that without seeing some profit in it, but quite how they think it will profit them is not clear.

The Sun show concern over when work relationships go wrong but highlight out the obvious point: if we sack everyone who meets their partner at work, we would have a lot of unemployed people.

I met my husband at work. It is worth saying that before I wade in on McDonald’s firing of boss Steve Easterbrook following his relationship with an employee.

When my relationship began with my other half Paul, who played for Birmingham City between 1992 and 1994, I couldn’t see a problem with it.

We were single. We liked each other. We became friends. We fell in love and we got married. Our work lives, I can safely say, were in no way compromised by the relationship. Although it came close when I sold him, in 1996, to another team . . .  for the second time.

That was 25 years ago…

The affair is not necessarily the problem, so much as the fallout when and if things go wrong. That said, we are only human (not just human resources).

If you fall for someone at work, it’s hard to deny your feelings, especially if you are two single adults and there are no complications. If everyone who had an affair at work got the sack, unemployment would rocket.

Karren Brady, The Sun

To exclude sex from the workplace as a means of protecting women is an exclusion from the sexual realm that women have enjoyed ever since open availability of the birth control pill. It is a feminist ploy to further victimise women and reduces them to the status of objects who need protection from men.

The French — the world’s model for lovers — aren’t having any of it. abcNews are reporting how the France is astonished at the idea that people shouldn’t get together at work. They see it as an invasion of privacy to be told what to do in their private life. I doubt the French will tolerate the level of personal restriction that the Americans put up with.

“For me, it goes too far,” said Anne Rudisuhli, a psychotherapist who signed a letter with 99 other women defending men’s “freedom to importune, indispensable to sexual freedom.”

“We are putting walls in places where it is not necessary,” Rudisuhli said. “The sexuality of people does not concern the company. Women are big enough to know what they want. All women do not dream of marrying their boss. There is contempt for women as if we were venal and we need to protect them. It’s contemptuous.”

Anne Rudisuhli

The sexual revolution became a way for French women to take part in a culture that had defined French society and, as such, allowed women to be operators rather than merely objects.

“The sexual question is magnified among some feminists,” admitted Françoise Vergès, a political scientist and writer


Which way will other countries go? Will they choose to allow companies to dictate to people in a way that has caused civil war in the past, or will the people insist on their right to a private life?

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