Sunday, September 23, 2007

Just Friends?

Dinner with the girls the other night took a turn towards the dark side when everyone started ganging up on E about her overly flirtatious and utterly inappropriate friendship with a male co-worker of hers. It's become a hot topic of conversation - hotter since she got married, that is. I've written about them a few times...

It turns out that for her recent birthday Male co-worker gifted E a bottle of perfume, guaranteed to turn him on. The problem was, that by "him" he actually meant himself and not "him" the ever loving husband. She told hubby about the gift (hubby, is actually fully aware of this friendship, it's not a secret) and hubby said that she wasn't allowed to wear it. She told the girls and I (rather drunkenly) blurted "well we don't want to smell it either! Chuck it away". I'm not one to beat around the bush. As it turns out E has found herself in a group of girlfriends who all think that flirting outside the confines of marriage is a punishable offense. Lucky for her husband, unlucky for her - we are all leaning on his side, in terms of sympathy. L argued that she would be having 'words' if her husband decided to carry on as E had done. I said that I would feel so incredibly sad about it if it was my husband. C said that they have an agreement that since her husband doesn't take his own wife out for coffee then there's no way that he's going anywhere with any other girl. Ez just said that if she received a bottle of perfume from another man then her husband would pay that man a little visit. I asked bro, who simply said that he wouldn't stand that kind of shit from someone he loved.

E insists that the male co-worker's motives are purely in fun *cough* and argued that she's allowed to have friends, surely - and besides (the real crux of the issue) she doesn't really know how to tell him to back off without ruining this so called friendship. Personally I think a friendship means being supportive rather than undermining your friend's life, but anyway. She insists that hubby is fine with the friendship (she insisted this while looking the other way). I insist that hubby is only "fine with it" because has found himself in a situation where if he tells E who to be friends with there will be hell to pay - so he says nothing. Hubby does not like male co-worker, this much we know. Amusingly E discovered that hubby had a facebook request from an old flame which not only did she veto but is still upset about. E recognises the utter hypocirsy of her situation.

While I doubt anything physical has ever actually transpired between them - it still doesn't make the situation less inappropriate. There's a lot of manipulation going on on the part of 'the friend' and a lot of emotional elation going on with E, who is pretty flattered by other male attention she's getting.

If your significant other flirted with a co-worker of the opposite sex to the point where propositions are made regularly (and then laughed off) and then a personal gift is given which implies a sexual innuendo would you be okay with it? Does it have to turn physical for it to be wrong?

Where does one draw the line between "just friends" and "...uh oh" when it comes to having friendship with members of the opposite sex outside that relationship?

Can (straight) men and women ever be just friends, especially when the "sex is already out there"?

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