Saturday, July 24, 2010

Why do all the pretty girls flirt with me now that I’m married?

Jack, a thirty-something former co-worker, has been married for two years. He recently stated, “Now that I wear a wedding ring pretty girls flirt with me all the time whereas when I was single and ring less they wouldn’t give me the time of day.”

He has surmised women like a challenge and prefer stealing a married man to dating a single guy.

It is true women do like a challenge, but I know Jack and frankly when he was single he was obnoxious. He came on way too strong and scared many a girl off, forcing them to be rude when he wouldn’t take the hint. Now, that he is married and less desperate they are more comfortable being nice to him. Sometimes, I think guys misread girls who are just being nice for flirting.

In Penelope Trunk's blog workplace situations we don't talk about Penelope discusses, "Not knowing whether a meeting is a date." Personally, I have encountered this dilemma once when I was single and once after I was married. In both situations, I thought I was being nice and not flirting. In both situations, I think the guy thought otherwise.

David attempts to enlighten women with this comment he left on Penelope's post:

Dinner "date," or not??
I'm going to lose my "playa" card for telling you this, but most men like to keep their options open no matter what even when they're married. Ladies, your man will deny every word of this so don't ask… Anyway, men are hunters by nature. The smarter hunters, not only do we sharpen our weapons daily, we also love to fill the forest with traps just in case we have a bad hunting day/week/month/year.

Examples of traps would be one on one lunch/after-hours meetings. We set up small "meetings" to get a good lay of the land (no pun intended). The tendency is to set up small friendly meetings sometimes cloaked in business agendas, but placed in more intimate settings so that you let down your guard to coax you out of your business mind and reveal more of who you really are. If it leads to something, then great, but we usually don't expect anything to happen on the first run…some of us get off on the control and others use it to set up the chase. And for others it’s the control and the chase.

So my advice, just assume it's the set up every time, especially if they know you are single. There are random men who don't have this ulterior motive in mind, but that would be 1-2% of the time…they are the exception to the rule.

To those who disagree adamantly with me here…It may sound seedy, but once you accept that humans are sexual beings and realize that true unwavering fidelity is a figment of your imagination placed upon you by the lifelong marketing of marriage. Then you'll not be so devastatingly shocked when someone disappoints you in the future. Everyone cheats in their mind…it's the ones that act that give us entertainment for our reality TV show curiosity.
The bottom line is: Be careful what messages you are sending/receiving when you communicate with the opposite sex in the workplace. Conversation and behavior that crosses the professional line can only lead to problems.


  1. Given the outcome on that Morrison thing, and the fact that all our information is third hand...

    I tend to wonder if no matter what Morrison's husband thought he was doing that perhaps the 26 year old subordinate considered it to be sexual harassment. I certainly would have were it my much older boss.

  2. Nicole,
    At 26 I too would have considered Morrison's husband's behaviour sexual harassment. Even if this 26 year old didn't see it as harassment, it was still inappropriate and out of line. For more information on what to do when sexual harassment occurs after work please go to Evil HR Lady’s post:

  3. I have to admit that it was nice to reach "a certain age" when men no longer play all those games. (Altho in my heart of hears, I would love o be propositioned just one more time!)

    It is so hard in the work world to know what the real message is. I think he gives good advice to assume that any after hours meeting at a nice - or even casual - place may well have an ulterior motive. So keep up your professional guard... unless you're interested in married men and willing to risk your career for one (more?).

  4. Webb,
    At this point in my life, I think the work environment is complex enough without adding the complexity of office romance. I met my husband at work and I wouldn't want that stress again for anything. But I know what you're saying, being propositioned by a cute guy from the gym would be another story, unfortunately as I get closer to 50 every day I don't think it is going to happen.