If you have a job, you’ve probably commiserated with people about it. Maybe you like your boss but hate the job, or love the job and hate your boss. Maybe you’re the boss. Regardless, very few people – and I think I’ll qualify this by focusing primarily on people with white collar jobs- get to know their bosses well enough to delve into their sex lives.
I was new to the job and my boss was a mature, confident, imposing, and beautiful woman. My first office job after years of horse farm work. I carried with me the vibe of wearing my Daisy Dukes even while garbed in my best passable concoction of professional attire. Apparently I did a fine job, because my co-workers- including my boss- complimented me on my wardrobe. After a while I realized the compliments were actually sincere.
Comments about looking good or being pretty were largely cloaked in said (good-natured) sarcasm. We all did it to each other. Still do. It amuses us- it’s our way. But it can take some retraining to then converse among society. So when I realized there was no sniggering behind the compliments I was momentarily freaked out- I’ve always been and felt like more of a plain-Jane than any kind of pretty. What would a person who feels pretty do, I wondered. And then it happened. My boss asked me where I get a particular style of sweater I’d taken to wearing.
I froze. I couldn’t put a finger on where most of my wardrobe originated. Much of it had been scrounged together from bins in the recesses of my basement. Or off sales racks at the mall. But I’d also found a couple catalogs I liked, and had some success ordering from. A thought formed in my mind as I nervously smiled at the woman I barely knew- the woman who would at some point be evaluating my performance at work- and thanked her for the compliment.
My boss’ perfectly accentuated eyes lit up, her model-smile making an appearance as she thanked me for the offer. As she turned back toward her office and her artfully adorned frame disappeared through her doorway, I realized there was a cavernous gap between our budgets. Still, I thought I had a catalog suited to her style and credit limit. I’m not sure how I wound up on its mailing list, as the cheapest item was nearly double the most expensive one my budget permitted, but I looked forward to bringing it in and taking the first tentative steps to becoming acquainted with my boss.
That night I sorted through the piles of mail and paperwork on my counter. Supermarket circulars, electric bill, junk mail, another bill…ah, there it was. Slightly more elegant than my go-to catalog and certainly more extravagantly priced, but as I flipped through the pages admiring the flowing materials and feminine styles, I knew my boss would look as smashing in a number of the outfits as any of the models. I tucked it in my bag and delivered it to her the following morning. She smiled, I felt some ice break, and that was it.
Until the next month’s catalog arrived, and I flipped all the way through it.
There they were, the same models looking as fabulous as the month before. For kicks, I took my time flipping through it this time. My mind wandered as I turned the pages, drifting through my day’s to-do list as the women smiled up at me as if they knew I couldn’t afford to be shopping there. Okay maybe I just imagined that part. Well, anyway, my mind was wandering to the extent I almost didn’t process what I saw as I flipped another page. I looked again, forcing my eyes to focus even as my brain made me realize what I’d done.
The seemingly-sophisticated catalog I’d so thoughtfully shared with my boss had a dirty little secret. Tucked between cashmere shawls and sheer summer dresses were two pages of erotica (I may have just made that word up, but it works.). Yep. Interested in dildos of various colors and sizes? Well they’re right below some sort of coiled up web-like apparatus that, according to its description, is to be used for… oh my. That one does not look like fun. But to each her own, no?
Ordinarily I’d be amused at this stuff. And the remote control panties positively cracked me up. Except for the fact I’d given this to my boss!
For all I know the professional woman at work was a dominatrix in her bedroom. Maybe she already owned drawers of these things. Who knows? But that wasn’t the point. I didn’t know her. She didn’t know me. I was her subordinate. I was supposed to project professionalism- the conservative kind of professionalism. Did she think I gave her that on purpose? Did she think I used that stuff? Did she have doubts about me being appropriate for the job? Egads! What should I do? The thoughts slammed around in my head. I called some friends, whose laughter still resonates in memory. Can’t blame them for that though- it was a little funny.
Needless to say I wasn’t exactly looking forward to work the next morning. Taking care to dress exceptionally modestly that day, I took a deep breath and strode with purpose into the building. It was a few minutes before start time and my boss was already there. It had been a month since I gave her the sex toy catalog and she hadn’t said a word, but now I knew, and I had to clear the air for my own sake.
Somehow I managed to stammer out an apology, explaining I hadn’t meant to be inappropriate. And she laughed it off. We never spoke of it again, and my work evaluations never took a hit. But I never saw her wear anything from that catalog.
Barb Allen Is A Gold Star Wife, Author & National Speaker. She's a professional veterans advocate who understands the personal and factual struggles of turning adversity into advantage. But this lesson did not come easily and this upper hand must be diligently maintained. Now, Barbara brings her life lessons to her audiences in keynote speeches and custom programs. She relates to her audiences’ lives and challenges, and teaches them how to become gladiators in their own life’s arena.