Dear Dan: I am a 38-year-old lesbian, very femme, very out. I have a coworker I can’t figure out. We’ve worked together for a year and gotten very close. I never want to put out the wrong signals to coworkers, and I err on the side of keeping a safe but friendly distance. This is different. We are each other’s confidants at work. We stare at each other across the office, we text until late at night, and we go for weekend dog walks. Her texts aren’t overtly flirty, but they are intimate and feel more than friendly. I’ve never had a “straight” girl act like this toward me. Is she into me? Or just needy? Is it all in my head?
—Workplace Obsession Roiling Knowing-If-Nervous Gal
Dear WORKING: Five weeks ago, a letter writer jumped down my throat for giving advice to lesbians despite not being a lesbian myself. Questions from lesbians have been pouring in ever since — lesbians apparently don’t like being told who they may or may not ask for advice. Three weeks ago, I responded to a man whose coworker asked him if he might want to sleep with the coworker’s wife — a coworker who was “not [his] boss” — and people jumped down my throat for entertaining the idea because it is NEVER EVER NEVER EVER OK to sleep with a coworker and/or a coworker’s spouse. And now here I am responding to a question from a lesbian who wants to sleep with a coworker. Farewell to my mentions, as the kids say.
Here we go, WORKING…
Your straight-identified workmate could be straight, or she could be a lesbian (lots of lesbians come out later in life), or she could be bisexual (most bisexual women are closeted, and others are perceived to be straight despite their best efforts to identify as bisexual) — and lots of late-in-lifers and/or closeted folks don’t come out until some hot same-sex prospect works up the nerve to ask them out. If your coworker isn’t currently under you at work and you’re not an imminent promotion away from becoming her supervisor and your company doesn’t incentivize workplace romances by banning them, ask your coworker out on a date — an unambiguous ask for a date, not an appointment to meet up at the dog park. And this is important: Before she can respond to your ask, WORKING, invite her to say “no” if the answer is no or “straight” if the identity is straight. Good luck!
Dear Dan: I’m a 40-year-old lesbian in Alabama, and I work with a woman I find impossible to resist. The catch is she’s 66, straight and has two children. I love her deeply, she loves me, but we don’t have sex. She has given me a pass to sleep with whoever I like, but I’m one of those weirdos who requires an emotional connection to sleep with someone. The odd thing is that she vacillates between heavily making out with me every time we are alone together and saying, “No, I can’t, I’m straight!” Why does she do everything but sex if she’s straight?
—Feeling Really Unsure Since This Remarkably Amazing Temptress Entered Domain
Dear FRUSTRATED: That nice straight lady from work is making out with you because she likes it (the thirst is real), FRUSTRATED, or she’s making out with you because she wants you in her life and believes — perhaps mistakenly — that this is the only way to hold your interest/fuel your obsession (the thirst is faked). If she likes it, then she’s a lesbian or bisexual but so invested in her heterosexual identity that she can’t “go there.” (Alabama, you said? Maybe she doesn’t feel safe being out in your community.) If she’s making out with you only because she’s lonely and values your friendship and/or enjoys the ego boost of being your obsession, then you don’t want to keep making out with her — for her sake (no one feels good after making out with someone they’d rather not be making out with) and for your own sake (those make-out sessions give you false hope and prevent you from directing your romantic and erotic energies elsewhere).
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