Monday, July 8, 2013

How to Avoid Dating Your Client's Children

Pretty much every woman in engineering has dealt with being courted by a co-worker, boss, client, etc. While I'm sure some fairy-tale romances have blossomed from the office, most of the time office courtships are weird and inappropriate. But eventually,  you accept it and learn how to fend off future advances.

I figured I'd escape the burden of trying to appear un-dateable with some of my coworkers and clients who are literally old enough to be my parents. Fortunately they tend to not be "manthers" (men who go after women half their age) and I make an effort to not dress like a flasher, so I thought I was in the clear. But what I'd never counted on was that they have sons who are just about my age. In the past year alone, I've had THREE clients/coworkers try to set me up with their children.

Each time is oddly similar. It's almost like people who are trying to set their children up with people at work have a well established method of how to bring up the idea of dating their very single child who may or may not even live in the same state as you.

So, I'm going to share the script of how co-workers try to bring up the idea of dating their children to help you prepare for a similar event. Or if you have a twenty or thirty something year old child who you've always wanted to set up a coworker, but just didn't know how to go about it,  this script is the perfect way to make your coworker extremely uncomfortable.  


The awkward courting ritual always begins with a complestion (a compliment whose main purpose is to ask you an otherwise inappropriate question). They are usually focused around determining your age and/or if you are single. Take the following example:

Them: "You seem so young to be so knowledgeable about <subject matter>. How old are you anyhow?"

My guess is that the questioner expects that the target [in this case me] will be so overwhelmed by the compliment that they will unquestioningly share personal information,  which will determine if they are dateable.


The true meaning of the complestion becomes revealed when they just happen to remember their own child's age:

Them: "You know what, I just remembered my son's just about the same age."

Typical reactions from the target include some confusion about how one forgets the age of his or her own child, and increased wariness of the nature of the conversation. 


Next comes the "homage" where I have the pleasure of receiving a sermon worshiping the perfection that is my client or coworkers son. He may not be a god, but he is damn close:

Them: "He was on the honor roll all through college, and then he joined the military saves a town of women and children and now he's got a great job. He's already been promoted twice because he's so smart, reliable, and he's just got a great personality. You know, everyone used to come up to me at little league games and tell me what great sportsmanship he has.  AND he's single right now,  but who wouldn't want to date a guy like that?"

Me (in my head): You know he does sound perfect for me, especially those part that you omitted about the smoking, anger management problems, and his clingy dependence on his parents.

Me (spoken aloud): "Sounds like your son is a great guy." (Spoken in the least encouraging tone possible without coming off as sarcastic, to try and discourage the continuation of the conversation).


I never claimed to be an artist... 
The final phase of the wildly inappropriate attempted setup is the suggested meeting where the client/coworker comes up with some ridiculous way in which you can meet his or her son:

Them: "I think you'd really like him, maybe I'll get him to come in the next time we have a meeting and you two can chat afterwards."

Me: "..."

Honestly, I still haven't figured out how to respond to that one. Meeting a guy who is not affiliated with your company or your client during working hours seems all sorts of unethical. I am also skeptical of anyone who can manage to take off of work to meet me at 2 pm on a weekday. One of  my coworkers actually flew in their 28 year old son to for "bring your child to work day" and introduced him to me amidst a hoard of under-supervised screaming pre-teens. It was really romantic. Surprisingly,  we are not dating.

If you happen to experience all four phases of this set-up without having been able to stop it one way than you have officially entered the world of super awkward setups. Once you reach the final stage, beware: there is a strong implication that you should make something happen. My solution for this is simply to out-awkward  everyone else by acting as if I am completely unaware of their intentions. I've found that people feel exceedingly uncomfortable if they have to spell out the fact that they want you to date their child- which means that if you hold out in complete naivete long enough they give up and you can avoid the problem effectively all together.

Good luck,


No comments :

Post a Comment

Share your opinion!