DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I broke up with my sweaty girlfriend -- Miss Au Naturel -- because I can't stand her armpits and summer is coming. She seems to enjoy being in the centre of a cloud of body odour. I tell her about it and she just laughs and say, "I kinda like it when it's new."
When I finally dumped her over her armpits, she said I was old-fashioned and would probably die of aluminum poisoning from my own antiperspirant. I really liked her otherwise, but I don't see any solution. -- Not Into BO
Dear Not Into BO: There isn't a solution. She needs another au naturel person who loves his body odours; they can get together and have a marvellous time. Just let this stinker go and don't fret over the parting shots. You hurt her feelings, so she was getting you back -- and it worked. Think of it as a soccer game that ended up 1-1.
Dear Readers: This letter is in response to Wildly, who is several work levels above the guy she lusts for at work; they have recently shared some passionate attack-style kisses. -- Miss L.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I was appointed as the first sexual-harassment investigation officer at a university in Canada and have since handled several hundred cases of every type of harassment. The writer and her fellow are in a difficult situation, but both can be protected and safe. Sexual harassment is about power, and usually the abuse of this power. This does not appear to be the case here. The company also has to have its rights protected.
If these two really want to explore a relationship, they must apprise upper management. As she's at a higher level in the company, she must not supervise him or have any input into performance reviews. Both should be given a document drawn up by legal counsel, recognizing the relationship, and absolving either party of any kind of coercion or harassment or reprisal should things go south and also absolving the company of any responsibility should things not work out. Once it's out of the closet, they must remain professional and above reproach by other employees.
I had this work successfully on more than one occasion. On another occasion, when one party did not agree to explore this option, it became very clear other motives were at play. -- One Who Knows, Winnipeg
Dear One Who Knows: Thank you for writing to help. It's refreshing to hear there's a solution to this problem, as a huge number of folks now fall for people within their own companies. If they're on the same level, it minimizes the problem, though people working around the lovebirds often don't like the extra-tight bonding in their midst.
Would Wildly and her lusty crush really want to go to upper management to say they wanted to explore a relationship and write a kind of workplace pre-nup? Probably not right away. Maybe they should, if things get emotional. But to just go to management and say, "We're thinking of dating and trying things out" would take a lot of courage at any stage. Your idea sounds great to me, as a counsellor type, but realistically, I think people would not want to alert the upper mucky-mucks until it was getting serious.
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