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Ask Anyone

raising the bar

Is it okay to hit on a bartender who you think is hot? I think it’s okay, but I have a friend who says it’s uncool, because it’s her place of work and she’s obliged to field your advances one way or another, possibly more politely than she would if the whole thing happened on different terms. What do you think?

—Big Tipper

The Practical Cogitator says: Seems to me like you should wait for the bartender to get off duty to hit on her. She’s not obliged to field anything, but she is obliged to be polite and professional. If she’s interested she’ll let you know. And if she’s not interested it’ll be easier for her to tell you while she’s not working. Don’t forget, while she’s working, it’s her job to create a hospitable, comfortable environment where you can come relax, enjoy yourself and have a drink or two. Are you sure you like her for who she is; or for the environment she’s created while she’s working? And do you really think she carries that persona all the time? The girl is at work.

Aberrant in Allentown says: Go for it. Bartenders are people too. If this bartender is “hot,” it’s probably not her first time fielding such an advance, as it does come with the territory. Rest assured she’s well experienced in dealing with beer-goggle-wearing, reduced-inhibition patrons who not only forget what they just said a minute ago, but forget that the target of their affection is made up like so and flirty because she’s working for tips.

to sue or not to sue

I have a question for you guys. I know a woman who’s suing her boss for sexual harassment, and from what I understand he deserves to be sued. He’s a pig, and he made her work miserable. My thing is that I think he also deserves to be outed for being a pig, as a public service to protect other women, but my friend insists on keeping the whole thing quiet because she wants a settlement. If she settles the case, of course, part of the deal will be not to say anything. Where’s the line here? Whose interests come first, hers or the public’s?

—A friend of a friend

Dining Out says: Many harassment cases have been publicized and appeared as hot topics of conversation in the media. They have made an impact on the general public and raised general awareness in the community. However, people have not stopped committing crimes like sexual harassment inside (and outside) the workplace. Furthermore, you may think calling one man a “pig” in public is going to deter him and other deviants from committing incriminating acts in your immediate community, but you need to keep your friend’s best interests at heart. It’s obvious that she wants to put this behind her and move on. If the issue continues to bug her, arrange a peaceful rally or organize a club that allows people to congregate and discuss the issue at hand.

Aberrant in Allentown says: Women don’t need a public service announcement to realize that some men behave like pigs. It certainly hasn’t stopped those men before. Settlement money will go a lot further than a bit of schadenfreude in today’s economy.

The Sales Guy says: Any workplace harassment makes the environment hostile, I think the majority will agree. The legal recourse of a cash settlement eases the situation somewhat, but it still leaves the victim usually without work while she or he finds new employment—plus the accused boss usually continues his or her pattern. Unless a spouse is involved, in which case a huge money loss can radically change behavior (see Tiger Woods). In the end its the victim’s life that takes the big hit—lawyers, job hunt, stigma—but news of this type of behavior gets around. You seem to be forthcoming with the story, and other friends will be, too. It’s one of the unfair aspects of life in the workplace.

Dr. Sigmund Fraud says: Preposterous. I knew I never should have hired her on as my personal secretary. I should have just left her there, behind the bar, slinging shots, the way I met her. Oh, she had no trouble laughing at my double entendres when I was her customer ordering a beer, but as soon as I set her up with a simple job answering the phone at my office, suddenly I’m a “pig.” You wanna sue me, sweetcheeks? Bring it on!

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