Note to self: I must be careful around black women at work.

I’ve gotta find me a secluded monastary somewhere there are no women around. Or, a different job.

I would consider the situation rather amusing if it weren’t for the fact that I was involved. I am white and 44 years old. There is a black woman who also works there almost half my age. We are merely platonically friends. Nothing more.

Both of us are very overweight. I happened to need to get past here in a narrow walkway where she was standing talking to a black co-worker. To let her know I had to get by, I lightly touched her on the shoulder blades, which she immediately recognized as a non-verbal signal I had to get past. Her only reaction was to move a little bit forward, so I could slide on past. Which I did.

The black guy she was talking to, just after I had moved past her, first looked at me odd, and then her oddly. He then asked her suspiciously “is there anything going between the 2 of you?” She just laughed, and said no. At what point the black guy she was talking to, and another black guy who was a co-worker both were giving looks of the “yeah, right” variety.

There really wasn’t anything particularly suspicious about any of this. Only thing I can imagine that might seem odd is how casually I did this, and she just casually getting the message to move. Merely a simple form of non-verbal communication. I do know she has joked about liking white guys in the past. In fact a month ago a manager made a joke to her about the fact we did seem a bit too friendly, and she actually responded back to the effect “well, I do like white guys”. I know for a fact she has had white boyfriends. In the past I have had black girlfriends, but I have kept that fact quite secret at work. And if any of them think a light touch on the shoulder blades is somehow “erotically suggestive”, then they need a better sex life. :wink:

Well, there is one other thing suspicious, just nobody at work knows. I have on my website 2 different versions of Janis Ian’s “Society’s Child” on my website. For those unaware of the song, search Google for the lyrics. However, I am quite sure nobody at work knows of my websites. I happen to have a number of Janis Ian MP3s on my website. Janis Ian is my all time favorite musical artist. (Janis Ian has mocked the RIAA about MP3 file sharing. The further irony is that I happen to have found out, more or less by accident, the big boss there is a white woman who is married to a black guy. I found out one day when she showed up briefly at work with her kids. One of them asked me “where’s mommy”, and from looking at her I couldn’t imagine who at work at that moment could possibly be her mother? The big boss walked out, and the kid said “there’s mommy!” I asked around and figured out the score.

Come Monday, I guess I’ll have to tell this black woman co-worker to pretend to hate me, and me the same. Then nobody at work will suspect anything. We can always communicate by e-mail. I managed to get her old dinosaur Windows box working again, and because I do freelance security work for a regional ISP, I was easily able to get her a comped account with them. Sysadmins at ISPs are quite generous about such things when your job is fighting system crackers. :slight_smile:

I’m just disappointed that such is still an issue in 2005. :frowning:

I’m not sure what the issue is here. Is it against company policy for coworkers to date?

There is no such policy. Only if one of us were managers over each other would it be an issue. And dating has never happened.

I don’t see the problem. Two black guys are a bit jealous over, apparently, nothing. I wouldn’t change cordial relations over that. JMO

I’m totally not getting the racial aspect of this. If you had left out any reference to race, it would all make the same sense (or lack thereof) to me.

Ooooh, you got it reaaal bad man. Cut loose, you know there’s nothing can stop you.

If, whilst sliding past said female, she had chosen to back up to you with her booty, or you had chosen to pause and show your affection for her booty, it would be an issue. I’m not seeing any of this, other than invention in the mind of the OP.

Exactly sir. The only “racial” issue is in the minds of third parties. I’ve dealt with the human resources folks in this company (think big, multinational). They are quite professional. Since neither she nor I care, corporate will never care. I’m safe. I’m just surprised anyone else cared.

Actually, in that scenario it wouldn’t have been an issue. If she had actually chosen to back me up with her booty, surely she wouldn’t have taken that up with corporate. Sexual harassment requires something be unwanted.

To your main question, ah…just don’t worry about it. Maybe those guys were just playing with her/your mind. And if they weren’t, well tough shit. Take race out of the equation and it was harmless enough. So just take race out of it.

I do, however, have to comment that Janis Ian was a big influence on me when I was younger and was pleased to find out years later, that she was a big 'ol Lesbo, considering I was a little closet case at the time. Somehow I knew it about her, which made me do something I had never done, nor have I done since. I wrote a very lengthy fan letter. And writing that letter made me confront a lot of issues I was going through.

No, she never wrote back.

Fast forward to about 25 years and a friend of mine went to the same hairdresser in NYC of Janis Ian. My friend, from the same dinky town, mentioned that I had once written a long letter to Janis Ian when I was younger. (I had told few people, but this friend knew.) About two weeks later, the hairdresser met her in the street and in conversation said, “oh, by the way. Janis says she remembers getting a letter years ago from some guy from your hometown. She would have written back, but he didn’t give his return address.”

No, **you **made it into a racial issue. You didn’t describe them as “a woman and two guys,” you describe them as “a black woman” and “two black guys.” Even the title of the thread has the unnecessary word “black” in it. If you had told your story without any reference to race, it would be exactly the same story.

And what on earth does Janis Ian have to do with anything?

I reacted to the title and the story exactly the same way you did.

Can I give you a word of advice? Two words, actually:
Fuck. That.

I’ve been there and done that. My platonic friend and I tried that, and it only had the effect of people saying, “See? They’re trying to hide it!” and increasing the gossip. The other effect of course was that we were denying ourselves the pleasure of each other’s company at work, just to please a bunch of sad loser colleagues with no lives. We soon gave up, and adopted a healthier “Arrrr fuck 'em. Let them think what they want” attitude. Much better.

I want your job–a job where people actually have time to spend on this kind of thing.

Now that I think about it, they may have very well been fucking with my mind.

As for Janis Ian, she is now a lesbian. I know she was living with a boyfriend around 1970, and I believe it was in the early 1980s she was married to a guy. Her comments were that it wasn’t a sham marriage. Thus I would presume she is bisexual. It is just that now she is in a stable lesbian relationship with a woman. I also recall an interview in the media in the 1970s where she called herself bisexual. Thus she wasn’t in the closet.

You could always try contacting her on the message board on her site. I’ve actually briefly exchanged e-mails with her (over the Internet IP issue) in a matter best kept off the board. She is contactable.

No, from further comments that were made it was clearly a race issue. However, as someone else pointed out it could have been just a matter of playing with my mind. And if so, with some success.

Good point. In this case, it might be said the gentleman doth protest too much, methinks. Easiest strategy is just forget it. Neither of us would have noticed anything happened absent anyone else commenting.