Slept w/ my superior at our office party. How to deal with the fallout?
December 13, 2015 5:58 PM   Subscribe

So I (female, early 30's) had a little bit of an adventure last week with my superior (male, early 40's), but now it's become a bit more complicated, and I could use some advice. LONG wall of text inside, apologies!

To give a little context, I work in the film industry, and so "social norms" in the workplace are a little different, and my particular workplace might push the edge a little further beyond that. Which I'm happy about! I love being able to treat my coworkers as friends. We're all very open with each other, and there aren't really any "private topics" (sex, religion, politics, drug use, etc.) we don't talk about. HR is very much in sync with this environment, but is still very good at dealing with any problems when they arise. Just wanted to get that out in the open first.

Last Friday, we had our annual office Christmas party. It was at an upscale nightclub, and had a very generous open bar all night. Those of us who stayed past midnight or so got pretty drunk. Some more than others, but it was pretty much "pour the jumbo bottle of tequila into everyone's mouths" and "bump and grind with your coworkers" by about 1am. It was a lot of fun. One of my coworkers there is my superior (Let's call him Josh). Josh has no direct authority over me, doesn't assign work or hours, and doesn't have much of a say over my evaluations. But he's one of the company founders, is very much my senior, and I work with him on a very regular basis (multiple times a day). We've always gotten along really well, and I feel like there's always been a high level of mutual respect.

At the party, we started dancing, and it eventually turned super close, grabby, etc. At one point, he took my hand and put it down his pants. So then he said we should leave together. We are both in long-term relationships, but I'm on the open side of monogam-ish with my partner, and I got the same vibe from his relationship (with "Michelle"). I texted my partner, who gave the full go-ahead, and then I asked Josh about him and Michelle. He said they have a DADT policy, but that she was ok with him doing whatever. I said "Are you sure? I only want to do this if everything is ok", and he said yes. I took that at face value.

So we left, and while waiting for the taxi, he got SUPER grabby on the street corner. Almost took my dress off. Taxi came, we went to my place, had our fun, and as he was leaving, he said "Can we just say this never happened?" and I said of course. Full expectation for things to go back to normal on Monday. Nothing's changed.

But then he called me last night.
He had just woken up, and remembered almost nothing of the night before. He asked "...did we sleep together?", and I confirmed that we did. I told him a bit about the night, and it was pretty much a constant chain of "I did that??" and "I said that??" from him. But then he dropped the bomb: He in no way had permission from Michelle, and this was the first time in his 15 year relationship that he's cheated on her. I reminded him that had previously told me it was ok, and that was the only reason I went ahead with things. He apologized for sleeping with me, and I said that I don't feel bad at all, I had a great time, but because of his new information, I felt bad/sorry for him and Michelle. He said he obviously wants to keep this COMPLETELY secret, but when I told him about how public we were in our touching, and how clearly we left together, I wouldn't be surprised if people saw.

And if people saw, people will talk.
We certainly aren't the first in our workplace to take things further, but it's different circumstances. To further complicate things, Michelle comes into the office a few times a week, and so everyone knows her. Her and I are friendly. I have no idea if she knows, but have a feeling she might, just not that it was me.

When I walk into work on Monday morning, if anyone did see our dance-floor action, and then us leave together, I will certainly be greeted with "Did you sleep with Josh after the party??". And I plan to say no. But if people tell me about everything they saw, it'll be pretty hard to deny. My coworkers know very well my general lifestyle (sexuality, substance use, etc.), because it's not something I hide. I am VERY highly respected at work, very, very well loved, and am known for being an excellent employee, both in terms of quality of work, and work relationships. And they also know I like to have fun on my time off, and we frequently exchange stories about our weekend tropes. But I just have no idea how to respond or react if they "caught" Josh and I. And I NOT want any of this to get back to Michelle. We're very friendly to each other when she's there, and I feel awful for her.

So what do I do? Do I just straight up lie, even if people tell me exactly what they saw? I mean, it's not unsual for me to tell them about the cute girl I hooked up with from Tindr, for example, and so "I don't want to talk about it" or "That's personal, and none of your business" will be clearly an admission of guilt. We talk about everything in my office. What do I do if Michelle finds out it was me, and then I run into her at the office? Ughh... I had so much fun, and don't regret it at all, but this would have been so much simpler if he hadn't lied to me about having permission from Michelle.

Any advice, especially from people familiar with more "fringe" workplaces, would be especially appreciated.
Throwaway email: xmaspartythrowaway@gmail.com
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (56 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Straight up lie.
posted by bongo_x at 6:08 PM on December 13, 2015 [67 favorites]


Josh a asked you to lie, so lie. Deny deny deny. There is NOTHING to discuss.

I no longer work in entertainment, but I could probably figure out your company and Josh with 3 text messages. Too many details. You really should have this question deleted.
posted by jbenben at 6:09 PM on December 13, 2015 [21 favorites]


If anybody asks you, just say "No, I'd rather not talk about it." You say that enough, they will leave you alone. If Michelle ends up confronting you, just calmly tell her that you have an open agreement with your partner and you took steps to make sure he did, too. Apologize that you were a part of a bad drunken decision, that you like and respect her, and that, had you known she wasn't ok with it, you would have never done it.
posted by Foam Pants at 6:09 PM on December 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yes, you lie. Dear god you lie. You lie like you have never lied before or will again: "yeah it was crazy, things got a little intense and we were all outside getting sort of touchy feely but then, I don't know it was like the fresh air hit us for a second, and we sobered up a little and came to our senses. We took a cab together but he dropped me at my place and then took it home. Thank god nothing actually happened, but yeah it's a little awkward. Haha oh well."
posted by whoaali at 6:10 PM on December 13, 2015 [99 favorites]


this was the first time in his 15 year relationship that he's cheated on her
*snort*

So what do I do?
We have this kind of christmas party, although it's a very different industry. Everyone understands that the point is to get drunk and do stupid stuff, and there's a strong "what happens at the Christmas party" mentality. If you don't want this to have happened, I expect you will find it didn't happen, come Monday.
posted by ftm at 6:11 PM on December 13, 2015 [23 favorites]


Yep: Protect plausible deniability. This never happened.
posted by mochapickle at 6:19 PM on December 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


It kind of sounds like you feel like if you lie your lie won't be believed because you're known to enjoy your weekend fun? But otherwise you're a good employee? If this comes up you should rely on your "Excellent, well loved employee" persona and completely jettison your "weekend fun" persona. "Excellent, well loved employee Anonymous" would never. do. such. a. thing. Not that this is what you should say, but it's what you should use to underpin your general aura of innocence and ignorance.
posted by bleep at 6:27 PM on December 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


"Yeah Josh puked on me in the taxi, awkward. I gave him as much Pedialite as I had at my place but he threw up all over my rug and my couch, so I gave him a few hours to get a little more steady on his feet and I finally got him home. My couch still smells so gross but I've scrubbed it 3 times. Do you know any good upholstery cleaners? I seriously need to clean this up. I'm kind of pissed about the whole situation. I should make Josh pay for it."
posted by littlewater at 6:28 PM on December 13, 2015 [43 favorites]


You have to deny this, especially since there's a double standard in entertainment when it comes to sleeping with employees for men and sleeping with bosses for women.
posted by infinitewindow at 7:02 PM on December 13, 2015 [8 favorites]


Lie. Then lie some more. 'Nah. You know me, I'm up for anything, but Josh...he's not like that.'

Never speak of it again.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:04 PM on December 13, 2015 [14 favorites]


I wouldn't throw in all these extra random made up details if you want it to sound plausible, just say nothing happened and repeat as necessary.
posted by JenMarie at 7:15 PM on December 13, 2015 [16 favorites]


He clearly thinks it was a mistake and wants it gone, so there's your cue. It doesn't matter how loved and respected you are there, if shit goes sideways, it's your ass that's gone, not his.

If it comes up at work, "oh god, I was soooo drunk, I can't remember anything that happened after Buffy lost her shoe in the chandelier". If you were very very drunk, chances are, by that time of night, everyone else was too, and is probably worrying about their own shenanigans.
posted by Klaxon Aoooogah at 7:16 PM on December 13, 2015 [9 favorites]


Lie like a rug.

If he ever brings it up in private, for any reason, cut him off at the knees. It did not happen.

You shared a taxi. The End.
posted by jgirl at 7:28 PM on December 13, 2015 [12 favorites]


Lie about it forever and in the future remind yourself not to believe things that drunk horny men say even if they say the sky is blue.
posted by poffin boffin at 7:30 PM on December 13, 2015 [61 favorites]


I also come from a background of having hard partying friends and coworkers(music stuff, djing, live sound, working at a coffee shop and in food service, etc). Stuff like this happens every couple months.

Yep. Don't add extra details, just say "oh, nah, we were too fucked up. He was passing out so i just dropped him off and went home"

If it comes up that they saw that, something like "yea, he was pretty trashed haha... it was kinda awkward" and sort of let it trail off on it ending well, awkward.

But yea, you guys went home, nothing happened. What he did after he got out of the cab is his story to figure out. You didn't even really see him after you got in the cab, which covers people having seen you do that.

No long stupid story.

I supremely doubt anyone is REALLY going to push on you if you just say it didn't happen and kind of trail off with it having been awkward. Everyone i know has had to rebuff the advances of and drop off a too fucked up coworker or friend. Especially the people who work in media, live stuff, or bars/venues. They'll just think back to their own versions of the same story and go "oh... ok"
posted by emptythought at 7:32 PM on December 13, 2015 [25 favorites]


Lie. You were both super drunk and you shared a taxi. Emptythougt's script is good.

Also, be careful with this guy. Everything about the way he handled this while supposedly in blackout is suspicious. He lied to you over and over again when taking you home and he knew he'd done wrong when he was leaving your place, and I would be very surprised if this actually is the first time he's cheated on Michelle in 15 years. He's lying to you, lying to her, and asking you to lie for him. So yeah, absolutely lie about this, but keep that in mind when you deal with him in the future.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 7:35 PM on December 13, 2015 [59 favorites]


You are getting good advice here. Lie. Lie well.

If asked, say stuff like "I know, right. It was hilarious. But no, nothing happened. [I dropped him off / whatever.]."

Listen to the people here who are telling you about the double standard. If somebody gets thrown under a bus here, it will be you. Nothing happened.
posted by Susan PG at 7:40 PM on December 13, 2015 [8 favorites]


Agreed; dropping him off is the easiest way to lie/get out of this as smoothly a fashion as possible.
posted by dubious_dude at 7:48 PM on December 13, 2015


1. Talk to Josh and get your stories straight, whatever it is.

2. Keep it simple. "Yeah we got grabby, then came to our scenses and i dropped him off at his place. It was an awkward cab ride, but whatchagonnado?"

3. Stick to the lie!

4. Act as you usually would around Michelle.

5. Remember, this isn't your problem, don't try to make it yours.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:49 PM on December 13, 2015 [10 favorites]


Put all this emotional labor on Josh- why should you be the one worrying what to tell people and his wife finding out? Ask him what he want you to tell people. He will probably have a great story cooked up; I share suspicions that he's done this before.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:12 PM on December 13, 2015 [24 favorites]


I wouldn't lie or tell the truth. You've done *nothing* wrong. Lying puts you in a position of weakness. I think that this guy probably has cheated before, and if he's such an alkie that he actually blacked out and then had all sorts of coherent conversation with you about permission from his spouse, he's just as fucked up as he would be if he were a lying liar who lies, which is my reading of the situation. So, here goes--

Hey what happened with the two of you?
"Ugh, don't ask--find someone else to gossip about."
What!? Tell me? You guys were all over each other! You know he's married, right?
"Dude, I'm serious. Back off. I need some coffee, not the fucking inquisition."

And then never mention it again to anyone at work. I really hope he will be cool with you and not try to get you to leave the company because he's a lying asshole who cheats on his wife and can't admit it to himself or anyone else.
posted by tk at 8:14 PM on December 13, 2015 [8 favorites]


100% agree with tk.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 8:38 PM on December 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Disagree with tk. The more angry or resistant you sound, the more guilty. emptythought's idea is the right one: sound offhand and airy, it was no big deal and we both went home.
posted by zadcat at 8:47 PM on December 13, 2015 [23 favorites]


Lie. Lie. Lie. "Yep, we were pretty messy, but the cold air sobered us up a bit and then we had an awkward shared cab and I dropped him off before he passed out." No crazy stories and no excessive details. Make sure you and Josh are telling the same story.

I'm also pretty sure he's done this before.
posted by quince at 9:03 PM on December 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


wow, do not make a big deal of this or act angry or defensive! The air you want is dismissive, faintly puzzled that anyone would even be asking. Don't bring it up, and if anyone else does, it's weird that they're asking but of course nothing happened. The fewer details the better. This is your truth now; embrace it, act it - with him and Michelle as well.
posted by fingersandtoes at 9:21 PM on December 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


I know we're not supposed to argue with other posters or whatever, but i just wanted to add that i've seen the response TK put up go down in flames.

It doesn't end the conversation, it confronts it and makes it stick in peoples memories. It gets them talking about it. Playing it off will make this go away with in a few days. Acting defensive and trying to be hands off by refusing to engage will prolong this and stir shit.

Refusing to engage comes off like you're upset and embarrassed about it which just confirms what they think. Playing it off makes it come off like nothing really did happen.

You nip this in the bud by not obviously nipping it in the bud. The story has to be that nothing happened, not that you don't want to talk about it or to call them out for being gossips or whatever.
posted by emptythought at 9:34 PM on December 13, 2015 [11 favorites]


Dude, you've been the more responsible one for this whole affair. He's the one who lied to you and now he wants you to lie for him?

I'd say you would be more than fair to make him do some of the work.

Colleagues ask you if you guys slept together?
'Oh god, I hope not. Ha ha. You'll have to ask Boss Man. My memory is a little fuzzy.'

There's no need for you to write stories for him just because he conveniently can't remember.
posted by brambory at 9:50 PM on December 13, 2015 [13 favorites]


But he's one of the company founders ... To further complicate things, Michelle comes into the office a few times a week

To be honest, if I were you I'd be wondering if I'd need to be looking for a new job, due to being slowly (or abruptly) forced out of the company by a founder to make sure his wife didn't interact with his latest fling.

I had so much fun, and don't regret it at all

This is a pretty canonical example of why you don't fuck coworkers. As someone that's been in the open relationship scene for a long time, this story sends up soooo many red flags.

especially from people familiar with more "fringe" workplaces

They tend to be gossipy as fuck so I would assume everybody knows. This really doesn't sound like his first time at the rodeo and if you've not heard gossip about his previous flings, that's part of why I'd wonder if he's going to get rid of you.
posted by Candleman at 9:51 PM on December 13, 2015 [26 favorites]


Don't lie.

Everything gets worse when you lie.

Don't lie.
posted by hal_c_on at 10:14 PM on December 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


Thinking a little more deeply, if his wife does find out and he covers it by saying he was too drunk to know what he was doing ... And if he really has to stand on that for his wife he could also say that he was too drunk to consent.
Looking for a new job is probably a good idea. This thing could go sideways really fast.
posted by littlewater at 10:22 PM on December 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


do not trust this man further and make a note to self to not sleep with higher ups ever again no matter how ethically cool they assure you it is
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 10:33 PM on December 13, 2015 [8 favorites]


This guy sounds like slime. You've been pretty open about your lifestyle/relationships with your colleagues so it wouldn't surprise me if he had you earmarked already as someone who might be up for it, especially if he said he was in an open relationship too. He knew what lie to say to get you on board (His partner is fine with it! Really!) and he has the power to get you to lie to cover for him. If he's prepared to lie about that, he's certainly prepared to shift the blame onto you when it comes to his girlfriend or to get rid of you if it becomes convenient. I mean, he's not about to magically turn into a straight up guy now, right?

Having said that, I would lie. Not for him, screw that. For you, because things could get nasty fast. I wouldn't tiptoe around it either. "You thought we slept together, ha! Did you see how smashed that guy was, I poured him into the cab and then he was the driver's problem.Bullet dodged!"
posted by Jubey at 10:48 PM on December 13, 2015 [29 favorites]


"You thought we slept together, ha! Did you see how smashed that guy was, I poured him into the cab and then he was the driver's problem.Bullet dodged!"
The attraction of this lie is that, even though many of your colleagues may have seen you together, none are in as good a position a you were to judge how drunk Josh was. It is completely plausible since this is a common fate of couples leaving together after many drinks. Finally, if we make an effort to paint Josh in the most charitable light, it could be a pretty close approximation of the truth; it is possible to drunkenly sleep with somebody and then have barely a recollection of it. Keeping the lie as simple as possible (the story goes only as far as the taxi - which colleagues may have seen you get together) is also a good idea.
posted by rongorongo at 11:07 PM on December 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


The taxi fib is well and good unless Michelle finds out what time the cab left the club vs. what time Josh crawled in. It wasn't stated how much time elapsed, maybe it's plausible, maybe it's not.

However, I agree that it's Josh's problem to explain that one, if it ever comes up.

But yeah, really, don't shit where you eat going forward (even though at the time it was green lights as far as you were told), especially with a boss.
posted by Klaxon Aoooogah at 11:17 PM on December 13, 2015


Congratulations on reaching adulthood, that glorious time when you realize that you will encounter many forks in the road that are set up as follows: take a left turn down the path of your values (truth telling, empathy, fairness, helping others, living out your most authentic sexual/religious/political self in public, etc.), and take a right turn down the path where you will get paid. It's set up as a fork in the road because those paths are mutually exclusive.

It's not good to lie in general. It hurts. But sometimes you have to be a little ruthless and self-protective in order to keep your job and reputation. It hurts and it's a shitty realization.

Welcome to adulthood!
posted by omg_parrots at 11:20 PM on December 13, 2015 [10 favorites]


2nd lie. But massively 2nd Candleman, apply for another job, asap. This guy is extremely worried, and you and your excellent work mean way less to him than his wife and company (i.e. assets) do.

Maybe meet up with him once for coffee (well away from the office, not during office hours) or have a phone conversation with him to reassure him that you're not planning to use this event in any way, to try to mitigate any fast preemptive actions on his part. But apply for another job (still).
posted by cotton dress sock at 11:28 PM on December 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


(If it's true that this is the first time he cheated on his wife - which is possible - he is not going to stop shitting bricks until he's comfortable believing that this isn't getting out, his wife won't divorce him, etc.)

If you don't think you can lie to your co-workers in a convincing way, take a couple of days off (maybe you have the flu), consider how important it is that you do, and practice until you can.
posted by cotton dress sock at 11:45 PM on December 13, 2015


Also massively seconding Candleman.

I've seen this type of dude in action. Grew up with this type of dude in my family. Which, thankfully, made me immune to them in the officeplace. So much so that I have a reputation for being "no fun", which is exactly the reputation I want in that area. never mind that people enjoy my company, have great fun laughing, work together smoothly and all, the fact that I set clear boundaries with slimers means I'm "no fun". Welcome to being a woman!

Dude was testing your level of sincerity with the continuing series of "did I really say that??" He was trying to get you to wink-wink, nudge-nudge, "oh gosh, I was so drunk too! I don't remember anything that happened!" It's awesome that you are sincere, however, he is going to take this as a flag that you may continue to be sincere with others. And since he's your superior, he may well indeed angle to remove your sincerity from the equation entirely.

This is also why he "dropped the bomb" only at the end. It was the only remaining way he could get you to come over to his lying side. But then you added (it is really honorable of you, but consider how this was interpreted by him in this light): "I told him about how public we were in our touching, and how clearly we left together, I wouldn't be surprised if people saw."

Call me a magic eight-ball reader, but this is not the first time he's cheated on his wife. Heard that one plenty of times. Look for a new job before this dude starts laying the slimy foundations for discrediting and potentially firing you. There is still a double-standard for women.
posted by fraula at 1:38 AM on December 14, 2015 [34 favorites]


What I've been debating is whether or not you should talk to HR. I'm thinking "not," as it adds to the risk of the story getting out, and doesn't actually protect against the risk of you losing your job. But I'll raise the question in case anyone with more HR knowledge sees a benefit.
posted by salvia at 1:41 AM on December 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'd maybe preemptively consult a lawyer — going to HR in this scenario will guarantee that the OP is fired.
posted by Klaxon Aoooogah at 2:30 AM on December 14, 2015 [7 favorites]


I need to jump in and give you a different type of reality check. First, you say, To give a little context, I work in the film industry, and so "social norms" in the workplace are a little different, and my particular workplace might push the edge a little further beyond that.

Yet, you're asking how to address the age-old younger-female-employee-drunkenly-slept-with-male-boss-and-this-could-affect-my-future question.

As someone who was very much a NYC Club Kid and a DJ during the "Everyone's Got Blow" music industry scene of the 80's, I gotta tell you: you've got it wrong, sister.

Most workplace social norms are still from the 1950's.

You want to think everyone is open about their partying and sleeping together and it's cool because we're friends and all that, but:

you're not really friends. You're co-workers. And deep down, most of your co-workers still have a very old-fashioned sense of values and morals. While you may all be open about your partying and hijinks, on some level, your bosses take note and mentally file you as non-promotable because of what you do and what you overshare.

I know you want to say, "No! You don't understand! It's all cool here!" I'm telling you, it's not. Not for women who want to advance in or even keep their careers.

Listen, I spent years backstage at afterparties with (insert name of #1 bands who you have definitely heard of) where musicians and hipsters were doing rails of cocaine off somebody's breasts and whiskey was flowing and it was rock and roll and insanity. Industry people were all in the mix and many made the mistake of thinking we were one happy rock and roll family, but we weren't: it was work.

When all was said and done, do you want to know who runs the music industry today? The people who (mostly) stayed sober and remembered that when all was said and done, it wasn't family with loose social norms, it was business.

First, get STD tested asap. Next, no more excessive partying with your co-workers. Then, stop sharing details of your out of work partying and sex life to co-workers. You want to think it's chill; it's not, especially for women. It is only going to fuck you up professionally.

About sleeping with this dude, if anyone asks if you hooked up (and remember, this story is a blip on the gossip radar screen for people and nobody cares as much as you), you reframe that shit as, "Wow; that party was crazy, wasn't it? Did you have fun?" and keep deflecting because you're NOT going to talk about your sex life with your co-workers anymore.

You're not going to create an elaborate story. You're not going to lie. You'll tell Josh in person it was a stupid mistake; don't get into permission and cheating and turn this into a drama. It was a drunken mistake. You're going to stop talking about your sex life and your partying and your other stuff that has NO IMPACT on how well you do your job.
posted by kinetic at 3:26 AM on December 14, 2015 [116 favorites]


Can't second kinetic enough.

No workplace is so chill that it's okay to tell people about who and how you fuck.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 4:16 AM on December 14, 2015 [19 favorites]


If he can't remember anything then I'm guessing it is plausible that you remember nothing as well. I'd go with that.
posted by bkeene12 at 6:15 AM on December 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


Thirding kinetic as well.
posted by thereemix at 7:09 AM on December 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


Whatever you decide to do, be sure your partner is on the same page, as you did pre-clear it with that person. If you decide to lie about it, you don't want your partner accidentally letting the cat out of the bag.
posted by Gelatin at 7:33 AM on December 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm in the don't lie-camp. Lying is not only unethical in all sorts of ways, it also has the potential of complicating things MASSIVELY later on, and it puts you principally in a position of wrongdoing where there first was none of that (according to your tale).
You ought to find a tone of voice in which to deflect questions without sounding defensive, using lines along the "just let's not talk about it" spectrum.

Why?

Because, if Michelle finds out about this stuff in spite of everything, and perhaps confronts you, and especially if she turns out not to be too graceful about the entire thing, it is just so much better to only have to deal with discussing that one drunk night, without also having to admit that you have been lying when sober.
This is all about not freaking out and intellectualising future utility. Not-lying-benefits make a long-term impact in a way that momentary ass-saving by lying never can achieve.
posted by Namlit at 10:12 AM on December 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


What kinetic said.
posted by Gray Skies at 11:16 AM on December 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Kinetic is on the ball. This is exactly why you don't sleep with your coworkers...especially people who have authority over you and publicly at that. I'd start thinking about other job optio.so because those could go bad fast and if you have to go you want to go with your reputation intact. Plus Josh is scares and scared people make rash decisions and pass blame.

So if people ask you about it either deflect in a natural way or lie. Make your lie as truthful and casual as possible. Yeah, we took a cab but someone got fucked up and vomited and that's how the night ended if you have to lie.

That's aside I'd keep it loving and count this as a lesson learned and stop talking about your sex life and substance abuse at work. Unless you work in the adult film industry (??maybe you do, I wasn't quite sure) I think it can cause more harm than good. Plus, there's other ways to bond with your coworkers.
posted by CosmicSeeker42 at 12:24 PM on December 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm in the don't lie-camp. Lying is not only unethical in all sorts of ways, it also has the potential of complicating things MASSIVELY later on, and it puts you principally in a position of wrongdoing where there first was none of that

I kinda get that, but your coworkers don't really have a right to the truth or details or to anything at all about your sex life. Deflecting answers the question as yes, basically. I would lie in this case if anyone were so gauche as to outright ask, and then follow kinetic's advice going forward and stop sharing details of your personal life at work.
posted by JenMarie at 12:47 PM on December 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


Claim not to remember, but that you're preeeeetty sure nothing happened.

Then if it comes out you don't look like a huge liar.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 1:45 PM on December 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


One extra reason you should follow kinetic's advice: this guy is not your friend. The tactic of calling and pretending ignorance is pretty widespread among people who know exactly what they did and what they are doing. And now it's up to you to clean up the mess, even though he's the one that fucked up and lied to get you into bed with him. He's an ass, and you should keep what happened to yourself for your sake, not for his. If his partner finds out, he's just going to point out your promiscuity and drinking and drug use* and do his best to make you look like the problem, not him.


*shouldn't be an issue, in my opinion, but in real life and real workplaces it actually is. Shitty, I know. It goes along with the thinking that lying and cheating and sleeping with underlings is okay as long as no one finds out.
posted by oneirodynia at 5:19 PM on December 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


You need a new job, fast -hopefully before the wife catches on. Or (as suggested above), lover-boss turns nasty. Not sure how this My coworkers know very well my general lifestyle (sexuality, substance use, etc.), because it's not something I hide. is going to help when 'sleeps with married boss' is added, so speed may be of the essence.

I am VERY highly respected at work, very, very well loved, and am known for being an excellent employee, both in terms of quality of work, and work relationships. You need to springboard off this before the damage becomes public. And don't kid yourself, an excellent employee does not sleep with the boss, regardless of what his wife says about it.

You know your boss better than me, but a frank discussion of this stuffup, and your desire to get out quickly before it turns sour, might be the way to go. Who knows, maybe he can grease some wheels for a new job as he hopefully would see this is in his interests too.
posted by GeeEmm at 6:05 PM on December 14, 2015 [7 favorites]


GeeEmm is dead right here.

You know your boss better than me, but a frank discussion of this stuffup, and your desire to get out quickly before it turns sour, might be the way to go. Who knows, maybe he can grease some wheels for a new job as he hopefully would see this is in his interests too.

DANG OMG YES. This is actually brilliant. Seize this opportunity to get Josh to grease some wheels and get some doors open for you, get some interviews going and move to another place where you can dazzle with your brilliance and NOT talk about XXXing XXXXX and XXXing XXX any more.

Presumably at some point you'll want to advance your career and you'll need references, right? Josh would probably be OH SO VERY HAPPY to help you right now. Grab this moment.
posted by kinetic at 3:00 AM on December 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


Agh, good idea but amber alert: I don't know about asking him directly for help finding another job, after all this :/ Like it would be great if he did that, and hopefully he'll think of it himself, because that would be a very smart - and decent but mostly smart - thing for him to do.

But if he thinks you're pressuring him to do it, after what happened, he might not trust you, he may worry about and resent you some more. (Which, who cares, as far as personal stuff goes, but you work in presumably a small industry sustained by reputation and he has a good amount of chips here.)

Maybe mention that you're going to be looking, in that conversation you have where you tell him you're not going to tell his wife or the coworkers for any reason and he can just relax. If he's not an idiot, he'll already be thinking about it. If he sees that you're ok with backing out of this gracefully, he might be inspired to think about it (even if he is an idiot).
posted by cotton dress sock at 6:36 AM on December 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


From the OP:
OP here. Thanks so much to everyone who posted! It was really good (and scary, and funny) to read all your replies. And so I thought you deserved a follow up.

First off, there were many "factual" changes in what I posted. Industry, ages, dates, places, timelines, etc. The context is the same, but I wanted to make it anonymous enough. So thank you to those of you who were worried I could be identified, but I think it would lead pretty far down a rabbit hole.

The past few days have been perfectly ok! It turns out that most people left pretty early, and there were quite a number of (WAY more) dramatic happenings at the party, I just never noticed. There has been plenty of talk about those things (with a good attitude), but it really, genuinely seems like no one saw anything at all, or else someone would have mentioned something by now. The work relationship between Josh and I has gone 99% back to normal. Work has gone on. I really, really am certain this is all now in the past. I've met with HR (about completely unrelated things), and there's not even a whisper.

So thank you all for your concern, I will certainly be more careful next time, but it looks like I'm in the clear. I realize how lucky I am. *Deep Exhale...*
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 7:33 PM on December 15, 2015 [7 favorites]


Wow! Great! And thanks for the update. In my almost-ten-year AskMe history, this is one of the top three questions for which I've most wanted to know how things turned out.
posted by salvia at 12:32 AM on December 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


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