When Dating Your Boss Goes Wrong

How many times have we been down memory lane—revisiting our glory years of youth and saying to ourselves, “Man, what in the hell was I thinking?” We pause for a moment, staring at the memory as if it was lying still on a canvas right before our eyes, and then immediately snap out of trance and start shaking our heads from side to side in complete disbelief. Our mouths start to gesture but alas, only silence. It is a familiar total recall for many us; the mere notion that we were at one time in our lives so utterly naive as to have made that bold decision to say unquestionably, “Go for it!”

For me, it was a recall moment of fresh, rosy days when I was newly minted graduate of Florida State University. With my B.A. in English Literature in hand, I had set-off to secure my first corporate job in Atlanta, Georgia. Full of hope, I made the five hour journey there a mere week after graduation and moved in with a good friend of mine who had graduated a semester before me. Oh it was a wonderful time to be young and alive. Atlanta was hot and happening and so were we—or at least that is what we thought at the time.

Finding a job did not come as easily as I had hoped it might; nonetheless, after about six months (maybe a bit more), I finally secured my first salaried position. I was on the road to becoming a millionaire and nothing was going to get in my way. Then he showed up.

If only you could picture that moment in a movie when Mr. tall, dark and handsome comes through the front door, your eyes lock and you never look back again.

Our department manager had decided that it was time for her to pursue greener pastures during my second year with the company when Mr. Christian Manor,(his alias for this piece), came through the side door. Everything at the moment inside of me wanted to leap from my seat, wrestle him down to the ground with rope and drag him back home for safe keeping. He was the picture of absolute perfection: brown, smooth, silky skin, perfectly edged, low-cut hair (and matching beard), tall, medium build with just the right amount of muscles, well, masculine manicured hands, a hint of panty-dropping cologne and some of the pinkest bubble-gum lips ever to be licked. I had finally found my Mr. Right, and he just so happened to be my new boss.

Oh how foolish I was too believe it could be so simple.

As time went on, Christian and I begin getting closer to one another. We had always talked at length whenever we had the chance—after meetings, behind closed doors, but then the day came when we both decided it was time to take things to another level and have our very first public date. The fact that he was my boss never made me stop to question my actions. As far as I was concerned, as long as I remained smart and discreet, and never did anything to draw suspension to either of us, things were fine.

Little did I know.

There is something to be said about a busy-body in the office. They always seem to be in everyone else’s business except for their own. They are quiet, sneaky and an annoying burden to have around. No matter how much you question their actions there never seems to be any rational conclusion that would justify their behavior. They just are who they are and Mrs. Davis, (her alias for this piece), was just that kind of person.

Mrs. Davis and I were never really close. We were courteous colleagues to one another but nothing more than that. No exchanges about our weekends in the hallways or shopping chatter during lunch. Just courteous colleagues.

The day Christian and I had decided to take our relationship to the next level we decided to meet at a popular restaurant right off Peachtree Street. It was buzzing with excitement and the atmosphere was electric. We were both really excited to finally be out and it showed. We held each other’s hands all night, well except for when we ate, and talked extensively about everything from education to politics to my lack of love for sports. We often took moments to just look into each other’s eyes and then coyly smile at each other. It was everything we both had wanted. The evening could not have been more perfect.

And then there was Mrs. Davis.

Just as Christian was making his way to pull back my chair from the table so that we could leave, I caught Mrs. Davis staring right at us. I still remember that sinking feeling in the bottom of my stomach. It hurt like hell for that brief moment. Although, we were just courteous colleagues, I knew from the look on her face that our time together would be short-lived.

As soon as we reached Christian’s car we begin analyzing the situation trying to come up with the best course of action. Finally, we settled down and decided to carry on as usual. We were both single and had not broken any corporate laws. We carried out the rest of weekend plans and came to work Monday as if it was just another day.

And then there was Mrs. Davis.

Before 5:00 p.m. had rolled around there was no more Christian and I. What could have been a great romance turned into an old-fashion office tabloid full of copy room secret meetings, expensive lingerie purchases on the corporate credit card and just for good measure, weekend getaways to hotels near the office district.

It was the ultimate embarrassment and one that in all of my recall moments could not have shouted louder…“Man, what in the hell was I thinking.” Christian and I never spoke again to each other after that day. It was a lesson we both learned the hard way.

Being young, immature and plain old foolish definitely has its place in all our lives, but for better or for worse we hope that it will make us stronger if not wiser.

Alice J. Rollins is an aspiring freelance writer and blogger who holds an M.A. in Women’s and Gender Studies from DePaul University. Her areas of interest include African American women’s spirituality, feminist/womanist pedagogy and politics of migration. She is currently based in Chicago, IL. Email her at: alice@forharriet.com

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