One of my co-workers was a few years older than me. We were always friendly and he appointed himself as my unofficial mentor. He was a bit goofy and nerdy, but funny and smart and really encouraging as I learned the ropes. We would often walk down to buy our lunches together (which we would eat at our desks of course). He was a nice guy and I had met his wife at the team parties and other events. He occasionally asked my advice when choosing gifts for his wife and I was happy to help, though I did draw the line at lingerie shopping (which in hindsight perhaps should have been an alarm bell).
I was young and naive and didn’t realize exactly what he had in mind when he told me that his wife thought I was cute. I replied that I was flattered and that she was very pretty as well. Perhaps taking this an encouragement, he then mentioned that he and his wife were trying to spice things up in the bedroom. “Umm…ok,” I said, caught off-guard. “I, ummm, hope that works out well for you.” He stood there staring at me. “I think you’re cute too,” he said to me.
Horrified, I stared back, silently willing him to change the subject. I had no idea where he was going with this, but I knew I wasn’t interested. Finally he came right out and asked me if I would join him and his wife in bed. I was frozen and tried to think of the appropriate response to this. I stammered that again, I was flattered, and he and his wife were nice people, but it was not really my thing. He smiled and said “Let us know if you change your mind.” He never brought up again, and in fact just pretended the whole conversation had never taken place. Sometimes I wondered if it had. Fortunately he and his wife moved to another city shortly after this incident and we didn’t stay in touch.
Had I inadvertently given him signals that I would be interested in such an arrangement? Was it an innocent mistake on his part? Was it harassment?
Whatever it was, never once did it occur to me to report this behavior. It was the first time in my career that I faced inappropriate sexual behavior from a colleague, but certainly wouldn’t be the last time. It was fortunately the only time a colleague invited me to join him and his wife in bed. I wondered how many others received the same offer.
Any other Recovering Bankers out there who have received similar invitations?