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       Volume 11 |Issue 42| October 26, 2012 |


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We can all agree that being a woman in Bangladesh is no picnic. The usual grievances aside, when women in this country get a job offer, they have to enquire about the work environment even before they discuss their payment package- is it safe? Are the men in this office decent? Unfortunately, even in most “women friendly” work places, we come across one or two men belonging to the species we women like to refer to as “the Office Sleazeballs.”

The office sleaze won't try to be blatantly offensive, but he doesn't exactly know how to be subtle either. He will usually be an elderly “gentleman”, not particularly attractive but thinks he's a stud, and extremely friendly with his younger female (sometimes even male, who knows) colleagues. He won't flirt with you- no, he doesn't know how, but there are a few signature behavioral patterns that will help identify the sleaze amongst you.

To begin with, he will go out of his way to greet you, even if you sit on the opposite end of your vast office, or even on a different floor. He will often compliment you on your attire. (You look so lovely in blue! You should wear more of the colour!) But you will always get a queasy feeling when he does, because in your gut you know he's just looking for an excuse to give you a once over. He will stare at you (sometimes open mouthed) when you are in the elevator together, stand too close for comfort and ask personal questions like “Are you married?” “Who was that boy who dropped you off to work yesterday?” “Ki boyfriend naki?” (Was that your boyfriend?) with a smile that gives you the creeps and leaves you wondering if you're being stalked. But don't worry, he won't go that far because that doesn't come with the package of being the office sleaze.

Your office sleaze will also most likely hold a higher position than you, and try to pretend he has a vested interest in furthering your career, but never make the mistake of falling for this little act, there is always an ulterior motive. Some men belonging to this species will also pretend to be concerned about your well being.

He will always find an excuse to discuss work with you; he will find you at your desk and insist on standing behind you while you look something up for him on the computer, praising your typing skills. Believe me, you don't want to allow him to do so because he's not looking at the computer screen.

The sleaze will also have a habit of following you with his eyes whenever he spots you, making you feel like you need to shower to wash off the slime. Don't try to stare him down though, he will definitely take that as a sign of encouragement and walk over to talk to you. Don't bother looking irritated when he does, because all these subtle hints just go whoosh, right over his head.

During the brief nauseating conversations you must endure with him because you have no choice, he will make inappropriate, sexual references or even try to crack a dirty joke, while laughing his creepy little laugh. It is best to ignore these since the purpose of this is to get a reaction out of you.

One good way to identify an office sleaze when you join a new workplace is to watch out for the person all women either make faces at, or walk away from whenever he enters a room. Even as they do so, he will smile and extend his greetings to them as he happily ogles at their retreating backs.

Your typical sleaze may pretend he has no idea he's doing something out of the ordinary, if you happen to ever confront or berate him, but you'll notice that whenever his wife comes to the office to pay him a visit he will barely recognise you if you happen to walk by. So the next time he tries to talk to you, just ask him how his wife is doing and that should shut him up. Better yet, always refer to him as “uncle” or “chacha,” and tell him how much he reminds you of your dad or maybe even your grandfather, whatever gets to him more, and perhaps you can keep him at bay for a while..but definitely not for good. Remember, your office sleaze is just like a cockroach, no matter how much you try and squash him, he'll keep coming back. On the upside, they do provide you with an entertaining topic of conversation during tea time with your colleagues and eventually become the butt of all jokes, so just let him do his thing and you just sit back and laugh.


All places, characters, institutions and events described in this article are fictitious. Any resemblance to any person or institution living or dead is purely coincidental.


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